AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-Up - Issue 22

The AccountingWEB Friday Wrap-Up Newswire - Issue 22
December 24, 1999
http://www.accountingweb.com


In the headlines this week:
1. Unlock The Secrets of Excel With This Tutorial - Download Now!
2. E&Y To Pay $335 Million To Settle Lawsuit
3. CPA-Client Privilege Being Challenged in Colorado
4. Now's A Good Time To Review Your/Your Client's Overtime Policy
5. The Process For Raising Capital Has Just Been Simplified
6. Online Tax Processing From CCH For Just $7.50 Per Return
7. Y2K Relief By The IRS For Legitimate Issues Only
8. Don't Think Workplace Violence Affects CPA Firms? Think Again.
9. Growing Trend: Finalizing Budgets Is Taking Longer & Longer
10. Internet Tip: Backup Your Bookmarks!!


Editor's Note

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation in the launch of the US AccountingWEB community this year. We began as a mere twinkle in some eyes less than five months ago, and already have almost 4000 people as part of the US AccountingWEB community, which is part of the global AccountingWEB community now 50,000 strong. We're adding new features and new resources to our website all the time, and are excited about the boundless opportunities next year to bring value to you, our members.

If you haven't visited the http://www.accountingweb.com website recently, I invite you to do so. You'll find accounting related practice ideas, survey results, software tutorials, Internet tips, online workshop transcripts, a directory of accounting consultants, forecasts from others on good growth areas for next year, links to other accounting sites, vendor information, and news. Lots of news. All our features are fully searchable, and all are easy to use.

So whether you're a first timer or an AccountingWEB veteran, stop by the site and let me know what you think. We are committed to building the best resource available on the Internet for the accounting profession, and with your feedback and support, we'll accomplish that goal!

On behalf of all of us at AccountingWEB, let me wish all of you a wonderful holiday season.

Michael T. Platt
Editor-in-Chief
mplatt@accountingweb.com


1. Unlock The Secrets of Excel With This Tutorial - Download Now!

Software consultant David Carter has developed a terrific tutorial on Excel Pivot Tables exclusively for the AccountingWEB community. The tutorial was posted on the AccountingWEB UK site ten days ago and has already been downloaded over 2000 times! If you are an accountant and deal with developing budgets on Excel, be sure to get this tutorial and unlock the secrets of this Excel feature!
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=10516&d=101


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The US AccountingWEB newswire will be read by over 3,500 accounting professionals this week. Worldwide, AccountingWEB is a global community of over 50,000 accountancy professionals. For details of how to reach this audience: contact Ryan Carmen at rcarmen@accountingweb.com or go online to http://www.accountingweb.com/help/advertise.html


2. E&Y To Pay $335 Million To Settle Lawsuit

In what has become the largest accounting firm lawsuit settlement since the savings & loan crisis, Ernst & Young has been ordered to pay over $335 million to shareholders of Cendant Corporation for overstatement of financial statements from 1995 to 1997. The California Public Employees' Retirement System, an investor in Cendant, brought on the suit after it lost $89 million when it was disclosed last year that Cendant's earnings were overstated. Spokesmen for E&Y insist that the firm will continue to "aggressively prosecute" its claims against Cendant "for defrauding us."
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=10441&d=101


3. CPA-Client Privilege Being Challenged in Colorado

Should a state Board of Accountancy have the right to view client records without the client's permission? A bill making its way through the statehouse in Colorado would allow access to client records without their permission, and that is causing a heated debate within the accounting community. Supporters argue that the state Board of Accountancy needs access to records to be able to police incompetent and rogue CPAs. Opponents insist that privacy issues and CPA-client privilege would be eroded significantly. Explore the argument in this article -- it may be playing out in your state's legislature soon.
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=10508&d=101


4. Now's A Good Time To Review Your/Your Clients' Overtime Policy

A $10,000 fine per day for non-compliance. There, I got your attention. Willful violations of the overtime rules of the Fair Labor Standards Act can result in criminal penalties of as much as $10,000 per day. Overtime rules are complex, and there is a huge gray area between employees who are eligible for overtime (non-exempt) and those who are not (exempt). If you don't know all the rules, better brush up on them. Even more critical, if your client doesn't know all the rules, you have a business obligation to educate them so they can comply as well. Look into the online primer for How To Pay Employees For Overtime.
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=10510&d=101


