A&A news

A&A

Enron Lawsuit to Push Limits of Corporate Pension Plan Laws

The Department of Labor has filed suit against Enron Corporation and individuals who were directors and other executives of the now bankrupt conglomerate, alleging that the company violated pension laws by mismanaging employee retirement funds.The lawsuit calls for Enron to pay company employees hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of a company policy that prevented employees from changing their invested retirement money from company stock to a different investment. Enron prevented employees from selling the Enron stock in their 401(k) plans until they reached age 50.
Technology

New Bilingual Accounting Software Rolled Out

Are you running a small business with English- and Spanish-speaking employees? The launch of Simply Accounting 2003 in a new bilingual English-Spanish format may be the answer to the language barrier in the Hispanic businesses.Simply Accounting offers a host of accounting functions that allow staff to work in their preferred language or to switch in and out of the two languages, while maintaining full accounting integrity.
A&A

Characteristics That Make a Successful Entrepreneur

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Entrepreneurs are like everyone else - the difference is they usually have stronger feelings and express themselves more strongly than those less likely to strike out on their own. If you are going to risk your money and time in your own business you must have a strong feeling that you will be successful. These strong feelings may also cause problems. If you want to start your own business, you probably have mixed feelings about authority.
A&A

Intuit and Amazon.com Launch Boutique For Small Business

Press ReleaseIntuit Inc. has announced an agreement with Amazon.com, Inc. to offer a QuickBooks Software Add-ons boutique on Amazon.com that sells business applications that share data with QuickBooks® 2003 products. The QuickBooks Software Add-ons boutique will provide an easy way for small and growing businesses to find and purchase industry-specific software products that integrate with QuickBooks.
Practice

How to Control Time Sheet Manipulation & Check Fraud

"Excerpted from IOMA's "Payroll Managers Report" June 2003 issue.Large amounts of money flow through your company's payroll account. The potential for fraud is significant, and the consequences can be devastating. Whether it's time sheet manipulation or check fraud, today's technology requires payroll professionals to be diligent in finding the red flags of fraud and instituting internal controls to stamp it out.
Technology

SBA Launches New Site With Resources For Small Business Owners

Acknowledging that small businesses keep the American economy going, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has relaunched its website with significant improvements targeted toward small business owners and other users."Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, and we are committed to providing them with the best and latest tools and resources," said SBA Administrator Hector Barreto.
A&A

IRS Web Site Offers Identification Numbers For Businesses

The Internal Revenue Service now lets businesses obtain identification numbers directly from its Web site. After the taxpayer completes an application form online, the system issues an employer identification number (EIN) that may be used immediately. This online process eliminates the need to send paperwork to the IRS as well as the delay in issuing a number that may result from an incomplete application form.
A&A

Congress Gains Support in Stock Option Fight

FASB Chairman Robert Herz last week urged lawmakers to stay out of the standard-setting business, but now it seems the legislation that threatens FASB’s independence is gaining support on both sides of the aisle.The “Broad-Based Stock Option Plan Transparency Act" was introduced in March by Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and currently has 44 co-sponsors.
A&A

Computer Virus BugBear is Back And Targeting Banks

Twelve hundred of the world’s largest banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase, American Express, Wachovia, Bank of America and Citibank, are potential victims of the latest wave of the Bugbear virus, which first surfaced last fall.The virus travels via e-mail and attacks Windows operating systems and was first noticed on September 30th and after it had already infected computers in dozens of countries.
A&A

Stock Option Expensing Subject of House Hearing

Robert Herz, chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) strongly objected this week to proposed legislation that would place a three-year moratorium on the expensing of stock options. He said the action "would be in direct conflict with the expressed needs and demands of investors." "The moratorium would establish a potentially dangerous precedent," Herz said in testimony before a House panel.
A&A

