Trends

A&A

Family Partnerships are Under the Microscope

Tread carefully if you are thinking of moving family estate assets into a partnership to reduce your tax burden. A U.S.
Tax

Highlights of IRS Commissioner Everson's Speech to the National Press Club

Exactly one year ago today, I stood here and gave you my assessment of our tax administration system. I spoke of the IRS mission of service and enforcement, and about our need to modernize. What I said one year ago was that the IRS was doing a good job improving service, had a mixed record on modernization, and a lot of work to do to restore enforcement to proper levels.Electronic filing continues to grow. Last year Americans filed 62 million electronic returns. This year the IRS expects that over half of all individual returns will be e-filed.
A&A

Survey Finds Workers Average Only Three Productive Days per Week

Unclear objectives, lack of team communication and ineffective meetings are among the top time wasters that workers around the world say make them feel unproductive for as much as a third of their workweek on average, according to results of an online Microsoft(R) Office survey announced last week.
Community News

Tax Preparation Support Program: The Next Small Firm Practice Area?

When it comes to understanding their income tax options, nearly one-fifth (18 percent) of employees do not fully comprehend how their W-4 forms impact their taxes and paychecks, according to a national survey by Hudson. That figure rises to 29 percent when looking at workers aged 18-29 years old. Additionally, two in every five U.S. workers (40 percent) would be interested in a tax preparation support program from their firms if it were offered.Further, just one-third (34 percent) of workers report that they prepare their taxes themselves, compared to 55 percent who hire a professional.
Community News

Best Practices in Effectively, Efficiently Administering Employee Surveys

Accurate measurement of employee opinion better equips a company for continuous productivity increases, employee retention and overall profitability. Yet, only 32% of benchmarked companies administer regular employee surveys throughout the year, according to a study conducted by Best Practices, LLC. The study uncovers how and why organizations survey employee level of commitment, engagement and satisfaction.The study profiles 27 financial services, biotech, insurance, technology and energy companies.
Community News

Investment Firms Digging Deeper into Client Relationships

Some investment houses are going the extra mile to forge lasting relationships with clients by offering “life planning” advice as part of the investment package, the Associated Press reported.You've seen the Morgan Stanley commercials where the investment advisor could be mistaken for a spouse, well that strategy is taking hold across the industry as investment advisors talk to their clients about life goals, dreams and values.Some are going so far as taking their clients away on short retreats to country clubs and resorts to get a better handle on the individual's needs.
Community News

Plante & Moran Solidifies Michigan Presence with Merger

Michigan-based Plante & Moran is merging with the Flint and Ann Arbor-based accounting and consulting firm BKR Dupuis & Ryden. The merger will be effective July 1, 2005, and the combined firms will operate as Plante & Moran, PLLC. The addition of BKR Dupuis & Ryden's 60 staff, seven partners, and $7.5 million in annual revenue will give Plante & Moran a total of 1,450 staff, 204 partners, and annual revenues of $210 million.
Community News

Minorities, Women See Greater Opportunities on Corporate Boards

While minorities and women are filling corporate board seats at unprecedented rates, challenges continue to impede the progress of diversification, according to the March issue of Worth magazine.Signifying a trend that "is not just good PR but also good business," contributing writer Suzanne McGee cites the changing face of the workforce and the steady rise in minority-owned businesses as factors contributing to this evolution.

Domestic Partner Benefits Becoming Commonplace in Corporate America

It seems corporate America is more concerned about recruiting and retaining talented employees than it is about the lifestyle choices those employees make outside of work.Charlotte Observer reported that more than 60 percent of the Fortune 100 companies are now offering health benefits to same-sex couples, even as national debate on the issue rages on.According to a recent survey conducted by Robert Half Management, 1,400 CFOs, ranked "recruiting and retaining qualified staff" as the third top priority for success in 2005, just behind "growing revenue" and "controlling expenses," the Obs

SEC Boss Chastises Attorneys Over Fund Scandal

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William H.
Education & Careers

