AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 36

The AccountingWEB Friday Wrap-Up Newswire - Issue 36
March 31, 2000

** This week's Newswire is sponsored by **

In the news this week:

1. Non-CPAs Making Headway In Traditional CPA Roles
2. Microsoft Ditches Tax Prep Plans - Orrtax Picks Up The Product
3. Finding The Best of the Web For Small Biz
4. CPA/Client Confidentiality Principle is Victorious
5. Develop QuickBooks Training and Support As A New Service Area
6. The Key To Differentiation
7. PWC Says No To SEC's Big Brother Campaign
8. Attention Staff Recruiters: Better Spiff Up That Web Site
9. New Technology/E-Commerce Security Firm is Formed
10. Internet Tip: Find Prospective Client Leads Online

Editor's Note

In an effort to crack down on securities fraud, the SEC has devised a plan for online surveillance of web sites, chat rooms and news groups looking for "tell-tale" discussions of get-rich-quick schemes and the distribution of false information. While we encourage the SEC's efforts to curb fraud, AccountingWEB applauds PricewaterhouseCoopers' refusal to participate in the development or implementation of the surveillance system because of blatant privacy issues that could adversely affect many innocent people. In light of the recent PWC/SEC friction, this was a gutsy move by PWC and we salute them. (See Story #7 below.)

Michael T. Platt

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AccountingWEB's Online Workshop Schedule

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Monday April 3 9:00pm EDT - Tax Season Q&A

Tuesday April 4 4:00pm EDT - Writing Winning Resumes

Get on board! AccountingWEB workshops are simply the quickest, easiest and most inexpensive way to tap into some of the brightest minds in the country on issues of relevance to you today. Be sure to mark your calendars for these upcoming workshops, and tell others in your firm who would benefit from these sessions to join you online too!

1. Non-CPAs Making Headway In Traditional CPA Roles

This week, the Illinois CPA Society announced a new "affiliate member" status for non-CPAS, joining California and New York in breaking the ranks of CPA-only member State CPA Societies. A thousand miles away, over 79% of the respondents in a member poll sponsored by the Texas CPA Society indicated that they favor non-CPA ownership of CPA firms. Seems the CPA associations are recognizing the importance of the non-CPA to the profession, and are extending a hand to bring them into the fold.

2. Microsoft Ditches Tax Prep Plans - Orrtax Picks Up The Product
Microsoft announced this week that it has dropped its plans to pursue a tax preparation software product, and signed a partnership deal with H&R Block to co-market their tax preparation services instead. Microsoft's two-years-in-the-making TaxSaver product, released just ninety days ago and billed as a head on competitor to Intuit's TurboTax, found a new home this week at Orrtax, as Microsoft made the strategic decision that staying on top of all the changes in the tax prep business would be too costly.


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3. Finding The Best of the Web For Small Biz

In an effort to identify the best online resources for small businesses, Inc. Magazine sifted through hundreds of sites, and asked 34 CEOs to comment on the top ten. These ten sites offer expertise, online tools, product sales, information and news -- everything that would be needed to run a small business from the Web. The verdict? All of the sites have something good to offer, but there is no one best small business portal. Explore the sites yourself and find the one that works best for you and your clients.

4. CPA/Client Confidentiality Principle is Victorious

A controversial proposal giving the Colorado State Board of Accountancy the right to inspect a CPA's client files without the client's permission has been shot down. The bill would have given the State Board of Accountancy the right to obtain, view, study, and analyze files of CPA clients that had received financial statement audit services without any mention of the need for the client's approval. While the issue is dead for now, those who helped defeat the proposal, including Frank Zaveral of Colorado's Independence Institute, warn CPAs across the country to be extra vigilant in defending against similar measures which would threaten the CPA/Client privilege.

5. Develop QuickBooks Training and Support As A New Service Area

If you support QuickBooks(r) or have a technology division, you will want to attend the Bridge21 live QuickBooks(r) training class May 4-7 in San Diego being presented to over 100 San Diego businesses. AccountingWEB is pleased to announce a $200 member discount for this Bridge21 Computer Consulting by Accountants conference. Learn first hand how to use QuickBooks(r) training and support to build your practice. Additionally, learn how to set up a virtual office so you can work at home or hire lower cost labor. Rich Walker from Intuit is speaking on payroll and QuickBooks(r) certification. Doug Sleeter will be doing technical training for accountants that support QuickBooks(r). Net Ledger and On-Line Office will speak about Internet/ASP based accounting. Sign up by April 10 and save $200.

6. The Key To Differentiation

According to Suzanne Lowe, this week's AccountingWEB workshop presenter, the key to differentiating your organization from your competitors lies in understanding where your differences truly are ("minding" the gap) and communicating those differences clearly to your market ("mining the gap.") But to truly be a differentiating factor, your "differentiation" approach must be of value to your clients, difficult to copy, credible, compelling and sustainable. Find out more on how to implement these theories to differentiate your organization from the competition.

7. PWC Says No To SEC's Big Brother Campaign

The SEC wants to monitor securities fraud on the Internet, and is looking to build a sophisticated surveillance system to snare wrong-doers before they defraud unwitting investors from millions of dollars. But PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the consulting firms invited to bid on developing and running the surveillance system for the SEC, said it refuses to participate in the process because of significant privacy issues and Constitutional infringements upon innocent people. The technology involved in the SEC program "is equivalent to, in my opinion, wiretapping ... the equivalent of planting a bug," said Larry Ponemon, a partner in charge of privacy issues at PWC.

8. Attention Staff Recruiters: Better Spiff Up That Web Site

According to a recent survey released this week, fifty percent of potential staff recruits say that your web site plays a significant role in influencing their desire to come work for you. What are the most important elements of web site design to the recruit? (a) Navigation, (b) download time, (c) availability of desired information. What are the most important topics to cover on your web site? (a) A clear business description, (b) information about each office location, and (c) specifics about job positions. Want to know more? We thought so . . .



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9. New Technology/E-Commerce Security Firm is Formed

Six consultants from Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG just left the security of the Big 5 landscape to form their new company, Foundstone, Inc., which will provide security solutions for companies and will attempt to address the severe shortage of security experts available today. Their goal is to utilize hands-on classroom training where clients are taught how to hack and how to prevent hacking. The company also will become an information source as it publishes easy-to-understand articles and establishes its Web site that features vendor neutral security information. Finally, the company will provide consulting services for clients.

10. Internet Tip: Find Prospective Client Leads Online

Companies looking for just the right CPA or accountant are slowly turning to the Internet to find one. A new site called is taking advantage of this trend by allowing client companies to sign on and register themselves so accounting firms can call on them and bid on their work. For accounting firms, the promise is hot leads and low costs. The developers of the site are banking on lead generation as a "killer application" for the Internet. They are using a similar system to put together buyers and sellers from ad agencies to graphic designers to Internet Service Providers to travel agencies.

PressZONE Partner Information

TexSYS RD Becomes ePartners

TexSYS RD Corporation announces this week that it has officially changed its name to ePartners, Incorporated™. The name ePartners more accurately reflects the company’s strategy as well as the solutions and services it delivers to middle market customers. ePartners specializes in the integration and hosting of web-enabled customer relationship management, demand planning, procurement, manufacturing/distribution, professional services automation, financial management, human resource and payroll solutions for the middle market.

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