Practice news

Practice Management

9/11 One Year Later: Firms Brace for Cyber Attacks

One year after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, most security experts polled by CSO Magazine said they consider the threat of electronic attacks a greater concern than the risk of future physical attacks. Nearly half expect a major cyber attack by a terrorist organization within the next year. Thanks to the foresight and hard work of security workers everywhere, the nation is better prepared today than it was a year ago.
Practice Management

Ford Defends Its Accounting for Financing Incentives

In an unusual Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on September 10, 2002, Ford Motor Company defended its accounting for low-rate financing incentives against statements made in an analyst's report.
Practice

Companies Plan For Possible Shift in Stock Option Accounting

A survey of large U.S. employers conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting shows most companies expect a change in stock option accounting over the next five years. Not all have fully analyzed how this change will affect their compensation policies.
Practice Management

SEC Settles with Ex-Officers of Sunbeam Corporation

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the settlement of charges against former officers of Sunbeam Corporation. The company's former CEO and CFO agreed to pay civil penalties and are permanently barred from serving as officers or directors of any public company.
Community News

National MAP Survey Underway

In August, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' Alliance for CPA Firms (PCPS) and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) announced that they had joined forces to produce the 2002 PCPS/TSCPA National Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Survey.
Practice Management

How to Win an Auditor Beauty Contest: Taking Advantage of Auditor Changes

by Bruce MannMore companies are giving serious attention to the auditor selection process than ever before, opening the door for firms to compete for assignments on a more level playing field. The days when management was able to pick its favorite auditor without oversight from the board or audit committee have passed. First it was the demise of Arthur Andersen that forced many companies to interview for new auditors.
Practice

Accountants Are Still Favored as Small Business Advisors

The results of a new survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business and Wells Fargo show that accountants are still the advisor of choice among small businesses.Two-thirds of small businesses surveyed have one person with whom they consult before making significant business decisions, and 84% of small employers turn to one or more advisors. When asked which among a group of 10 choices were the most likely to be chosen as advisors, accountants were selected by 59% of those surveyed.
Practice Management

Andersen Surrenders Its Licenses - Its Legacy Lives On

Although it will continue in business, Andersen officially surrendered its state licenses on August 31, 2002 as agreed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Observers are still trying to sort through the factors that led to the demise of the firm's audit practice and helped shape its legacy to the accounting profession. A special four-part series in the Chicago Tribune describes a series of troublesome trends that developed over the past two decades.
Practice

Labor Day Report Exposes Excessive Executive Pay

On-going publicity of lawsuits and investigations related to accounting irregularities have brought the issue of excessive executive pay back into the limelight this Labor Day. Leading the rallying cry for reforms are two liberal policy groups, the Institute of Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy. A report recently released by these groups shows that poor accounting pays off for some CEOs, despite the harmful consequences for workers and shareholders.
Practice Management

Accountants Gear Up to Support New Reporting Guidelines

Global reporting guidelines to be issued this week provide timely new ways for accountants to help their clients as they battle a storm of public distrust caused by accounting scandals and workplace greed.
Technology

Companies Prepare For New Wave of Pay-Tracking Software

A new generation of software that uses pay-tracking technology and incentive-payment applications promises to help management find mistakes that often escape audits and other means of error detection. Mistakes in bonuses and commissions can add up quickly. For example, there have been media reports that as much as $4 million in phony sales commission was pocketed by more than a dozen employees at WorldCom before the company was forced into bankruptcy.
Community News

Dos And Don'ts For Releasing Records of Deadbeat Clients

A slow economy means slow-paying clients and increased client turnover. This can add up to tough ethical questions for accountants who prepare tax returns. One especially tough dilemma arises when a former client, who hasn't paid his bill, demands that copies of all his records be provided to his new accountant.
Practice Management

AAM Session Overview: Trashing The Timesheet

This is the sixth of a series of articles on sessions presented at the 2002 Association for Accounting Marketing Conference.By Karen Bergh, Senior V.P., RainMaker Pro, Inc. for the Association for Accounting Marketing Ron Baker, Founder of VeraSage Institute, shared in his topic "Trashing the Timesheet" his philosophy of how accountants should free themselves from the "tyranny of time" as an indicator of performance.
Practice Management

SEC OKs 98% of U.S. Oaths - Europeans Prepare to Swear

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the final results of the corporate certifications due by August 14, 2002.
Practice

Accounting Scandals Take a Toll on Bank Lending Practices

The Federal Reserve Board recently reported that few banks have encountered significant problems with the accuracy or completeness of financial statements submitted to them, but many are tightening up lending practices after widely-publicized accounting scandals and accusations about the roles of banks in cover-ups of unexpected business failures. The Fed's report is based on a survey conducted from May through July.
Practice

Companies Report More Conservative Pro-Forma Earnings

Although the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned investors about relying on pro-forma earnings, some well-known companies still reported earnings with these numbers during the second quarter reporting season.
Community News

Complying With The Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Four Top Priorities

If you're feeling baffled by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, you're not alone. Attorneys say this 66-page document is complicated, confusing and open to interpretation. Many accounting firms and their corporate clients are still sifting through the provisions and trying to develop an action plan to guide their clients through the compliance requirements in the coming months.
Practice Management

Deloitte Responds to Growing Risk of Unethical Behavior

Deloitte's Chief Executive James E. Copeland announced plans to revitalize and expand the firm's ethical awareness program.
Practice Management

AOL Swears To Financials But Warns of Accounting Errors

AOL Time Warner is probably the first company to walk a fine line by swearing to its accuracy of its financials, while simultaneously warning of potential accounting errors. The company submitted its sworn statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission on schedule, but also said it is reviewing the propriety of several advertising transactions that amount to approximately $49 million. The amount is immaterial compared with AOL Time Warner's total revenues.
Practice Management

Report Issued in Grant Thornton's Special Investigation

Carnegie International announced it has received the report of an 8-month investigation into Grant Thornton's actions in connection with a pending lawsuit. Carnegie said a court-appointed Special Master found Grant guilty of negligence and recommended the firm be ordered to pay all reasonable costs of the investigation, which could amount to $1 million or more. The investigation had been ordered during a temporary suspension of a trial that began in November 2001.

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