Trends

A&A

FAF Issues Statement Opposing Legislative Proposals to Curb FASB Independence

Source: Financial Accounting Foundation The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), after extensive analysis and with careful public due process, issued a proposal on March 31, 2004 regarding accounting for employee stock options and other equity-based compensation. As Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) we do not take positions on the FASB's standards-setting proposals; we leave the complex task of accounting standards setting to the experts who comprise the FASB.
Tax

IRS Confirms it is Unlawful for Same-Sex Married Couples to File Jointly

In response to an inquiry about tax filings, the Public Advocate of the United States, Inc. received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirming that it is unlawful for same-sex couples to file their taxes under any married status, even if the jurisdiction in which the couple lives, recognizes such a union.The text of the letter is as follows:Mr. Eugene A. DelgaudioPresidentPublic Advocate of the United States, Inc.5613 Leesburg Pike, Suite 17Falls Church, VA 22041-2912Dear Mr.

Accounting Rule on Derivatives Sparks Veto by 4 EU Nations

Four countries have voted down the latest version of a rule on accounting for derivatives, continuing a years-long debate and creating doubt that a full package of accounting standards will be passed by January.France, Italy, Spain and Belgium vetoed the compromise at a meeting of an advisory group called the Accounting Regulatory Committee, according to a European diplomat as reported in the New York Times. The committee is made up of representatives from the European Union’s 25 member states.
Practice Management

Two Strikes and You're Out ... for Poor Customer Service

A recent survey commissioned by Amdocs finds that consumers 'will not take it anymore' and are likely to change service providers after two negative experiences. The national survey, which queried 1000 consumers about recent experiences in the banking, cable, retail, and telecommunications industries, shows that consumers hold companies accountable for poor customer service.
Practice Management

Companies Offering Cash Incentives to Healthy Workers

A slimmer waistline may mean a fatter wallet at some companies looking to contain their health-care costs.Companies have long encouraged healthy lifestyles with the idea that more fit employees are more productive and more satisfied employees, but now they’re offering an incentive — cash."A few years ago, companies might have offered T-shirts or mugs," says Seth Serxner, a principal at Mercer Human Resource Consulting, according to CFO magazine.
Tax

House Bill Would Simplify Older Payers' Tax Form

A new bill pending in the U.S. House would make filing taxes easier for seniors but its chief proponent is considered extremely vulnerable in the fall election and there’s no similar bill in the Senate.Introduced on April 1 by Rep.
Practice Management

Lawyers Shifting from Estate-Planning to More Lucrative Practices

Large law firms around the country are moving away from estate-planning to focus on the more lucrative areas of litigation, corporation finance, mergers and acquisitions.According to the Wall Street Journal, this shift is happening for a number of reasons:Delays — Some clients are waiting before drafting estate plans because of the uncertainty surrounding estate taxes.Competition — Banks and financial planners are becoming more active in the estate-planning business by advising clients on planning strategies before turning them over to attorneys to draft document

SEC Looks to Hire Psychologist to Boost Employee Morale

Some think employee morale at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is at a new low in the wake of seemingly endless scandals, long hours for less pay than in the private sector and a series of embarrassments.To combat stress, burnout and conflict, the SEC is planning to hire an organizational psychologist to boost employee morale. The new, full-time job pays upwards of $147,978 per year and is a two-year appointment with the possibility of an extension. The SEC seeks a candidate with a degree in psychology with a master’s or doctorate preferred.
Technology

EDGAR Online Completes XBRL Conversion of All U.S. Public Co. Financial Statements

EDGAR® Online®, Inc., a financial information company specializing in making complex regulatory reporting by public companies actionable and easy-to-use, announced today that it now offers U.S. public company financial statements in a new importable format called eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). One of the first financial services companies to make use of XBRL, EDGAR Online is also offering users for the first time and at no cost a limited number of real-time public company financial statements directly downloaded into Microsoft Excel 2003 worksheets.
Practice Management

Become Fully Accountable For Your Success: Expose Your Diversionary Tactics

By Keith Rosen, MCC - - Have you ever done something that you know is not in your best interest? Have you ever avoided doing something that is in your best interest? In either of these scenarios you were probably able to justify your behavior as well as your line of thinking and most of all; avoid being accountable. While that may sting a little bit, allow me to introduce to you a new definition for this type of behavior.
Practice Management

Employees Lack Confidence in Management

By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D., President DISCOVERY SURVEYS, INC.Employees need to feel confident that senior management is competently running the organization and has solid long-term plans for the future. Otherwise, there will be an erosion of employee: Motivation;Job performance; andCommitment to the organization.What can be done to build employee trust in management? 
Practice Management

And the Goal of Prospecting Is...

