A&A news

A&A

Two More Banks Settle Enron Claims

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Toronto-Dominion Bank will pay Enron a total of $480 million to settle allegations that they helped the once-mighty energy giant hide debt and inflate earnings.The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed by Enron against 10 banks. The suit contends the banks could have prevented the company's 2001 collapse if they hadn't “aided and abetted fraud,” the Houston Chronicle reported.J.P. Morgan will pay Enron $350 million in cash and drop $660 million in claims against the company.
A&A

Flagging Optimism on Economy Among Accountants

What a difference six months can make. In December, 71 percent of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) serving as chief executive officers (CEOs), chief financial officers (CFOs) and other decision makers had a positive outlook on the state of the economy. According to the latest Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey, only 57 percent still feel that way.Concerns about rising energy and employee costs, increased regulation and the cascade effect of provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have hurt optimism.
A&A

FAA Taking Sharper Look at Contracts

Questionable billing and hiring practices by a government contractor have spurred the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to determine whether certain contracts are costing the agency more money than they save.According to the Washington Post, the FAA is now reviewing so-called support services contracts with hundreds of small businesses because of problems with D.C.-based Crown Consulting Inc, which has 58 different contracts with the FAA worth up to $135 million.
A&A

Accountants Host “Hill of Beans”

Abalos & Associates, P.C., a full service CPA firm serving small and mid-sized businesses in Phoenix, Arizona, is bean counting, literally. The firm is hosting the eight annual “Hill of Beans” Food Drive with St. Mary’s Food Bank through August 22, 2005.“The summer months are a difficult time for St. Mary’s Food Bank because with more children out of school and food donation in short supply, their supply of nonperishable food is depleted more quickly,” says Cheryl Folkerth, manager at Abalos & Associates, P.C.
A&A

Wyoming Will Use New System to Track Education Grants

State audit officials in Cheyenne, Wyoming have announced that they will install software to separate out and track federal grants, beginning with the Education Department, according to the Associated Press. The tracking software has already been installed on the Department of Environmental Quality to track federal grants, State Auditor Max Maxfield said, the AP reported.
A&A

FASB Issues Exposure Drafts on Accounting for Financial Assets & Instruments

The Financial Accounting Standards Board, on Thursday, issued a revised Exposure Draft, Accounting for Transfers of Financial Assets, Accounting for Servicing of Financial Assets and Accounting for Certain Hybrid Financial Instruments. All the proposed Statements would amend FASB Statement 140.
A&A

CPAs with .pro Domain in the Spotlight

Throughout August, Showcase.pro is highlighting four web sites owned by Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and having the .pro domain. The .pro domain was created to give professionals a distinctive means of branding and marketing their services. "A .pro address is perfect for branding a Professional Service firm,” says Tom Barrett, President of EnCirca, sponsor of Showcase.pro. “Professionals can also use .pro to secure targeted search engine keywords for their Internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) programs.
A&A

Fed Increases Interest Rates - Again

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday once again raised interest rates, the 10th increase in 14 months, and signaled that more rate hikes are likely.The central bank stated that it would raise short-term rates at a "measured" pace, a term that analysts believe will translate into quarter-point increases at Fed meetings set for September, November and December, the Associated Press reported.The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised a key short-term rate by one-quarter percentage point to 3.5 percent. In just over a year, the benchmark rate has increased 2.5 percentage points.
A&A

Finance Operations Overlooking Technology in Improving Operational Efficiency

More than three-quarters of finance executives surveyed say they need to improve operational efficiency in their organizations, according to a report released Tuesday by Accenture. The report, based on a survey of more than 120 senior executives conducted in January 2005, also found that a significant number of organizations were unaware of the process improvements they could experience with the appropriate implementation of technology.“The findings show that finance executives are challenged to improve efficiency and reduce the time and
Education & Careers

Choosing a Financial Planner Takes Some Research

Investors of all ages believe they need professional help to manage their money, leading them to question the best way to find a skilled financial planner they can trust.A new survey shows half of “GenX” investors (26 to 40 years old), 46 percent of “Boomers” (41 to 59) and 45 percent of “Matures” (60 to 82) say they “need the help of professionals” in managing their investments.
A&A

