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Guest articles


'How Do We Do That Around Here? A Question of Policies & Procedures'

By Kenneth M. McCall, MBA, MCPPut yourself in the position of a newly hired staff accountant in your firm. You’ve just completed the Human Resources orientation, received network login credentials from the computer department, and even had a little orientation training on the software that the firm uses for various job functions. Now it’s time to go to work!Will it be clear to you how the job functions of the firm are carried out? Whether you’re an auditor or assigned to the tax department, will it be clear to you how the firm expects you to do your job?

Stapler-wielding Tax Preparer Scares off Would-be Robber

If rock smashes scissors, scissors cut paper, and paper covers rock, how would a pocket knife and a stapler match up?Tax preparer DeAnna Rankins quickly decided her stapler would make a good weapon when a man brandished a pocket knife and demanded cash while she was working at a Jackson Hewitt Tax Service office in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday night."I was in a zone, working on taxes," Rankins told the Des Moines Register. "It didn't occur to me at first that he meant he wanted to rob me. We don't have any money here.
Community News

Consumers Do Nothing to Protect Themselves From Fraudulent Tax Preparers

Despite yearly warnings from the Internal Revenue Service, only half (52%) of all Americans are taking steps toprotect themselves from fraudulent tax preparers.That's the finding of a new survey from, the free online attorney directory for individuals and small businesses, from LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell."This time of year, unscrupulous tax preparers rip off Americans by promising phony tax programs that they claim get big returns, or relieve Americans of their obligation to pay taxes altogether," observed attorney Alan Kopit,'s legal editor."The IRS has
Education & Careers

Don’t Sabotage Your Job Search with False Assumptions

By Deborah Walker, CCMCMost job seekers understand that the job market has changed radically over the last few years. Sadly, however, many still hold to job-search assumptions that do not apply to our current market conditions. If you believe any of the following five statements, you could be dragging your job search out longer than necessary. Cut your job search time by knowing the truth about the job market and learning how to combat these assumptions. "My last job search was a snap.

Cross-Selling Tactics: The Two Major Objectives

by Phyllis Weiss HaserotCross-selling has been hailed as the most logical and natural way to expand business with your current client base. In most firms, large or small, the results have been underwhelming because of lack of information on capabilities, cooperation, and commitment to follow through. Here is how it should work.Cross-selling is a process with two major objectives: 

Small Businesses Ripe for Insurance Fraud: What Your Company Needs to Know

Health insurance scams are a real threat for small business employers and employees. Insurance failures hurt real people – workers and their families – who are seldom equipped to absorb large dollar losses. Small-business owners are often the targets of such scams, which resulted in at least $252 million in unpaid medical claims from 2000 through 2002, says the GAO, an investigative arm of Congress.Health insurance scam artists steal from the most vulnerable consumers," Assistant Secretary of Labor, Ann Combs testified.

Executives Will ‘Never be Above the Law’

About two years ago it began and now the names Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, HealthSouth and Adelphia Communications are among those associated with scandal.
Practice Management

'The Future of the Accounting Profession' Special Report

Back in November of 2003, fifty-seven men and women, including leaders from the worlds of accounting, finance, law, academia, investment banking, journalism, non-governmental organizations, as well as the current and former regulatory officials gathered together for the 103rd American Assembly entitled "The Future of the Accounting Profession."Over the course of the Assembly, the distinguished professionals considered three broad areas of the accounting p
Practice Management

How to Manage Change in Your Organization Effectively

by The Change Management GroupA generation has grown up since the scientist and novelist C.P. Snow wrote that, until this century, social change was "so slow that it would pass unnoticed in one person's lifetime. That is no longer so. The rate of change has increased so much that our imagination can't keep up." Two of the most critical elements of leadership are the introduction and management of change. Many leaders have little or no training in the process.
Community News

Why Can't CPAs Get Traction with New Services?

By, Gale Crosley, CPA and Consultant Not so long ago, the business of an accounting firm was as predictable as men's business attire. Tax preparation and audits were about as far as it went. Unfortunately, as firms have attempted to branch out into an array of related services, their experiences have been hit or miss. More often than not, the reason is that they are unfamiliar with some of the fundamentals in bringing a new service to market, and often incorrectly pattern their efforts after bringing products to market.

