AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-Up - Issue 188

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THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

  1. SEC Rebukes AICPA on Standards-Setting Posture
  2. H&R Block Accused of Misuse of Consumer Data
  3. Ex-Con Tells How Auditors Fail to Help Clients Guard Against Fraud
  4. European Commission Dashes Hopes For Audit Liability Caps
  5. Free File Program Proves Popular With Taxpayers
  6. Former Enron Accountant Writes Tell-All Book
    var Uncertainty Shades CFOs' Revenue Predictions
  7. Social Security: "Not Sustainable For Long-Term"
  8. Caifornia E-Tax Filing System Irks Software Makers
  9. Be Recognized For Your Firm's Ethics

Visit the AccountingWEB News page for all of this week's
headlines.

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EDITORIAL

It has been said that the best way to ensure that you are NOT busy next year is to act TOO busy this year to properly service your clients or court your prospects. I want to share the frustration of some recent experiences as a prospect, just to highlight how easy it is to turn someone off to your services.

Over the last two weeks, I have left multiple phone messages with three (non-accounting related) organizations that I want to either join as a member or hire as a client and none of the three organizations has yet called me back. In all three cases my initial voice message was as a prospect seeking information. My second message several days later was a statement that I want to do business with them and could they please call me back. My final message, two weeks after the original call, was to please have the courtesy of having someone call me if they are not interested in my business, so I can find alternatives if necessary. Still, I've heard nothing but silence.

I'm confident that none of you would treat your potential
clients this way. But if you know of someone who might need a reminder about prompt response, no matter how busy they are, please pass this message of frustration along!

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

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THIS WEEK'S TOP NEWS

1. SEC Rebukes AICPA on Standards-Setting Posture

The SEC wants the AICPA to know, in no uncertain terms, who's in charge of standard setting. Following the release last week of an AICPA exposure draft on internal control reporting, the SEC expressed strong concerns that the AICPA is creating the perception that they are more involved in the standard setting process than they really are.

2. H&R Block Accused of Misuse of Consumer Data

H&R Block's marketing efforts are again stirring controversy as several consumer groups alert the Treasury Department this week of alleged privacy violations by H&R Block of data collected from taxpayers using the IRS' Free File program.

Year Round Tax Savings "2003" - Download

Julian Block Tax Guides allow the user a license to reprint the information enclosed in the document for client and staff communications (not for commercial redistribution.) This is a downloadable 42 page MS Word Document (240k). Find out more now.

3. Ex-Con Tells How Auditors Fail to Help Clients Guard Against Fraud

Mark Morze has the dubious distinction of having perpetrated one of the biggest and most brazen financial frauds in American history, serving as "president" of ZZZZ Best's insurance restoration business. Mr. Morze, who spent over four years in prison and is now helping auditors discover fraud, shares over 30 questions that the auditors should have asked that would have stopped him dead in his tracks.

4. European Commission Dashes Hopes For Audit Liability Caps

With a declaration that unlimited liability on auditors is a "quality driver," the European Commission has all but closed the door on any discussion of limiting the size of lawsuits that can be levied against accounting firms that perform public audits.

5. Free File Program Proves Popular With Taxpayers

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that as of
last week more than two million taxpayers have used Free File, a program offered by the IRS and private companies. Free File allows taxpayers to prepare and file their taxes online for free.

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6. Former Enron Accountant Writes Tell-All Book

She was Time magazine's co-Person of the Year and the inspiration for Congress inserting whistle-blowing protections into the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Now, Sherron Watkins, the former vice president at Enron, tells her story in the book, Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron.

TAX TIPS

Deductible Taxes: Did you know that you may be able to deduct certain taxes on your federal income tax return? There are three types of deductible non-business taxes.

Ten Ways to Avoid Problems at Tax Time: Looking for ways to
avoid the last-minute rush for doing your taxes? The IRS
offers these tips.

7. War Uncertainty Shades CFOs' Revenue Predictions

For Chief Financial Officers of U.S. companies, a short successful war will mean positive revenue growth over the next year according to the March "CFO Outlook Survey," conducted this week by Financial Executives International and Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

8. Social Security: "Not Sustainable For Long-Term"

The Social Security Board of Trustees has declared that the
Social Security program is not sustainable over the long term. The 2003 Social Security Trustees Report does extend the projected solvency of the trust funds by one year.

Busy Season Stress Busters (Part One - Four)

If you missed any of the four parts of the AccountingWEB Busy Season Stress Busters, check this out!

9. California E-Tax Filing System Irks Software Makers

Until this tax season, taxpayers in California who wanted to file electronically had to use tax-preparation software for a fee ranging from $5 to $30. But now, Californians can use a state-supported system that allows them to send in their taxes for free and private companies aren't happy about it.

10. Be Recognized For Your Firm's Ethics

America is experiencing a crisis of confidence in the way business operates. To help identify those businesses that exhibit high moral and ethical standards, the Council of Better Business Bureaus is once again holding a National Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics competition, and it is a great opportunity for local CPA firms to make a strong, positive public relations statement in your local community.

PREMIUM CONTENT

Below is a sampling of the Premium Content available to Premium Subscribers on the AccountingWEB Web Site. You can subscribe today for just $49/year and get a FREE 35-Marketing Tips document upon registration. If you have not yet upgraded your membership to the $49/year Premium Service, just click here to sign up now.

1. Excel Tip: Copy Page Setup Settings to Other Sheets In Your Workbook

2. How To Motivate The Motivator: Eight Steps to Success

3. The Niceties of Negotiating

4. Managing Voice Mail For Improved Results

Visit the Premium Content Page for more articles available to all Premium Members/Subscribers.

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2003 TAX CALENDAR

Visit the AccountingWEB.com 2003 Tax Calendar today.

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