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A&A

Maryland Hopes Tax Preparers & Massage Parlors Soothe Deficit

Faced with a $1.5-billion budget deficit, Maryland legislators are focusing on widening the list of taxable services to extend the tax base. And they’ve lumped tax preparers in among escort services and massage parlors as targets of new sales taxes.Under bill MD HB 448, Maryland would charge the state’s sales and use tax for such commercial services as tanning salons, massage parlors, escorts and tax preparation.The bill is scheduled for a hearing on March 14.
Practice Management

10 Reasons Why Budgets Cause Problems

Beyond Budget Round Table (BBRT), an independent international research collaborative, recently produced a web article arguing that budgets tend to focus on targets based on incremental changes from the previous period."The result is a target that is inwardly comfortable to you, yet appears outwardly difficult to your superior.
Practice Management

New York Consumer Bill Targets Tax Preparers

A bill before the New York Legislature, designed to educate taxpayers about tax preparers’ qualifications, would require the Department of Taxation and Finance to publish a "consumer bill of rights regarding tax preparers."The bill, NY SB 2970, calls for extensive RAL disclosure requirements, but exempts enrolled agents. If passed, the legislation would require that all tax preparers obtain a license from the Department.
A&A

Top 5 business internship myths

Most managers carry general misconceptions about internship programs, but, by applying thoughtful planning and the right tools, they can realize their full potential. Z University.org (ZU), a leading advocate of workforce readiness and innovator of internship management solutions, has identified a "top five" list of myths that organizations need to eliminate to get the greatest returns from an internship program. Matthew Zinman, president of Z University.org, says that the "Top Five Myths About Internships" are fueled by managers who believe that:1.
Practice Management

Mid-size British Practices Face Closure Crisis

Staff retention problems, partner succession issues and burdensome regulation is threatening British mid-size accountancy firms with almost three quarters fearing for the future, new research warns. The study by practice management experts KATO Consultancy said 72 percent of independent British firms were worried about their continued existence. Staff retention difficulties was the most popular issue cited by respondents, while many said they were struggling to attract appropriately skilled potential partners for their practice.
A&A

Appearance Counts for Successful Start-ups

A new, three-year study of 830 Americans actively involved in starting small businesses has found that the participants who were successful shared the ability to make their businesses appear legitimate and fully operational early in the startup process.
A&A

5 Relationships Every Entrepreneur Must Nurture

You've probably heard it said that entrepreneurs are "married to their work." It's true. Running a company requires amazing quantities of time, energy, and devotion. But there is one big difference: while matrimony is all about maintaining a healthy relationship with another person, being married to a business is all about maintaining healthy (and profitable) relationships with several groups of people.
Education & Careers

5 Reasons Why Demand for Accounting & Finance Pros Will Intensify

Ron Blair, managing director of Century Group, a professional services firm specializing in executive search, professional recruitment and independent project and interim services in accounting, finance, audit and tax believes a demand for accounting and finance professionals will carryover into 2007.Blair listed the following factors contributing to the high demand for finance and accounting professionals:1. Increased utilization of accounting and finance professionals on a project or interim basis if companies delay hiring plans during an economic downturn.2.
Community News

IRS: Preparers Miss 4.8 Million Phone Refunds

The Internal Revenue Service reports more than 10 million early filers did not request the one-time telephone excise tax refund. And nearly half of those returns — more than 4.8 million — were completed by a tax preparer.In the first release of this year’s weekly filing season statistics, about 30 percent of all taxpayers did not request the telephone tax refund.“Many taxpayers are overlooking this special refund and the chance to get a bigger refund,” IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson told IRS e-News for Tax Professionals.
A&A

7 Ways to Keep Employees Focused, Committed to Change

Companies large and small spend millions of dollars each year in order to make change initiatives a success. And yet the results are frequently dismal—changes fail to achieve their objectives, and leaders are left wondering what went wrong. Managers blame change-phobic employees, and employees say leaders didn't manage the change effectively. If you're responsible for driving change, you find all the finger-pointing frustrating and, frankly, unhelpful. If only you could pinpoint where the failure originates, perhaps you could head it off at the pass.Here's some good news.
Practice

