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AIG To Restate Four Years of Earnings, Admits to Derivatives Blunder

One blunder may slightly offset another as American International Group (AIG) sorts out its complicated accounting and derivatives errors. The company issued an 11-page statement that was hammered out by accountants, auditors and attorneys over the weekend, the reported.The company said plans to restate its fiscal 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 statements and the March, June and September quarters for 2004.

Five Tips for Saving Time and Pain with Excel

At the Digita User Conference in Stratford, England on 27-28 April, Simon Hurst from The Knowledge Base presented an hour-long seminar entitled "Everything about Excel". The session included as many tips as he could squeeze in from his latest guide, '100 Ways to Save Time with Microsoft Office'.

Small Business Survey: Technology, Community Involvement Key

A survey released yesterday by HP indicates that small businesses are planning to ramp up their technology investments. The survey also confirmed the trend toward women owning small businesses and that many small business owners enjoy being able to give back to their communities.Small business owners identified operations, customer relations and employee relations as their core challenges, according to the survey that was conducted by Harris Interactive® and released in conjunction with National Small Business Week events being held in Washington, D.C.

California Lawmaker Calls for Drug Company Accounting

The rising cost of prescription drugs has been receiving a lot of attention lately. Consumers complain about the cost of prescription drugs. Drug companies blame the enormous costs of research and development. Employers, legislators and medical professionals are caught in the middle. In California, where the state spends more than $4 billion a year on prescription drugs, one lawmaker wants the drug companies to put up or shut up.

Consumers, Lawyers Gear Up for 'Creditor-Friendly' Bankruptcy Law

The new bankruptcy law will make it easier for small-business owners to collect debt, but they will have a tougher time if they end up on the other side of the fence – facing bankruptcy and trying to save their companies.The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law last week after eight years of lobbying by banks and credit card companies who viewed the current law as too easy on gamblers, shopaholics and other overspenders who used bankruptcy proceedings as a financial planning tool.According to the Federal Reserve, 43 percent of Americans spend more

European Companies Applaud Move Toward Global Standards

The Securities and Exchange Commission has released a so-called “road map,” that would allow European companies to sell securities in the U.S. without having to rework their financial statements.Currently, companies that follow International Financial Reporting Standards must reconcile their financial reports that are filed with the SEC so that they meet U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

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Community News

KPMG Considers Case for Annual Accounts

On the heels of KPMG’s settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over their auditing of Xerox, Eugene O’Kelly, chief executive of KPMG’s US business, told the Financial Times that he was considering the case for issuing annual accounts, adding that action by lawmakers to limit auditors’ liability could make the move possible.Advertisement
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.

Consumers Urged to be Vigilant with Data Theft on the Rise

With high-profile breaches at data providers ChoicePoint and LexisNexis and loss of data at retailers DSW Shoe Warehouse and Polo Ralph Lauren, lawmakers are proposing legislation to stem the flow of personal information.Proposals include a Federal Trade Commission office of identity theft and a requirement that data providers to register with the FTC.

Senator Santorum and Panel Comment on SOX

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) was the keynote speaker Monday in a panel discussion sponsored by the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.Senator Santorum who is Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and a member of both the Senate Banking and Finance Committees, is the most likely of the four panelists to be in a position to influence the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory bodies.

Lawmakers Take Up Tough ID Theft Bill

A series of high-profile security breaches has prompted lawmakers to consider requiring companies to notify consumers if their personal information has been lost, stolen or otherwise released.“The fact of the matter is that your buying habits, your bank accounts, your Social Security number, your driver's license - all of your personal data - today is being collected, collated, distributed, bought, sold - without your knowledge or consent,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in a statement.

Requiem for Tax Season

It’s over. It didn’t seem like it would ever end, but it has. All that remains is filing away the paperwork substantiating each item on each return and, if you’re lucking, waiting for their refund check. Across the country, accountants have had their first weekend off in months. But before we file Tax Day away, let’s take a last look at the tax season that was.According to the Associated Press (AP), Americans spent 6.6 billion hours preparing their tax returns.

Credit Card Company Warns 180,000 of Potential Breach

The latest in a string of high-profile data thefts seems to have originated with retailer Polo Ralph Lauren Inc., the Associated Press reported.Data was reportedly stolen from the popular clothing retailer, forcing banks and credit card companies to inform 180,000 customers that their credit-card information may have been exposed.HSBC North America, a division of London-based HSBC Holdings PLC, has begun notifying holders of the HSBC-issued, General Motors-branded MasterCard that criminals may have obtained access to their credit card information and that the cards should be replaced, th

GSE Accounting Problems Threatens US Housing Market

Accounting problems at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks could threaten US Housing Markets, according to Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. He urged his fellow lawmakers to back legislation overhauling the oversight of the giant mortgage lenders.“We’ve heard from some that Congress should be cautious in its efforts to create a new regulator and that we should be mindful not to harm the housing markets,” Oxley said at the top of a committee hearing on the matter.

Scrutinizing Accounting in the Retail Industry

The ever-changing world of vendor accounting is particularly susceptible to abuse. It is no surprise that under the increased scrutiny of the Sarbanes-Oxley era, problems with vendor accounting are affecting the retail industry as demonstrated by a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into retail giant Saks, Inc.Saks announced in March that the SEC was probing vendor markdown allowances and the adequacy of Saks internal investigation into the matter at one of six merchandising divisions of it Saks Fifth Avenue stores.

GASB Issues Concept Statement on Communication

Hoping for more efficient and effective use of financial reports, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued Concepts Statement No.

Bush Targets State Medicaid Accounting Practice

If the Bush administration has its way, Congress will take steps this year to end an accounting practice in states that some say is tantamount to money laundering.The accounting trick, used by California for instance, will yield the state $2 billion more in federal Medicaid money than it would otherwise receive, the Washington Post reported.The trick goes something like this: cash-strapped California counties, public universities and government hospitals find $1.9 billion to send to the state capitol, under the guise of a local contribution to Medicaid.

Greenspan Urges Stricter Regulation of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

With the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's chief regulator acknowledging it could take years to straighten out accounting problems at Fannie Mae, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is now calling for strict limits on the companies' $1.5 trillion in holdings, the New York Times reported.Greenspan testified Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee, taking issue with the enormous portfolios held by the two companies, which represent nearly a quarter of the home-mortgage market.

IRS Says E-Filing Growing More Popular

More taxpayers filed their taxes electronically this year than ever before.For the first time, the Internal Revenue Service predicts that more than half of all individual tax returns will be e-filed. Through March 25, 66 percent of all returns, or 49 million, were e-filed. The increase is 7 percent over last year. “More and more taxpayers are turning to e-file and other electronic programs,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson in a statement. “This shapes up as a really strong year.


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