AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-Up - Issue 172


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THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

  1. Block Offers to Settle Texas Class Action
  2. PCAOB Hesitates to Endorse AICPA's Audit Standards
  3. States Vote to Proceed With Internet Sales Tax
  4. PwC Announces Its Global Code of Conduct
  5. FASB Issues 2nd Draft on Accounting For Stock Options
  6. Deemed IRAs Provide New Retirement Saving Opportunity
  7. New Report Examines Questionable Accounting Practices at United Way
  8. Accounting Associations Unite in Anti-Fraud Programs
  9. Grant Thornton Ranks Top Middle Market Concerns
  10. Giuliani to Help Restore Investor Confidence

OUR MISSION

"To inform, to enrich, to enlighten, to entertain."

EDITORIAL

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to reflect on all that you have to be thankful for - family, friends, security, career, health, finances and other important measurements in your life. This past year has been a challenge for many with post-September 11 concerns, threats of war and the continued battering of the stock market. For those in the accounting profession, the extra challenge of the scandals that have rocked the profession and the reforms that followed have tarnished the hard-earned image of the hundreds of thousands of honest and ethical accounting professionals across the United States.

Ironically, it was one year ago - November 29, 2001 - that the SEC investigation into problems at Enron was expanded to include alleged illegal activities at its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. The dominoes started to fall for the accounting profession on that day and repercussions will likely continue well into the future.

As we get ready for the holidays, all of us at AccountingWEB hope that the one-year anniversary of the SEC investigation into Arthur Andersen marks the beginning of a more productive, more prosperous and more rewarding year for everyone in the profession. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us! (So that our staff can celebrate Thanksgiving with their families, we will not be publishing our weekly e-mail newswire next Friday, but will resume the normal publication schedule the following week.)

Michael Platt, CEO
AccountingWEB, Inc.

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THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

1. Block Offers to Settle Texas Class Action

H&R Block, surprised last week when a Texas judge indicated his plans to order the nation's largest tax preparer to pay $75 million in a class action lawsuit, has announced it's intention to settle the suit for coupons, not cash.

2. PCAOB Hesitates to Endorse AICPA's Audit Standards

At its first meeting, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board stopped short of temporarily endorsing AICPA's audit standards. It also decided to leave to the SEC the decision of appointing an acting PCAOB chairman.

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3. States Vote to Proceed With Internet Sales Tax

Tax officials and legislators from 31 states and the District of Columbia met in Chicago on Tuesday and voted unanimously to proceed with a plan to simplify their respective tax laws in order to position themselves to collect sales tax on Internet sales.

4. PwC Announces Its Global Code of Conduct

PricewaterhouseCoopers announced the firm's adoption of what is believed to be the accounting profession's first global code of conduct. This step follows the firm's release of its first-ever "showcase" annual report.

5. FASB Issues 2nd Draft on Accounting For Stock Options

The Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued another invitation to comment on stock-based compensation. This one asks for your views on accounting for the fair value of employee stock options.

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6. Deemed IRAs Provide New Retirement Saving Opportunity

Beginning January 1, 2003, employees will have a new saving option for retirement. The deemed IRA, created by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, allows employees to contribute to IRA accounts as part of their overall investment in qualified employer plans, including 401 (a), 401(k), ESOP, 403(a), 403(b), and 457(b) plans.

7. New Report Examines Questionable Accounting Practices at United Way

Double booking of revenues, counting revenues targeted to other organizations, and booking volunteer's time as contribution revenues are all accounting practices that are now being questioned at the United Way, according to a report by the New York Times.

NEW ADDITIONS TO THE INDUSTRY PROFILES

Financial professionals across the nation have discovered the client service benefits of Industry Profiles from First Research. If you have been hesitating or have not yet discovered the benefit of industry profiles, now is the time to act. New additions include, Agricultural Chemical Manufacturing, Beverage Manufacture and Bottling, Industrial Chemical Manufacturing and Outpatient Surgical Centers. Choose from over 130 industry reports.

8. Accounting Associations Unite in Anti-Fraud Programs

Seven professional associations have jointly issued recommendations to help companies combat fraud. The guidelines tell how to prevent, deter and detect frauds ranging from falsified financials to employee theft.

9. Grant Thornton Ranks Top Middle Market Concerns

Research by Grant Thornton identifies business planning in uncertain times as a top middle market concern and shows why companies are looking beyond traditional financial measures to boost their corporate IQs.

10. Giuliani to Help Restore Investor Confidence

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said he is committed to help turn around WorldCom because WorldCom represents the "biggest challenge" in returning investor confidence in the public markets.

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