Practice news

Practice Management

IRS Taking Hard Look at Executive Bonuses, Deductions

The Internal Revenue Service is scrutinizing companies that give bonuses to top executives when they haven’t met previously agreed-upon performance goals.Publicly traded companies can earn tax benefits by tying bonus pay to executive performance. Deductions are limited to $1 million for the company’s top five executive officers — unless shareholders approve plans to link the compensation to specific performance targets.
Practice Management

Court of Appeals Upholds Arthur Andersen's Conviction in Enron Case

A federal appellate court has upheld a jury’s conviction of Arthur Andersen LLP for obstructing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of its client Enron. The former Big Five accounting firm was convicted June 15, 2002, and the 5th U.S.
Practice Management

With Help of Accounting Industry, Career Paths are More Clearly Defined

Men in the accounting field aren't alone anymore on the path to becoming partners in their firms. CPA firms are making great strides toward assuring women the same opportunities as men by providing mentoring and a clearly defined path to success.The latest data available from American Colleges and Universities shows that in the 2001-2002 academic year, 57 percent of those receiving bachelor's degrees in accounting were women, compared to 43 percent male accounting graduates. Over one-third of all these graduates will take their first job in public accounting.
Practice Management

Two Strikes and You're Out ... for Poor Customer Service

A recent survey commissioned by Amdocs finds that consumers 'will not take it anymore' and are likely to change service providers after two negative experiences. The national survey, which queried 1000 consumers about recent experiences in the banking, cable, retail, and telecommunications industries, shows that consumers hold companies accountable for poor customer service.
Community News

Vegas Firm Permanently Barred from Tax Returns

The National Audit Defense Network of Las Vegas, which last month closed its doors and filed a petition to liquidate its operations, has been permanently stopped from preparing federal tax returns.According to United Press International, the Treasury Department said the telemarketing firm’s alleged abusive tax schemes have cost the U.S. Treasury about $324 million in the last three years. The Justice Department on Thursday said it intends to contact NADN's customers who purchased the firm’s tax schemes or received bad advice.
Practice

SEC Cracking Down on Contingency Fee, Independence

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, acting to preserve auditor independence, is making sure the nation’s largest accounting firms are getting the message that accepting contingency fees for doing tax work for the companies they audit is not allowed.SEC Chief Accountant Donald Nicolaisen held a private meeting last week with the seven largest firms and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants where he reinforced the SEC’s position on the contingency fee issue.
Practice

Why Can't Corporations and Organizations Change?

Adult Learning Expert Gives Managers How-to's for Workplace TransitionsWhy do most organizational change initiatives fail? After surveying over 10,000 managers about their attitudes toward workplace change, Chris Musselwhite, Ed.D.
Practice Management

Lack of Direction and Too Many Goals Keep Businesses from Achieving Top Goals

Workers Need Four Basic Disciplines of Execution. Stephen R. Covey, author of the best-seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, believes the major reason businesses fail or remain mediocre is not due to the market or product, but because they lack the ability to take their high-level goals and strategies and translate them into concrete actions."U.S. workers have so many goals to work on, they can't stay focused on and execute their organization's top three goals," said Covey, vice chairman of FranklinCovey.
Practice Management

Companies Offering Cash Incentives to Healthy Workers

A slimmer waistline may mean a fatter wallet at some companies looking to contain their health-care costs.Companies have long encouraged healthy lifestyles with the idea that more fit employees are more productive and more satisfied employees, but now they’re offering an incentive — cash."A few years ago, companies might have offered T-shirts or mugs," says Seth Serxner, a principal at Mercer Human Resource Consulting, according to CFO magazine.
Practice Management

Seven Steps to the Litigation-Free Zone

While CPAs and finance professionals can’t control the malpractice insurance market, there is still plenty they can do to limit their liability and risk, and to protect their practices. Some cautious steps might even help to keep higher premiums at bay.Here are some pointers from the pros:Prepare—and use—a solid engagement letter - "It’s the ‘Rules of War’ drawn up during peacetime," says Aon’s Dave Sukert. A good engagement letter clearly defines the scope of the work, as well as the responsibilities of both accountant and client.
Practice

