Trends

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.

US Insurers Respond to Sarbanes-Oxley Regulation

The majority of insurance companies already maintain a rigorous corporate governance model to protect the financial interests of their policyholders and shareholders. So why does the Sarbanes-Oxley act have the industry aflutter? New research from TowerGroup finds insurers are realizing that the Act can serve as a catalyst for long- term financial systems architecture strategy and process improvements.
A&A

Women-Owned Businesses Growing Twice National Average

Nearly half of all privately held firms in the U.S. -- 10.6 million -- are owned 50 percent or more by women, says a new Center for Women's Business Research study sponsored by Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC). According to the study, "Women-Owned Businesses in 2004," between 1997 and 2004 the number of women-owned firms with employees were estimated to grow over 28 percent, nearly three times the rate of all privately held firms, and twice the national rate of all firms.

Corporate Executives Still Reeling in the Perks

America’s highest paid executives collectively made $30.9 million in additional compensation outside of salaries, bonuses and stock awards, according to the proxy statements of Fortune 100 companies.While the perks don’t match the lavish extremes once reported at scandal-ridden Tyco International Ltd.
Community News

Pension Crisis Prompting Changes to Company Retirement Plans

More than half (52 percent) of 125 companies polled are considering changes or already have made changes to their pension plans in the past year, according to a survey by Deloitte Consulting LLP.Buffeted by increased costs due to falling interest rates and investment returns and by continued pressure from financial analysts to limit future risk, more companies are opting to move away from defined benefit plans. Among those respondents that have changed their plans, the single most common shift (among 38 percent) was freezing their pension plan and moving to a defined contribution plan.
Community News

Outsourcing to India to Increase 50% Next Year

All the talk against foreign outsourcing this political season has not translated into action by U.S. executives, who plan to send 50 percent more work to India next year.According to a study by Ernst & Young, while opposition to outsourcing has intensified in the presidential campaign and among union groups, the flow of work to India has remained constant, the Financial Times of London reported. "The sentiment is very strong.
A&A

Show Me the Money: Workers Put a Bonus, Raise First on Wish List

It may not buy happiness, but money is top of mind for employees today, according to a recent survey. Nearly half (48 percent) of workers polled said what they want most at work is a bonus or raise. More time off ranked second, with 24 percent of the response, followed by additional support at the office, with 17 percent. The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals.
Education & Careers

Recruiters Searching for MBA Grads in Finance and Accounting

Companies that hire MBA graduates are more optimistic about their recruiting plans this year. Only half are blaming the economy for limiting their hiring, compared to 69 percent only two years ago, according to the 2004 Corporate Recruiters Survey just released by the Graduate Management Admission Council® (GMAC®).Improvement in the economy has also allowed more companies to hire new MBAs.
A&A

Fast Growth Companies Regaining Their Stride

Back to the future! Revenue growth targets for America's "Trendsetter" companies are at their highest—and worries about market demand at their lowest—in more than three years, according to a new PricewaterhouseCoopers study. Disproportionate new hiring and capital investments are planned by the fastest growers—suggesting that if others can achieve a threshold level of growth, more new jobs and greater investments will follow.
Community News

Achieving Corporate Ethics Standards a Gradual, Deliberate Process Within U.S. Companies

Newly released research from Deloitte & Touche LLP, finds that while most companies have taken the initial steps toward establishing a code of ethics, a limited number are actively monitoring adherence to the programs. In a detailed questionnaire sent to 5,000 directors of the top 4,000 publicly traded companies, Deloitte determined that 83 percent of the firms responding have established formal codes of ethics and conduct, but 25 percent are not actively monitoring compliance.Further slippage can be seen in the allocation of resources to ethics activities.
Tax

Most Americans Say Job Creation More Important than Tax Cuts

The April MONEY/ICR Poll has found that three-quarters of Americans say that if they had had a choice between enacting the 2003 tax cuts or spending additional money to create new jobs, they would have picked job creation. The national poll, fielded last week, also found that half of all Americans would also have preferred cutting the deficit over last year's tax cuts. And a majority of Americans-60 percent-said they didn't benefit personally from the tax cuts of 2003.

Yale Dean Suggests New Debate On How to Fix Corporate Boards

One voice is missing from the mix of regulators, attorneys, shareholder activists and business leaders who are trying to fix corporate boards — psychologists.Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, associate dean at the Yale School of Management, suggests in Forbes.com that psychologists could add information about the "litany of pathologies" on corporate boards, which he lists as "groupthink, bystander apathy, diffusion of responsibility, inconsistent incentives, obedience to authority, atrophy and the like."Sonnenfeld says that now is the time to move the governance debate away from new procedures and c
A&A

2004 Retirement Confidence Survey: Percentage of Americans Saving Stagnant Since 2001

What will it take to get more Americans to save and plan for retirement? Despite a recovering economy and efforts to educate the population about the importance of planning and saving for retirement, the percentage of Americans who say they are saving for retirement remains stagnant.
Tax

Group Calls for IRS Action against Gay Marriage Tax Filers

Public Advocate of the United States, a non-profit, pro-family group, delivered a letter to the Internal Revenue Service earlier this week calling for investigations into same-sex couples who may file any tax form as "married - filing jointly" or "married filing separately" as part of a fraudulent same-sex marriage, such as those that have been performed by the thousands in San Francisco, California between homosexual couples. The text of the letter is as follows:Hon. Mark W. EversonCommissioner of Internal RevenueInternal Revenue ServiceU.S.
A&A

Spitzer’s Office Adds $250 Million to State Coffers

The New York State Attorney General’s office has doubled the amount of money it won in fines and restitution last year, thanks to a number of multimillion-dollar settlements with firms on Wall Street.Eliot Spitzer’s office won $786 million last year in judgments and settlements — the highest ever — up from $352 million the year before, the Wall Street Journal reported."As a result of the office's activities, more than half a billion dollars will be returned to individual New Yorkers, and another $250 million will go to the state's coffers, which will reduce the tax burden on stat

Poll Says CEO Confidence Hits 20-Year High

A new survey says chief executives’ confidence in the U.S. economy has risen to the highest level in 20 years."Half of all CEOs surveyed anticipate an increase in hiring plans over the course of the year, suggesting labor market growth should gain momentum in the months ahead," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's consumer research center.A year ago, only 16 percent of CEOs surveyed believed employment levels in their industry would increase, Reuters reported.The Department of Labor announced Friday that U.S.

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