Successful Business Alliances Built on Nine Key Elements

ENSR International and its key clients have developed continuous improvement programs that virtually ensure a mutually successful business relationship. Using the ENSR business alliance model, clients have succeeded in reducing their overall business and environmental project costs with no compromise on quality."In fact, our alliances have achieved better program performance while saving our client money", says Michael Beck, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Community News

Learn to Respect Emotion in Business

by Phyllis Weiss Haserot

Small Firms Getting Big Slice of Sarbanes-Oxley Pie

When Frank Lordi started getting calls from accounting giants PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG, he knew he was onto something big.Lordi’s small financial consulting firm, Lordi Consulting in West Chester, Pa., had developed an expertise in helping companies comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In the fall of 2002, the phone started ringing."They were asking us to come help their clients because they didn't want the other big firms to make inroads with them," Lordi told the New York Times.
Community News

All You Have Is Your Integrity - Why Leave It to Chance?

by By Susan M. HeathfieldEveryone knows right from wrong. Right? Wrong. People disagree about the definition of right and wrong all the time. That is why the topic of business ethics is currently front and center in the media and in office break rooms. When daily, the next Enron, Arthur Andersen, or WorldCom story hits the wires, it's difficult to ignore business ethics as an issue.

Corporate Boards Need to Do More to Reform

CEO succession, executive compensation, strategic planning, the nomination of directors and risk oversight are some of the areas that corporate boards are still grappling with more than a year after they were scared straight by the downfall of companies such as Enron and WorldCom.While the expected slew of disgruntled investor lawsuits have not resulted from tighter regulations, the courts are getting into the act by putting corporate boards on notice that they are being watched, said Ira Millstein, a corporate governance expert, speaking at the Reuters Corporate Reform Summit in New York l
Community News

Build an Organization Based on Values

by Susan M. Heathfield"Our people are our most important asset." You’ve heard these words many times, if you work in the human resources field. Yet how many organizations act as if they really believe these words? Not many. These words are the clear expression of a value, and values are visible through the actions people take, not their talk. Values form the foundation for everything that happens in your workplace. If you are the founder of an organization, your values permeate the workplace. You naturally hire people who share your values.

Company to Offer Free Access to Credit Scores, Advice

Credit card issuer Providian Financial Corp. plans to offer all its customers free online access to their credit scores, with tips on how to improve them.The program, called "Real Information," allows cardholders to see their FICO credit score online. FICO is the most widely used score, which is computed from monthly credit data. Customers can plug hypotheticals into a score simulator to see how actions such as a missed payment or payoff of a balance can affect the score.Customers can look at their scores anytime they like, as often as they like, at no charge.

Wireless Internet Networking is Great, Right? Yes, But Beware

The image is enticing, a modern day Norman Rockwell portrait. Your children are upstairs on the home computer, and you and your spouse are downstairs in the den, each with your own laptop – everyone comfortably sharing the same Internet connection, and everyone getting the individual computer time that they need in today’s fast paced world. Wireless networking is now affordable for everyone, and as a result, thousands of consumers have recently or will soon set up a wireless network. But there is a dark side to this convenience, one that could cost you money, time and reputation.

Common Questions About Internal Audit, New Regulatory Requirements

Internal audit has taken on new prominence now that New York Stock Exchange-listed companies are required to have an internal audit function. Public and private companies throughout the country are evaluating the benefits of internal audit to their operations. Many organizations, in fact, have questions as to how an internal audit function can impact their businesses and what exactly the new NYSE listing standards require.

Companies Lose Revenue Due to Network Downtime

Companies participating in a new study by Infonetics Research experience an average of 501 hours of network downtime every year, and as a result are losing millions of dollars in annual productivity and revenue losses, study results show."Overall downtime costs average 3.6% of annual revenue, a significant number, and one likely to surprise many large organizations," said Jeff Wilson, principal analyst of Infonetics Research and author of the study, titled The Costs of Enterprise Downtime, North America 2004.


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