AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 3
The AccountingWEB Newswire - Issue 3
August 5, 1999
Copyright (C) 1999 AccountingWEB, Inc. All rights reserved.
May be reproduced in any medium for non-commercial purposes as
long as attribution is given.
From the Editor
Interesting developments this week as two unique CPA firm
alliances make their way into the headlines.
Ten of the largest independent CPA firms in the US have joined
forces to create their own financial services provider. Capital
Professional Advisors, as it will be known, is headed by Doug
Wright, well known in the CPA-financial services arena, formerly
with 1st Global.
Recognizable firms from Clifton Gunderson to Cherry Bekaert
Holland, to Larson Allen Weishair to Virchow Krause and six other
Top 65 'Group B' firms are founding affiliates of this venture.
In other news, independent consultants from the Big 5 accounting
firms have jointly developed an on-line consulting service aimed
at small businesses. Big5consultants.com brings the experience
and reputation of the big consulting firms without the sticker
price usually associated with it.
As further consolidation of the profession continues, we expect
to see more and more of these types of independent alliances
forming to compete effectively. What is the answer from the
experts? Don’t spend too much time debating whether to form
alliances like this, spend the time to figure out how to do it,
and just do it!
Michael T. Platt
Around the Profession
Top CPA Firms Join Together To Form Financial Services Provider
Ten of the largest CPA firms in the US announced this week the
formation of Capital Professional Advisors, a new financial
management company designed to provide turnkey insurance and
investment programs for their clients.
Minneapolis based Capital Professional Advisors will be funded by
the affiliated member firms and by Allmerica Financial
Corporation, a Fortune 500 insurance and financial services
company. Gordon Viere, CEO of Larson Allen Weishair & Co., LLP,
Minneapolis, is chairman of Capital Professional Advisors.
Douglas Wright, former vice president and general counsel of 1st
Global, Inc., Dallas, is president.
"Like most CPA firms, we have been contacted by many financial
service companies that want to gain access to our clients," Viere
said. "Our foundation firms created Capital so that we could
provide quality financial services at competitive prices, but do
so from an independent position that protects the integrity of
our client relationship."
See the full article in AccountingWEB for a complete listing of
the affiliates of Capital Professional Advisors:
Small Business Is Targeted By Big 5 Consulting Alliance
Big 5 business consultants have traditionally targeted Fortune
1000 companies, and have provided high end consulting – with a
price tag to match – to the largest businesses in the United
States. A new alliance of independent contractors made up of
representatives from Arthur Andersen, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst &
Young, KPMG Peat Marwick and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, announced
this week a new online program aimed at bringing that same
experience to the small business community. Big5consultants.com
specializes in helping smaller companies and executives with
valuation, buying or selling a business, writing a business plan
and raising capital. On-line services will include consultation
(answering business owner questions), Second Opinion (which
evaluates a consultant’s performance), and Document Review (a
critiquing of business plans).
Retirement Planning Specialists Can Get News and Industry Trends
on New 401kWire.com Web Site
A new web site, 401kWire.com, has been launched directed at
retirement planning professionals and corporate specialists to
deliver up-to-date education and information on defined
contribution planning. The site is an alliance of Quicken, Plan
Sponsor Magazine, R.G. Wuelfing & Associates, TAG (The Technical
Answer Group) and TeamVest. Commentary and insight will be
provided by the Society of Professional Administrators and
Recordkeepers as well as the Society of Plan Sponsors. "With the
changes facing retirement plan managers and participants alike,
the need for streamlined information delivered via the Web is
critical," said Charles Ruffel, CEO of Plan Sponsor Magazine.
Free Sample Technology Training Curriculum Available
Training new staff on firm-wide accounting systems, practice
management systems, firm-wide data file structures, tax software,
audit software, and other technologies in today’s modern office
can be a daunting task. Setting a training program in place will
help streamline the process and assure quality results.
"If your firm wants to be successful with its training program, a
standardized curriculum must be developed that outlines the
specific skills and amount of time required to learn each skill,"
states Roman Kepczyk, President of InfoTech Partners North
America, Inc., a technology consulting firm serving the
Request a free sample training curriculum by emailing to
mailto:email@example.com – and let them know AccountingWEB sent
PracticeWeb Website Management System
Is your firm struggling to turn its web site into a resource that
encourages clients to keep coming back to? Do you want your site
to do more than just offer a list of services, information on the
partners and how to contact the firm? PracticeWeb is a complete
web site management system designed specifically to help turbo-
charge your site with CPA-written articles on business
management, buying and selling a business, personal taxation,
retirement planning, estate planning, and other areas of interest
to your clients. Contact PracticeWeb Inc. toll free at 1-877-
927-2932 or visit us on the web for a free evaluation of your
Tax Bill Finalized But Veto On The Horizon
House and Senate Republicans are putting the finishing touches on
their tax cut plan valued at $792 billion over the next ten
years. This is a far cry from the Democrat’s desired $250-300
billion cut, and almost guarantees a veto from the President. The
bill would trim all five income tax rates by one percentage
point, lower capital gains taxes for individuals, provide special
tax breaks to businesses, and ease the marriage-tax penalty,
which forces millions of couples to pay higher taxes than if they
Politics will again get in the way as both sides are jockeying
for position in next year’s elections. Don’t expect a final bill
to be presented for ratification until summer recess is over and
Congress comes back to work after the Labor Day holiday . . .
Details of the bill can be found in the "Comparison of
Provisions" of HR 2488 prepared by the Joint Committee for
Reward Your Clients For Waiting For You
Many firms have moved beyond playing music on their phone system
for clients who are put on "hold." Many are customizing in-house
"advertisements" about what the firm offers. Here’s a twist –
how about offering your clients a gift for holding? Customers
calling Great American Business Products of Houston get a
recording indicating they are entitled to a bonus gift as a
"thank you" for holding. "It's not enough to have satisfied
customers anymore," notes call-center trainer Sharon Robinson.
"We want to amaze, astound, and astonish them, too." Great
American offers customers bonuses that range from pens and coffee
mugs to dinner for two. What bonus can you give your clients if
they have to hold for you for a long time? A free invitation to
a seminar? An hour of "free time" for lunch to explore their
issues? A free Year End Tax Planning Guide? Try it out. And
let us know your results . . .
Internet tips: VCRs for the ‘Net Have Arrived!
Road warriors, or those with a limited amount of Internet connect
time can now "record" web sites while you're online, and view
them at your convenience and without incurring any phone charges
offline. Similar to features of a VCR (but MUCH less complicated
-- and no clock setting to master!) WebVCR by NetResults is the
latest technology to allow you surf the Web even when you're not
connected. For those of you who enjoy reading newspapers on-line,
this is an ideal product that avoids extended phone line and
access charges. WebVCR can be downloaded for a 15-day free trial
and it sells for $39.95. Its producers say WebVCR "makes sure the
Web is there when you need it."
What are your favorite sites or Internet tips? Send in your
suggestions to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.