AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-Up - Issue 175

This Week's News Brought To You By:

First Research Industry Profiles

and

PolicySoft Accounting Templates

** HAPPY HOLIDAYS **

THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

  1. MAP Survey Shows Stability Among Local Firms
  2. KPMG Sued by Missouri Department of Insurance
  3. SEC's Cutler Warns Firms of Tougher Penalties
  4. GASB Issues Two New Exposure Drafts
  5. Sentencing For Andersen's Duncan Postponed Again
  6. Online Charitable Giving Takes Hold
  7. H&R Block Settles Refund Loan Dispute With New York
  8. New Changes to IRS Form W-7
  9. House Panel Calls For Investigation of Andersen Attorney
  10. AICPA Asks SEC to Clarify Pro Formas Are Unaudited

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EDITORIAL

When the UN weapons inspectors first went into Iraq last month, the media followed them everywhere and demanded a daily accounting of what the inspectors uncovered. The head of the inspection team urged patience and indicated that the process is scheduled to take many weeks, and to draw any conclusions or make any assessments too early would not only be unwise, but also would be counterproductive towards achieving the desired final outcome.

In a strange parallel within our profession, those individuals and organizations that are involved with creating new accounting rules and implementing the intent of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are facing the same scrutiny by the media and the constituents whom they represent. Everyone wants to know how to implement Sarbanes-Oxley; what changes they will need to make; what proposals the AICPA supports; what revenue streams will be affected; how audit committees need to be restructured; what the relationship will be between the standard setting bodies, etc.

The answer is, "Direction is coming." But, like the head of the UN inspection team, the AICPA, SEC, PCAOB and other participating standard setters are urging "patience," "let us do our job," "we need to get it right," "it's still too early," and "the process will take months." The individuals creating the future of the profession are well aware of the awesome responsibilities they have been entrusted with - they watch the nightly news, read about the scandals and look at their investment portfolios just like the rest of us. We all want answers today, but patience is urged as the process needs to play out properly so that the right decisions are made to ensure the brightest future for all parties involved.

Michael Platt, CEO
AccountingWEB, Inc.
editor@accountingweb.com

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First Research, Inc. Publishes seven- to fourteen-page targeted Industry Profiles on over 130 industries. These Industry Profiles will help you with everything from Business Valuations to Audits to Sales & Marketing Call Preparation. The profiles are updated quarterly and new selections are being added every month! Check them out today!

THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

1. MAP Survey Shows Stability Among Local Firms

The results are in from the 2002 PCPS/TSCPA National MAP Survey, sponsored by the Texas CPA Society and PCPS, the AICPA's Alliance for CPA firms. The survey reveals the collective experiences of the more than 2,500 local CPA firms who participated in the survey this fall.

2. KPMG Sued by Missouri Department of Insurance

Big Four firm KPMG has been named as the defendant in a lawsuit filed by the Missouri Department of Insurance. The suit, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court in Kansas City, Missouri, alleges that KPMG contributed to the 1999 downfall of General American Holding Company.

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Over 200 Accounting Policy Templates Downloads

Your organization will experience an unprecedented level of ease and efficiency when you systematize the processes throughout your organization. AccountingWEB is pleased to bring you tools that can help systematize the accounting department of a small company, corporate business or a public accounting firm. Over 200 accounting department policy templates, written in Microsoft Word format by PolicySoft, are available for immediate download.

3. SEC's Cutler Warns Firms of Tougher Penalties

Stephen Cutler, Director of SEC's Enforcement Division, warned accounting firms of tougher penalties ahead for audit failures. He also provided practical advice on how to avoid the penalties.

4. GASB Issues Two New Exposure Drafts

GASB is seeking comments on proposed standards for "Accounting and Financial Reporting for Impairment of Capital Assets and for Insurance Recoveries" and "Budgetary Comparison Schedules - Perspective Differences."


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5. Sentencing For Andersen's Duncan Postponed Again

Like a moth caught in a spider's web, former Andersen partner David Duncan has once again had his sentencing postponed so that the prosecutors from the U.S. Department of Justice can continue to question and interview him in conjunction with their investigations of Enron, Andersen, and executives from both companies.

6. Online Charitable Giving Takes Hold

The holiday shopping season has always been associated with the ringing of the bell of the Salvation Army officer standing in front of the mall encouraging children and their parents to drop in whatever they could to help those in need. Now, American Express has created a new Internet portal bringing the power of the Internet to assist charitable givers.

7. H&R Block Settles Refund Loan Dispute With New York

H&R Block has announced an agreement with the Department of
Consumer Affairs (DCA) of the City of New York to settle refund anticipation loan disputes, launch new taxpayer educational programs, and establish a cooperative working relationship with the DCA.


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8. New Changes to IRS Form W-7

Resident and non-resident aliens applying for an Individual
Taxpayer Identification Number must soon use a newly revised Form W-7. The new application forms will request additional information.

9. House Panel Calls For Investigation of Andersen Attorney

Adding yet another chapter to the open book of accusations
against Arthur Andersen and its partners, the House Energy
Committee has asked the Justice Department to investigate a
possible perjury by Andersen attorney Nancy Temple.

10. AICPA Asks SEC to Clarify Pro Formas Are "Unaudited"

In its comment letter on proposed Regulation G, the American Institute of CPAs asked the SEC to clarify the unaudited nature of pro forma data and reconciliations.


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1. Tips to Strengthen Your Reputation as an Accountant

The accounting industry is focusing on rebuilding its reputation with the public, but it's also crucial that every professional do the same. Here, we offer five tips that can help.

2. People Problems Perplex Supervisors - Guest Article

One of two employees believes that their immediate supervisor does a poor job of solving problems such as motivational, emotional, and personal issues. Here are some reasons why.

3. Three Ways to Boost Morale Despite Low Pay Raises

A recent survey shows employee morale is suffering as pay
increases and bonuses are kept low. Here are three ways
companies can boost morale in this, the third straight year of modest pay increases.

4. The Value Of Trust, A Clients Perspective

Today, trust is truly the pivotal point of building a successful business relationship. A recent study found that selling competences for professional service firms are explicitly focused on defining the element of trust from their client's perspective. Here are some building blocks.

5. 12 Mistakes Professional Service Providers Make in Marketing

According to survey/interview by Allan Boress, less than 15% of the firms interviewed were doing anything different regarding their marketing programs, being proactive in their personal marketing efforts, or even changing the way they did business with their clients from the year before. Here are some helpful ideas to help you get on track for 2003.

6. Factors to Consider When Buying Business Software

Technology for technology's sake is out. Businesses are done playing with computers and are now demanding solutions and results. Here are eight "Key Factors" to consider before moving forward with a new software implementation.

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