Administrative

A&A

Small- and Medium-Sized Companies in UK Want to Halt Convergence

The Federation of Small Business (FSB) has joined the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) in calling for a halt to use of international financial reporting standards for small and medium-sized entities (SMEs) in the UK, according to a report in Accountancy Age.
Tax

New Deadline For Accounting Method Changes

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) last week issued new timelines for submitting accounting method change requests.

Good News for US Employer Pension Funds

New research shows that pension plans in the United States (US) are four times more likely to be fully funded than occupational in the United Kingdom (UK). In a company press release, Aon Consulting reports that only 5 percent of UK pension plans are fully funded compared to 20 percent of US pension plans for year-end 2004 based on company annual reports.

The Risks and Rewards of the Chinese Gold Rush

China is growing by bounds more than leaps. Different groups have different investment philosophies but China is still the largest emerging market in the world. Large tactical investments such as these are risky in a country where management is not sophisticated by U.S. standards and the accounting is lax.
Education & Careers

The Value of Ethics & Compliance Officers

Salary.com and the Ethics Officer Association (EOA) have announced the results of the 2005 EOA Survey of Ethics & Compliance Officer Jobs. The results of the survey indicate an increase in the value of ethics and compliance officers as gauged by their compensation.
Education & Careers

CPEs Can Lead to MBA

Continuing professional education (CPE) courses are part of life for every Certified Public Accountant (CPA). They are stepping stones to successful careers and practices.
Community News

PNC Settlement May Be Near

Some 73,000 PNC Financial Services Group shareholders may soon share in the settlement of their class-action lawsuit against the bank. The shareholder restitution fund already amounts to $156.4 million. The acting trustee of the fund, Louis Fryman, said the fund will not be distributed until and unless U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone approves a not-yet-approved additional $36.6 million bringing the fund total to $193 million.

International Financial Reporting Standards Draft Released

Initiated by a meeting between the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman William Donaldson & EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McGreevy in April, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) met together in London in June. The topic of discussion was the convergence of U.S. and International accounting standards.

Few Options for Medicare Part D Drug Benefit

Although several details of the new Medicare Part D drug benefit plan are yet to be set, seniors who don’t enroll for the prescription drug coverage will be penalized 12 percent for each year they delay in signing up for the program. Some seniors wouldn’t need to enroll in the program because they have no current drug bills or small drug bills at least.

Cougar Mountain Update

The ad below can be used as a reference for updating.

Sarbanes-Oxley Impacts Nonprofits

Many nonprofit organizations, while not required to meet the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, are beginning to adapt some of the Act’s standards to their own governance practices. One of these is New York's Juilliard School, where President Joseph Polisi has long stressed transparency and board involvement, according to the Wall Street Journal.

SOX No Cure-All for Accounting's Ills

Accountants have been on high alert in the post-Enron work environment, but experts say that while accounting has improved, fundamental problems remain.The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has required tight internal controls over financial reporting, better documentation and in general, more accountability. But some observers point out that, in effect, the fox is still watching the hen house. As long as the accounting firms are paid by the companies they audit, scandals will continue, New York Times columnist Joseph Nocera suggests.
Tax

Pass It On: Inheriting an Individual Retirement Arrangement

The first Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) were created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in 1974. Since then, the spotlight has been on promoting the creation, funding and use of IRAs. Recently, however, another side of IRAs has begun coming into the light: inheriting IRAs.In general, only surviving spouses can treat inherited IRAs as their own. Everyone else should rename the inherited IRA to be “for the benefit of (the beneficiary)” to reduce the income tax owed on the amount inherited.
AccountingWEB Life

Outsourcing Tax Prep: A Time- and Money-Saver?

More accounting firms are looking abroad in hopes that outsourcing certain tasks can streamline their business and free up time to focus on more important work.One of the more popular tasks to outsource is tax return preparation, and larger CPA firms have been taking advantage of lower labor costs in India and quick turnaround times. Outsourcing part of a business, however, has many ramifications and firms have had varied success in making outsourcing work for them.
Practice

Experts Advise a Go-Slow Approach to Outsourcing

Many companies burdened by the costs and complexity of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements are turning to India for help.Call it one of the unintended consequences of the corporate reform legislation. While the 2002 law was seen as a cure for sloppy financial reporting and the frauds it can cover up, it has also resulted in more work being sent overseas, the Wall Street Journal reported.Some Indian outsourcing companies told the newspaper that their Sarbanes-Oxley-related business is rising at more than 50 percent a year.

Defense Finance & Accounting Site Closures Under Scrutiny

The Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) voted Tuesday to re-examine the Pentagon’s plan to consolidate 26 Defense Finance and Accounting Sites (DFAS) into only three locations.
Practice Management

Pricing: Another Side to the Profit Equation

There’s been a lot of talk about cost-cutting over the past few years as companies of all sizes strive to increase profits. When it comes to increasing profits, however, reducing costs is only part of the story.“Companies will do everything in their power to cut costs, from outsourcing IT departments to limiting employee travel. But there’s another side to the profitability equation that often goes unexplored – pricing,” says Greg Peters, CEO of Zilliant.

American Consumers Still Lacking Credit Score Savvy

The gap between Americans who know about credit scores and those who don’t is growing GMAC Mortgage division vice president Paul Fein told MarketWatch. He was commenting on a recent survey conducted by Caravan Opinion Research Corp., for GMAC Mortgage which indicated only 7 percent of respondents knew a credit score of 800 or better gets the best rate while 62 percent admitted they did not know what score earned the best rates.“Some people understand it and some people have no idea that there’s this credit-scoring system,” Fein is quoted by MarketWatch as saying.
Tax

Accounting for Uncertain Tax Positions

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued an Exposure Draft on Accounting to Uncertain Tax Positions on Thursday, July 14, 2005. The Exposure Draft would apply to all tax positions accounted for in accordance with FASB Statement No.
Practice Management

House Passes OSHA Reform Package

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed four much-discussed bills designed to help businesses have more flexible dealings with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The bills were introduced by Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA). National home builder groups commended the passage of bills while Democrats argue that the passage of these bills will undermine OSHA’s ability to protect workers and enforce violations effectively. The passage of these bills came mainly as a result of Republican support.

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