CEOs, Partners Face Tough Choices in Deciding When to Step Down

The toughest task for many CEOs is not running their companies but determining when it is time to step down, according to a new report in Across the Board, The Conference Board's magazine.Says James Krohe Jr., author of the article: "For the miscreant CEO, the question of when to leave the job has an easy answer: 'Before they find out.' For the merely mediocre senior executive, the answer is different--'Before they push me out' -- but equally easy. But what about the CEO who is neither being shoved out the door nor sneaking out by the freight elevator?
Tax

Free Credit Report Offers... Are They Really Free? - Consumer Alert

Free credit report offers seem to flood the Internet these days. Most companies claiming to give you a free credit report are really looking to sell you something in the long run, such as a credit monitoring service or identity-fraud protection. Once you purchase the service, you will be given a copy of your credit report, usually from just one of the major credit bureaus. Since there are three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax), you will not see the complete picture if you do not receive a report from each one.

International Board Created to Set Auditing Standards

A group of international regulators is seeking to restore investor confidence by forming the Public Interest Oversight Board to set auditing standards, the New York Times reported.The new body was established by the International Organization of Securities Commissions, the Basel Committee of Banking Supervisors, the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, the World Bank and the Financial Stability Forum.
Community News

For the Class of 2005, Accounting Jobs Abound

The job market for the Class of 2005 is predicted to be the best since the Class of 2000. The majors most in demand are accounting, business administration, marketing, computer science and engineering. According to Michigan State University's annual Recruiting Trends survey, economic sectors showing strength this year include: retail, wholesale, transportation (not including airlines), health services, entertainment and real estate.
Community News

Study Reveals Midwest and South Offer Best Work-Life Balance

A study conducted by Tickle Inc., an online career assessment testing company, has found workers in the Northeast fall far below other regions in many key areas of job satisfaction. Survey results show overall job happiness is strongly tied to a healthy work-life balance and strong company leadership. New England falls far below the national average in both categories, while the Midwest and South lead the country in both areas.
Community News

PCAOB Announces Leaders of Chicago, Denver Offices

The Chicago office is led by Deputy Director of Inspections, Greg Wilson. Mr. Wilson retired in December 2003 as an audit partner from Ernst & Young. He began his auditing career in 1969, specializing in the audits of publicly held retail, consumer and industrial products clients. He also served in various management and administrative positions including Director of the Chicago office audit practice and Regional Director of Human Resources. Mr. Wilson, a CPA, graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy.
Tax

'Dual-Rate Income Tax' System is a Good Tax Code Fix

As the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform begins meeting this week to discuss revamping the current tax code, a new Cato Institute study proposes a simpler alternative that would have most Americans paying just 15 percent.In "Options for Tax Reform," Cato Institute director of tax policy studies Chris Edwards addresses the unnecessary complexity and inefficiency of the present system and adds that the new tax code needs to reduce the size of government.
Tax

More than a Thousand Whistleblower Cases Discarded in 2004

Washington, DC — The U.S. Special Counsel has dismissed more than 1,000 whistleblower cases in the past year, according to a letter from the Bush-appointed Special Counsel released last week by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The Special Counsel appears to have taken action in very few, if any, of these cases and has yet to represent a single whistleblower in an employment case.In a letter dated February 14, 2005 and addressed to U.S.
Technology

Internet Start-ups Take on 'Personal Brand Management'

Anyone who wants to control information that is presented about them during an Internet search, now has the tools at their disposal.New Internet profiling services can help people manage what other computer users see when they look up names in search engines such as Google or Yahoo."We are moving into a world of personal brand management," Tim DeMello, chief executive of start-up Ziggs, told Washington Post columnist Leslie Walker.
Technology

California Launches ReadyReturn Tax Program

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) last week announced the launch of ReadyReturn, a new pilot program that provides selected taxpayers with an already completed tax return. "For most people, filling out a tax return is about as fun as a trip to the dentist," said State Controller and FTB Chair Steve Westly. "With ReadyReturn, we've done the hard work for you." The FTB designed the program to ease the filing burden on taxpayers who file the simplest returns, such as those whose only source of income and tax payments are from wages and withholding.

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