Trends

Practice Management

Changing Attitudes on Firm Flexibility

By Phyllis Weiss Haserot and Holly EnglishDespite the desire by many professionals at some time in their careers to have more flexibility in their working arrangements, particularly now that technology makes it so much easier, decision makers and even the candidates for flexibility themselves resist such arrangements.The deterrents to faster progress are perceived fears and uncalculated costs and benefits.
Education & Careers

New Ethics Boot Camp Mandatory For Entering MBAs

Press ReleaseA mental trek through the Himalayas will be one of the ways that the University of California, Davis, exercises the ethical muscles of incoming Master of Business Administration students.At a time when major ethical failings by corporate America have eroded public trust, the Graduate School of Management is introducing a mandatory ethics boot camp for its 150 entering MBA students.

Europe Mulls PCAOB-Like Body

Looking for ways to raise the bar on auditor oversight across Europe, the European Union is considering the development of a European Coordination Auditing Oversight Board (ECAOB), according to today's Financial Times.The Federation des Experts Comptables Europeens (FEE), the accounting profession's European representative body, is driving the effort to create an oversight board for the European Union's 15 member states."At regular intervals, the ECAOB should review the effectiveness of member states' . . . oversight systems.
Education & Careers

Growing Trend: Companies Institute Chief Governance Officer Position

As companies struggle to comply with new rules and regulations stemming from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and regulatory bodies, a trend toward employing Chief Governance Officers is emerging. It is estimated that about 60 publicly traded companies now employ CGOs, charged with ensuring the company is complying with an ever growing list of new requirements. Robert Lamm, Computer Associates International’s new director of corporate governance, told Investors Business Daily that in the two weeks it took him to drive up the East Coast to start his new job, there was a whole set of new
A&A

CFOs Measuring Cost of Sarbanes-Oxley Implementation

A recent survey of corporate chief financial officers by CFO magazine found that most of corporate America’s top finance officers believe the Sarbanes-Oxley Act regulations have been a boon for attorneys and auditors and have caused "sticker shock" for companies.Many of the CFOs surveyed said they think Congress acted too hastily in response to the corporate meltdowns of Enron, Tyco, WorldCom and others.
Tax

Tax Lawyers Exit Big Four, Head For Law Firms

Six high profile tax attorneys have left the Washington National Tax Services office of Big Four firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, and have landed at DC law firm Shaw Pittman. Is this the start of a trend? Shaw Pittman thinks it is."We are thrilled to be on the cutting edge of the trend of top attorneys moving from a Big Four accounting firm to an AmLaw 100 law firm," said Stephen B. Huttler, managing partner at Shaw Pittman. The firm has just added the six lawyers to its national tax law practice.Michael F.
Practice Management

Corporate Directors: More Responsibility Brings More Compensation

With all of the additional scrutiny being placed on corporate Boards of Directors, and the additional responsibility imposed on them by Sarbanes-Oxley, compensation rates for directors is reaching an all time high.For example, shareholders of Computer Associates are scheduled to vote this week on whether or not to give corporate directors a 60% pay increase - to $150,000 each - to fulfill their fiduciary role for the company.On average, director's pay rose about 10% last year, and Robin Ferracone, a worldwide partner with Mercer Human Resource Consulting, predicts another 15% raise this
Technology

RIA's GoSystem Teams up With India-Based Tax Preparation Outsourcer

RIA, the publisher of GoSystem Tax RS, a Web based tax compliance software for tax professionals, has formed a strategic alliance with G.K. Management Services (India) Pvt Limited (GKM) to provide outsourcing services for tax professionals.Because of high labor costs and staffing challenges facing CPA firms during tax season, outsourcing U.S. tax returns to tax preparation services in India has been a growing trend for a number of years. U.S.
Community News

'Emotional Distress' Could be Legal Key to Investor Recovery

Thousand of people lost millions of dollars when MCI/Worldcom's share price plummetted, and investors had to "get in line" and hope for any retribution from the bankrupt company. But that may soon change.Delray Beach, Florida resident Anthony Amodio, a retired MCI employee, lost his life savings when the telecommunications giant went belly-up. But under Florida's "outrage" tort provisions, Mr.
Practice Management

