AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-Up - Issue 181

This News Wrap-Up Brought To You By:

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THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

  1. H&R Block's TV Ads Prompt Sharp Letter From AICPA
  2. Big Firms Test SEC's Tolerance For New Audit Opinions
  3. Colorado Aims to Make "Accounting Fraud" a Felony
  4. Accounting Oversight Board Holds Second Meeting
  5. AICPA Reaps Dividend From Sarbanes-Oxley
  6. President Bush Proposes Replacing IRAs, 401(k)s
  7. Computerized CPA Exam Slated to Begin April 5, 2004
  8. Reminder: New IRS Tax Filing Address in 16 States
  9. Deloitte's Aussie CEO Resigns Amid Controversy
  10. Supplemental Security Income Moved Off of "High-Risk" List

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EDITORIAL

Last week I had the unique opportunity to facilitate a strategic planning meeting for an international association of public accounting firms. Individuals from accounting firms from around the world attended the session, and not surprisingly, the challenges they were confronting were identical, regardless of where they were from.

Getting new business, restructuring the firm to meet the demands of clients, strategically allying with other professional services firms to better serve their clients, and getting and keeping qualified staff are the same issues regardless of whether your business is located in Mexico, Madrid, Moscow or Milwaukee.

With the global accounting profession going through a metamorphosis, with the streamlining of accounting standards around the world, and with the continued proliferation of client needs around the world, now may be an ideal time for your firm to consider the benefits of joining an international association. If you're already a member of a network, it may be a good time to raise your level of participation, look again at the benefits an association can provide, and start taking advantage of the resources available today to help you succeed.

Michael Platt, CEO
AccountingWEB, Inc.
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THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

1. H&R Block's TV Ads Prompt Sharp Letter From AICPA

The AICPA's role as protector of the "CPA" designation has just widened a bit to include Madison Avenue, and its portrayal of the accounting profession. Specifically, the AICPA has been dismayed at the image of the CPA portrayed in television ads by one of its own - H&R Block.

2. Big Firms Test SEC's Tolerance For New Audit Opinions

In January, 2003, several large accounting firms began adding disclaimers to their audit opinions for UK clients as a way to ward off lawsuits. Observers say these opinions will provide a real test of the SEC's tolerance for non-U.S. customs and laws.

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3. Colorado Aims to Make "Accounting Fraud" a Felony

A new bill passed by Colorado state legislators stiffens the penalties for practitioners who violate the state's accountancy practice act. The bill makes accounting fraud a felony, punishable by up to 12 years in jail.

4. Accounting Oversight Board Holds Second Meeting

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board held it's second public meeting on February 4 as it begins settling in on its role of overseeing the implementation of several key provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

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5. AICPA Reaps Dividend From Sarbanes-Oxley

Audit reforms still pose new frontiers, but the members of the AICPA are trying to put the worst battles behind them and making an effort to put to good use their $2-per-member dividend from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

6. President Bush Proposes Replacing IRAs, 401(k)s

President Bush submitted his tax package this week as part of the fiscal year 2004 budget. Among other proposals, the president is calling on Congress to create two new types of retirement accounts which would simplify and streamline the current collection of retirement options, including IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, 456s, SIMPLEs, and more.

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Make sure you enter your firm today for the FREE PIZZA CONTEST from AccountingWEB.com. AccountingWEB would like to sponsor one firm during the upcoming tax season (March 1st through April 15th). We will gladly pay for pizza and doughnuts during the six-week period between March 1 and April 15! Up to a $500 value. Visit the "Contest Rules" page for more information and instructions on how to enter your firm today! Good luck!

7. Computerized CPA Exam Slated to Begin April 5, 2004

The long-awaited timetable for the launch of the new CPA
exam was made available this week, with the announcement
that the new computerized CPA exam will begin April 5, 2004.

8. Reminder: New IRS Tax Filing Address in 16 States

As taxpayers begin to prepare their tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service reminds them that they may be sending their returns to a different service center than last year.

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9. Deloitte's Aussie CEO Resigns Amid Controversy

Domenic Martino, CEO of the Australian arm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, resigned last week in the wake of publicity surrounding his role as director of failed telco company New Tel.

10. Supplemental Security Income Moved Off of "High-Risk" List

Like a patient being upgraded from "critical" in the intensive care unit to "stable" condition, the GAO has recognized management improvements and has removed the supplemental security income program from its high-risk list.

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