IRS Moves to Reduce Retirement Savings Barriers

The Internal Revenue Service moved today to make it easier for retirement plans to stay within complex rules and to reduce barriers that discourage some businesses, particularly small businesses, from adopting such employee benefits.The IRS is streamlining its system of voluntary correction programs designed to help retirement plan sponsors and administrators retain the favorable tax status of their plans, including simplifying the fee structure for voluntary submissions.
A&A

Survey: Small Businesses Not Offering Employee Retirement Plans

If you are planning to get by in your golden years on your company-sponsored retirement plan proceeds, make sure you are working for a large company.
A&A

FASB Agrees to Rethink Pension Rule Change

Under increasing pressure, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) agreed to take another look at its proposed rule that would change the way some pensions are valued which could have had a possible negative impact on some companies’ balance sheets. Industry groups decried the proposed rule change, which would have required companies to use an interest rate tied to a market index—a one-year Treasury bill, for instance—to place a value on their pension liabilities.
Practice Management

What Do Your Clients Really Want?

It's really no secret what your clients and prospects want, they want solutions and leadership. Solutions and leadership demonstrate value to a client. These come from a thorough knowledge of the client's objectives, strategies, existing circumstances, competitive position, and personnel.
A&A

Quickbooks Launches Healthcare, Non-Profit Focused Versions

Quickbooks maker Intuit has unveiled several new industry specific software titles to expand the usefulness of its line of Quickbooks products.Specific Quickbooks products have been launched for non-profit organizations and for health care organizations. The non-profit tool adds grant/donor management tools, budgeting by projects, and non-profit specific streamlined reporting systems.
Tax

Tax Cut Effects on Corporate Dividend Policies Uncertain

As both houses of Congress and the White House begin work on finalizing a huge 10-year tax cut that includes changes to incomes taxes on dividends, companies are adopting a wait-and-see approach when it comes to changing their policies on issuing dividends."At this point we've had no specific directions as to what impact this will have," Chris Preuss, Washington spokesman for General Motors Corp., was quoted in the Washington Post (“Firms Cautious on Prospect of Dividend Tax Change,” May 16, 2003).
A&A

Electronic Card May be The New Face of Payroll

A new payroll option — the payroll card — may soon be available to American workers, including the 13 percent of workers who don’t have bank accounts and who can't take advantage of the more popular direct deposit from their employers.With the cost of preparing paper checks averaging $1.07 plus postage per check, companies and governments are trying to get away from the traditional paycheck. A recent survey showed that 83 percent of companies polled participate in voluntary direct deposit with most indicating they would make it mandatory if the law would allow it.
A&A

How to Detect and Investigate Kickback Schemes

Re-published with permission from White-Collar Crime Fighter, www.wccfighter.com.After bank fraud, securities fraud and corporate embezzlements, kickback schemes are the most common type of fraud of $1 million or more.However, of all the different types of white-collar crimes, kickback schemes are among the toughest for forensics specialists to detect and investigate.Major reason: Kickback schemes can't easily be discerned in a company's books and records.
A&A

Qwest Executive Agrees to Pay Millions in Settlement

In what marks the first time a corporate executive has been penalized for participating in the practice known as IPO spinning, former Quest Communications International Inc. Chairman Phillip F. Anschutz has agreed to pay a $4.4 million settlement.IPO spinning is the name given to the strategy employed by investment banks that reward corporate executives for letting the banks offer the company's initial public offering by giving company executives shares of the IPO. New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has made it his personal objective to end the practice of IPO spinning.
A&A

Successful Financial Crime Prevention

Re-published with permission from White-Collar Crime Fighter, www.wccfighter.com.While the ingenuity and complexity of today's huge corporate frauds make interesting reading, there are countless other varieties of financial wrongdoing plaguing companies that don't receive mass media attention.LOW PROFILE, HIGH COSTUnfortunately, these "lesser" frauds usually have devastating results on a company's bottom line and reputation—just as the mega-frauds do on the Enrons, Worldcoms and Tycos that the mas

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