AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-Up - Issue 165

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THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

1. SEC And DOJ File Charges Against Former Enron CFO
2. Prosecutors Investigate PwC For Role in Tyco Scandal
3. Gemstar's Dispute With KPMG Goes to SEC
4. Former WorldCom Controller Instructed to Falsify Records
5. KPMG Consulting Announces Its New Name and Moves to NYSE
6. FASB Issues FAS 147, Holds Roundtable on SPEs
7. PwC Consultants Say Goodbye to Audit Colleagues
8. IRS Closes Tax Shelter Loophole
9. Lobbying Blitz Battles Accounting Board Appointments
10.Bear Stearns Lists Best Earnings Benchmarks by Industry

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EDITORIAL

I had a meeting in the offices of a CPA firm last week, and was chatting with a staff person while I was waiting. He was surfing the Internet looking for some information, and I was amazed at how inefficient and ineffective he was in his approach. He's a smart guy, and probably much like the bulk of your staff. What's my point? If you have staff that regularly surfs the Internet for business-related information, a little training on search techniques will go a VERY long way.

Consider this. If you can help shave just five minutes a day off someone's "surf" time, that equates to 25 minutes a week, or a little over 20 hours a year that they can focus on other things. For a $40,000-a-year person, that equates to $400 of salary expense per person. Have a staff of 30 people? That's over $12,000 of salary costs just by adjusting behavior to shave 5 minutes a day off of wasted time. The numbers add up quickly!

AccountingWEB staff can deliver in-house training for your organization on how professionals should use the Internet. Let us help you help your staff so that their time can be spent less on the Internet and more on client service. Contact sales@accountingweb.com for more information.

Michael Platt, CEO

THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

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1. SEC And DOJ File Charges Against Former Enron CFO

The SEC and Department of Justice have both filed charges against Enron's former CFO, Andrew Fastow, for his role in arranging the off-balance-sheet financing that contributed to the company's abrupt collapse.

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2. Prosecutors Investigate PwC For Role in Tyco Scandal

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating PricewaterhouseCoopers in connection with undisclosed bonuses paid to former Tyco executives. Sources say the prosecutors may be trying to make a criminal case against the firm.

3. Gemstar's Dispute With KPMG Goes to SEC

Faced with possible delisting by the NASDAQ Exchange, Gemstar-TV Guide announced that it is requesting guidance from the SEC to resolve a dispute between its audit committee and its auditor, KPMG.

4. Former WorldCom Controller Instructed to Falsify Records

The former controller of WorldCom Inc., David F. Myers, pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges, saying he was instructed by senior management to falsify records.

5. KPMG Consulting Announces Its New Name and Moves to NYSE

Nearly two years ago, KPMG Consulting, Inc. broke away from accounting firm KPMG. The new company was publicly traded on the NASDAQ as KCIN. This week, KPMG Consulting, Inc. is re-branded with a new name, a new ticker symbol, and a new stock exchange.

6. FASB Issues FAS 147, Holds Roundtable on SPEs

The Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued Statement No. 147 on "Acquisitions of Certain Financial Institutions" and held a roundtable discussion on accounting for special purpose entities.

7. PwC Consultants Say Goodbye to Audit Colleagues

Former PwC consultants said farewell to their audit colleagues this week with their heads held high, even though their pay and perks had been cut and their long-awaited initial public offering turned out to be just a dream.

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8. IRS Closes Tax Shelter Loophole

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2002-65 that will close the tax loophole that enables certain types of tax shelters that have gained publicity lately. The IRS estimates that last year alone approximately 87,100 taxpayers used a tax device such as the one addressed in this Notice.

9. Lobbying Blitz Battles Accounting Board Appointments

Facing an intense lobbying blitz over impending appointments to the new accounting oversight board, SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt said the announcement of the board members will be postponed to mid-October.

10. Bear Stearns Lists Best Earnings Benchmarks by Industry

A new research report from Bear Stearns identifies the best earnings benchmarks by industry. GAAP earnings are cited as the best benchmarks for a few industries, but not many. The preferred benchmarks are generally pro forma earnings or pro forma earnings per share.

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