Trends

Technology

Debit Cards and Plastic Give Edge Over Paper

A survey conducted by the Federal Reserve confirms that electronic payments in the United States have exceeded check payments for the first time during 2003. Americans made over 44.5 billion electronic payment transactions in 2003, while the number of checks paid totaled 36.7 billion, according to recent surveys of U.S. depository financial institutions and electronic payments organizations. Electronic payments consist of such payment methods as credit cards, debit cards and automated clearinghouse (ACH) transactions, like direct debit.
Technology

Infatuation with E-mail Dies as Companies Demand In-Person Contact

Some companies are quickly losing their love of e-mail and its promise of speedy communication, opting instead for old-fashioned, face-to-face conversation.An onslaught of spam combined with the frustrations of not-so-quick responses to e-mail requests is prompting some companies to limit how much time their employees spend on e-mail, USA Today reported.Chicago-based U.S. Cellular, for example, has banned e-mail on Friday for at least the rest of the year. Veritas Software's marketing department also implemented a Friday e-mail ban among on-site employees at the Mountain View, Calif.
Tax

Deloitte Outlines $50 Million Expansion Plan for India

Deloitte's global CEO, William G. Parrett confirmed on Thursday the expansion plans for India. Deloitte local investment will be in excess of $50 million over the next 5-6 years.The expansion includes the recently announced addition of 2500 people to support the local practices and global activities in India.In addition, Deloitte’s member firms (in India) are expecting annual revenue growth of over 20 percent per year for the next 4 years.In his first visit to the sub-continent as Global CEO, William G. Parrett said, “India is a priority market for Deloitte globally.
Community News

Big Four Accounting Firms Steering Clear of Risky Business

Statistics from research firm Audit Analytics indicate that the Big Four firms are dropping clients at record rates, and the trend is increasing. Since the auditing nightmares at Enron were exposed three years ago, audit firm resignations among the Big Four have increased from 18% of all departures from auditing assignments in 2001 to 34% in 2004. Just in the first three quarters of this year, the Big Four firms have resigned from a total of 157 U.S.
Education & Careers

Business Growth Continues to Fuel Demand for Accountants

Chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed for the Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index expect a net 5 percent increase in the hiring of accounting professionals in the first quarter of 2005, down one point from the previous quarter's forecast but three points above projections made this time last year. Nine percent of executives polled plan to add staff, and 4 percent anticipate reductions in personnel. Eighty-six percent of respondents foresee no change in staff levels. The national poll includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S.
Community News

Accounting Firm Trades In SEC Practice for Governance Practice

Many accounting firms expanded into providing corporate governance services in the wake of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, but very few have also divested themselves of their own public company clients.
Community News

Local, Regional Firms Report Revenue and Practice Growth

Local and regional firms across the U.S. reported revenue growth, salary increases and expansion of core service offerings in 2004 and feel optimistic heading into 2005, according to this year’s PCPS/Texas Society of CPAs (TSPCA) National Management of Accounting Practice (MAP) Survey. Thirty-two percent of the 2,373 local and regional firms surveyed this year experienced an increase in revenue of at least 10%, while 14% indicated an increase of greater than 20% in their most recent fiscal year.

More Executives Saying 'No Thanks' to CFO Job

Some executives who long dreamt of seeing the title 'Chief Financial Officer' on their business cards are starting to wonder why they ever wanted the job in the first place. The CFO job, thanks to regulatory changes and a push for greater accountability in corporate America, has changed dramatically over the last few years. More scrutiny, more pressure, a huge workload and the stress that goes along with it are causing some professionals to leave the fancy title behind, the New York Times reported.E.
Community News

CEOs Say Flexibility, Adapting to Change Vital to Competing Worldwide

Most CEOs say flexibility and adaptability to change are the major keys to staying competitive, according to a study released today by The Conference Board and sponsored by Heidrick and Struggles and PeopleSoft. The Conference Board's CEO Challenge 2004 report reveals that 88 percent of the 540 global business leaders interviewed designate speed, flexibility, and adaptability as a top priority for their companies.
Community News

The Bottom Line on Gift-Giving at the Office

There aren't any written rules on whether to give gifts to the boss, co-workers or anyone else for that matter in the workplace, and at this time of the year, giving and receiving, alike, can be extremely stressful.This "most wonderful time of the year" can be most stressful for those who give or receive gifts in the workplace. Here are eight simple guidelines to help everyone navigate corporate gift giving and receiving etiquette.Always Ask Before GivingEnquire about the company’s gifting policy.
A&A

