Government

Denver Finance System a Cost Blunder

The City of Denver had not updated its financial services systems since 1979 - more than 20 years ago. Given that fact, how much would you expect to pay to update your system, and how much of the money would you expect to go to consultants?Denver certainly is glad it updated the system, and the new one is called "ASPEN" - All Systems Performance Enhancement Network.
Community News

Justice Dept Joins Lawsuit Against KPMG

The Justice Department has joined a lawsuit alleging that KPMG helped a client defraud the American government through submitting bogus expense claims, reports the New York Times.The whistle-blower suit sees the accounting firm accused of assisting the Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation in misrepresenting costs associated with patient care, so as to receive payment for costs that were not eligible for reimbursement.A former Columbia employee claimed that KPMG helped some Florida hospitals owned by Columbia set up secret reserves, which were kept in case government auditors discov

Still Counting: CPA Firm Joins Florida Ballot Count

Judicial Watch, the independent watchdog group, has been authorized by Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Jorge La Barga, to access and count the county's disputed presidential ballots, including oversees absentee ballots. Over 400 citizens from across the country are joining the effort, converging on Palm Beach County to scrutinize the ballots.The non-partisan group, Judicial Watch, will use statistical and accounting techniques, with the aid of members of the local Johnson Lambert & Co.

Who Was the President-Elect When You Went to Bed?

Will we ever have a Presidential election to top the 2000 election? Even accountants got involved as members of the Florida firm of Johnson Lambert & Co. helped test the accuracy of machine vote counts.The U.S. Supreme Court added its voice to the controversy over who will become the 43rd president of the United States by agreeing to hear arguments and then making its ruling.The Court considered the issue of whether the Florida Supreme Court violated provisions of federal law and the U.S.
Tax

GAO Recommends IRS Financial Overhaul

The following article is provided courtesy of CCH, Inc.In a lengthy report, "Internal Revenue Service: Recommendations to Improve Financial and Operational Management" (GAO-01-42) dated Nov. 17, the General Accounting Office (GAO) offered 80 recommendations--43 previously suggested and 37 new.
Community News

AICPA, Big 5 PAC Contributions Lean to Republicans

Accounting firms were overwhelmingly on the Republican side during this year's elections, according to government statistics on financial contributions.Seven accounting political action committees (PACs) contributed about $4 million to election campaigns this past fall, and 64 percent of that money went to Republican candidates. This is based on a report issued by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan group.Ernst & Young's PAC was the biggest giver, contributing $850,886, with $545,396 going to Republicans.

BREAKING NEWS: Florida Judge Upholds 5 p.m. Deadline

In a decision that stunned the Gore campaign, a Florida judge has upheld the legal statute which requires that the Secretary of State certify the votes for all counties in Florida effective 5 p.m. today.All hand counts will be suspended immediately and polls are required to turn in votes this afternoon or they will not be counted in the general election.A window of opportunity was left open for those who still hope that hand counting of ballots will be allowed.

Five-Term Senator William Roth Defeated in Delaware

The identity of the new president may not be determined for weeks, but there is a new look to the Senate that will have a significant effect on the way things get done in the future.Senator William Roth, chairman of the Senate Finance committee, and originator of the Roth IRA, was defeated in Delaware last night.
Tax

Read Their Lips: No Tax Law Changes - Yet!

The Senate and House chambers are empty this week, as members of Congress head for home for a brief visit with their constituencies before Tuesday's election. Both groups left unfinished business behind in Washington, and will return next week to try to wrap up the FSC (Foreign Sales Corporation) bill, and some miscellaneous spending and tax bills.

FAS 140 Replaces FAS 125

Big Five accounting firm Deloitte & Touche has provided an explanation of FAS 140 on its Web site.The firm applauds the Financial Accounting Standards Board's initiative in fully replacing FAS 125 with 140, rather than publish stand-alone amendments to the original rules that would require cross-referencing back and forth.D&T points out that FAS 140 applies to new transfers of financial assets occurring after March 31, 2001, and cannot be applied to

Senators Head for Home; Reps Still in DC

With tempers still flaring, the nation's senators have voted to go to separate corners and cool off, leaving Clinton and the federal budget to fester in Washington until after the election. Before exiting, the Senate passed two stop-gap measures that will keep the government's lights on until they return on November 14.Both Republicans and Democrats claim their sides will be strengthened by the retreat. Democrats are hopeful that they will pick up seats in both chambers in the upcoming election.

Are You Ready to Vote?

Test your knowledge of where the candidates stand on Social Security, the Economy, Education, and Health Care with this quick quiz. Make sure you understand the positions of the major candidates by taking these four quick pop quizzes. It's always helpful to have a little extra knowledge in your pocket before you head for the polls.And while you're thinking about voting - don't forget - next Tuesday, November 7, is Election Day.

New Rule Divides Wall Street

The Regulation Fair Disclosure rule (Reg FD) went in effect on Monday, October 23, 2000. US markets began a new period of open and fair communication. At least that is what regulators hope! Wall Street met this new rule against selective disclosure leaks with divided opinions.The Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD) rule is intended to level the investment playing field for the small investor. This regulation will aim to eliminate some of the advantages securities analysts and institutional investors have.

FASB Creates Possible Solution to Debt vs. Equity Issue

With venture capitalists still running amok to fund start-ups and other endeavors, the accounting rules applying to debt versus equity have been under scrutiny for some time.Late last week, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) proposed a solution to the rule: it would establish standards for accounting for financial instruments with characteristics of liabilities, equity or both.The new rule also would establish standards for certain issues related to accounting for the non-controlling interest in a consolidated subsidiary.

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.
Technology

New Face in D.C. Could be an IT Czar

If Congress has its way, there may be a new face in Washington politics with the title, IT Czar.The position is considered to be a panacea to the ongoing problems plaguing the world of cyberspace with regard to regulations, security and other issues.A report published yesterday on AccountingWEB describing the lacking of security within Federal government agencies highlights the need for an IT Czar--or what would be more commonly known as a Chief Information Officer--who could take on the role of applying a knowledge of the IT revolution to government.Earlier this fall, Congress held h
Technology

Amazon Secure About SEC Accounting Probes

Mega online retailer Amazon.com has gotten a taste of what the accounting industry is going through with regard to an SEC probe.The SEC has been in discussions with Amazon for the past month and has now launched an information inquiry into accounting practices revolving around Amazons partnerships with certain vendors.

State Lottery Statistics Influence S. Carolina Decision

It's been all over the news that South Carolina is strongly considering a state lottery to help fund state education, and one of the more interesting stories to come from the discussions is a rundown of the statistics of the typical lottery player.Governor Jim Hodges wants to do his homework before the talks proceed any further, including confirming or discounting the fact that organized lotteries often prey on the poor, which is his citizens' primary opposition to the lottery.He held a conference call on Monday with officials from other states to discuss the lottery in their states.
Technology

GAO: Government Sites Playing 'Big Brother'

When the General Accounting Office (GAO) goes on a fact-finding mission, it often uncovers some pretty strange things.Based on a new report, the GAO found that security and tracking aspects at many of government's Web sites do not meet stated guidelines, and that 13 agencies are secretly using technology to track the habits of its visitors.The report, 'Opportunities and Challenges Facing the FirstGov Web Gateway' outlines these accusations.

SEC Chairman Levitt Pleads with Congress

SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt is hopeful that members of Congress will allow him to move forward with plans to limit the scope of services that auditors can perform.

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