Economy

Istanbul Hosts ‘Olympics’ for Accountants

The world’s accountants are gathered in Istanbul for the World Congress of Accountants (WCOA), known as the Olympics of Accountants, to discuss pressing challenges facing the profession worldwide, while looking ahead to the future.Advertisement

Bank, ATM Fees Reach Record Highs

The Fall 2006 Checking Account Pricing Study, a survey conducted by Bankrate.com, found that some customer fees and requirements hit record highs."What makes these fees especially irritating is that they're avoidable," according to Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com.

Consumer Electronics Top Holiday Wish Lists; Socks Near Bottom

Ernst & Young (E&Y) predicts an increase of 6.5 percent in holiday spending this year, with consumer electronics the hottest category, according to a report in RTO online. Mobile phones that provide full internet access, thin-screen high density TVs and iPods are high on wish lists, along with NASCAR-related items, TMX Elmo and hanging earrings of all kinds, from loop to chandelier, the E&Y sixth annual holiday forecast says. A ConsumerReports.org survey of wish lists for this year found that electronics, along with toys, are on more than 50 percent of the respondents wish lists.
Tax

Republicans Point to Benefits of Low Taxes; Democrats Weigh Economic Policy Options

With the 2006 congressional election less than a week away, President Bush is campaigning for his fellow Republicans on the strength of the economy and on his tax cuts. Democrats, who may gain a majority in Congress and with it some control over the nation’s purse strings, are weighing their options.

Labor Costs Rise Fastest in Two Years

A big increase in the cost of employee benefits drove up the Employment Cost Index by 1 percent in the third quarter, the fastest pace in more than two years.The Labor Department (DoL) reported that the increase in wages and benefits paid to American workers was the biggest quarterly increase since another 1 percent rise in the second quarter of 2004.The increase was led by rising costs for health insurance, pensions and other benefits, such as vacations.

Home Prices At 35-Year Low

Last month new home prices fell in the largest year-over-year measure since September 2005. Although some buyers still say home prices are out of range, the Associated Press reports that the median price for a new home was $217,100 in September, according to the Commerce Department (DoC). The report, released this past week, announced that this was the sharpest decline in median home prices since December 1970. The Associated Press reports these numbers emphasized the slowdown in the housing market, while home sales increased by 5.3 percent.

Savings in America

The concept or practice of personal savings has been lost among excesive spending for most Americans. According to Forbes, the American personal savings rate as a percentage of disposable income was negative 0.5 percent. Other industrialized nations, like France or Germany, have savings rates of 11.6 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively, while Japan can be proud of a savings rate of 6.7 percent.Sophie Beckmann told Forbes, “The savings situation in this country is dire, as people are not adding to their savings in the way they should be.
Practice Management

Ron Riebe Named Financial Executive of the Year

Ron Riebe, vice president of KeyBank, has been award the 2006 Financial Executive of the Year Award from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and Robert Half International (RHI). “The Financial Executive of the Year Award recognizes best-in-class management accounting and finance professionals,” IMA President and chief executive officer (CEO) Paul Sharman said in a statement announcing this year’s winner. “As a national winner, Mr.
Education & Careers

Study Finds Young Workers Displaced by New Immigrants

That the arrival of new immigrants in a state results in a decline in employment among young native-born workers in that state is just one of the stark images revealed by the authors of The Impact of New Immigrants on Young Native-Born Workers, 2000-2005.
Tax

Indiana Community Weathers Collapse of Local Bank

Earl Ford McNaughton might never have realized the effect of his actions today, had anyone asked about his future several years ago. Back then he was the champion of the small Indiana town in Steuben County that his family had first settled in 1836. That year, KPCNews.net reports, his great-great-great-grandfather, Alexander McNaughton, built a water-powered grinding mill in his little town of Ray.
A&A

Great Florida Bank Excels at IT Risk Management

Great Florida Bank accomplishes what few de novo banks do while experiencing tremendous growth in its first year in existence. By partnering with Solutions@MBA, an affiliate of Morrison, Brown, Argiz, and Farra, they were able to identify regulatory issues and take swift and effective corrective action and thus the bank was very pleased with the results of its first IT regulatory exam. Organization OverviewIn June 2004, Great Florida Bank launched in the South Florida region with the establishment of its corporate headquarters located in Miami Lakes, FL.
A&A

Confidence Off Nearly 40 Percent in Construction/Contractor Industry

The past three months have seen confidence among the construction and contractor industry fall by nearly 40 percent, according to the most recent International Profit Associates Small Business Research Board (IPA SBRB).
Community News

H&R Block Plans to Reduce Refund Lending Costs by Opening Bank Accounts

One million tax return clients of H&R Block may soon have low cost bank accounts.
A&A

Option ARMs Bring Pain to Borrowers and Mortgage Industry

Some mortgage industry experts estimate that as much as one-half trillion dollars’ worth of adjustable rate mortgage loans (ARMs) are scheduled to reset this year, the Washington Post reports. Many will be the nontraditional Option ARMs which allow borrowers to choose to make minimum payments, less than the actual interest on the mortgage, for up to 60 months. The portion of the interest not paid in the Option ARM is added to the principal of the mortgage, and the borrower’s total debt just gets bigger each month, a negative amortization.
A&A

AICPA Survey Says: Accounting Executives Losing Confidence

The latest Business and Industry Economic Outlook survey from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) indicates that certified public accountants (CPAs) in the C-suites of corporate America are increasingly pessimistic.
A&A

Labor Day Report Shows Why Energy Reform Must Become National Policy

The National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) annual Labor Day report, released on Monday, shows that while manufacturing production increased at its fastest pace in six years and jobs on the factory floors have posted their strongest gains since 1998, soaring energy costs are hurting workers at the pump and in their paychecks.Advertisement

Virginia Is Top State For Business

Forbes has completed their first ever ranking of Top States for Business. The Commonwealth of Virginia ranked in the top ten in all six categories, while no other state rated in the top ten in more than three categories.
Community News

Consolidation Ahead for Accounting Firms

Stricter regulations and slower economic growth continue to impact America’s accounting industry, causing many firms, especially mid-sized firms, to see mergers and acquisitions in the future, according to a new survey from IBISWorld, leading publishers of business research and analysis.
Technology

Dell and Their Customer Satisfaction Issues

With the latest battery recall and increased customer service numbers, can Dell survive? The quarterly American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has been released and it shows positive but challenging changes in the maturing personal computer category. The survey is produced by the American Society for Quality (ASQ), in cooperation with the University of Michigan and the CFI Group.
Tax

Mellon Bank & IRS Settle for 2001 Crime

Mellon Bank has agreed to reimburse the federal government $30,000 as a result of an April 2001 incident at the Pittsburgh Internal Revenue Service (IRS) processing unit at the bank’s Client Service Center when the unit’s employees destroyed federal tax returns, according to MarketWatch.

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