By, Keith Rosen, MCC - - Think about the intention or the end result of your prospecting efforts. It's probably not what you think.

Boards of Directors Working Harder Than Ever

Gone are the days when sitting on a corporate board meant showing up for occasional meetings and collecting fat honorariums from your buddy the CEO.Today’s boards of directors are under the microscope in the wake of the devastating corporate scandals of recent years, which found many a board asleep at the wheel while management ran the company into the ground. New legislation puts more responsibility on corporate boards to take seriously their responsibilities to shareholders by filling their ranks with people qualified to be there—and people who plan to show up to do the job.
Technology

Companies Lobby for Enhanced Software Security

A group of 150 of the country’s largest companies—including several "Rust Belt" companies—are beginning a lobby effort to put the technology sector on notice that they want better security and support of software products vulnerable to hackers, the Washington Post reported.The Business Roundtable, a trade group of executives of the 150 companies, is fed up with the expense and hassle of keeping computer networks safe for consumers, the Post reported.

Family-Friendly Cutbacks Affecting Employee Choices

Back in the roaring 90s, companies in need of good employees instituted a number of family-friendly programs designed to attract working parents. With the boom over, some companies are now cutting back on family-friendly programs, forcing parents to make tough choices.Melissa Kimball quit her job as an architect in Washington, D.C., when her company refused to allow her to work part-time permanently, USA Today reported."I didn't want to quit. I loved my job," says Kimball, 36, who left her job in April to stay home with Chance, 20 months.
A&A

BBB Ranks Top Business Inquiries and Complaints During 2003

The nation's Better Business Bureaus (BBBs) this week reported that services provided to consumers and businesses in 2003 surged to 52.9 million, up 27 percent from the 41.5 million instances of service provided in 2002. Pre-purchase Information: Pre-buying inquiries in the United States increased to 48.8 million in 2003, up nearly 28 percent from 38.2 million in 2002. These requests included 30.8 million BBB reliability reports on businesses located in the U.S.
Practice

Rising Wages, High Turnover in India Create Scramble for Workers

India may become a victim of its own success as a center for outsourcing.As U.S. companies continue to rush business offshore, the competition for labor is getting fierce — so fierce that a typical business-processing center can expect to lose 15 to 20 percent of their workforce every year, the New York Times reported.

Another Whistleblower Wins Case Under Sarbanes-Oxley

New whistleblower rules outlined by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have resulted in a favorable judgment for a former Atlantic Coast Airlines employee who was fired after raising concerns about pilot fraud, the Associated Press reported.Stacy Platone was the airline’s labor relations manager before being fired last year. An administrative judge awarded back pay and lawyer fees after finding in her favor.
A&A

Most Americans Don't Have the Right Plan for a Financially Secure Retirement

A Retirement Income Flexibility study commissioned by Golden Retirement Resources, Inc., creator of RetireMentor®, an integrated retirement income planning and management system, found that 64 percent of Americans are trapped by retirement plans that don't allow them to make adequate adjustments to their investments in response to market pressures or life changes.
Tax

Some Small Businesses Suffer, Others Profit from Outsourcing

As outsourcing accelerates, it can be the best of times or the worst of times for U.S. small businesses.Take for example Craig Schroer, president of Unitech, a tool and die manufacturer in Lee's Summit, Mo. His company’s revenues were slashed in half almost overnight when his biggest customer, a U.S. truckmaker, decided to purchase cheaper parts from a Chinese manufacturer. "One month they were talking to us about doubling their orders," said Schroer, who until recently employed 16 workers and enjoyed annual sales of $2 million.

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