White Paper: 10 Reasons to Outsource Remote Data Protection

In today’s information-driven organizations, the costs to generate, keep available, manage and recover data are staggering. Many businesses today depend on 100 percent data availability to keep mission-critical functions operating. With the increasingly widespread reliance upon data, the costs of interrupted access to data or data losses could financially compromise an organization and, in some cases, leave it no room to recover. The price of downtime is just too steep. 
Practice Management

Clients Seek 2007's 'Dirty Dozen' Scams

The Internal Revenue Service’s release of its "Dirty Dozen", 12 of the most common – and blatant – tax scams offers tax preparers a most wanted list of don’ts and an opportunity to prepare themselves for customers seeking illegal means for lowering their tax liability.Firm owner Kent West, CPA/PFS, from Mooreland, Okla.
A&A

FEI Comments on Proposed SOX Changes

In separate letters submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), Financial Executives International’s (FEI) Committee on Corporate Reporting (CCR) and Small Public Company Task Force (SPCTF), voiced concerns with recent changes proposed by the SEC and PCAOB to Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley.The letters, which come in conjunction with today’s comment deadline on proposed auditing standards and management guidance by the SEC and PCAOB, emphasize the importance of alignment between both agencies.
A&A

Online Posting of Delinquents Creates Revenue

Pennsylvania has recently joined the 20 states and the District of Columbia in posting the names of individuals and businesses who owe taxes on their web sites, using names such as Maryland’s “Caught in the Web,” or South Carolina’s “Debtor’s Corner,” to bring pressure on tax scofflaws.In many cases, the threat of disclosure is enough to persuade taxpayers to pay, says Illinois Revenue Director Brian Hamer.
A&A

HSA Rollover Transition Deadline

The Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury recently issued guidance regarding how employers can rollover their health Flexible Spending Arrangements (health FSAs) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for their employees. The guidance provides a special transition rule for transfers for 2006. Under the transition rule, the amendment, election and transfer must take place by March 15, 2007.The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-432, enacted Dec.
Technology

The Accountant’s Guide to a Career in Technology

By John StokdykWhen he recently asked in an AccountingWEB opinion article, Why aren't there more accountants in IT?, Microsoft's Tim Lennard began by suggesting there was a potential surplus of talent within the profession that could be more gainfully employed in the technology business. One of the reasons Lennard's article was so popular was that it managed to provoke reactions from both sides of the fence. Several IT industry veterans dropped into the conversation to describe their front-line experiences, while technophobes highlighted some of the reasons not to go into IT.
Practice Management

Accounting for Employee Health

When Canadian employees at PricewaterhouseCoopers get sick, they can call up a new internal website that offers help and an unusual personal invitation -- to walk into the CEO's office and talk confidentially about their health challenges, reports The Globe and Mail.PwC is not alone in its desire to be recognized as a leader in building a wellness into its culture. Conference Board of Canada surveys reveal that health information and promotion programs are quickly becoming important components of human resource strategies.
A&A

A Conversation With David Maister: The Preconditions For Strategy

Managers build their plans and strategies on the assumption that people in their firm are ready and willing to be team players, acting collectively to create or achieve something in the future.The truth, however, is that these attitudes cannot be assumed to exist. In fact, they may even be relatively scarce. In many firms - perhaps even most - these preconditions for strategy may not exist.It is hard to identify and create buy-in for what the firm should do if there is no strong sense of a mutual commitment and sense of group loyalty and cohesiveness.
A&A

6 Keys To Growing Your Company The Old-Fashioned Way

When the average joe thinks "big corporation," the images that spring to mind are primarily negative: backdating of stock options. . .fat cat CEOs who jet around in luxury while workers barely scrape by. . .huge mergers that spawn both big bonuses (for executives) and layoffs (for lower-level peons). . .companies reporting record profits while cutting employee health benefits. Watch the evening news and you'll see why so many people take such a grim view of the corporate world.
A&A

E-mails As Evidence: Business Owners Face New Procedures

Changes in federal employment law may change the way you and your employees store e-mails and e-messages, but Business & Legal Reports reports that one of the key changes facing small business owners this year is not a change in law at all.The U.S. Supreme Court established a set of new procedures dealing with electronic messages that may be needed as evidence in trials. Why is the procedural change important to you? One look at your computer inbox, electronic communication has exploded in recent years, leaving the postal carrier feeling a bit lonely these days.

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