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A&A

Time to Prepare for Disasters is Before the Unexpected Happens

When disaster hits - be it a hurricane, earthquake or terrorist attack - will your family and your business be able to bounce back?Financial planners are advising their clients to do more than gather gallons of water, batteries and flashlights, but to also consider the financial implications of a disaster.A new report shows that most business owners are unprepared to continue operations if the unexpected happens.
Practice Management

Performance Reviews: Not Just For Big Businesses

After the busy season, performance reviews probably inspire the greatest level of anxiety among employers and staff members. They can be emotionally charged. They can also be legal minefields. When done appropriately, however, they can deliver substantial benefits.The Accounting Office Management and Administration Report identifies four benefits of performance reviews in their May 2005 issue. The benefits are:Communicating shortcomings. During performance appraisals firms have the opportunity to document and inform staff of performance issues needing correction.
Practice

AICPA Business Solutions Expands to Include 401(k)

Paychex 401(k) Recordkeeping services have been added to the Paychex Partner Program from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Business Solutions. “The addition of 401(k) to the CPAs’ tool chest offers another great way to professionally serve their clients,” said Tony Tortorella, vice president of Human Resource Services – Sales for Paychex.
Practice Management

Companies Urge Employees to Escape Cubicles and Get Active

Companies around the country are marking National Employee Health & Fitness Day today with new wellness programs, discounts or simple encouragment for workers to get moving.CEOs are leading their employees on walks through downtowns, others are making accommodations for bicycle commuting, and some are offering discounts on gym memberships to keep their employees healthy and active.
Practice Management

Demand For Certified Bookkeepers Outpacing Supply

In the seven years since bookkeeper certification was introduced, 10,000 bookkeepers have registered for certification. Another 15,000 have requested information on the certification process.
Education & Careers

Employee Background Checks on the Increase

A new online employment screening company is offering a quick way for employers to check the educational and work histories of potential employees.Employers can turn to www.Employact.com to conduct background checks, education verification and pre-employment screening to weed out applicants who list on their resumes fake diplomas or degrees from online diploma mills.“Our employment screening process will put the diploma mills out of business,” said CEO Samuel Anderson in a press release.
Community News

CCH Inc. Receives Customer Service Award

Customer Relationship Management magazine has named CCH Inc. one of 2005’s CRM Service Elite.
Practice Management

Survey Asks Finance Departments to Identify Challenges

Automation is key. That is the finding of a study done by Ventana Research, co-sponsored by Cognos, which asked 200 companies in various industries to identify the challenges faced by finance departments.The study found that finance departments could benefit from major changes to key financial management processes to be more effective in executing their accounting cycles and to more readily deliver the information needed to improve performance.Companies surveyed worry about their ability to sustain their Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance efforts.
Practice Management

Grant Thornton: Five Steps to Choice and Competition

Ninety-seven percent of public companies having sales between $250 million and $5 billion, are audited by the Big Four accounting firms, according to the General Accountability Office (GAO). Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. division of global accounting, business advisory and tax organization, Grant Thornton International would like to change that.
Practice

New Accounting Graduates Paid More

The average starting salary of graduates with degrees in accounting have risen 3.9 percent since the same period last year, according to the spring salary survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.Accounting graduates can expect offers averaging of $43,809. Economics and finance graduates can expect to see offers of $42,802, which is an increase of 5.1 percent over the previous year. This increase is in part due to financial and treasury analysis offers averaging.
Community News

Firm Alliance Creates Memphis' Largest CPA Resource

Two of the largest accounting firms in the city are taking aim at the Big 4 accounting firms by forming an alliance that will create the largest single resource for CPAs in Memphis.Thompson Dunavant PLC, Memphis’ largest locally owned CPA firms, has signed a three-year contract to share resources with BDO Seidman LLP, a national professional services firm providing accounting services to publicly traded businesses. Thompson Dunavant has a professional staff of 58 including 40 CPAs while BDO has a professional staff of 34 including 25 CPAs.
Practice Management

