Trends

A&A

Retailers Say Visa and MasterCard Violate Antitrust Laws

Antitrust attorney W. Stephen Cannon, representing the Merchants Payments Coalition, a group of about 20 retail trade associations, in written testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week accused Visa and MasterCard of violating federal antitrust laws through their practice of setting the interchange rates charged by banks to complete consumer transactions. The interchange fee, now close to 1.74 percent, is charged every time a consumer uses a credit or debit card to pay for a purchase.
Community News

CGA-Canada Accepts Independence Standard

The Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) welcomes the Canadian Public Accountability Board’s (CPAB) decision to accept the CGA Independence Standard, giving effect to the required rule change as of June 20, 2006."CGA-Canada is responsible for setting professional standards for itsmembers and has an obligation to protect the public and ensure CGAs maintain the highest ethical standards," says Anthony Ariganello, FCGA, CPA (Delaware), President and Chief Executive Officer of CGA-Canada.
Practice

White Paper Overview: Old Dogs & New Tricks

People have always been willing to change in order to improve the future. Consequently, old dogs can learn new tricks as they find more effective ways to adapt and leverage new technology, methods, processes, ideas, and social networks that help them improve the return on the investment they make in human capital. But can they create new tricks?According to Ron Baker, author of the white paper “Old Dogs Can’t Create New Tricks,” it’s not likely. Basically, what he means is that the older we get the less likely we are to create a ground breaking innovation.
Tax

Audits Find Problems with Use of Government Vehicles

Recent audits at state, local and national government departments have revealed weak controls over personal use of government–owned vehicles by employees, government failure to report personal use as a taxable benefit, underutilization of government owned vehicles and inadequate control of employees’ access to government-owned fuel.
A&A

Small Trucking Firms Threatened by Fuel Costs

Of the 560,000 motor carriers in the U.S., 95 percent have 20 or fewer trucks and the rising cost of fuel is their number one concern, says Tiffany Wlazlowski, spokeswoman for the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the San Antonio Business Journal reports. “So, essentially the trucking industry is a small-business industry.
Practice Management

Travel expense management systems can save time, money

Automated expense management offers real advantages to employees and management, ranging from significant cost savings to companies on travel expense processing to reducing the time it takes for an employee to fill out a spreadsheet expense report or a paper report. The technology is also designed to detect fraud and to document approval processes, which appeals to financial managers focused on Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance.
Practice Management

Daimler Plan to Outsource Accounting Sparks Opposition

DaimlerChrysler may outsource some of its accounting work to countries that pay lower wages, German media sources reported.According to the company’s works council, the German-U.S. car manufacturer is considering the Czech Republic and India for some of the company's accounting work. The works council opposes the outsourcing plan and has threatened a veto. "We are saying without a balance of interest this simply won't fly," said Erich Klemm, head of the council, according to a report in Monday’s Stuttgarter Zeitung.
Technology

Employers Seek Alternatives for Easing Costs of Going to Work

With gas prices still high and possibly going higher, companies are trying to help their employees save money on their daily commutes by signing up for commuter tax benefit programs and discount programs with local mass transit and offering transportation subsidies, the Associated Press reports. Employers can also reap tax benefits from those participating in the commuter tax program which can help them to retain their employees.
Technology

Mark Your Calendar: Finance & Accounting Outsourcing Webinar to Be Held July 25

Everest Research Institute will deliver an industry-defining webinar, on July 25, revealing the latest research trends in Finance & Accounting (F&A) Outsourcing (FAO).

Lucas Group Annual Hiring Survey Finds No Signs of Slowing Down

“With strong company growth expected throughout nearly every industry represented in the survey, accounting and finance talent will continue to be in high demand,” Andrea Jennings, vice president and general manager of Lucas Group Accounting & Finance, an executive search firm, said in a prepared statement announcing the results from its annual accounting and finance hiring manager survey. According to the survey, business growth and hiring trends continue to increase and reflect positive hiring projections for the next 12 months.

Confidence Among Accounting and Finance Workers Improves in June

After declining in May, confidence among accounting and finance workers rebounded to 110 in June, according to the Hudson Employment Index(SM). This level is lower than the 113.2 level of the previous year. In addition, the composite Index rose 0.1 point, to 102.4.The Hudson Employment Index for accounting and finance workers revealed that: Compared to May, when 21 percent of workers were concerned about job loss, only 17 percent made that statement in June.
Community News

Japan’s Oversight Board Faults Operations, Controls at Big Four Firms

Japan’s Certified Public Accountants and Auditing Oversight Board (CPAAOB), a subsidiary of the Financial Services Agency (FSA) with independent investigatory power, asked the FSA on Friday to issue business improvement orders to Japan’s Big Four audit firms, Mainichi news reports.
Community News

Survey Finds Midwestern Service Firms Optimistic

Accountants, architects, engineers and other professional services firms in the Upper Midwest did well over the past year and expect to continue to grow over the next twelve months, according to a recent survey of nearly 400 professional services firms conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.Results reveal growth in sales prices, revenue and productivity.

U.S. Returns to Top Ten in Economic Freedom

The United States has regained its position as one of the most economically free countries in the world, ranking ninth on the 2006 Index of Economic Freedoms. After falling to 12th place the previous year, the U.S. increased economic freedom by narrowly cutting government spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and lowering tariff rates (as a weighted average).
Technology

Microsoft Will Enter VoIP Market through Office Products

Microsoft executives announced Monday in San Francisco that the company would introduce voice technology to its current products and develop new products that link all worker communications from e-mail and instant messaging to videoconferencing and telephony, the Associated Press reports, thus taking on the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) market from within their Office products.
Tax

Finance and Accounting Outsourcing Lags; New Technology May Spur Growth

On shore shared-service centers have taken the lead in performing finance and accounting processes, according to a recent study published by the Hackett Group, a strategic advisory firm, with 58 percent of the companies surveyed using the shared services model, globalservicesmedia.com reports. Only seven percent of companies relied on offshore shared-services centers. Twenty-seven percent of financial processes are still performed in-house or in some decentralized manner, according to the study.
Tax

Accountant Held Liable for Interest Expense from Tax Error

The South Dakota Supreme Court last week upheld a Circuit Court decision allowing a jury to award damages to Doug O’Bryan Contracting Inc. for interest expense on underpayment of taxes that resulted from an error made by his accountant. The state’s high court had not previously allowed recovery of interest expense in lawsuits against tax advisers, the Associated Press reports.Bruce Ashland, a certified public accountant, understated O’Bryan’s income for 1995.
Tax

Information Technology Audits Are Priority for Small Business Owners

Small businesses, whether public companies gearing up for Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) compliance, or privately held companies responding to customers’ demands for secure storage of personal data, are hiring internal Information Technology (IT) auditors in record numbers, according to networkworld.com. Also, internal and external auditors and IT personnel focused on security are working together to meet their goals.

Managing Company Stock in a 401(k); IRA Rollover vs. Taxable Account

Employees who are approaching retirement or taking advantage of a buyout and who hold company stock in a 401(k) should consider potential tax savings from taking a lump-sum distribution of the stock into a taxable brokerage account rather than rolling it into an IRA, USAToday says. The employee pays tax at the time of the distribution, based on his or her normal tax rate (25 percent or more) on the cost basis in the stock, not on its fair market value.
Community News

Online License Renewal Becoming Available in More States

Alabama, South Carolina and New Mexico have joined the list of states offering accountants the option of renewing their CPA licenses online. New Mexico provided CPAs with registration codes in their license renewal letters that they will need to access the state’s database.

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