Hold Your Managing Partner Accountable

By L. Gary Boomer, CPA, CITP, CEO
Practice Management

Workplace Harassment is Not Just about Sex Anymore

Last year the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolved 87,755 charges of employment discrimination for $236 million in monetary and other benefits. Sexual harassment and gender-related claims made up only 30 percent of the cases. So what are employers doing wrong now? The largest number of EEOC complaints (35.1 percent) came from allegations of race discrimination.
Practice

One-in-Five Women Are Paid Less and Have Fewer Career Opportunities

Pay disparity continues to be a concern for one-in-five women who say they are paid less than men with similar talents and experience. The same amount of women reported they have fewer opportunities for career advancement than men at their current organizations, according to a new CareerBuilder.com survey. The CareerBuilder.com "Men and Women at Work 2004" survey of men and women was conducted from April 6 to April 19, 2004. When asked why they think men are paid more, four-in-ten women attribute it to favoritism shown by men in management to other men in the organization.
Practice Management

Judges Unpredictable When it Comes to Sentencing White-Collar Criminals

Federal judges are handing down wildly different sentences to corporate criminals. While a former Dynergy Inc. tax executive got 24 years in prison after his March trial for fraud offenses in Texas, three HealthSouth executives who entered guilty pleas to similar crimes in Alabama got off without jail time last week."I don't know what messages the judge is trying to send to white-collar criminals," said U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, the lead prosecutor on the HealthSouth case.
Practice Management

Lawyers Shifting from Estate-Planning to More Lucrative Practices

Large law firms around the country are moving away from estate-planning to focus on the more lucrative areas of litigation, corporation finance, mergers and acquisitions.According to the Wall Street Journal, this shift is happening for a number of reasons:Delays — Some clients are waiting before drafting estate plans because of the uncertainty surrounding estate taxes.Competition — Banks and financial planners are becoming more active in the estate-planning business by advising clients on planning strategies before turning them over to attorneys to draft document
Practice

Survey Says, Employees are Dissatisfied with Managements’ Communication Skills

Do you feel like your boss doesn't communicate very well? You're not alone. A new survey finds a majority of professionals across many industries rate their boss average to poor when it comes to communication skills.A whopping 91% of those surveyed said effective communication is "critical" to leadership, yet less than one third said that there were enough true voices of leadership in their organizations.
Tax

New SEC Rule Establishes Ethics Standards for Mutual Funds

The Securities and Exchange Commission voted this week to adopt a new Rule 204A-1 under the Investment Advisers Act and related amendments to Advisers Act Rule 204-2, Advisers Act Form ADV, and Rule 17j-1 under the Investment Company Act. New Rule 204A-1 would require registered investment advisers to adopt and enforce codes of ethics applicable to their supervised persons. The new rule is designed to prevent fraud by reinforcing the fiduciary principles that must govern the conduct of advisory firms and their personnel.
Practice Management

Strong Desire for Self-Employment Could Challenge Corporate Employment

As the economy turns the corner and employment opportunities strengthen, American employers may face challenges attracting workers who have found satisfaction in self-employment and holding on to current employees who aspire to work for themselves, reports a national poll of workers released today by Hudson.The survey reveals that an emerging class of entrepreneurs benefits from the stability of engagements with large companies and government organizations without being tethered to a traditional employment relationship.
Practice Management

Become Fully Accountable For Your Success: Expose Your Diversionary Tactics

By Keith Rosen, MCC - - Have you ever done something that you know is not in your best interest? Have you ever avoided doing something that is in your best interest? In either of these scenarios you were probably able to justify your behavior as well as your line of thinking and most of all; avoid being accountable. While that may sting a little bit, allow me to introduce to you a new definition for this type of behavior.
Practice Management

Employees Lack Confidence in Management

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D., President DISCOVERY SURVEYS, INC.Employees need to feel confident that senior management is competently running the organization and has solid long-term plans for the future. Otherwise, there will be an erosion of employee: Motivation;Job performance; andCommitment to the organization.What can be done to build employee trust in management? 

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