Online Survey Usage Increases Among Small Businesses

According to a recent survey conducted by Zoomerang, usage of online surveys among small businesses has surged 118% between 2001 and September 2004. Other highlights of the survey include:Faster and easier -- 69% of small businesses that have adopted online surveys are able to obtain results more quickly and easily. In addition, 65% have benefited from improved insights about their business; and 48% obtain higher-quality results than traditional research methods. "The feedback is instantaneous ...
Community News

Adobe Releases New Version of Acrobat

Adobe Systems Incorporated announced last week that Adobe(R) Acrobat(R) 7.0 Professional software will be integrated in Adobe Creative Suite Premium. Acrobat 7.0 Professional lets designers, publishers, ad agencies and print service providers dependably share files for commenting and proofing, fixing print output errors and optimizing Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files for production requirements. Launched in October 2003, Adobe Creative Suite is enabling many leading publishers and today's creative professionals to transform print and cross-media workflows.
Education & Careers

Accounting Grads Face Best Job Prospects in Years

College graduates with accounting degrees are entering the working world at a good time - recruiters are eager, jobs are plentiful and offers are attractive. Four in five employers called the job market for new grads good, very good or excellent, according to a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Last year, fewer than two in five described the job market that way, the Associated Press reported.Observers say graduates are facing the best prospects since the dot.com boom. The survey predicted college hiring will increase 13 percent over last year.
Tax

GAO: Governments Could Do More to Reduce Identity Theft

While the use of Social Security numbers (SSN) can be very beneficial to the public sector, SSNs are also a key piece of information used for committing identity crimes. The widespread use of SSNs by both the public and private sectors and their display in public records have raised concern over how SSNs might be misused and how they should be protected.
Community News

US Companies Help Drive Non-Financial Reporting to New Heights

Risk & Opportunity: Best Practice in Non-Financial Reporting, a new publication from SustainAbility, the United Nations Environment Programme and Standard & Poor's, finds a significant improvement in corporate efforts to build trust with shareholders, consumers and other stakeholders through voluntary disclosure of non-financial performance. The survey is SustainAbility and UNEP's sixth international review of corporate environmental and sustainability reports, and their first with S&P.

The Human Trend: Bonuses for New Hires

By, The Herman Group, Roger Herman and Joyce GioiaEmployers are becoming more aggressive in their pursuit of highly talented employees. Recruiting efforts are being stepped up. Once again, bonuses are being paid to new employees, just for joining the company. Nothing new, you say? True. The idea of hiring bonuses, which emanated from the highly paid world of professional sports, has been around for a while. Companies have paid recruiting bonuses for years, mostly to fill higher-level positions or jobs requiring rare skills. Soon sign-on bonuses will again become more commonplace.
Technology

Microsoft Launches Beta Version of New Search Service

MSN last week debuted a beta version of its new MSN® Search service, providing consumers with more useful answers to their questions and more control over their search experience, which results in faster access to the information they are seeking online. The new MSN Search is designed to reduce the time and effort required by consumers to find information online by offering one of the largest, most up-to-date selections of information and a new class of powerful, customizable search tools.

SEC's Future Up for Debate

As the Bush administration makes plans for its second term, a looming question is whether Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson will remain a part of it.
A&A

New Report Outlines State of Small Business

The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration today unveiled a major new federal government report, The Small Business Economy, 2004, which outlines the state of small business and its contributions to the economy. This latest in an annual series analyzes 2003 data. "In 2003, the overall economic indicators improved as the economy gained momentum," said Office of Advocacy Chief Economist Dr. Chad Moutray. "Small businesses led the way.
Tax

IRS and Puerto Rico Announce Partnership to Fight Abusive Transactions

The Internal Revenue Service and Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury, the Hacienda, this week announced a new partnership to fight abusive tax avoidance transactions.The partnership is the latest development in an effort unveiled in September 2003 to enable federal, state and commonwealth tax agencies to join together in ensuring all taxpayers fulfill their obligations under the tax code. Puerto Rico joins 48 states, the District of Columbia, New York City and the Virgin Islands on the list of tax agencies that have signed partnership agreements with the IRS.

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