Trends

Technology

Hypertag Technology to Link Mobile Phones to Websites

The next generation of wireless devices will give new meaning to the old game of tag—Hypertag that is. Technology due to be launched this month in London will allow movie-goers to point and click their cell phones at a poster in a movie theater and be directed to the movie’s website. The applications for this type of technology are quite interesting.Developed by Hypertag, a United Kingdom company, Wired News reports that the small battery-powered electronic tags use infrared signals to communicate web links to cell phones.
A&A

Stock Options: New Valuation Model, New Approaches

Stock options continue in the news with an advisory board urging FASB to consider a different valuation model, and Microsoft coming out with an announcement that will significantly impact employees and recruits.
Education & Careers

Student Loan Rates Dip to New Low

If you are still carrying a few student loans from your college years, this might be the time to consolidate. Variable interest rates on federal student loans dropped to an all-time low of 3.42 percent last week.Since federal law currently allows for just one consolidation of loans, this is the time to do it. Usually graduates have just 10 years to repay their loans. By consolidating, graduates can choose from among four different repayment plans which carry a term of anywhere from 10-30 years, and lock in the low interest rate for the entire period.
Technology

New Bilingual Accounting Software Rolled Out

Are you running a small business with English- and Spanish-speaking employees? The launch of Simply Accounting 2003 in a new bilingual English-Spanish format may be the answer to the language barrier in the Hispanic businesses.Simply Accounting offers a host of accounting functions that allow staff to work in their preferred language or to switch in and out of the two languages, while maintaining full accounting integrity.

Survey: Pension Plan Shortfalls Plague Firms

Retired workers enjoying their golden years may be blissfully unaware of the epic struggle companies are engaged in to ensure that the pensions they rely upon continue uninterrupted.A recent survey found that about 25 percent of mid-sized firms in Britain, the United States, Canada and Holland — four of the world’s largest economies — are cutting capital spending to offset pension funding shortfalls. Half of the surveyed firms report that their pension burden is cutting into profits.

'Corked' Financial Statements - Guest Article

Guest article, contributed by Michael K. ShaubThe bat exploded in Sammy Sosa’s hands as it struck the pitch, resulting in a weak ground ball to second base. The Cubs’ announcers duly noted the run that had scored, mission accomplished for Sosa despite an unexpected setback. And then both announcers voiced concern as the umpires began to examine the bat. Perhaps the bat was not all it was cracked up to be.
A&A

Survey: Small Businesses Not Offering Employee Retirement Plans

If you are planning to get by in your golden years on your company-sponsored retirement plan proceeds, make sure you are working for a large company.
Technology

New Study Outlines Best Practice For Selling Technology to Small Business

Press ReleaseSmall and medium businesses (sites of between 10 employees to 200 employees) offer significant new technology sales opportunities, according to a recent study by Harte-Hanks, Inc. (NYSE:HHS). The challenge is to match sales and marketing programs to the most commonly cited buying requirements of small and medium businesses, which differ significantly from those of larger companies, the study reports.

Are State CPA Societies Still Relevant?

Guest Author: Michael Platt, AccountingWEB, Inc. The accounting profession is facing challenges as never before. Time commitments to family, increased demands by clients, increased workload due to regulatory scrutiny, increased competition, a shaken image post-Enron, and a declining accounting workforce are all contributing to obstacles to success that need to be overcome.

SEC Under Scrutiny For Settling Fraud Cases

What’s more important in disposing of corporate fraud cases — speedy settlements or lengthy jury trials? The SEC, which settled cases this week with WorldCom and PricewaterhouseCoopers, is under fire for brokering speedy settlements over the more drawn out jury trial option. "The SEC should be enforcing the law to its fullest extent," not negotiating compromises, said Mitch Marcus, a former WorldCom manager who founded BoycottMCI.com to lobby for stiff punishment.

