Legislation

Technology

New Compliance Solution Saves Time and Money

A new service from e-know, Inc. automates the outbound communications, business ethics policies, finance and administration controls, non-compete/non-disclosure agreements, conflict of interest policies, operating procedures, sexual harassment policies and other compliance related activities helping commercial and government organizations dramatically reduce the time, expense and effort required to implement initiatives, conduct audits and manage the organization’s overall risk mitigation effort.“Companies continue to spend huge sums and
Tax

Energy Tax Incentives Just a Signature Away

All that is keeps the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 from becoming law is President Bush’s signature.
A&A

Ideas for Prompt Collections and Fair Practices

A Commercial Collection Agency Association study quoted in an Accounting Office and Management and Administrative Report (AOMAR) says that the probability of collecting on a late account after three months drops to 73 percent, after six months to 57 percent and after one year to 29 percent. Richard Baumann, a partner at Sulmeyer Katz, a Los Angeles law firm, said in the AOMAR report, that he advises partners and administrative managers at CPA firms to stay on top of all outstanding bills. “I counsel my clients not to let these things get out of hand.

CPAs Hold Umbrella of Protection Against Gathering ‘Legal Storm’

Like a sudden summer thunderstorm, the surprising number of ERISA-related lawsuits filed last year – more than 11,000 according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts – seems to have blown in out of nowhere.In reality, the Department of Labor has been predicting this “Legal Storm” for more than a year.
A&A

Not All Faxes Are Junk

In passing the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 on Wednesday, June 29, Congress acted to stop junk faxes without preventing small businesses from communicating with customers they have established relationships with.
Tax

Taxing Telecommuting

Every week when AccountingWEB distributes our e-newsletters, we receive a number of automatic “out-of-office” replies. That’s no surprise. After all, summer is a great time to travel and whether you are calling on clients, making the rounds of all the offices, attending a conference, spending more time with your family or work remotely regularly, getting out of the office even for a few days can help recharge our batteries and refocus our energy. It can also raise some interesting tax questions.Telework and telecommuting are becoming more common in the American business world.

CAFTA Passage May Hinge on Support for China Trade Bill

Passage of a free trade agreement with Central America may depend upon legislation that would pressure China to loosen its exchange rate, which is blamed for the poor performance of American exports.House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tuesday that it's become “very difficult for (many lawmakers) to vote on a trade package without getting some kind of meaningful response on the issue of China," Reuters reported.

Mark Your Calendar: GASB Public Hearings on Pollution Remediation Obligations

The Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is holding a public hearing on June 29, 2005 regarding the preliminary views (PV) document Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pollution Remediation Obligations. The public hearing will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) at the Henry B.

Lawmakers Look to Overhaul Rules on Funding Pensions

Private pension plans are seriously underfunded despite a growing economy, according to new figures released by the government's pension insurance agency.The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) reported that the 1,108 weakest pension plans – ones with assets that are $50 million or more below the value of the benefits they promise – were underfunded by an aggregate $353.7 billion at the end of last year, the Washington Post reported. That figure represents a 27 percent increase in the shortfall from the year before.
A&A

Burn it, Pulverize it or Shred it, Don't Just Toss it

Employees' personal information must be destroyed to prevent identity theft under a new law that went into effect Wednesday.Business owners who don't own a shredder should consider buying one because it's no longer good enough to rip up personal documents and throw them away.

AICPA Praises Congress for Introducing Privacy Protection Act of 2005

On May 17, Rep Mark Kennedy (R-MN) and Collin Peterson introduced the Privacy Act of 2005, H. R. 2387. This legislation would amend the privacy provision applicable to CPAs in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) passed in 1999.“The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is pleased Congress has taken this important step to support legislation that would exempt CPAs from a redundant requirement,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, President and CEO of the AICPA.
A&A

Cisco Proposes Option for Options

When the new rules regarding the expensing of options go into effect over the next year, technology firms, like Cisco Systems Inc., will be among the hardest hit. Billions of dollars are stake in Silicon Valley with its high concentration of technology firms.

Consumers, Lawyers Gear Up for 'Creditor-Friendly' Bankruptcy Law

The new bankruptcy law will make it easier for small-business owners to collect debt, but they will have a tougher time if they end up on the other side of the fence – facing bankruptcy and trying to save their companies.The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law last week after eight years of lobbying by banks and credit card companies who viewed the current law as too easy on gamblers, shopaholics and other overspenders who used bankruptcy proceedings as a financial planning tool.According to the Federal Reserve, 43 percent of Americans spend more

EU Seeks Expanded Role with IASB, U.S. Accounting Rules

The European Union wants to play a bigger part in setting international accounting standards and indicated its desire to cooperate with U.S. accounting rule makers, Reuters reported.Charles McCreevy, the European Commissioner who oversees internal market and services, told Reuters at a conference that he hopes the increased involvement and cooperation will lead to a uniform accounting code.McCreevy is currently visiting the U.S.

Accounting Rule Change Affects Pediatric Vaccine Stockpile

A change in accounting rules has forced the hands of the companies that make pediatric vaccinations and has caused a serious shortfall in the government's vaccine stockpile.Under the new rule, companies can't recognize the revenue for a vaccine until it is given to a patient, so selling to the stockpile no longer benefits the companies, the Washington Post reported.

President Bush Signs New Bankruptcy Bill

President Bush on Wednesday signed legislation rewriting the nation’s bankruptcy law. The new law, opposed by consumer rights groups, makes it harder for debt-ridden consumers to wipe that debt out by declaring bankruptcy.
Technology

Lawmakers Take Up Tough ID Theft Bill

A series of high-profile security breaches has prompted lawmakers to consider requiring companies to notify consumers if their personal information has been lost, stolen or otherwise released.“The fact of the matter is that your buying habits, your bank accounts, your Social Security number, your driver's license - all of your personal data - today is being collected, collated, distributed, bought, sold - without your knowledge or consent,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in a statement.

GSE Accounting Problems Threatens US Housing Market

Accounting problems at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks could threaten US Housing Markets, according to Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. He urged his fellow lawmakers to back legislation overhauling the oversight of the giant mortgage lenders.“We’ve heard from some that Congress should be cautious in its efforts to create a new regulator and that we should be mindful not to harm the housing markets,” Oxley said at the top of a committee hearing on the matter.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Legislation Seems Likely

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which oversees the government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, may be on its way out, with Congress potentially giving a new regulator much more authority to limit the companies' growth.The Bush administration indicated last week that it would be flexible on legislation to tighten regulation of the companies. Legislation stalled in 2003 and 2004 due to strong lobbying efforts on the part of the two companies.
Tax

Greenspan, Snow Set to Testify in Fannie, Freddie Hearings

Legislation to tighten the reins on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are making their way through Congress, with three hearings set for this week.The mortgage giants, both chartered by Congress, are recovering from accounting scandals that resulted in orders for massive restatements and the ousters of top management.A Wednesday hearing is set before the House Financial Markets subcommittee on an agreement Fannie Mae reached with its federal regulator to make several changes to improve controls over its accounting procedures as well as to separate the chairman and CEO positions.

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