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Showdown with the SEC

Representatives from CPA firms, educational institutions, and accounting regulatory agencies will present testimony today before the Securities & Exchange Commission in an attempt to have their say about the proposed guidelines to limit the auditors’ scope of services.

Schedule of Witnesses for Wednesday's SEC Hearings

SEC Announces Schedule of Witnesses for Public Hearing on AuditorIndependenceSchedule of AppearancesPublic Hearing - July 26, 20009:00 am - 5:30 pmAs previously announced, the Commission is holding a public hearing on Wednesday, July 26, in connection with its proposed rule amendments regarding auditor independence. The hearing will take place in the William O. Douglas Room of the Commission's headquarters at 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20549.
Tax

Effect of Marriage Tax Cut on $1.8 Trillion Surplus

Last week's vote to send tax cut legislation for married couples to the White House for consideration has fueled yet another battle between Democrats and Republicans in a very important election year.Democrats who voted against ending the marriage tax penalty are concerned that the passing of the tax cut will use up all of the projected 10-year, $1.8 trillion surplus.

Sage Develops Government Management System

Sage Software, Inc. and iDC (Information Development Consultants) have joint-ventured to develop a new management system designed to target the government sector.The system is called 'PlusFund,' and uses the Sage Enterprise Suite to handle any financial-related aspects of government accounting and reporting standards, including GASB 34.The Sage Enterprise Suite encompasses both the Acuity and Best! Imperativ product lines, and incorporates full fund and encumbrance accounting, along with budgetary controls.

SEC Taps CPA to Oversee Fraud Cases

Charles Niemeier, a CPA with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Williams & Connolly, is now on board with the SEC as Chief Accountant of the Division of Enforcement to help investigate accounting fraud. In this capacity, he will advise the enforcement division on accounting related issues.Niemeier also will head a new SEC group called the 'Financial Fraud Task Force,' which will consist of a team of accountants and lawyers focusing on accounting and financial reporting investigations.

US Unveils New Currency Today

The US Government is issuing new $5 and $10 notes today, as part of an increased effort to guard against counterfeiting measures.Banks will begin receiving shipments today, but the general public probably won't see the bills for another week or so, depending on the current supply of $5s and $10s in the bank's vaults.The bigger portraits of Lincoln and Hamilton, the nation's first treasury secretary, are easier to recognize, while the added detail make the currency harder to duplicate.

Activity-Based Costing Proves Worthwhile

A new study reveals how activity-based costing (ABC) can be applied to a single department of a major institution of higher education to manage systems more effectively.The study was funded by The PricewaterhouseCoopers Endowment for The Business of Government, and is called 'Using Activity-Based Costing to Manage More Effectively.' Authors are Professor Michael H. Granof, Assistant Professor David E.
A&A

Auditors Clean Up with Non-Attest Services

A new survey from the Financial Executives Institute (FEI) finds that an overwhelming 85 percent of respondents say their auditors also provide 'non-attest consulting services.'Respondents claim the reason why this is so high is that they want the freedom to choose consultants, and rely on firms that already provide value to their company through services like audit.More than 60 percent also said that their auditors prepare or review tax returns apart from any tax accrual audit work.The survey was released to coincide with SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt's

Web site Offers Estate Tax Calculator

A Web site run by the Americans Against Unfair Family Taxation (AAUFT) has made available an estate tax calculator for use by accounting professionals and consumers.By virtue of the name of the organization, the Web site was created in response to the impact the reductions in estate tax has on a variety of heir-related matters and financial planning.The AAUFT is backed by nine trade groups.For more calculators, be sure to check out AccountingWEB's comprehensive calculator page.

Finding IT Profs. Just as Hard for Government

Many CPAs and accounting professionals lament that finding good IT professionals is difficult. The first problem is actually recruiting Mr. and Ms. Gen-X to join the firm, while the second problem rests with getting the IT person to stay for the long haul.One of the most difficult areas in which to find good IT people is the government sector. Even public firms have a better chance of luring the IT professional.
Technology

Postal Service Creates New Bill Paying Service

Long lines, one clerk serving all windows, and spending untold amounts of time may quickly become icons of the past as more and more of us use online bill paying services, electronic postage and other services for which we usually go (and still are, for the most part) to the neighborhood post officeEven though first-class mail continues to increase, the U.S.

Gas Tax Repeal a 'no-go' for Senate

Just when accounting gurus were convinced that Congress would repeal the gas tax, ensuring that prices would fall in accordance, the Washington Post today confirmed that the Senate is reluctant to take this drastic measure.The Senate did, however, agree to explore oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in an attempt to find more sources for the future.Still, experts agree that any repeal of the tax, along with the possibility of the drilling initiative, probably won't pass muster in the House and certainly not with the president--if it even gets that far.

FAA in the Clouds Over GAO Report

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reason to worry. Not only is it waiting for an independent panel's report over complications related to its satellite-based navigation system, but now the General Accounting Office is involved through a direct order from Congress.The request was made by Sen.
Tax

NYC Repeals Commuter Tax Worth $360 Million

What's good for the goose may not be good for the gander - the New York Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the city of New York must tax every one of its commuters, or none at all.
Technology

Andersen Cuts Red Tape With Alliance

Who enjoys red tape and long delays? No one, and that's why Arthur Andersen has formed an alliance with govWorks, Inc., an Internet portal.The alliance is intended to reduce the amount of delays in processing business-to-government transactions.

Federal Agency Audits Show Improvements

Each year when the U.S. Treasury Department conducts its annual audit of 24 Federal agencies, it finds a mixed bag of reports based on a variety of factors and circumstances.
Technology

'Value' of Dotcoms Complicated

Performing a valuation of a brick-and-mortar business is often a complex engagement given the historical financials that must be reviewed along with other assessments. Do the same rules apply for the dotcoms of the world?Hardly.
Technology

PWC Says 'No' to SEC Big Brother Campaign

PricewaterhouseCoopers has said this week that the firm definitely would not participate in a bid process identifying firms that could help the Securities and Exchange Commission monitor Web sites.PWC said the SEC's online version of 'wire tapping' might invade the privacy of otherwise innocent people. The accounting firm, along with more than 100 other companies, were invited in January to submit a bid on an automatic surveillance system.The SEC is collecting data from online chat rooms, Web sites and forums to identify potential fraud schemes.

Cautious Times Loom for Public Companies

By now, it's old news that last week, MicroStrategy had to adjust its financial statements to conform to SEC guidelines on reporting revenue in the software industry. This is called a "restatement," and the measure effectively sent the company's stock tumbling over the news that it has not made as much money as previously reported.Experts and analysts have focused on how this one incident affects the rest of the software industry.
Technology

Dot.com Accounting - Anyone's Guess?

Dot.coms are here to stay, and while Congress keeps debating the pros and cons of Internet taxation, accounting procedures for online businesses is one arena in which there are few rules to follow ... and even so, the rules keep changing.The rules focus on how Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) are applied to e-Commerce and online businesses.

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