A&A news

A&A

IRS Reminds Some Businesses of Retirement Plan Deadline

The Internal Revenue Service reminded approximately 750,000 small and mid-size businesses using "off-the-shelf" retirement plan documents that they must update their plans by Sept. 30, 2003. Businesses must formally adopt updates to maintain the tax benefits associated with retirement plans.The deadline is a result of rules that apply to so-called Master & Prototype (M&P) plans and Volume Submitter plans. These off-the-shelf retirement plans are IRS-approved templates intended to standardize and simplify the complex employee plan area.
A&A

Levitt Takes Knowledge on The Road

Beginning this week, former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Arthur Levitt will visit six cities to discuss "Meeting the Compliance Challenge: Issues, Risks and Rewards."Levitt, who served as the SEC’s longest running chairman from 1993 to 2001, will share his insights from his distinguished career in the finance arena.
Practice Management

FASB Addresses, Delays Stock Option Rule Setting

The Financial Accounting Standards Board met yesterday to address a myriad of complicated issues surrounding the expensing of stock options. The definitive decision reached at the end of the meeting: delay the issuance of rules by 6-9 months.FASB has been under pressure from a number of groups, including Congress, to define how companies should expense stock options granted to employees. The sticky point, everyone agrees, is honing in on an appropriate valuation method. The widely used Black-Scholes method has often been criticized as an imperfect tool to value options.
A&A

CFOs Measuring Cost of Sarbanes-Oxley Implementation

A recent survey of corporate chief financial officers by CFO magazine found that most of corporate America’s top finance officers believe the Sarbanes-Oxley Act regulations have been a boon for attorneys and auditors and have caused "sticker shock" for companies.Many of the CFOs surveyed said they think Congress acted too hastily in response to the corporate meltdowns of Enron, Tyco, WorldCom and others.
A&A

Cost of Health Insurance Continues to Soar

There is more bad news for both employers and employees. A new survey released this week shows that the cost of health insurance in the U.S.
Technology

Identity Theft on the Rise, FTC Reports

Updated - September 10,2003 - Identity theft is rising at an alarming rate. A survey released last week by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the government’s consumer protection agency, found that 27.3 million Americans have had their identity stolen or used fraudulently—more than 9 million last year alone.The cost of identity theft to businesses and financial organizations is staggering — $48 billion last year alone and another $5 billion in reported losses to individual victims.
A&A

NYSE Chief’s Pay Package Under SEC Scrutiny

With executive pay packages under increased scrutiny after recent scandals, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking into the compensation of Richard A. Grasso, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.The NYSE claims it will save about $3.5 million this year by paying out a lump sum of $140 million to Grasso in the form of accrued savings and incentives.
A&A

Grant Thornton Ends Select Services For Audit Clients

Grant Thornton LLP, the nation’s fifth largest accounting and business advisory firm and one of the seven global accounting organizations, announced that it will not provide a number of services for its public audit clients that it believes is in keeping with the intent of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002."Just as we believe that the accounting industry should accept a principles versus rules based approach to accounting, we believe the same should be the case in adhering to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act," said Grant Thornton CEO Ed Nusbaum.
A&A

E-Mail Marketing Help For Small Business

Press ReleaseThe U.S. Small Business Administration and Topica Inc., have announced a series of free, live online “webinars” about e-mail marketing strategies, entitled “E-mail Marketing for Small Business.” The first of the 60-minute webinars will be held September 3, at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
A&A

First CEO, CFO Fines Levied Under Sarbanes-Oxley

The first fines have been levied under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on Chief Executive Officers who sign off on financial statements knowing they are not accurate. Poultry firm Rica Foods Inc., and its top two officers settled federal charges this week. Chief Executive Calixto Chaves and Chief Financial Officer Gina Sequeira settled the charges, with Chaves agreeing to pay a $25,000 fine. Sequeira cooperated with the SEC and will not be required to pay a fine.
A&A

Mid-Market Companies: Competition is More Intense Than Last Year

From competition within the middle market to vying with larger competitors and new companies entering the market, middle-market business leaders are feeling the pinch of a heightened competitive environment, according to findings from the Grant Thornton Survey of Middle-Market Business Leaders.Ninety-four percent cite competition as more intense or as intense as one year ago, while just 6 percent say the competitive environment is less intense."As the market has tightened, so, too, have the competitive pressures on middle-market companies," says John Desmond, partner in charge of the Bus
A&A

Lawyers Balk at New SEC Rules

New rules established by the Securities and Exchange Commission encourage lawyers to break their client confidentiality compact when clients are suspected of financial fraud.The SEC rules, part of the fallout from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, require lawyers to report concerns of violations of securities laws to corporate executives.
A&A

What to Avoid in Your Business Plan

When writing a business plan here are some things to avoid: Form over substance. If it looks good but doesn't have a solid basis in fact and research, you might as well save your energy. Empty claims. If you say something is so, back it up in the next sentence with a statistic or fact or quote from a knowledgeable source that supports the claim. Rumors about the competition. If you know for sure one is going out of business you can allude to it, but avoid listing their weaknesses or hearsay.
A&A

Regulatory Agencies Earn Improving Grades From SBA

SBA Press ReleaseFederal regulatory agencies are doing better at creating and maintaining a small-business friendly attitude toward the nation’s small businesses, according to the fiscal 2002 annual report to Congress from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Ombudsman.More than 30 agencies and their divisions received ratings from National Ombudsman Michael Barrera on their resolution of complaints about excessive enforcement.
A&A

Intuit Launches Payroll Referral Reward Program

Intuit, a leading business and financial software maker, has launched its new Accountant Payroll Referral Reward Program, offering rewards and incentives to accountants who refer clients to Intuit Payroll Services full-service payroll solutions.Those wishing to participate in the program will need to register with Intuit to be eligible.
A&A

Full Text FASB Statements Now Available For Free

The Financial Accounting Standards Board has brought a midsummer's gift to the accounting profession. The status, summary, and full text of all statements are now available online, and free of charge.For years, practitioners, educators and students have grumbled about the lack of free access to the rules and regulations governing the profession they are serving. FASB has responded accordingly. All statements are presented in PDF format, requiring the reader to have Adobe Acrobat 5.0 or higher installed on his or her computer.
A&A

IRS Issues Temporary Regulations on S Corporation ESOPS

The Treasury Department and the IRS have issued temporary and proposed regulations to shut down abusive arrangements involving certain employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) holding stock in S corporations.
Practice

In Spite of Terrorist Threats, Spending on Security Lagging

A new study by The Conference Board shows that, in spite of the continued threat of terrorist violence, most companies are spending approximately the same on security that they spent prior to September 11, 2001.According to a survey of more than 330 business security directors, risk managers, and information technology security officers, there has been only a 4% median increase in security spending in the past two years.
A&A

How To Build Unique Referrals

To get more and better business leads, network with those clients you already have a relationship with. Create a referral form.A fill-in-the-blank referral form that is distributed quarterly to the names on your database is guaranteed to land leads. To help customers zero in on appropriate prospects, ask questions that relate to your niche: "Whom do you know who's retiring in five years? Who just bought a new home? Who's launched a business?" Send a thank you note to everyone who sends you a referral.

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