Trends

Community News

Use of "Gray" Accounting Questioned

At a time when accounting scandals are filling our courts all the way to the highest court in the land, the use of questionable accounting practices by a start-up company in order to get funding, may offer clues about how companies with world-class reputations and reach began down the path of wrongdoing.Earthstone International, a private company founded in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1993, apparently used questionable accounting principles in an attempt to qualify for the final installment of a funding deal from the State Investment Council.

SOX Accounting Expensive for Fortune 1000 Companies

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) has increased the auditing costs by $1.4 billion, collectively, for Fortune 1000 firms based on figures reported as of April 27, 2005. Two professors at the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO), report that 633 Fortune 1000 firms have paid more than $3.6 billion for 2004 audits so far, compared to $2.2 billion the previous year. To comply with SOX, public firms, including those in the Fortune 1000, were required to complete their first audit of internal controls as well as audits of their historical financial statements, in 2004.
Technology

Small Business Survey: Technology, Community Involvement Key

A survey released yesterday by HP indicates that small businesses are planning to ramp up their technology investments. The survey also confirmed the trend toward women owning small businesses and that many small business owners enjoy being able to give back to their communities.Small business owners identified operations, customer relations and employee relations as their core challenges, according to the survey that was conducted by Harris Interactive® and released in conjunction with National Small Business Week events being held in Washington, D.C.

Slow Growth for US Economy in 1st Quarter

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the broadest measure of the overall health of the American economy, grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent during the first quarter of 2005, down from 3.8 percent the previous quarter, according to the Commerce Department. The “pot hole” was blamed on reduced spending by consumers and businesses, probably compensating for higher energy prices.
Community News

Teamsters, Others Vote to Expense Stock Options

Sixty-eight percent of voting shareholders approved a resolution calling for the expensing of stock options at Weyerhaeuser Corporation’s annual meeting. The vote, which would provide shareholders a more accurate reflection of the company’s financial condition, was seen as a victory for the Teamsters General Fund.“Despite Company efforts to silence investors at its meeting, an overwhelming majority of voting shareholders registered their discontent with management’s failure to expense stock options,” C.

California Lawmaker Calls for Drug Company Accounting

The rising cost of prescription drugs has been receiving a lot of attention lately. Consumers complain about the cost of prescription drugs. Drug companies blame the enormous costs of research and development. Employers, legislators and medical professionals are caught in the middle. In California, where the state spends more than $4 billion a year on prescription drugs, one lawmaker wants the drug companies to put up or shut up.
A&A

Internet Yellow Pages Good Deal for Businesses

Looking for the best avenue to market your company? A new survey shows that Internet Yellow Pages beat out local search engines in getting consumers to information quickly and efficiently.comScore Networks and the Yellow Pages Association (YPA) yesterday announced the results of a joint research initiative designed to compare consumer local search behavior on Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) and major search engines. The survey tracked Internet behavior by comScore's panel of 1.5 million U.S. consumers.

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.

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