Economy

Employment outlook grim in 2009, but not for accountants

While the employment picture is the bleakest it's been in decades, accounting professionals should have a glimmer of hope in 2009.According to staffing firm Robert Half International, which produces an annual salary guide, researchers are predicting a 3.4 percent salary increase for finance and accounting staff. Not surprisingly, most in demand are professionals who can help companies reduce inefficiencies and increase profits.Robert Half also suggests that this year may be a good time to consider temporary project work.

What advice are retailers getting in these tough times? Keep going!

Point-CounterpointSee Also:What advice are retailers getting in tough times? Close the doors.Paul Pinkus, a managing director at RSM McGladrey, works with companies that supply non-consumer goods to retailers, like displays, signage, and fixtures. So you might say he is inside-inside retail. He counsels clients on how to hunker down, tighten up, and often...

What advice are retailers getting in these tough times? Close the doors.

Point-CounterpointSee Also:What advice are retailers getting in tough times? Keep Going!Looking for a job title that sounds secure in these troubled economic times? How about Retail Distress Expert? That's Marti Kopacz, of Grant Thornton. With this week's news from the Commerce Department, her services may be even more in demand soon.

As economy nosedives, retailers take huge hit

Economic conditions caused retailers to take a hit during the normally busy fourth quarter of 2008. Some see the glass as half full, but many are anticipating a dour outlook for the year ahead.Even the top executive of Wal-Mart is sour on the economic outlook for 2009, and the retail giant actually gained market share in the last year."I don't see anything that tells me it's going to turn around quickly," Lee Scott said Monday at the National Retail Federation's annual conference in New York, Reuters reported.
Tax

IRS offers lien relief for financially distressed homeowners

The Internal Revenue Service has announced an expedited process that will make it easier for financially distressed homeowners to avoid having a federal tax lien block refinancing of mortgages or the sale of a home.If taxpayers are trying to refinance or sell a home and there is a federal tax lien filed, there are options. Taxpayers or their representatives, such as their lenders, may request that the IRS make a tax lien secondary to the lien by the lending institution that is refinancing or restructuring a loan.

Economy puts damper on holiday parties, bonuses

The number of corporate holiday parties has reached a 20-year low this year, according to an annual survey conducted by Battalia Winston Amrop, an executive recruitment firm.The firm says that the number of holiday parties always mirrors the economy's overall health. This year, 81 percent of businesses are holding holiday parties, and 37 percent say their party has been scaled back in same way.

Holiday gift idea: Money-minded toys

The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) donated 100 piggy banks to Toys for Tots, teaching children to use money, make change, and accrue savings this holiday season. If you would like the lessons your children learn to last longer than the toys they receive, Virginia CPAs recommend giving gifts that teach financial concepts this holiday season.In addition to the piggy banks donation, VSCPA chapters statewide participated in a toy drive to collect money-minded toys.

Financial planner shares historical facts about bear-cession markets

Leon LaBrecque, managing partner and founder of LJPR, LLC, a firm managing over $300 million in assets, points out that we've had 13 bear markets (including our current one) since 1926, and 15 recessions (including our current one). There have been 9 bear-cessions.

SEC approves new rules for credit reporting agencies

The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a series of measures to increase transparency and accountability at credit rating agencies, and ensure that firms provide more meaningful ratings and greater disclosure to investors.The new measures impose additional requirements on credit rating agencies, whose ratings of residential mortgage-backed securities backed by subprime mortgage loans and of collateralized debt obligations linked to subprime loans contributed to the recent turmoil in the credit markets.

AICPA offers financial planning advice for holiday shopping

With disposable income especially tight this holiday season, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers consumers the following tips to help them manage their finances during the next few weeks of shopping. These practices will benefit them year round.1: Develop a BudgetPlan a budget that is appropriate for your financial situation. You will need to identify your current monthly income and expenses, which will guide your spending for the holiday season. It is important that once you create a budget you stick with it.

CPAs offer tips for shopping smart and saving this holiday season

Nobody wants the magic of the season to turn into a nightmare when the bills arrive. Yet even with the current poor economy, you can still capture the holiday spirit if you plan ahead and shop smart. The Illinois CPA Society offers these tips for saving money on your holiday spending: Establish a budget and stick to it.
A&A

Focus on thriving in a bad economy

By Kathy Dean-Bradley

CFOs support bailouts, increased regulation, and McCain

CFOs of American companies revealed ever-increasing uneasiness about the current economic crisis and its evident impact on their businesses, as optimism toward both the U.S. economy and their own companies continued to sink to all-time lows in the third quarter, according to the most recent survey of CFOs conducted by Financial Executives International (FEI) and Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business.The CFO Optimism Index for the U.S.

Confidence among accountants drops

The Accounting and Finance Employee Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence among U.S. accounting and finance workers, decreased 1.3 points to 48.5 in the third quarter of 2008, reaching its lowest level since the survey began in 2005, according to a recent survey commissioned by The Mergis Group and conducted by Harris Interactive.
A&A

Bankers ask SEC to override FASB’s new fair value guidance

The American Bankers Association has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to use its authority to override the Financial Accounting Board's (FASB) additional guidance on fair value, FAS 157-3. In a strongly worded letter to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, Edward L. Yingling, President and CEO of the bankers' group said that the guidance, "basically ignores what we believe to be the intent of the SEC's release of September 30, 2008."
A&A

U.S. business owners' pessimism at all-time high

Energy prices, recession, and credit availability are among the biggest concerns for U.S. business owners, whose pessimism is at an all-time high in the history of the PNC Economic Outlook survey.Nearly one in three business owners (29 percent) are pessimistic about their own company's prospects during the next six months, compared to 21 percent in the spring and 10 percent in last fall's findings of this semiannual survey, introduced in 2003 by The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
Tax

IRS Q&A explains first-time homebuyers tax credit

The IRS recommends that first-time homebuyers should begin planning now to take advantage of the new tax credit included in the recently enacted Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.Available for a limited time only, the credit:Applies to home purchases after April 8, 2008, and before July 1, 2009.Reduces a taxpayer’s tax bill or increases his or her refund, dollar for dollar.Is fully refundable, meaning that the credit will be paid out to eligible taxpayers, even if they owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax that they owe.Howev

House passes bailout bill - President Bush will sign

NOTE: On Friday afternoon the House of Representatives passed the Senate's version of a bailout bill that is now headed to President Bush for his signature. Wednesday: Senate attaches extenders and AMT Fix to rescue bill; sends package to HouseThe proposed alternative minimum tax patch and extensions of expiring tax deductions and credits for individuals and businesses have now become part of the rescue package that the Senate approved late Wednesday and has sent to the House.
Education & Careers

Financial meltdown a learning tool for many students

The traders look panicked by the crisis. Congress - torn as to how to fix it. Finance, business and accounting students, however, are transfixed as they watch this historic scene play out before them. And - watch its lessons trickle into the classroom. "I've been in and out of school with work and stuff for years and then to all of a sudden have everything in an uproar all in one semester, yeah, it's amazing. It's amazingly daunting and it's amazingly exciting," says State University of New York Institute of Technology accounting student Nicole Lawrence.
Community News

The harder they fall: Will the Big Four survive the credit crunch?

Rob Lewis, Practice Editor of our sister site, AccountingWEB.co.uk wonders from across the pond whether the events in America will determine the fate of the Big Four.Ever since Arthur Andersen left the market after its scandalous role in the fall of Enron, people have been asking how long it will be before another big firm follows suit. The (UK) Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has been trying ever since to make sure that the Big Four will be protected if found guilty of similar negligence.

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