AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 10

The AccountingWEB Newswire - Issue 10
September 23, 1999

From the Editor:

Is it my imagination, or has the concept of client service completely gone to the dogs in the last few years? As all of your small business clients do, we at AccountingWEB have our daily dealings with banks, insurance companies, state agencies, telephone companies, printers, and other service providers. Again and again, we keep running into an abhorrent amount of ignorance, rudeness, confrontation, and just plain "it's not my responsibility" attitude at many different levels across the country. (It must be said that one of our refreshing exceptions has been our CPA!) Our recent experiences have only redoubled our resolve to make member service paramount to our success. Let me take this opportunity to encourage you to keep our experiences in mind the next time you keep a client on hold, are late with something you promised yesterday, surprise your clients with hidden charges, or otherwise behave in a way that leads them to irritation. All the surveys confirm that among all professions, CPAs are the most trusted -- don't let that solid reputation go the way of many other service providers that we have come across recently.

Thanks for letting me vent, I feel better now . . .

Michael T. Platt

1. Andersen Consulting CEO Resigns To Head Web Based Company

In a sudden move that caught many off guard, Andersen Consulting CEO George Shaheen has resigned his position and has accepted the position as head of Webvan, an online grocery shopping network currently serving the San Francisco market. Shaheen ends his 30 year Andersen career with the credit for building the consulting division from $1 billion when it split from Arthur Andersen in 1989 to over $8 billion today.

2. Digital John Hancock's Now Carry Legal Weight

Electronic signatures are now recognized on an equal footing with hand signatures, now that the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act has been approved. What does this mean to you? At least know the definition -- An electronic signature is defined as "an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record." Better change those audit requirements . . .

3. Clinton Vetoes Republican Tax Bill

FINALLY, this round of chest beating is over. In a ceremony (?) in the Rose Garden at the White House this week, President Clinton did what he has been threatening to do since mid-summer -- he vetoed the Republicans $792 Billion tax cut bill. The President is asking Congress not to go home until they try again to reach a compromise package. Thank God it's fall and the new TV shows are on so we will have something else to watch.

Did you know that you can add your own comments to any of the daily news stories on Simply click on the full text of the story, and go to User Comments at the bottom. Your input will add depth to our stories and everyone in the AccountingWEB community will benefit!

4. Unscheduled Absenteeism Continues To Be An Ongoing Struggle

CCH reports this week that unscheduled worker absenteeism continues to be a major issue facing the private sector. Of particular concern is the fact that absenteeism caused by worker stress has tripled since 1995. On average, the annual cost of unscheduled absenteeism is over $600 per employee, according to the survey. Has your firm addressed this issue? Let us know how you are solving the problem in your organization!

5. Value Added Client Service: Build a Report Card To Help Clients Check Their Critical Numbers Daily

How many burgers were sold today? How many cars were test-driven? How many telemarketing calls were made? Whatever business your client is in, there are a few key numbers that they should be tracking daily. You should sit down with your business clients, figure out what those key numbers are, and build a reporting mechanism that they can monitor daily. They'll be amazed at what they learn, and you'll be amazed by how much it helps. And oh, by the way, try it in your own firm too . . .

6. It's Now Nice To Bet on Mother Nature

This week Mother Nature rang the opening bell as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange began trading weather futures -- that's right, weather futures -- on the open exchange. A weather contract is based on average temperature for a given month, and there are initially contracts for four different cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati and New York. Why would anyone want to trade in weather futures? Over 20% of the US economy is weather sensitive, and companies can reduce their risks of poor profits from unfavorable weather by buying contracts to the contrary. Go figure . . .

7. Technology Tip: Better Method For Copying Disks

Did you ever want to copy one entire floppy or zip disk onto another, but were frustrated by having to load it onto the hard drive first and then retrieving it? To save the hard drive step, open Explorer (right mouse click) and highlight the drive you want to copy, then right click again and click on "Copy Disk." Simply click on Start and follow instructions. Midway through the process, you'll be prompted to insert the destination disk and then you'll be done. Voila! No hard drive copying!

Have a technology or Internet tip that others can benefit from? Please send it in to so we can share it with others.

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Copyright (C) 1999 AccountingWEB, Inc. All rights reserved. May be reproduced in any medium for non-commercial purposes as long as attribution is given.

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