Economy

Oil prices set to jump again as industrial demand keeps rising

Business is being warned to expect no relief from the high price of oil, which was above $70/barrel at the start of the week and could be close to record levels by the end. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has raised its forecasts of average annual rise in the oil demand to 2.2 percent per year for the next five years, up from 2 percent in its previous assessment.

Financial Literacy Commission wants to educate potential homeowners

The Financial Education and Literacy Commission, chaired by the U.S. Treasury Department, visited Boston, Mass., today for a discussion on successful financial education programs to improve homeownership. "Homeownership is a journey not a destination. Good homeownership counseling services need to be available before, during and after the purchase transaction," said Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Education, Dan Iannicola, Jr., who attended today's conference.

Expect sticker shock on hotel room prices

Major hotel markets throughout the United States continued to witness positive growth in 2006 and are expected to repeat that performance in 2007, thanks to increased corporate travel and a surprisingly strong showing from the upper-end of the hotel market, according to the 2007 U.S. Lodging Report released this month by Ernst & Young."The hospitality market in the US continues to move forward, overcoming the challenges posed by numerous natural disasters and human conflicts over the last seven years," said Michael Fishbin, national director of E&Y's U.S. Hospitality & Leisure practice.

Check-clearing gains lightning speed and may get even faster

The banking industry, transformed by a 2004 check clearing law, is moving toward ever-faster processing speeds.The real pickup began after the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (Check 21) was passed, which gave paper printouts of checks the same legal status as original checks.

AICPA Survey Bullish on Business

Reversing a trend of declining optimism over the past three years, CPAs serving as chief executive officers, chief financial officers and in other executive financial positions have a favorable view of the economy, according to the first quarter 2007 Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey. The study, conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), shows that 68 percent of these executives expect their businesses to expand over the next 12 months.

FDIC Chair Calls Wal-Mart's Bank Retreat 'Wise'

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) chairman Sheila Bair said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. made a "wise choice" in withdrawing its 2005 application to operate an industrial loan corporation (ILC), a form of bank, from the FDIC.Wal-Mart the application was surrounded by "manufactured controversy" over its bid to acquire its own bank, bizjournals.com reported. "This decision will remove the controversy surrounding their intentions," Bair said. "They don't need an ILC to play an important role in expanding access to financial services, they can do so by partnering with banks and others.
A&A

CEOS Make ‘Strong Execution’ High Priority In 2007

As CEOs develop their growth strategies for 2007, a top priority focuses on the strong execution of all major business processes, according to the Grant Thornton LLP Survey of U.S. Business Leaders, 14th Edition. Almost two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) say they are putting more emphasis on strong execution today than a year ago. More than eight out of 10 (83 percent) survey respondents place the quality of execution throughout the organization among their top three priorities.
A&A

IRS Offers Bank Secrecy Act Reminder

The Internal Revenue Service reminded small businesses that provide money services, including money transfer services, check cashing, and money orders, may be accountable to reporting and record keeping requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).The BSA, passed in 1970 to fight money laundering in the United States, requires businesses to keep records and file reports that have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, and regulatory matters.
Tax

FDIC Says Taxpayers Can Save More of Their Refunds

As the tax season begins, low-and moderate-income taxpayers are being encouraged by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to take advantage of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) programs and bank services that can aid them in saving more money."Low-and moderate-income consumers should take advantage of every opportunity to save money on their tax preparation, qualify for tax credits, and use direct deposit to put a part of their refunds into a savings account where it can grow," said FDIC Chairman Sheila C.

BIOLI 101: New Text Offered on Bank-Owned Life Insurance

Bank-Owned Life Insurance (BOLI) is becoming an increasingly popular means to recover employee benefits and support shareholder value. Almost half of U.S. bank holding companies use bank-owned life insurance, according to the FDIC.A complex undertaking, it also drives niche in the consulting industry. The American College Press, a non-profit educational institution for insurance and finance professionals, has published a book to help sort it all out.

Foreign Criminal Extraditions

We hear about criminal indictments stemming from accounting violations in our own country but do not hear about foreign extraditions from the U.S. or to the U.S. from other countries.
A&A

The Future Looks Bright to Western Small Businesses but Not to Southern Firms

A recent national study reported on the opinions of small business managers and owners on how national and international issues could impact their businesses in the coming year and the results showed marked differences in separate regions of the country.Advertisement

Two Federal Budget Deficit Estimates; Two Accounting Methods

According to the Financial Report of the United States Government for the year ending September 30, 2006, which was released by the Treasury Department (DoT) on Friday, the federal budget deficit totaled $449.5 billion, nearly 81 percent higher than the $247.7 billion in the President’s annual budget report published two months ago.

Revised ALLL Policy Gets Nod From PCAOB

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) gave its blessing to the latest Policy Statement on the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses (ALLL), issued this week.The interagency policy statement on ALLL, developed by federal banking and credit union regulators, updates the 1993 statement and outlines expectations for banks and examiners in regards to the development and assessment of the ALLL estimate.“The policy statement outlines enhanced guidance on the sound management practices that are expected to be employed in the development of the allowance for loan and lease losses
Community News

Grant Thornton to Fight Claim of “Reckless” Audit

Grant Thornton LLP said it will challenge recent Treasury Department (DoT) findings and penalties stemming from the firm’s audit of a bank that collapsed in 1999.The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Treasury agency that regulates nationally chartered banks, on Friday announced the telling $300,000 fine against the Chicago-based CPA firm that audited First National Bank of Keystone in 1998.

Halifax to Boost Canada's Move to Int. Accounting Standards

Canada's move to international accounting standards is expected to get a big boost from an influx of international banking and financial services companies into Halifax, Nova Scotia. Peter Secord, an accounting professor at St.
A&A

Survey Defines Financial Services Used by Small Businesses

Small businesses contribute much to the economy. Since these businesses finance themselves differently from larger entities, understanding trends in their financing methods and their sources of capital are important to both policy makers and economic research. The results of the 2003 Survey of Small Business Finances (SSBF) were released last month, according to the Federal Reserve Board (Fed).

Black Friday 2006 & Beyond

It may have been inevitable. What was called Black Friday has been so successful that it has gained the color of green. Mlive.com reports that legions of frantic shoppers poured through stores’ doors at 5 a.m., surely helped along with the stores offering merchandise at deep discount prices.

Credit Card 101: Advice Before Shopping

The numbers of bankruptcies is again on the rise after the tough bankruptcy law of 2005, and they are returning in large numbers.Advertisement

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