Donaldson Champions Controversial SEC Best Price Rule

In a hotly contested decision that's seen as a big win for the New York Stock Exchange, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson has pushed through a new rule that would require investor orders to buy or sell stock be filled at the best price, as long as the order can be executed immediately, the Wall Street Journal reported.Known as the order-protection rule, it will apply to all marketplaces, including the Nasdaq Stock Market and will require markets to get investors the best price, even if that means going to a competing market to fill the order, the Journal reported
A&A

Tax Wars: Small Firms v. Large National Chains

What do clients look for in a tax preparer? Are they looking for an accountant tucked in an office with calculator and computer or for a nationally recognized brand promising fast refunds?Many Americans still do their own taxes. More complicated tax rules, however, are forcing greater numbers of taxpayers to seek help preparing their returns. Of the 132 million returns filed last year, 80 million filers paid a third party tax preparer. That number is expected to rise at an annual rate of one percent.“It’s like changing the oil in your car.
Practice Management

Survey: Audits Up for Wage-and-Hour Violations

One in five employers has been audited at least once for violating the federal wage-and-hour law, according to a recent survey by Business and Legal Reports Inc.Advertisement
Community News

Vital Records Management: Don't Get Distracted by SOX

When it comes to data management, executives must develop a strategic approach – thinking in both in terms of the “big picture” vision and the details of storage, Van Carlisle, CEO of Fire King, a security and records management group, told the ABA Banking Journal in an interview published in March 2005. Carlisle points out that not all records have the same value to a firm. To be distinguished as “vital,” a record must contain information that is essential to the organization in the event of a disaster.
Practice

Is Your Health Insurance Provider Overbilling You?

State regulators in Wisconsin say Milwaukee-based Assurant Health overbilled an unspecified number of small businesses and will have to pay refunds to those clients. It’s not yet clear how many of Assurant Health’s small employer clients, those having fewer than 50 employees, had to pay higher health insurance premiums because of the miscalculations or how far back the miscalculations stretch.During an investigation by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance found that Assurant Health, which was known as Fortis Health Insurance Co.
Practice Management

Five Ways to Protect Your Firm's Data & Systems

The Journal of Accounting Office Management and Administration Report (March 2005) offers these 5 hints for protecting your firm’s data and systems in digital environments:Increase Workstation Security. Take steps at the workstation level to prevent potential problems. Monitor and restrict log-ins to your network. Create a physical security plan to help prevent theft of hardware and software. Implement log-off and locking policies to reduce risk in the event a workstation is left on but unattended. Protect Your Laptop(s).
Practice

CFOs Project Increase in Accounting & Finance Hirings

New England and the East South Central regions are expected to experience the greatest growth as Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) across the country anticipate a modest increase in full-time accounting and finance staffing levels. Eight percent of 1,400 CFOs responding to a survey from Robert Half International, Inc. plan to add staff in the coming quarter with only 2 percent foreseeing personnel reductions.
Practice Management

Boston Accounting Firm Split Ends Up in Court

A partner who left his Boston accounting firm to join another is now suing his former partners, saying they wrongly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars.Scott Kanter, formerly of Kanter Troy Orleans & Wexler LLP, left the firm last August and, along with 10 others, joined Brown & Brown LLP, also based in Boston. Two months later, his former partners merged with competitor DiCicco, Gulman & Co., the Boston Business Journal reported.Kanter, in a complaint filed March 10, says that he notified his partners on Aug.
Practice

Eight Secrets for Generating Big, Bold, Creative, Profitable Ideas

Secret 1: Accept All Ideas. That's right. All ideas, not just the ones that you feel comfortable with or that seem to make sense. Obviously, you're not going to implement every idea (especially considering the fact that you're aiming for 1,000 of them in the initial generation phase!), but you must greet them all with gratitude, respect, and a positive attitude. Acceptance makes people comfortable enough that they feel free to submit more and more ideas. Remember, the more ideas you start with, the better the end product.

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