Administrative

A&A

Employee Benefits: Keeping Employees…Happy

Rising healthcare costs have turned employer-sponsored health coverage into a premium perk for many employees. Those same costs have put employer-sponsored health coverage out of reach for many small businesses. Fortunately, though health insurance may be the most desired benefit of employees, it is not the only one they value.MyrtleBeachOnline.com reports that survey of 1,092 adults commissioned by Medco Health Solutions, Inc. found more than half (58 percent) of adult workers said participation in a health plan was the best choice among possible employee benefits.
A&A

FASB Issues Standard as Part IASB Convergence Effort

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued Statement No. 154, Accounting Changes and Error Corrections applying to all voluntary accounting principle changes as well as the accounting for and reporting of such changes. Statement No. 154 is effective for accounting changes and corrections of errors made in fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2005. Earlier application is permitted for fiscal years beginning after June 1, 2005.Statement No.
Tax

Suit Alleges PWC Missed 'Key Warning Signs' at AIG

The decades-long relationship between PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and American International Group (AIG) is being scrutinized as regulators allege the accounting firm overlooked problems and issued false audit reports.Advertisement
Education & Careers

College Students Reaching for Credit Cards Less Often

Undergraduates are keeping smaller balances on their credit cards – at $2,169 – than at any time since 1998, according to a new study by student loan originator Nellie Mae.Nellie Mae's study analyzed credit card behavior of Nellie Mae student loan applicants over the last year, following up on three previous studies done in 1998, 2000 and 2001.

PCAOB Takes First Disciplinary Action

In its first disciplinary action, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) on Tuesday revoked the registration of a public accounting firm, barred the managing partner of the firm from association with any registered accounting firm and censured two former partners of the firm. New York accounting firm Goldstein and Morris CPAs, P.C. was notified in September 2004 that the firm would be inspected by the PCAOB in November 2004. The Board found that after managing partner Edward B. Morris and two partners Alan J. Goldberger and William A.

Draft Guide to Medicare Benefits Called Confusing

A government guide designed to educate Medicare recipients about their benefits is getting a rewrite after many statements were determined to be incorrect, misleading or confusing.A preliminary draft of the 2006 Medicare handbook will be reworked after members of Congress, insurers, state insurance regulators and advocates for beneficiaries criticized the handbook, the New York Times reported.One major problem is the new prescription drug benefit – which will be confusing under the best of circumstances because it is new – is not fully explained.
Education & Careers

Gifts for Your Grad

It’s that time of year. Graduation. With so many choices, it might be a difficult to decide what to give your special graduate.
Education & Careers

The Grad Gift That Saves Them Thousands of Dollars

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that student borrowers, even those who are still in school or the grace period immediately after graduation, may consolidate existing government-backed students loans and lock in the low interest rates currently available.
Community News

Fannie Mae Brings in Big Accounting Guns

Fannie Mae on Tuesday, May 18, 2005, announced the hiring of nine new officers as part of a reorganization effort in the mortgage giant’s finance division. The finance division oversees financial controls and accounting.
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.
Tax

IRS, States Try Different Methods to Reduce “Tax Gap”

The Internal Revenue Service is working to improve its offer-in-compromise program, which allows taxpayers to seek a reduction in what they owe in back taxes.MarketWatch reported that the IRS issued a revised Form 656 late last year that reveals the formula it uses to calculate appropriate offers of back tax payments, which is considered the most complicated part of the offer-in-compromise process. The new application is designed to show taxpayers up front if they are eligible to file for an offer.
Education & Careers

Defense Finance & Accounting Services Facilities May Close

Last week the Pentagon released a preliminary list of military bases being recommended for closing including 33 major bases. The plan would save $48.8 billion over 20 years. The closures and downsizings would take place over a six-year period beginning in 2006. Two of the facilities recommended for closure and consolidation are the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) in Orlando, Florida and Rome, New York.

Fannie Mae Sees Market Share Dip in 2004

Just as Fannie Mae announced a drop in its share of the mortgage-related securities market, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan renewed calls for limits on the mortgage giant's huge portfolio of mortgage assets.Fannie Mae's market share dropped from 45 percent in 2003 to 29 percent in 2004, according to its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.The company said in its filing that the drop was due to the fact that more consumers are turning to adjustable-rate mortgages, the Washington Post reported.
Technology

SEC Makes Comment Letters/Responses Public

Beginning today (May 12, 2005), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will begin the process of releasing to the public comment and response letters related to disclosure filings made after August 1, 2004 and reviewed by the Division of Corporation Finance and the Division of Investment Management.Letters will be released individually on a filing-by-filing basis through the EDGAR system at www.sec.gov. The oldest filings will be released first.
A&A

Impending Bankruptcy Changes Push Up Filings

A major overhaul of the bankruptcy law is prompting more people to file for protection now to avoid going through a more difficult and expensive procedure in the fall.Bankruptcy filings in March jumped nearly 60 percent from February, according to Cardweb.com, which tracks the credit and debit card industries. Attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy law say the increase is directly related to the new law, which takes effect Oct.
Tax

Detroit Ponders Fast Food Tax

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Since a CDC report last spring indicated 400,000 people die annually from weight-related causes, fast food has been portrayed as a villain. Even though the study’s methods have been called into serious question since publication, fast food is quickly catching up with smoking and drunk driving as America’s favorite things to hate.
A&A

Sales, Business Tax Reform on Meeting Agenda

The next meeting of the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform is scheduled for May 11 and 12, 2005 at the Transportation Safety Board Auditorium in Washington D.C.. On the agenda are specific tax reform options for retail sales tax, value-added tax and flat tax as well as a full day of discussion on business tax reform.The panel will also hear testimony on the “Transform America Transactions Fee Act of 2005” or H.R. 1601, submitted by Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA).
A&A

Office Depot Puts Spotlight on Small Businesses

In recognition of the nation's 25 million small business owners, Office Depot has launched “Office Depot Small Business Month,” with activities and promotions designed to meet the needs of small businesses."Among our key goals is to help our small business customers deal with an ever-changing business landscape and manage their bottom line," said Chuck Rubin, executive vice president and chief merchandising/marketing officer at Office Depot.
A&A

AICPA Cites Complexity as Barrier to Tax Compliance

“By and large, small businesses obey the law, but it’s only human to inadvertently disobey a law if you do not or cannot understand the rules,” Ronald B. Hegt, CPA and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Tax Executive Committee told the House Small Business Committee on April 27, 2005.Complexity is one of the reasons cited by AICPA for eroding small business’ voluntary compliance with tax laws.
Tax

IRS Sets Six Forums for Tax Professionals

Tax preparers can learn the latest information about Internal Revenue Service policies and programs at six three-day forums scheduled for this summer.Retirement plans for small businesses, estate and trust planning, like-kind exchanges, alternative minimum tax, identity theft and changes to the tax law are some of the topics that will be covered at the forums.

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