Quasar Accounting: A Cost Effective Software Solution

In the world of small and medium enterprises, there is a myriad of accounting packages available to track income and expenses, pay bills, invoice customers, and keep track of inventory. From the nearly ubiquitous QuickBooks to other options such as PeachTree, Cougar Mountain, and Microsoft’s Small Business Accounting, most packages have the same basic functionality and offer more features for more money. But what if there was a solid solution that wasn’t so costly?
Education & Careers

Survey of Financial Pay in the Manufacturing Industry

The median annual income reported for Chief Corporate Financial Officers (CFO)in the manufacturing field is $130,032, but 10 percent make less than $87,414 and 10 percent make over $259,603. Of course, not all financial professionals working in the manufacturing industry are CFOs. Even among CFOs, pay varies widely with the fiscal size of the manufacturing firm. For example, CFOs in manufacturing firms with annual revenues of $10-$24.9 million have a median annual income of $111,916 vs.
A&A

AICPA: CPAs Have What it Takes to be CFOs

What does it take to be a good CFO? Expertise in accounting, financial reporting and internal controls, says the AICPA, and CPAs possess the skills to excel in the role.That's the position the AICPA lays out in a new white paper, "CPAs as CFOs: Why You Should Have a CPA in Your C-Suite." The paper outlines the many new demands on the CFO and how CPAs are particularly attuned to handle the variety of operational, financial and compliance challenges."There is a dual role for today's CFO," said AICPA President and CEO Barry C. Melancon, CPA.
A&A

Ideas for Prompt Collections and Fair Practices

A Commercial Collection Agency Association study quoted in an Accounting Office and Management and Administrative Report (AOMAR) says that the probability of collecting on a late account after three months drops to 73 percent, after six months to 57 percent and after one year to 29 percent. Richard Baumann, a partner at Sulmeyer Katz, a Los Angeles law firm, said in the AOMAR report, that he advises partners and administrative managers at CPA firms to stay on top of all outstanding bills. “I counsel my clients not to let these things get out of hand.
Education & Careers

The Number of Minority-Owned Businesses Expands

The Census Bureau reports that the number of minority and women-owned businesses have increased over a five year period between 1997 and 2002. Their Survey of Business Owners reveals that the total number of businesses increased at a rate of 10 percent or about 2 million. Minority and women-owned businesses have grown at an increasing rate. The number of businesses owned by Asians grew by 24 percent while African-Americans minority businesses grew by 45 percent. Hispanic minority businesses grew by 31 percent.
Tax

IRS to Study Tax Compliance of S Corporations

The Internal Revenue Service announced on Monday, July 25, that it will randomly audit 5,000 tax returns of S corporations to study overall tax compliance of these popular corporate entities.The IRS will look at tax years 2003 and 2004. Examiners will determine whether income and expenses were accurately reported and whether the correct tax was paid, just like any other audit. The audits will start later this year and should be complete within two or three years.
A&A

House Passes Small Business Health Fairness Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Small Business Health Fairness Act on Tuesday, July 26, legislation that would permit small businesses to join together across state lines to purchase health insurance for their workers through Association Health Plans (AHPs). The bill allows small businesses to purchase healthcare through trade associations and professional organizations.
A&A

Small Businesses Feeling the Heat of Rising Energy Costs

Higher fuel costs are impacting 72 percent of small business nationwide according to the latest poll from the International Profit Associates Small Business Research Board (IPA SBRB).
A&A

Award-Winning Accounting Software for Small Businesses

Sage Software produces two of the top accounting solutions for small businesses, not just according to accountants but also according to the technology crowd. Simply Accounting and Peachtree, two of Sage Software’s accounting solutions have won honors and awards from the media recently.Peachtree Premium Accounting 2005 was awarded five of five stars and Simply Accounting received four-and-a-half of five stars in CPA Technology Advisor’s listing of Small Business Accounting Software for 2005.
Technology

The Present (and Future) of Business Communications

Many firms recognize that failing to properly retain business related e-mail can lead to lawsuits, fines, bad publicity and even criminal charges. Only a few, however, understand the same things can happen with instant messaging (IM) and peer-to-peer (P2P) communications. Is your firm one of them?The “2004 Workplace E-mail and Instant Messaging Survey” found that only 11 percent of responding companies use gateway/management software to monitor and control IM use and risks.

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