Companies Offset Kidnapping Risks With Specialized Insurance

Companies that expand into foreign countries face a number of hazards, including corruption, high inflation, and riots. At the top of any list of risks for overseas operations is the threat of terrorists or guerillas kidnapping workers or their family members. In response to this danger, a growing number of companies are purchasing kidnap and ransom insurance, known in the industry as K&R, which covers the ransom amount as well as the services of consultants with experience in hostage negotiations.In recent months the U.S.

CFOs Feel Pressure From Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance

CFOs are burning the midnight oil a little more these days as they work longer and harder to ensure their companies meet the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley, according to an article this month on CFO.com. The article discusses the increased workload CFO’s face as they certify financial statements and verify the adequacy of internal control systems, as mandated by the new legislation.Since the enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley, CFOs are working an average of three more hours a week.

Bankruptcy Filings Continue to Break Records

Bankruptcy filings for the year ended March 31, 2003, rose 7.1 percent to reach record levels, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts last week. As reported in February, the last three months of 2002 saw a slight dip in filings to 395,129 but that trend reversed itself during the first quarter of 2003 when bankruptcy filings increased to 412,968.
Tax

Aggressive Tax Spending Leads to Fewer Restatements

Companies that engage their audit firm for significant tax consulting services are less prone to revising their financial statements, an American Accounting Association study has found. "Companies that spend a large amount on tax services from their audit firm typically had fewer restatements than those who spent small amounts or zero," the study said.
Practice

Hubris And Greed Common Traits in Fallen CEOs

Was it perseverance or hubris that led the founders of some disgraced corporations to deviate from the law on behalf of the companies they built from scratch? "When you're the founder, you think you can do anything and that the rules don't apply to you," says Mark Cheffers, CEO of AccountingMalpractice.com.
Community News

Economy Leaves Sporting Events Scrambling For Corporate Sponsors

On the face of it, corporate sponsorship of a prestigious golf event is a smart marketing move as it’s a cost-effective way to get a company’s name out in the media. But tough economic times are causing companies to pull the plug on sponsorships, leaving event organizers scrambling to find last-minute replacements.The PGA Tour has had to find new sponsors for 18 of its 48 events this year. One of the most stable sponsors of golf tournaments has been the accounting profession.
A&A

Electronic Card May be The New Face of Payroll

A new payroll option — the payroll card — may soon be available to American workers, including the 13 percent of workers who don’t have bank accounts and who can't take advantage of the more popular direct deposit from their employers.With the cost of preparing paper checks averaging $1.07 plus postage per check, companies and governments are trying to get away from the traditional paycheck. A recent survey showed that 83 percent of companies polled participate in voluntary direct deposit with most indicating they would make it mandatory if the law would allow it.
Community News

Deloitte CEO Stresses Integrity, Ethics in Commencement Speech

James E. Copeland Jr., chief executive officer of Deloitte & Touche LLP and its global organization, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, sent business school graduates from Georgia State University's class of 2003 off to its future with a commencement address that focused on ethics and integrity, noting that the success of American business depends on how leaders demonstrate these qualities in their everyday actions and business decisions.Copeland, a 1967 graduate of accounting studies from the university, told the gathering from the school's J.
Tax

Americans Oppose Estate or 'Death' Tax

Estate tax, death tax or inheritance tax — call it what you will — Americans oppose any tax on what parents leave their children, whether it be farms, businesses and property. That's the conclusion of a recent poll, conducted by two organizations - one with a Democratic slant and one with a Republican slant - and sponsored by Women Impacting Public Policy. The study further shows that politicians who favor retaining the tax may be looking for other work come election time.
Technology

PwC Report Shows XBRL Still The Wave of The Future

XBRL is expected to continue its growing influence on business reporting, especially in the post-Sarbanes-Oxley era of enhanced transparency and accountability, reported Big Four accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers as it issued its Technology Forecast: 2003-2005, The Intelligent Real-Time Enterprise.

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