News

Consumer Installment Credit Skyrockets in August

People were shopping 'til they dropped in August, according to the Federal Reserve. The Fed reported that total consumer installment credit increased $10.8 billion to $1.36 trillion in August, marking the strongest monthly increase in seven months.
Practice Management

You Can Recruit and Retain Good Employees Without Going Broke

Recruiting and keeping good employees always has been more difficult for small business owners who must compete with large companies that offer a variety of perks and benefits. And now, with the jobless rate sitting below 5 percent for the past two years, the struggle to find reliable, long-term personnel has never been more difficult.The days when flex-time and telecommuting were considered attractive employment incentives are over.
Practice

Beyond Resumes, E-Recruiting Focuses On Relationships

In an electronic age, where people receive more email in a day than they ever got in a week, face to face communication seems a bit strained. In the recruiting arena, employers are relying more on online resumes and electronic job posting. Doesn’t exactly set the environment for relationships, does it?Enter Austin, Texas based Hire.com’s e-Recruiter service. e-Recruiter is helping companies put relationships back into the recruiting process.

Accounting Conference to be Held in London

Interested in taking a trip to London? Now is your chance if you attend the upcoming international accounting conference sponsored by the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) and PricewaterhouseCoopers. This high-level conference will focus on the latest developments in U.S., SEC, European and international accounting issues. The event will be held Nov.
Technology

Ten Steps To Build Web Stickiness

Research has shown that around 80 percent of first time surfers tend not to return to a web site once they have made their initial visit - yet building a strong brand and a loyal customer base, ensuring repeat visits, and ultimately repeat sales, is critical to ensuring a company's online success.According to Nvision, the ten areas which businesses must concentrate on include:Easy access - Start by getting the basics right. Registration is a great way of getting to know who is visiting your site and capturing some key details.
Technology

Microsoft to Offer Software for Rent

The Financial Times reports that Microsoft is believed to be about to offer software for rent over the internet as early as the first quarter of next year. This is expected to be a major growth area next year and Microsoft, the dominant player in the Office suite market is keen not to be left behind.Microsoft’s rival, Sun Microsystems, plans to offer a competing range of software products for free on the Internet later next year.
Community News

CBIZ Contemplates Its Own Future Plans

Century Business Services announced this week that it has hired Merrill Lynch & Co. to explore strategic alternatives which would result in increased shareholder value for the accounting consolidator. Among the alternatives it is exploring is finding a merger partner or even selling itself outright. Over the past few months, CBIZ has been approached by several parties to explore exclusive business relationships. They have not yet found the relationship yet that makes the most sense for shareholders. Michael G.

Results of Global Session Provide Direction

The first session of a new meeting series to improve international financial disclosure was held last month. The session, “Towards Greater Financial Disclosure,” united business leaders, academia, regulators, government officials, accounting industry experts and financial institutions from Asia, Europe and North America.

Fast Company’s Company of Friends

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a guy named Heath Row. Who’s Heath Row? For those of you who aren’t avid readers of one of the hottest business magazines in the country – Fast Company – Heath is an underground celebrity. The Company of Friends (CoF) is Heath’s brainchild. Now he’s out hitting the pavement, staying at readers’ homes, and spreading his message to the magazine’s foremost groupies in his CoF Road Show.
Practice Management

Small Business Looks to MBAs for Ideas

Today's students are tomorrow's leaders, right? How about today-here and now!More and more small businesses are tapping the resources available to them through local graduate school programs, especially the red-hot MBA marketplace. Recruiting an MBA provides a fresh perspective to your business and, at the same time, helps the student receive invaluable experience.Businesses who must watch the bottom line are finding they can accomplish the same end result by relying on the graduate student to provide consulting services relative to his or her discipline.
Technology

PWC Survey Reveals E-Commerce is key to Economic Growth in Asia Pacific

Small- and medium-sized companies' use of electronic commerce is key to economic growth in Asia Pacific, according to the results an international survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Technology

DON'T DOWNLOAD AOL 5.0 WITHOUT READING THIS!

Stop press. New features abound in the new AOL v. 5.0, but you may find that in downloading the new version you will lose your connection to the Internet. If you have an AOL account and a separate dial up account with another Internet Service Provider, the new AOL 5.0 may disable your Internet connections. The culprit appears to be the AOL TCP/IP adapter installed by AOL 5.0. In some instances, it may establish itself as the default network adapter and disable any DNS settings required to connect to an ISP.
Practice

Ez401k.com is a Fast, Inexpensive Alternative to Setting up Plans

CPAs who provide consulting services in retirement planning take note: employers can now set up a 401(K) retirement plan on the Internet at ez401k.com.Ez401k.com markets itself as an efficient and inexpensive alternative to traditional 401(k) planning. With the cost to set up a company retirement plan at $401, ez401k.com gives businesses a savings in fees of $1,500 or more. A watch on the ez401k.com home page lets an employer see exactly how long it takes them to design a plan and print out announcements for employees.
Technology

Support For XML Available

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has developed an initiative that will encourage standardized digital financial statement formats using extensible markup language (XML).

Newsletters – To Have Or Not To Have

Newsletters are not inexpensive to produce or buy. A typical newsletter will cost a firm thousands of dollars per year to produce and mail. Make sure you are getting the most bang out of your newsletter buck!Why have one?If you have signed onto the newsletter bandwagon because your competitor had one, step back and analyze whether your newsletter is getting results. Do you hear from your customers more after an issue hits the mail? Do you have a fax-back from that allows your clients to easily reply to an article or other non-urgent subject?

3rd Quarter Earnings Expected High for Selected Industries

CPAs either employed by, or working in, energy, financial and technology companies will want to take note: analysts predict earnings in these three industries are expected to hit a four and one-half year high at the end of 3rd quarter 1999.Overall, companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 will grow earnings by 22 percent. Although it may seem that analysts sometimes use crystal balls to foretell earnings potential, there are definitive reasons for the increases.
Practice Management

CPAs Can Brush Up on Tax Strategies for Small Business Owners

In today's accounting marketplace, more and more CPAs and other professionals are getting further and further away from taxation and advise strategies for the small business owner.Some end-of-year tax planning will indeed help any situation, be it that of the CPA or a client. For example, by gathering together last year's tax statement, along with a projection of 1999, you can adequately take a look at where you may or may not be headed regarding the 1999 tax bill.Some strategies for small business boil down to the calendar itself, such as sending out invoices after Jan.

Fed Says "No" to Raising Interest Rates

For the time being, short-term interest rates will remain the same at 5.25 percent. In a much anticipated announcement, the Federal Reserve Bank said Tuesday that, although it would not raise rates, it indicated that rates may indeed rise should inflation occur.Also unchanged was the discount rate, which will remain at 4.75 percent. The discount rate is used by the Federal Reserve's 12 district banks who provide direct loans to banks and financial institutions.Should rates have risen, this would have been the third time in 1999.

MCI WorldCom, Sprint Merge

As reported here last week, MCI WorldCom Inc. and Sprint Corp. have concluded a deal to combine forces in the largest merger ever. The stock exchange is valued at $115 billion – $129 billion including debt. The new corporation will be called WorldCom.To make the deal more attractive to its investors, MCI said it would put cost saving strategies in place.
A&A

MSAs – Gold Mine Or Shaft?

Republicans and Democrats are dueling over the experimental tax-free Medical Savings Accounts (MSA) this week. Republican leaders will propose legislation that would make MSAs available to all Americans.MSAs were designed to help people set aside money to pay for routine medical bills and the premium for a high-deductible insurance policy. MSAs have insured those who would otherwise not be able to afford health insurance.

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