Government

CFO Views on Federal Financial Management

A new survey commissioned by Grant Thornton and the Association for Government Accountants tracks the trends, issues and beliefs by CFOs related to Federal financial management.The Millenium AGA CFO Survey: Formula for Enterprise Insight has been conducted each year since 1996. The top areas of concern based on survey results included roles, management, technology, structure and people.
Technology

Dotcom Accounting: SEC is a Part of Your Life

The media and online news sources have been full of stories about the SEC’s hearings on independence issues, yet one sector that is fully aware of the Commission’s monumental presence—apart from the independence issue—is the dotcom accountant.Why? The world of the dotcom is about spending money to make money, and the way income or losses are reported is paramount to regulators.

Your Input Needed for 2001 FASB Agenda

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has asked for feedback on its 2001 technical agenda.Specifically, FASB wants to know what professionals believe to be the priorities of projects currently on the FASB's technical agenda, future agenda projects, international activities, and communications with constituents.You may participate by following the instructions at the link below and downloading an executable file to your hard drive.Deadline for sending feedback is Sept
Community News

SEC Makes Auditor Independence Transcript Available

The Securities & Exchange Commission has posted on its web site the entire transcript of Day One of the auditor independence hearings which occurred on July 26.AccountingWEB provided full coverage of the event throughout the day, and will do so again for the second day of hearings, scheduled for September 13.Speakers presenting testimony before the SEC in July included public accountants, industry accountants, educators, memb
Community News

SEC Accepting Applications for 2nd Hearing

The SEC is gearing up for Round Two of the auditor independence hearings, and applications are being accepted for those who wish to participate in the hearings.
Community News

EY Partner Hired as SEC Deputy Chief Accountant

The Securities and Exchange Commission has hired Jackson Day, formerly a partner with Ernst & Young to assume the number two accounting position at the Commission.As deputy chief accountant, Day will oversee the accounting and audit practices.
Tax

Hello? IRS On the Line!

If you’ve never picked up the phone to hear the person at the other end identified as a representative of the IRS, you may not know what kind of a treat you are in for. But wait! Just because the IRS is on the line doesn’t mean you should go running for cover because your tax return is about to be examined. In this case, the kinder, gentler IRS is just being friendly.The IRS is about to conduct a telephone survey to determine the national comfort level with the process of electronically filed income tax returns.

Disabled Workers are Often Overlooked and Need Jobs

AccountingWEB has reported several stories over the past several weeks on the strong economy and low unemployment, but how true does this familiar tune ring for the disabled?Not very loudly, according to sources. Disabled persons are referred to as the 'invisible' work force. In an age in which most everyone has a job (unemployment is at four percent), many disabled workers have an extremely difficult time securing employment. Figures are reportedly as high as 75 percent.Now in its 10th year, the Americans With Disabilities Act seemingly has little affect.
Tax

Some new Tax Shelters a No-Go With Treasury

Based on sources, The New York Times reports that several Big 5 firms are proposing unique tax shelters to clients that do not make the grade. The shelters create artificial tax losses by investing in partnerships.The Treasury Department did not release the names of the firms that are suspect, and could not be sure of which firms even proposed the shelters.

Worker Productivity Jumps to High Levels

Americans are working harder and building it faster.According to the Department of Labor, productivity among American workers jumped 5.3 percent in the second quarter. Combined with previous increases over the past year, productivity is rising at the fastest rate in 17 years.The figure is determined by the amount of output per hour of work, and actually grew by almost four percent from the first quarter alone, where the increase was 1.9 percent.What's the impact of these increases?
A&A

Decimals to Come to the Stock Exchange

Beginning August 28, 2000, you will start seeing securities listed with decimals instead of the traditional fractional reporting that has been available since the exchanges began.Decimal pricing will be phased in in a four step process through April 9, 2001, when all securities on all exchanges will be listed in decimal format.
Community News

Senators Urge 'Caution' in Letter to SEC Chairman

Several members of the Securities Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs are urging Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt to extend the comment period on the non-audit services portion of the proposed rules on auditor independence until after February 1, 2001.The extension, if granted, "will allow for careful analysis of the proposed changes," according to the letter. The letter was signed by Securities Subcommittee Chairman Senator Rod Grams, and Senators Evan Bayh, Phil Gramm, Charles E. Schumer, Mike Crapo, Robert F.

Auditors should audit. It’s that simple.

Among Wednesday’s speakers at the Securities and Exchange hearings on auditor independence was John H. Biggs, Chairman, President, and CEO of TIAA-CREF, the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and College Retirement Equities Fund.TIAA-CREF manages $300 billion for its participants and invests $1.5 billion in new fixed income every month and even more in common stock. Biggs told of an incident that occurred several years ago in which his company relied on audited financial statements in making a $12 million investment.

Auditors and managers have the same interests, says Yale Professor

Speaking before the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, Professor Rick Antle of the Yale School of Management indicated it is usually unreasonable to assume an auditing firm than performs non-audit services is going to compromise its audit.Antle has studied the issue of auditor independence at length and is co-author of the white paper, "An Economic Analysis of Auditor Independence for a Multi-client, Multi-service Public Accounting Firm" submitted to the Independence Standards Board (ISB) on behalf of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).In an inte
Community News

KPMG Takes a Stab at SEC Auditor Independence Proposals

Terry Strange, Global Managing Partner of Audit for KPMG, took the podium yesterday at the SEC auditor independence hearings, and offered his reservations about the hurried nature of the proposed auditor restrictions as well as the inappropriateness of the barriers to auditing firms providing non-audit services.Noting his complete support of the SEC's desire to modernize independence rules, Strange expressed two troubling aspects of the proposals:The bundling of the much needed revisions of existing rules on investments and family relationships
Technology

A Focus on the Secret Service Cyber-Crimes Unit

With more and more CPAs and their staffs specializing in fraud-related engagements, especially forensic accounting investigations, a look inside the Secret Services' cyber crime fighting division is a fascinating study in high-tech surveillance.Known as the Electronic Crimes Special Agent Program (ECSAP), the division itself has grown over 900 percent in the last three years.

It's Mickey Mouse: How Copyright Law Affects Accounting

In many situations, matters like copyright infringement directly affect the accounting profession in a number of ways. Why?It's easy to understand that big business wants to protect its assets. Take the case of Disney, who banks on the fact that Mickey Mouse is spared any public domain once the character's copyright period expires.Based on a 1998 law enacted by Congress called the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA), companies like Disney can hold on to a copyright for a term as long as 20 more years.
Technology

Columbia Law Professor Offers Auditor/SEC Compromise

"The contemporary auditing firm has moved from providing a single service at relatively modest cost to becoming a multi-faceted vendor of business advisory services," according to Professor John C. Coffee, Jr. of the Columbia Law School who testified today in the auditor independence hearings before the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Community News

CPA Firms Testify (Briefly) Before SEC

The SEC set aside one hour today for representatives from three of the Big 5 CPA firms to make their claims that proposed auditor independence guidelines would impede progress, prevent firms from attracting professionals with necessary specialized skills, reduce competition among CPA firms, increase costs of services, and in general make life miserable for CPA firms that provide consulting services along with traditional auditing services.Stating that CPA firms already enjoy a high level of independence standards and professional ethics, such standards and ethics being applicable to consult

Maintaining Independence Within the CPA Firm

Today, the SEC is beginning its hearings related to independence within an accounting and consulting firm, and are set to hear testimony from representatives of government and the Big 5.How does a CPA firm maintain independence when delivering both audit and consulting services?

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