AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 29

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The AccountingWEB Friday Wrap-Up Newswire - Issue 29
February 11, 2000

In the news this week:

1. IRS Target Audit Areas: What Are They?
2. CCH Debuts Online Tax Preparation For $7.50
3. Statistics on the "Vampires of the Bottom Line"
4. New York Wants Martha Stewart To Pay Up
5. H&R Block Website Shuts Down Temporarily -
But Not Because of Hackers
6. Andersen Consulting Takes Stake In Dot Com Companies
7. "Train To Retain" Means More Than Just an Educational Path
8. Auditing: Cash Cow or K-Mart Special?
9. Tips To Consider When Selling To Female Owned Businesses
10. Windows Tip: A Shortcut to Shortcuts

Editor's Note

There has been a lot of talk this week about cyber-hackers and their ability to shut down the Internet. Temporarily locking legitimate users out of popular sites like Yahoo!, eBay, CNN and e-Trade, these hackers have made their point that the Internet is not 100% infallible. While there is plenty of vigilance and extra precaution needed to combat this type of harassment, the fact remains that the Internet is the most reliable communication medium ever devised. We at AccountingWEB look forward to an incredibly bright future filled with opportunities and are committed to continue bringing the power of the Internet to the accounting community in a safe, efficient and responsible manner.

Michael T. Platt

AccountingWEB's Online Workshop Schedule

Be sure to mark your calendars to join us for the upcoming online AccountingWEB workshops. Be sure to tell others in your firm who would benefit from these sessions to join you online too!

Feb 14 7:00pm EST - Tax Season Q&A
Feb 15 4:00pm EST - Writing Winning Proposals
Feb 21 7:00pm EST - Tax Season Q&A
Feb 22 4:00pm EST - Adding Value to Clients

1. IRS Target Audit Areas: What Are They?

With your participation, AccountingWEB is compiling a list of the audit areas being targeted by the IRS this season. Presumably if they are focusing on an area in one part of the country, chances are they may ultimately focus on that area in your neck of the woods. And the sooner you know about it, the better you can prepare. Help us build the list by sharing trends that you see in your marketplace. Go to our website's Forecast section:


The Sage Accountant Alliance Program

The Sage Accountant Alliance is a network of public accounting practitioners who want access to up-to-the-minute accounting software and services designed specifically with CPAs in mind. When you join on or before March 24, 2000, you will receive all the benefits of membership for only $395.00!! Joining the program is easy. Visit our Web site at or call us at 1-888-SAGE-CPA, or email us at

This newswire will be read by thousands of accounting
professionals this week. Worldwide, AccountingWEB is a global community of over 50,000 accountancy professionals. For advertising information, contact Ryan Carmen at

2. CCH Debuts Online Tax Preparation For $7.50

This week, well-known tax knowledge provider CCH debuted an online tax filing solution designed exclusively for the small business and consumer markets. Known as CompleteTax, the cost for filing is only $7.50 and is currently available for all Federal returns, as well as state returns in 26 states. The service is a product of CCH Business Owner's Toolkit, which actually is a portal catering to the small business market with various tax tools and information.

3. Statistics on the "Vampires of the Bottom Line"

Corporate fraud costs companies in North America over $400 billion annually. Research in Canada has revealed some amazing statistics in a report out this week: that a company's total loss due to fraud is approximately 6% of annual revenues; that men commit 75% of the frauds; that less than 10% of the money lost is ever recovered; that the majority of employee fraud is committed by long time employees who work long hours and never take a vacation (in other words the kind of person you're looking for!) Fewer than 5% of fraudulent activities are uncovered by external audits. Vigilance and skepticism -- the hallmark of the accounting profession -- need to remain in full force to combat this ongoing drain.

4. New York Wants Martha Stewart To Pay Up

Did she or didn't she live in New York state for more than 183 days in 1991, and if so will New York ever see the $221,000 that Martha Stewart supposedly owes? The business-savvy homemaker mogul is in court blaming her accountant for inappropriate record retention and income allocation shortcomings. The judge is upholding the decision that she is ultimately responsible for accurate reporting of her financial affairs.

