Trends

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

European Companies Applaud Move Toward Global Standards

The Securities and Exchange Commission has released a so-called “road map,” that would allow European companies to sell securities in the U.S. without having to rework their financial statements.Currently, companies that follow International Financial Reporting Standards must reconcile their financial reports that are filed with the SEC so that they meet U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
Tax

Too Many Tax Breaks? Commission Says: Yes!

President Bush’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform has concluded that Americans have too many deductions and tax credits available to them.
A&A

Can Software Replace You?

With tax season fading fast in the rearview mirror, how are your clients preparing for next year’s tax season? Are they planning to spend more time with you? Are they investing in some fancy accounting software in hopes of becoming more self-reliant? Have they discussed any of it with you?

Mint to Produce 24-Karat Gold Coin

With demand for gold coins on the rise globally, the U.S. Mint announced plans this week to begin offering a new 24-karat gold bullion coin early next year, the Associated Press reported.The Mint currently offers a 22-karat American Eagle gold bullion coin, which contains 91.67 percent gold and the rest is made up of other alloys. To achieve the 24-karat tag, the new coin must contain 99.99 percent gold, the AP reported.The new coin will be the Mint's first 24-karat gold coin and is being made in response to investors demand for the purer gold coin.
Tax

REITs Offer Tax Advantages

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) have lost some of the luster lately. Fear of larger tax bills and rising interest rates, have discouraged many investors from adding REITs to their personal financial plans. New research from the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (Nareit) and published in the Wall Street Journal (April 19, 2005, Eastern edition) indicates the tax burden may be lower than previously thought.By law, REITs have to pass a large portion of the income they generate directly to investors.

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.
Technology

Consumers Urged to be Vigilant with Data Theft on the Rise

With high-profile breaches at data providers ChoicePoint and LexisNexis and loss of data at retailers DSW Shoe Warehouse and Polo Ralph Lauren, lawmakers are proposing legislation to stem the flow of personal information.Proposals include a Federal Trade Commission office of identity theft and a requirement that data providers to register with the FTC.
Community News

Archdiocese of St. Louis Tries Centralized Accounting

Four new parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis will be implementing centralized accounting as part of a pilot program. The program stems from the archdiocese’s need to improve financial planning, controls, and reporting. Better budget tracking and fewer late payments are also anticipated benefits from the pilot program.The plan has been met with both enthusiasm and concern.“It makes sense to have a professional accountant,” Rick Dorsey a member of St. Thomas the Apostle parish, one of the four participating in the pilot program, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Senator Santorum and Panel Comment on SOX

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) was the keynote speaker Monday in a panel discussion sponsored by the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.Senator Santorum who is Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and a member of both the Senate Banking and Finance Committees, is the most likely of the four panelists to be in a position to influence the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory bodies.
Community News

Canada's Largest Bank Drops U.S. Accounting Rules

Royal Bank of Canada will no longer use U.S. accounting rules to figure its financial results, opting to revert to Canadian accounting standards.The bank, which is based in Toronto and is the largest in Canada, said the standards in both countries are growing more similar. Royal Bank started using U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) six years ago to match the system used by most of its North American competitors. The bank has been producing both U.S.
Practice Management

Grant Thornton: Five Steps to Choice and Competition

Ninety-seven percent of public companies having sales between $250 million and $5 billion, are audited by the Big Four accounting firms, according to the General Accountability Office (GAO). Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. division of global accounting, business advisory and tax organization, Grant Thornton International would like to change that.
Community News

Fewer Customers but Greater Revenues for H&R Block in March

H&R Block reported on Monday, April 18, 2005, that the number of clients served by its retail operations in the United States through March 31, 2005, decreased by 0.5 percent. The number of taxpayers served by digital tax solutions also decreased by 6.1 percent. Despite the decreases, revenues increased 6.4 percent to $1.9 billion during the same period, due in part to a 6.9 percent increase in tax preparation related fees per client.“These results are consistent with retail client growth at the low end of our expected range,” says Mark A.
Community News

Firm Alliance Creates Memphis' Largest CPA Resource

Two of the largest accounting firms in the city are taking aim at the Big 4 accounting firms by forming an alliance that will create the largest single resource for CPAs in Memphis.Thompson Dunavant PLC, Memphis’ largest locally owned CPA firms, has signed a three-year contract to share resources with BDO Seidman LLP, a national professional services firm providing accounting services to publicly traded businesses. Thompson Dunavant has a professional staff of 58 including 40 CPAs while BDO has a professional staff of 34 including 25 CPAs.
A&A

What Can German Cost Accounting Do for US Firms?

Grenzplankostenrechnung or GPK is not a familiar phrase to most Americans. Given the general dissatisfaction with cost systems in the United States and the demonstrated success of GPK costing systems in German-speaking nations, perhaps it should be.The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) on Tuesday, April 12, 2005, announced the results of a research study examining the benefits of GPK and the ways U.S. companies may use GPK effectively. The study was conducted in June 2004 by Kip R.
Tax

LexisNexis Breach Affects Hundreds of Thousands

Criminals who stole information from a LexisNexis database in the U.S. may have accessed the names, addresses, Social Security and driver license numbers of nearly 310,000 people, the Associated Press reported.The number of people affected is 10 times as many as publisher and data broker Reed Elsevier Group PLC had originally thought, the company acknowledged Tuesday. Last month, the company reported that personal information about 32,000 people had been accessed in a breach of LexisNexis' recently acquired Seisint unit.

GASB Issues Concept Statement on Communication

Hoping for more efficient and effective use of financial reports, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has issued Concepts Statement No.
Community News

Highlights from the SEC Chairman's Remarks in Financial Services Roundtable

On April 1, 2005, William H. Donaldson, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission spoke before the Financial Services Roundtable in Palm Beach, Florida. Participants in the roundtable represented a wide cross-section of the financial services industry in the United States. Mr. Donaldson used the opportunity to discuss his ideas on how the SEC and financial services industry can work together to improve financial markets and keep them a source of prosperity. Mr. Donaldson was careful to qualify his remarks as his own and not representing those of the SEC or SEC staff.
Tax

Accountants Remain Untapped Resource for Many Real Estate Investors

Commercial real estate investors who don’t seek the advice of certified public accountants could be missing out on valuable tax savings according to a recent survey sponsored by Bayview Financial Exchange Services (also known as Bayview 1031).The survey of randomly selected readers of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) CPA Insider e-newsletter between February 8 and 22, 2005, found that clients do not tap their CPA’s knowledge of Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Community News

Vital Records Management: Don't Get Distracted by SOX

When it comes to data management, executives must develop a strategic approach – thinking in both in terms of the “big picture” vision and the details of storage, Van Carlisle, CEO of Fire King, a security and records management group, told the ABA Banking Journal in an interview published in March 2005. Carlisle points out that not all records have the same value to a firm. To be distinguished as “vital,” a record must contain information that is essential to the organization in the event of a disaster.

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