FCC’s New Fax Rules Cause Furor, Implementation is Delayed

First it was the telemarketers whose wings were clipped, now in a surprise ruling, the Federal Communications Commission is cracking down on the sending of unsolicited facsimiles. The FCC has said it made the ruling to stop millions of unwanted faxes, that come at times even after the recipient has been asked to be removed from a fax list. The FCC issued the law on July 3 as an amendment to 1991’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The FCC’s rule will require the marketing and business-to-business communications that many companies rely on to build their clientele.
Practice Management

Corporate Executives Get Help With Security and Privacy Strategy

A joint paper released by Canadian Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian and Deloitte & Touche LLP, provides corporate executives with suggestions for developing strategies for information security and privacy protection.The Security-Privacy Paradox: Issues, Misconceptions and Strategies examines the complex and often misunderstood relationship between the disciplines of information security and privacy protection."The evolution of the computer from a pass

Latest Identity Theft Scam Centers on Fake Loans

Scammers have a new way of grabbing your identity - and some cold hard cash too. Realistic-looking fake advertisements for financial institutions offering loans are cropping up in newspapers. Victims are finding they are getting more - and less - than they bargained for when they sign up for these loans.The way the scam works is that an advertisement appears in a print publication bearing the actual logo of a recognized financial institution. The contact information, however, is bogus and typically leads to prepaid cell phone numbers.

Survey: Lack of Personal Time is #1 Concern Among CPAs

Lack of personal time is the biggest downside of a career in public accounting, according to a survey of CPAs at public accounting firms conducted by nationally recognized consultant Steve Erickson.Not enough personal time was cited by 44% of those surveyed as the aspect they dislike most about public accounting. Liability and risk was the worst aspect of public accounting for 18% of those surveyed.
A&A

Mid-Market Companies: Competition is More Intense Than Last Year

From competition within the middle market to vying with larger competitors and new companies entering the market, middle-market business leaders are feeling the pinch of a heightened competitive environment, according to findings from the Grant Thornton Survey of Middle-Market Business Leaders.Ninety-four percent cite competition as more intense or as intense as one year ago, while just 6 percent say the competitive environment is less intense."As the market has tightened, so, too, have the competitive pressures on middle-market companies," says John Desmond, partner in charge of the Bus
Technology

XBRL-Enabled Software Becoming More Commonplace

XBRL-US has released the results an AICPA-sponsored study of software vendors which shows that two-thirds of accounting software vendors have included, or will soon include, XBRL-enabled functionality in their products.XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) is a royalty-free, open specification for software that uses XML data tags to describe financial information for public and private companies and other organizations.

One Year Later: Execs Less Favorable Towards Sarbanes-Oxley

A survey released by PricewaterhouseCoopers this week indicates that senior executives are less favorable towards Sarbanes-Oxley today than they were in October of last year.

Pension Benefits: Next Sector to Implode?

With pensions underfunded by as much as $300 billion and the main insurer of retirement plans—the quasi-federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC)—under enormous pressure, the pension sector might be the next to implode.This week, the U.S.
Practice Management

CEOs Organize Forum to Share Best Practices

The rules and regulations are coming from all quarters, but U.S. executives are taking it a step further by creating their own group to monitor corporate performance and accountability.In the post-Enron corporate world, it has never been a more challenging time to lead a major U.S. corporation. The 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act put more responsibility on the shoulders of CEOs to ensure accurate financial reporting and accounting.
Technology

Microsoft Changes Strategy, Starts Targeting Big Business Accounts

Add Microsoft to the field of competitors looking to be the business software vendor of choice for large companies. The world’s largest software maker has now conceded that it is interested in breaking into the market dominated by SAP, Oracle and PeopleSoft.Microsoft’s move puts it in direct competition with Oracle for payroll and accounting software clients.

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