5. The Process For Raising Capital Has Just Been Simplified

A group of venture capitalists has teamed up with a capital-matching firm for lending institutions and middle-market borrowers to develop a new Internet site to bring capital to middle-market businesses. The site, http://www.companyfinance.com,gives companies rapid and simultaneous access to multiple lending institutions via the Internet. The process for raising capital has been simplified, and the service is available at no fee to the borrower. Once a loan is closed, the lending institution pays Companyfinance.com an introduction fee. So if you are helping a client find capital for their business, you might want to check out this site. It could shave months off of the process, and free you up to help focus on helping your client in other ways.
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=10507&d=101


AccountingWEB welcomes the Montana Society of CPAs to the growing list of organizations that are offering daily AccountingWEB news headlines to their members. Contact Kelly McRae at AccountingWEB mailto:kmcrae@accountingweb.com if your organization would like to syndicate our news for free.


6. Online Tax Processing From CCH For Just $7.50 Per Return

http://www.completetax.comis a new service provided by Commerce Clearing House (CCH) that will allow taxpayers to process and file federal and state tax returns for just $7.50 per return. Users will have the option of electronically filing or printing off a copy and sending it in to the IRS. Beginning January 12, 2000, taxpayers will be able to download an interactive "smart" tax organizer that customizes itself based on responses from the taxpayer, to be used in conjunction with a CPA-prepared tax return. (1) You need to know this exists. (2) You may want to take a look at the tax organizer and see how it stacks up against yours. (3) The market is changing fast -- be sure your firm appears to your clients to be keeping up with the times by keeping your data collection process modernized.
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=10534&d=101


7. Y2K Relief By The IRS For Legitimate Issues Only

The IRS is encouraging all taxpayers to put forward a "reasonable effort" to avoid Y2K glitches, but has indicated that it will waive penalties and interest on legitimate taxpayer issues caused by Y2K. If you have a client who is unable to comply with the tax laws because of Y2K, they will need to contact the IRS immediately at 1-800-829-1040 and will need to prepare the responses to the following five questions that the IRS will ask: (1) What was the Y2K failure? (2) How did it affect your ability to meet your tax obligations? (3) What steps did you take to become Y2K compliant? (4) When did you discover the failure? (5) When will the failure be corrected? Help your clients get the relief they need by ensuring that they have the legitimate responses to these questions before seeking leniency from the IRS.
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=10538&d=101


First Impression Tip: When approaching someone to shake hands, always extend your hand first -- it will give you an advantage in the relationship. Palm to the side will evoke equal control; palm facing down will give you "the upper hand" and more control.


8. Don't Think Workplace Violence Affects CPA Firms? Think Again

Lawhorn & Associates, LLC, a CPA firm in Knoxville, Tennessee, is the latest professional services firm to feel the effects of workplace violence. On December 6, William D. Manies entered the Knoxville accounting firm with financial problems, two guns, 12 bullets and a desire to kill his former coworkers. He succeeded in killing Lorraine Lawhorn, one of the co-owners of the firm, before being chased out of the office by another employee. Manies had been fired from the firm several weeks earlier. We'll repeat our encouragement for you to do a "safety and security" audit of your firm to make sure you're doing everything you can to avoid similar tragedy in your office. A security audit can be an effective tool for assessing the risk in your office, and could potentially save company assets as well as lives. You owe it to your firm and to your employees to take a look and see where the red flags might be. Find the resources here that you need to implement a security audit in your office:
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=8049&d=101


9. Growing Trend: Finalizing Budgets Is Taking Longer & Longer

You may feel this instinctively, but a recently released survey has confirmed that client companies are taking longer and longer to finalize budgets for their next fiscal year, some taking more than 20 weeks from start to finish! A combination of factors is affecting these delays, including increased merger activity, inability to capitalize on technology tools to help, behavioral preferences for playing the "budget game," or simply a lack of understanding of how to "do it right." See what else the survey points out, and translate those issues into opportunities for you to step in and come to the rescue. There's a definite need out there that needs to be filled!
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=10439&d=101


10. Internet Tip: Backup Your Bookmarks!!

Avoid the perils of a frustrating and disastrous system crash by backing up your Internet bookmarks as faithfully as you do (or should do) your computer's hard drive. If you use Internet Explorer 4.x and 5.x, hit [Ctrl+B] to open the "Organize Favorites" window. Right click on a "favorites" folder and choose "Send to" and save the folder to a backup disk. If you use Netscape Navigator 4.x, hit [Ctrl+B] to open the "Bookmarks" window. Select the "File" menu and choose "Save as." Save the bookmark.htm file to a backup disk.

If you know of an Internet tip, or a technology tip that others can benefit from, you are encouraged to send it in to us at editor@accountingweb.com.


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