A&A news

A&A

Survey Finds Workers Coping With Financial Strain of Health Care Costs

American Express Financial Advisors Inc. today released results from a 2003 national survey measuring the impact of recent health care cost increases on workers’ financial health.The survey found a significant number of employees are concerned about the financial effect of health care increases on their retirement future. The majority (73 percent) of workers responded they were either somewhat or very concerned about how rising health care costs might impact their ability to fund their retirement and other financial goals.
A&A

Entrepreneurs Expect Modest Startup Costs For Most New Ventures

Entrepreneurs project modest startup costs for most new ventures, according to a study released today by the Office of Advocacy. Solo entrepreneurs expect median startup costs of $6,000, while the median cost expected by team ventures is $20,000. More than 80 percent of the entrepreneurs studied expected to cover their startup costs without bank loans, although on average they had saved only $2,000 towards that goal."Not all new ventures require large infusions of capital," said Dr. Chad Moutray, Advocacy’s Chief Economist .
A&A

SEC Adopts Stricter Rules to Improve Disclosure to Investors

At an open meeting last week the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted rules that will improve disclosure to investors regarding the nominating committee processes of public companies and the ways by which security holders may communicate with directors at the companies in which they invest. The disclosure requirements adopted will enhance significantly the transparency of the nominations and communications processes of public companies and are the next step in the implementation of the recommendations in the Staff Report.
A&A

SEC Chairman Calls For Tighter Regulation of Mutual Funds

The chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission outlined a plan for tighter regulation of mutual funds before Congress Tuesday, and responded to criticism that the SEC failed to find problems in the industry early enough.SEC Chairman William H. Donaldson told Congress that he supported a plan to force mutual fund chairmen and three-quarters of the directors to be independent. Half of the board is required to be independent now, the New York Times reported. Under the proposals, fund directors would be required to perform annual evaluations of their effectiveness.
A&A

S&P Launches New Online Tools to Assist Investors

Standard & Poor's, a leading provider of independent investment research, ratings and indices, announced today that is has launched a comprehensive set of global online information and analysis on mutual funds aimed at helping individual investors make more informed investment decisions.The new products are available on http://www.funds-sp.com Standard & Poor's dedicated funds Web site.
Community News

Small Businesses Most Vulnerable to Payroll Fraud, Five Tips to Avoid Costly Fraud Schemes

Small businesses are often the most vulnerable and easiest targets for occupational fraud and abuse, and particularly payroll fraud, according to Fiducial, an international provider of professional business outsourcing for tax, financial and business services to small businesses.
Practice Management

Key to Foiling Financial Fraud: Protect Honest Employees

Re-published with permission from White-Collar Crime Fighter, www.wccfighter.comAs the "Enron pattern" shows no signs of abating, it is clearer than ever that corporate book-cooking will remain a stubborn blemish on America's corporate image for, well, a very long time. For corporate, regulatory and law enforcement fraud-fighters, the question therefore is, "How can we at least reduce the number of Enron-type cases?"One obvious, yet often unpalatable answer is, let employees tell the truth...
A&A

Overcharged Investors May Receive Refunds, January 2004 Deadline

About 450 securities firms will contact mutual fund investors over the next three months about possible refunds totaling at least $85 million.Brokerage companies under scrutiny have until the end of January, 2004 to notify millions of investors that they may have been overcharged for their mutual fund investments, National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc.
A&A

Is Your Cash-Value Insurance Policy in Danger?

Billions of dollars of life insurance cash values may be in big trouble, and most consumers don't know it because they don't check their policies like they do their stocks and bonds.Most owners of cash value life insurance polices don't really understand what effect low interest rates have had on their policies, according to the top insurance consultants at Herz Financial."Customers may be losing money with a policy that was once valuable, but now with the extended drop in interest rates, it may be on a collision course to self-destruct and become worthless," said Matthew Herz, one of t
A&A

Insurance Associations Concerned About IASB Standard

Seven major insurance trade associations have asked the International Accounting Association (IASB) to take another look at its Exposure Draft 5, Insurance Contracts, which is also referred to as Phase I of the Insurance Contract Accounting project.The London-based IASB hopes to eventually standardize global accounting rules for publicly held companies. The standards would include financial accounting standards for insurance companies.
A&A

Trend Setters, Company to Format & Release Own Earnings in XBRL

Bowne & Co., Inc., the world's largest financial printer and leading EDGAR filer, today announced it will participate in a major industry financial reporting demonstration utilizing Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).
A&A

Survey Shows Corporate Treasury Professionals Playing a More Strategic Role

According to a new survey of senior financial executives conducted by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), today's corporate Treasury department is being asked to play a far more strategic role in the corporation, moving beyond its traditional responsibilities of bank relationships and cash management.
A&A

Employees Ask For More Retirement Advice, Study Shows

After three years of market volatility, employees are now re-engaging with their retirement planning and, in turn, are asking their employers for more guidance in achieving their retirement goals, according to the latest survey commissioned by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive included 300 small business executives and 600 full-time small business employees ages 18 and older.
A&A

FASB Defers FAS 150 Provisions Related to Mandatorily Redeemable Noncontrolling Interests

Provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers, CFOdirect NetworkAt Wednesday's Financial Accounting Standards Board meeting, the Board decided to defer the provisions of paragraphs 9 and 10 of FAS 150, Accounting for Certain Financial Instruments with Characteristics of Both Liabilities and Equity, (and related guidance in the appendices) as they apply to mandatorily redeemable noncontrolling interests.
A&A

Stock Option Expensing to Become Mandatory in 2005

The Financial Accounting Standards Board met on October 29 to put some of the final touches on its decisions towards mandating expensing of stock options just like any other compensation - an issue which has been steadily gaining momentum for over ten years.
A&A

Social Security Beneficiaries Get Increase

According to CCH, a leading provider of tax and payroll law information and software, Social Security beneficiaries in 2004 will see a moderate increase in their monthly checks.
A&A

Tips on Conducting a Successful Firm Summit

by L. Gary Boomer, CPA, Boomer Consulting, Inc.I am sure your first question is "why a firm summit and not a retreat?" Retreat gives the connotation of looking to the past and moving backwards. Summit sounds "grander" and should involve a broader base of participants. It also is the beginning of the process that will differentiate your firm from the competition. The purpose of a firm summit is to bring leaders and members of a firm together along with outside expertise and facilitation in order to create strategies for improving the firm.
A&A

AICPA Council Votes to Retain Credentials

The AICPA governing Council has decided to retain the Institute’s three specialty credentials and provide financial support for them, the underlying disciplines and the membership sections. The vote came on the final day of Council’s fall meeting in New Orleans and followed six months of exploring whether to keep the specialties inside the AICPA.Council approved a resolution submitted by the AICPA Board of Directors.
A&A

NY, SEC Bring Actions Against Mutual Fund Executive, James P. Connelly, Jr.

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the arrest, conviction, and lifetime industry bar of James P. Connelly, Jr., former Vice Chairman and Chief Mutual Fund Officer of Fred Alger & Company, Inc., a prominent mutual fund firm.Connelly pled guilty to the crime of Tampering with Physical Evidence, a class E felony punishable by up to four years in state prison.
Tax

IRS Cautions 'Quick Fixes' From Credit Counseling Organizations

The Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Trade Commission and state regulators issued a consumer alert for those seeking assistance from tax-exempt credit counseling organizations.Paying bills is never easy, but job loss, divorce or unexpected medical bills can be devastating to a consumer. Many consumers seek help from non-profit credit counseling organizations in managing their debt or "repairing" damaged credit.

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