News

Impact of Technology on Reporting Revealed

Technology impacts financial and business reporting, but to what extent? The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) recently concluded a study examining the impact of technology on financial and business reporting and related issues the accounting profession needs to consider.
Practice

Move That Home Office Meeting to a Public Place

Meeting clients in public spaces is a solid alternative than meeting at your office, especially if you telecommute and that office is in your home.Although almost anyone that has a home office is proud of his or her environment, the home as "meeting space" is not always idea. There are children, of course, that can be a distraction, but so are pets and other interruptions.
Tax

New IRS 1999 Tax CD-ROM Available

The IRS has made a decision regarding its 1999 tax products CD-ROM, and awarded National Technical Information Service (NTIS) the contract.The CD-ROM contains current and prior year tax products, Service Bulletins, Market Segment Specialization Program Audit Technique Guides, as well as IRS e-file and Earned Income Tax Credit information.This year's CD also will contain the latest version of Adobe Acrobat fill-in software (version 4.0) along with built-in software for browsing, bookmarking and linking Taxpayer Information Publications.The first release
Technology

Internet Service Offers Expert Financial Advice

Experts knew it would eventually happen, and now the Web is talking the talk and walking the walk as a virtual source for expert advice on various financial matters.Exp.com is a Web site company that has assembled a network of qualified, degreed experts to provide fee-based consulting services to participants in a totally virtual environment.Users can either post requests directly on the site, or contact the company and negotiate with an expert directly for his or her services.

Thank Those Clients

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Once a year gifts can send a nice message to clients. They simply say, “We appreciate you and your business.” So, what should you send?You could send a card that is designed especially for you. The cost for this is minimal for design and the printing costs often are less than buying a commercial holiday card. Want to add a little something to your card? Make a donation on behalf of your clients and let them know the receiving organization in your card.

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Tax

IRS Employees Under Scrutiny

How's this for a change? More than 5,000 employees with violations of misconduct will be investigated during the coming year, according to an e-mail issued by Inspector General David C. Williams.This equates to an average of one for every 28 IRS employees, and one in every nine front-line auditors and tax collectors under investigation.Williams is head of the newly created tax administration office.
A&A

KPMG Study Reveals M&A Trends and Pitfalls

Research conducted by KPMG indicates an overwhelming majority of 83 percent of mergers & acquisitions fail to enhance stockholder value.
Practice

Former FASB Official Urges Technology Savvy

A former FASB board member who is dean of Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management validated the theory that CPAs need to be well-versed in technology in order to compete in the financial marketplace.Robert J.

Are You Writing Well For The Web?

You’ve been to sites where the first page is text, text, text, right? Well, don’t be one of those sites. Writing for the web is different than writing for print. Think about your own web surfing habits. Do you read each line? Or do you skim and hop to the content for which you are looking?So what do you need to know? First, keep your writing personalized and interesting. If your reader doesn’t see something that grabs them, they will simply click onto something else. Let your firm’s style and personality show through your writing.

Do consulting services affect audit independence?

Should accounting firms be concerned about performing consulting services for their audit clients? After all, auditors are in a natural position to spot inefficiencies that can wreak havoc on the bottom line. They can help a company cut the waste and grow. But should they? Does it put an accounting firm’s unbiased audit approach at risk?Most accounting firms say that it does not compromise their audit approach. There also are already safe guards in place for publicly traded companies.

Financial Services Firms Must be Customer-Focused

If you're a CPA or accounting professional delivering financial services, then you'll want to pay attention to the results of a new study conducted by Computer Sciences Corporation that zeros in on refining customer service management techniques.The company's 12th Annual Critical Issues of Information Systems Management Study found that competition has caused companies to take a more active role in their customer's concerns.At the same time, gathering critical information on each customer, and

Small Business/Seller Financing in Jeopardy

President Clinton is about to sign a tax bill that would, in effect, eliminate a provision used by sellers of small busineses to defer capital gains for tax purposes until the seller receives the money.Seller financing is a traditional method to buy businesses and real estate.

Recruiting Strategies

What? You just won an engagement that requires three more auditors and two more IT people? Yes, that’s right – pronto! Never mind that the national unemployment rate is at an all time low. What you need is a recruiting plan that works now. These recruiting strategies will help you get people in the door and then give you an advantage once you get them there. The first place you can start with a very modest investment is internally. Your employees are the best employment advertising you can buy. They are your firm’s advocates.

OSHA Says

Okay, you’ve known for quite some time that ergonomic issues were abound, but maybe you just haven’t reached that item on your to-do list. It’s time to move it closer to the top. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently proposed an Ergonomics Program standard. After discussions in early 2000, the final version of the standard will become mandatory by year end.So what does this mean to you? Well, it means that if you don’t currently do the following things (see preliminary checklist below); you could legally be required to do so by the end of 2000.

Help is Here in Reading Brokerage Statements

These days, CPAs also are in the financial services business, and assisting clients in brokerage is a viable service and profitable venture.But have these professionals also taken a hard look at brokerage statements? Many are very difficult to decipher to ascertain whether a profit was made or lost.Edward Jones is an example of one firm that has taken the bull by the horns (pardon the pun) and soon will enable customers to choose from three different types of account statements.

Final Report on Federal Budget: No Big Changes

AccountingWeb has tracked a number of stories over the past few months on Congress and the President's battles over the Federal budget.Based on recent reports, now that the budget year ended Nov. 20, not balancing the budget really isn't so terrible, after all. Among the focus is how Social Security was protected, albeit concern by Republicans and Democrats on securing the senior vote next year.Also under tremendous scrutiny was the proposed Republican tax cut of $792 billion.
A&A

Former Andersen Accountant Hits the Web - Big Time!

Accountants have a certain knack for analyzing a situation a bit better than the rest of the world based on their training and inert ability to see the fine points. Take Gregory Peters. He saw the forest through the trees and is making a lot of money profiting from making the Web work.Peters has taken his Austin, TX-based company called Vignette and propelled it to more than $25 million in sales.

San Francisco City Attorney Demands Audit

All is not well in the city by the Bay. According to sources, San Francisco City Attorney Louise Renne has called for an audit of 30 companies that were awarded more than $72 million in construction contracts for expansion of the city's airport.This audit is an effort by the attorney to determine if these companies illegaly received profits from a minority "set-aside" program.

Keeping Score

If you play sports it’s very easy to know how you’re doing. Just check the score. In selling there is no program or scorecard. Sure, you can check your sales figures, but selling may take several calls. Unless we make a joint sales call, we have no one to ask., “How’d I do?” Until we get the order, how do we know how we’re doing? Let’s keep score in a different way.The 80/20 rule. You can tell the quality of the sales call by who is doing the talking. If your customer is doing 80% of the talking and you’re talking 20% give yourself some points.

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