What's Your Opinion? Cast your ballot in our online poll to determine the perception of the severity of the problem with auditors' enforcement of independence standards. Please join us online and vote now!

5. H&R Block Website Shuts Down Temporarily -
But Not Because of Hackers

While hackers have been harassing high profile sites on the Internet this week, H&R Block's site shut down temporarily because too many legitimate users were clamoring to file their taxes online. Expected to service 650,000 people through April 15, by the first of February over 300,000 people had already flooded the site, draining capacity and shutting down the system. Technicians quickly got the system running again, and reassured the public that no data has been compromised. Given all the other high profile Internet incidents this week, it would be no surprise if most ecommerce sites re-inspected their systems to check capacity loads.

6. Andersen Consulting Takes Stake In Dot Com Companies

Starting in its hometown of Chicago, Andersen Consulting (AC) will open 17 "dot com launch centers" worldwide and invest over $1 billion to help fledgling Internet companies with financial, marketing and technology consulting. AC will take a 10-25% equity stake in these companies in trade for their services, and will shepherd the companies from start up to IPO. Besides Chicago, Andersen plans to open centers in Atlanta, Boston, Palo Alto, California, and 13 cities abroad. Andersen expects to bring other partners into each of its centers, including venture capitalists, investment banks and universities.

7. "Train To Retain" Means More Than Just an Educational Path

Today's tight job market requires a higher level of commitment from employer to employee than ever before. Career-long life management training is one of the critical keys to attracting and retaining the best and the brightest. Not only is the training geared towards making them good employees, but it should also be geared towards making employees good people, good managers, good marketers, etc. Yes, there’s always the danger that a company will train an employee who simply leaves for a better job somewhere else, but the benefits of a workforce that feels it has something to gain by staying outweighs that danger.


More About The Sage Accountant Alliance (SAA) Program

Our SAA program provides: both MAS 90® and BusinessWorks® software, support services, no-charge upgrades, discounts on training, an alliance with a local Sage reseller and much more! The entire SAA program is designed to provide easy access to information, software and services to professionally respond to your clients' request for guidance when they invest in a new accounting system. Join on or before March 24, 2000, and receive all the benefits of membership for only $395.00!! Visit or call us at 1-888-SAGE-CPA, or email us at

8. Auditing: Cash Cow or K-Mart Special?

Perception is reality. Public accounting firms acknowledge that their assurance services practice is still the number one cash cow, and is providing a good living for the partners and staff. But CFOs agreed in a survey reported this week that audits are being given away in an attempt to draw the more profitable consulting contracts. Can both of these views be right? If CFOs are expecting a "K-Mart special," as one of them described it in the survey, then CPAs are forced to drop the prices. CPAs who believe in the value of an audit have a responsibility to educate their clients on its value, thus contributing to curbing the trend towards lower and lower audit fees.

9. Tips To Consider When Selling To Female Owned Businesses

Gerry Myers, a noted author and lecturer on selling to women business owners, presented an AccountingWEB workshop this week and offered some valuable tips to keep in mind when selling to female business owners: only 6% of women believe they will be financially secure in their retirement years; women tend to do significantly more research on financial matters than their male counterparts; women value extraordinary treatment and service more than men do; they talk to more people about professionals who work for them; they make better referral sources. Find out more tips on selling to women owned businesses:

10. Windows Tip: A Shortcut to Shortcuts

If you have several Windows open and can't quickly locate a shortcut on your desktop, click on START in the lower left corner of your screen, then RUN, and simply type a period in the space and click OK. A display of all your desktop icons is displayed.

Q&A Forum

Several new questions have popped up this week on the AccountingWEB Q&A Forum. Please take a moment to help
if you have any information that is appropriate on any of the following issues:

* Electronic notification of W-4 changes

* Developing a business plan for a tax practice

* The de-skilling of the accounting profession

* Accounting for interstate truckers

* Repossession of installment sale property

For full details of these questions, or to post your own, see:

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