Trends

Opinion Study: Attitudes about Social Security Reform

President George W. Bush's intention to reform the Social Security system has put the issue in the spotlight again. To better assess the public's reaction to possible changes, the American Enterprise Institute recently released a new Public Opinion Study "Attitudes about Social Security Reform," by AEI resident fellow Karlyn Bowman.
Tax

Tax Preparers Put the 'Fun' in Refund

Can gifts, free address labels and $10 referral checks attract customers to a new tax preparation business?Dave and Jolinda Schreiber, owners of Refunds USA in Albert Lea, Minn., say they are making taxes more fun. After all, as Jolinda puts it, "Going to a tax preparer is like going to the dentist."According to the Albert Lea Tribune, the couple decided to start a tax business that would emphasize quick but casual service.
Community News

Majority of Fast-Growth CEOs Likely To Move On

Most CEOs of America's fastest-growing private companies say they are likely to step down within the next ten years, but almost half have put little to no thought into succession planning. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of surveyed CEOs plan to move on within a decade or less: 42 percent within five years, and 23 percent in five to ten years. And their exit plans? Most (51 percent) anticipate a sale to another company.
Practice Management

The CPAs Are Coming: The Evolution of the Profession

Although the role of certified public accountants (CPAs) has been gradually evolving for two decades, a recent report by California-based Tiburon Strategic Advisors highlights how CPAs are making a major push into financial planning, as they quickly redefine themselves to meet market demand. By 2006, almost 40% of CPA firms plan to offer financial planning, up from 14% in 2002, the study says. Tax professionals cite two key reasons for incorporating financial planning into their existing business: an increase in income and personal satisfaction.
A&A

AMEX Plans to Pursue Spin-Off of Financial Advisors

American Express Company this week announced plans to pursue a spin-off to shareholders of its American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA) unit. Shareholders would receive 100 percent of the common shares of American Express Financial Corporation, through which the financial advisors business is conducted.
Technology

Identity Theft More Prevalent Offline than Online

The 2005 Identity Fraud Survey Report - released by the Better Business Bureau and Javelin Strategy & Research as an update of the Federal Trade Commission's 2003 Identity Theft Survey Report and Javelin's 2003 Identity Theft Report - shows that despite growing fears about identity theft and online fraud, of the victims that know the identity and method used by the criminal, these crimes are more frequently committed offline than online. Internet-related fraud problems are actually less severe, less costly and not as widespread as previously thought.
Tax

Get Ready, Get Set, Start Shredding

If fears of identity theft haven't sent you to the nearest office supply store to buy a shredder, a new law may be just the push you need.A law that goes into effect June 1 says that you must “destroy” personal information — shred it, burn it or pulverize it — of all people you employ, even if it's just one person and it's the gardener, USA Today reported.
Education & Careers

Majority of Workers Believe Their Bosses Lack Integrity, Fairness

More than half of American workers question the basic morality of their organizations' top leaders and say thattheir managers do not treat them fairly, according to results of a just-released, representative, nationwide survey of 7,718 American workers aged 18 and over.Reacting to ongoing corporate scandals, accelerating outsourcing and continued downsizing, only 36 percent of workers said they believed top managers acted with honesty and integrity.
Community News

Auditors Hesitant to Use Judgment, Fear Challenges

Recent events have made auditors skittish about using their judgment in their work, as they fear challenges by lawyers, the media and regulators, Robert Herz, chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) said in a statement reported by Financial Times.This reluctance to use judgment is in spite of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) call for a principles-based approach to accounting.

CalPERS Sets Up Pension Debate Information Center

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) announced this week a special Web resource on proposals to privatize State and public agency pensions. "The Pension Debate Information Center" is intended to educate CalPERS members on existing programs and possible changes. The proposals call for an end to the traditional defined benefit pensions for employees hired as of July 1, 2007. New employees would be placed in defined contribution plans that cap employer contributions and let employees invest in 401(k)-type pension funds.
Tax

States, Cities Seek Internet Tax Revenue

At a time when states are grappling with record shortfalls, many are taking a closer look at how they can tax Internet sales, which are siphoning revenue from state coffers, the Wall Street Journal reported.Cities are getting in on the act too with New York City notifying 2,000 residents last week that they owe back taxes on cigarettes they bought online.
Practice Management

Corporate Directors Increasingly Paying Their Own Penalties

The days when company directors could emerge from scandal both unpunished and rich may be over.If several major legal settlements of the last few weeks are any indication, the Washington Post suggested, company directors more often will be held personally accountable for the financial misdeeds of the companies they are supposed to be overseeing.
Technology

Achieving a Paperless Office In 2005

Article originally published by Accounting Software 411, Insider December 2004 edition When a colleague or co-worker talks about the “paperless office,” what thoughts first comes to mind? A futuristic traffic-in-the-sky environment with absolutely no paper, or something with a bit less paper, yet automated at the same time?If you’re thinking of the second scenario, you’re much more realistic about the paperless office, or more specifically, a less-paper office.
A&A

Is it time For You to Consider Self-Employment?

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc. Job security has become an oxymoron. For our parents' generation, lifetime employment with a gold watch and comfortable pension at the end was not unusual. We're now living in a different environment. Seemingly everyday, companies merge, fail, and downsize. It is no wonder that so many employees are forced to update their resumes and hit the streets to find a new job.But these days many are saying to themselves:
Community News

Four Out of Five Major Financial Firms Now Have a Chief Risk Officer

Global financial services institutions are facing growing exposure to risk from a variety of factors, including mega-mergers, off-shoring, outsourcing, greater regulation, and the need to manage an increased volume of lending.
Tax

New Online 'Drop-off' Service Offer by H&R Block

H&R Block this week launched a new online product that they claim will revolutionize tax preparation.Available exclusively at www.hrblock.com, the new Online Drop-off service is targeting busy taxpayers who want professional tax preparation, but who don't have the time to visit an office. Online Drop-off is a combination of online convenience and professional preparation, with the advantage of working with a professional from H&R Block's nationwide network of professionals.
Tax

The Year Ahead, Revenue Growth and Managing Costs Top List of Concerns

What keeps financial executives up at night? Making sure their businesses are in the black. In a new nationwide survey, 34 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said their company’s top priority for 2005 is growing revenue. Nearly half (45 percent) of respondents said they anticipate employee healthcare plans to be the biggest cost increase over the next 12 months.The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S.
Community News

Intuit Delivers Three Big Breakthroughs for Online Tax Filers

Three major breakthroughs in online tax preparation and filing from Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq:INTU) look to change the face of tax preparation for millions of Americans. In addition to introducing a new, free online option that will save hours for people who have traditionally used a pencil and paper, and launching a new Web site that delivers great deals geared toward younger tax filers, Intuit has made revolutionary changes to its flagship TurboTax(R) for the Web(SM) service.
Community News

Talent Management Among Top Five Priorities in 2005

Providing rewards programs that attract, motivate and help retain employees has been ranked among the top five priorities for employers in 2005, according to a new survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLP's Human Capital practice and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS).
Tax

Class Action Securities Fraud Lawsuits up in 2004

While the number of federal securities fraud class actions filed in 2004 increased only moderately from 2003 levels, rising to 212 companies sued from 181, the decline in stock market capitalization corresponding to these actions increased dramatically, according to a report released today by the Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse in cooperation with Cornerstone Research.

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