Practice news

Practice Management

How to Create and Enforce Effective Computer Usage Policies

Re-published with permission from White-Collar Crime Fighter, www.wccfighter.com.The problem of departing employees stealing their ex-employers' electronically stored trade secrets has taken on near-epidemic proportions.The good news: Under the latest amendments to the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), federal courts have jurisdiction to protect any computer that is connected to the Internet against "wrongful use." And—recent court cases have further clarified the definition of employ
Practice

How to Differentiate Your Services

When potential clients are shopping around, how can your services stand out? Try these top 10 tips to increase your sales.Begin by differentiating your services or products by who you and your company are.What differentiates you? More training, more experience, better methods, a better team?
Practice Management

Resolving Personality Conflicts at Work

How do you handle conflict in the workplace? Most of us do not deal with it very effectively - if we even deal with it at all.Maintaining relationships is key to resolving conflict, so if a situation is thought to be unfixable, the best advice given by experts is to figure out a way to 'remix' the situation so the two parties look at the situation differently.Here are a few tips for consideration. Think before acting.
Practice

SEC Publishes Staff Report On Proxy Process Review

The Securities and Exchange Commission has published a report prepared by its Division of Corporation Finance concerning the Division's review of the Commission's rules and regulations regarding the nomination and election of directors. The staff report notes the need to improve the existing proxy process and recommends action in two areas: improved disclosure and improved shareholder access to the director nomination process.
Technology

Survey Finds Disaster Recovery Disconnect Between CEOs and CIOs

Are businesses prepared to handle unexpected disasters? It depends who in the organization you ask, according to a recent survey researching disaster recovery plans and organizations' overall readiness to deal with it. A recent survey of enterprise executives, to be released on Monday, found that corporate executives and their chief information officers often view the issue from opposite ends of the spectrum.
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.
Practice

How To Deal Effectively With Difficult Clients

By Christopher KnightLISTEN first, with sincerity. Don't assume the problem is always on their end. ENTERTAIN the possibility that the customers complaints are real, as many times they are REALLY a problem with you or your unit or company. DO NOT SAY THESE WORDS, in the heat of a difficult customer confrontation: "Our Policy Is", "I Can't", "The Computer or something outside of you failed", "They....." meaning you don't intend on taking responsibility for solving the problem. Give them your name, and tell them that you will personally handle the problem.
Practice Management

PwC Survey Shows Economic Crime is on the Rise

According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Economic Crime Survey 2003, not only is large-scale economic crime on the rise, many of those corporate watchdogs who are supposed to prevent crime from occurring may not know how to identify or stop criminal acts.More than 3,600 senior representatives at the top 1,000 companies in 50 countries around the world participated in the survey, sharing information about their experiences with economic crime and methods for detecting and deterring such crime.
Practice

Tips on Recruiting Top Employees

If you have ever hired an employee who made a remarkable first impression but turned out to be a poor team player, you are not alone.Geoff Smart, president of G.H. Smart & Company, a Chicago-based consulting firm that uses its expertise in human behavior to help clients hire quality employees, provides the following recruitment tips.Narrow your selection of recruits during the resume examination process. Look for accomplishments that stand out on each resume.
Practice Management

The Benefits of Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is critical to a firm's success in today's competitive environment. Strategic planning helps to identify both the threats and the opportunities facing your firm now and in the longer term, and to chart viable courses of action. The benefit of strategic planning is that a firm is obliged to analyze all aspects of its business--sales, marketing, operations, and financial--and draw conclusions based on facts.
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.
Practice Management

Corporate Minutes: More Than a Unit of Time

One requirement of a corporate entity is to maintain proper corporate minutes. You, your CPA and attorney may need well-documented minutes to assist your corporate entity in navigating through such things as Internal Revenue Service audits, bankruptcy or court action. Properly maintained minutes may also assist in other challenges that might come from minority shareholders, fellow directors, employees or other government agencies.
Community News

Outsourced Tax Processing Gains Popularity Among Accounting Firms

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is a popular current trend among many types of companies, and accounting firms, including the Big Four, are getting on the bandwagon.According to a survey by CFO Magazine and AMR Research, 68.3% of companies expect to increase outsourced services in the next year.Big Four firm Ernst & Young reports that it sent tax returns to its Indian office for processing this year. It is estimated that as many as 50 U.S.
Practice Management

KPMG Feels Tax Shelter Heat on Several Fronts

Big Four accounting firm KPMG is in the spotlight this week as media focus turned to several incidents regarding KPMG's alleged misconduct with selling tax shelters.KPMG E-Mails Raise Concerns Over Tax SheltersThe Wall Street Journal is reporting today that internal KPMG e-mails show evidence of knowledge about possible flaws in various tax shelter products more than a year before they stopped selling the tax shelters in question.
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.
Practice Management

Landmark Accounting Legislation Passes in New York State Senate

Press ReleaseThe New York State Senate unanimously passed S302-D, landmark legislation which provides greater oversight of the accounting profession in New York.
Practice Management

Corporate Failures Lead to ‘Feeding Frenzy’ For Professionals

While investors and creditors, burned in some of history’s most dramatic corporate meltdowns, wait to hear if they will ever see a dime of the money they are owed, one thing is certain — many of the legal and accounting firms investigating what went wrong in the first place are profiting handsomely from the situation.Enron, WorldCom, Tyco and Conseco all declared bankruptcy in the last two years, wiping out shareholders, employees and pensioners in the process.
Practice Management

Conference Board Finds Ethical Training Lacking

A survey released this week by The Conference Board shows that few corporate directors get training in ethics and compliance - two traits that investors rely on them to exhibit.Highlights of the survey of human resource and legal officers attending an ethics conference in New York include:While 81 percent of firms have conducted ethics and compliance training among their employees, only 27 percent have held any training sessions for their directors.About 55 percent of those surveyed say their boards are "not engaged enough" in major ethical issues involving the company.
Practice Management

2003 MAP Survey Now Available Online

The 2003 National Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Survey is now available online. The MAP survey provides benchmark information for small and mid-size accounting practices. Significant features of this year's survey include the ability to customize results by sorting data by location, firm size, compensation, and profitability.The survey will be available throughout the rest of June, July, and through August 22. It takes about an hour to complete the survey, however the survey does not need to be completed in one sitting.

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