Economy

Holiday Shoppers Tightening the Belt - Slightly

Deloitte & Touche partnered with the National Retail Federation to perform a study of potential shopping habits for the upcoming holiday season, which officially launches this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.The study found that Year-2000 shoppers are likely to spend, on the average, $836 this season, compared to an average of $849 in the holiday season last year.The good news for retailers, however, is that more people are expected to be out there shopping this year compared to last year, and as a result sales are predicted to rise 4.5 percent over last year.Some interesting findi

Fed's Future Focus Fraught With Frailties

The Federal Open Market Committee, the panel that sets nationwide interest rate policy, agreed to leave interest rates unchanged this week, but indicated it is keeping a close watch on the threat of inflation.Analysts didn't really expect the Fed to touch the federal funds rate (6.5 percent) based on the current economy, but many were surprised at the talk about potential inflation.

Best Cities for Business

Fortune Magazine has announced its annual listing of the Best Cities for Business and the surprise is - there are no surprises.New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, and San Jose top the list.

Min Wage Increase May Have Mixed Financial Impact

One of the issues Congress expects to wrestle with in its lame duck session this week is the possibility of a minimum wage increase. Even though an increase in the minimum wage by $1 to $6.15/hour would help entry-level employees, the increase--occurring over a two-year period--may have limited impact on wages paid by most companies.A tight labor market coupled with the higher wages already being received by most employees should result in little change to the bottom line for employers.

Joint Ventures Make Big Bucks for Fast-Growing Companies

Joint ventures are paying off for America’s fastest growing companies, and making a huge contribution to the economy.American companies expect to contribute 10.6% of their business assets to joint ventures this year, yet generate 12% of their revenue growth in return – and these figures are set to double over the next two to three years. But JVs are about more than pure growth. Because they enable participants to share risks and leverage complementary resources, they are highly prized for the efficiencies they produce, and their effectiveness in increasing profit margins.

Details on the Postage Rate Increase

The cost to mail a first-class letter is going to increase as of January 2001, but the new rate is still undecided. According to a report from Stamps.com, the exact postage rate increase by the United States Postal Service is pending.The Postal Service did publish a full chart early in the year with predicted rates (note: the free Adobe Reader is required for viewing this document).

Managing Your Workforce!

The U.S. Department of Labor has prepared a new manual for a national system of employment and training services for the America's Workforce Network. Managing Your Workforce is designed to meet the needs of the new economy and bring workers and employers together. The U.S. Department of Labor has prepared a Tool Kit that can assist you in training and mentoring workers you already have or you are planning to recruit.
Practice

Advising Your Clients on Section 529 College Savings Plans

Joe Hurley, founder of savingforcollege.com, and author of "The Best Way to Save for College - A Complete Guide to Section 529 Plans," presented a live workshop at AccountingWEB on Thursday, October 26.Among other things, Mr.
Community News

Denver Economics Spurred by DT Impact Survey

Every other year, the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts engages Deloitte & Touche to conduct a survey regarding the economic impact the arts organizations of Denver have on the local economy.After this year's survey was completed, officials were amazed at the results.
Tax

Bush or Gore? Will the real Front Runner Step Up?

An independent national survey commissioned by inc.com suggests that Governor George Bush may be the present front-runner among small-business owners. The results show that the major worries of small-business owners are taxes, health insurance, and government regulations.The survey suggests that nearly 50 percent of respondents lean toward Governor Bush in the November election, whereas approximately 30 percent are partial to Vice President Al Gore.

Save Baby Boomers! Keep Government Surpluses!

In the latest version of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) Long-Term Budget Outlook report, these words of doom appear: “If the government saved all of the surpluses projected over the next decade, serious budgetary problems would not arise until the second half of the century."The first World War II baby boomers, those born in 1947, turn 53 this year, and they are already starting to plan for retirement.

Unemployment Reaches 30-year low Mark

We've done it again: the unemployment rate for September matched the 30-year low achieved last April.

Senate Fails to Deliver on FSC Issue

The current FSC regime is set to be repealed, but Senate leaders are hopeful the World Trade Organization will agree to an extended deadline of November 1.Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott yesterday attempted to secure a unanimous consent agreement to bring the issue of the Foreign Sales Corporation bill to the floor for consideration, but was met with unexplained democratic opposition.Off the Senate floor, a number of democrats voiced their desire to add amendments to the FSC bill, including such issues as campaign finance reform and the denial of FSC benefits to certain industries.L

Employee Incentives "Different Sizes Fits All"

Each and every employer across America is well aware of the tight labor market. Coupled with the 150-hour law, dotcoms recruiting on campus, and the anticipated and well-known stresses of tax season, what can you do to help retain your current staff and recruit new talent. Here are a few tips to help you understand what motivates employees of all ages. Mature Workers are low risk takers and need and desire flexibility. Born between 1930 and 1945, mature workers generally have had predictable career paths; they worked hard and moved up the corporate ladder.

U.S. Economy Growth Rate Remains Positive

The second quarter results for growth in the U.S. economy demonstrate that once again the U.S. economy grew substantially over the previous period. The total growth was a 5.6 percent increase.The increase was attributed to three factors: a decrease in consumer spendingan increase in the investments made by American companies an increase in spending by the Federal governmentCompany spending included durable goods like computers as well as increases in inventory levels.

Microsoft Changes Accounting Methods

Microsoft has announced a change in the method by which it reports on derivatives and hedging activities and as a result will absorb an $350 million extraordinary loss on its first quarter financial statements. Microsoft's CFO, John Connors, claims that reporting the loss will not have a significant impact on the company.The company is also changing the way in which revenues are reported, by breaking out certain services and software types as separate line items.

Trade Sanctions Threatened Against U.S.

The European Union has rejected a U.S. plan to create tax breaks for U.S. exports, stating that the plan violates World Trade Organization rules. The WTO has threatened sanctions and tariffs if the U.S. doesn’t come up with a viable alternative to the offshore tax havens now available to U.S. companies.Presently, under the auspices of the Foreign Sales Corporation program, many U.S.
Technology

Big Five Firms Have Mixed Messages for Dotcoms

Dotcom leaders work long hours but are only interested in short-term gain, according to reports issued by KPMG Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers.The KPMG Consulting study found that, whilst the leaders of the new economy may dress down for the office, they are still dedicated to their task.
Technology

Fogdog Tempts Fate with Fuzzy Accounting

There's been a lot of business at the Fogdog sporting goods web site as customers are rewarded for making purchases with a plethora of free offers. And the Fogdog income statement looked great - all of the company's promotional items and shipping expenses were categorized as marketing expense, making the gross margin at Fogdog look pretty appealing.Apparently the practice is pretty widespread among start-up Internet companies trying to boost profit margins to attract investors.

Air Travelers Wing Their Way to Online Purchases

MilePoint.com has teamed up with several major airlines and some online retailers to initiate an exchange program – miles for merchandise. Participating airlines include (so far): Delta, Northwest, US Airways, Continental, America West, and TWA. Also participating is Hilton HHonors Worldwide which currently participates in the frequent flyer miles program.

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