AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 13

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The AccountingWEB Newswire - Issue 13
October 15, 1999


In the headlines this week:
1. SEC's Levitt Blasts Auditor's Role
2. AICPA Issues New Standard For Audit Committee Reporting
3. IRS Raises Mileage Rate
4. E&Y Markets Operational Risk Management Software
5. Consulting .com's Proliferating Across The Internet
6. Strategies To Increase Public Relations Efforts
7. Download This Computer Usage Policy
8. A College Experience -- Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!
9. Internet Tip: Run a Client Business Plan By This Expert System

Editor's Note

Our thanks to Maura Schreier-Fleming for kicking off the
AccountingWEB Workshop Series this week with a great session on
Sales Training for Professionals. Her advice? 1. If you don't
have a written ideal customer profile, write one. 2. Find out who
your profitable customers are and pursue similar clients. 3. If
you don't have an opening "pinball" question prepared, write one.
What's a "pinball" question? Ahhh, you'll need to download the
full transcripts of the workshop and learn:

DON'T MISS next Tuesday's workshop when we are joined by Roman
Kepczyk of InfoTech Partners North America discussing Technology
Planning For CPA Firms. Mark your calendars now to come to the
workshop room at 4:00pm EST on Tuesday . . . and be sure to bring
your questions!

Michael T. Platt
[email protected]

1. SEC's Levitt Blasts Auditor's Role
The accounting profession was bruised and battered by the
Chairman of the SEC last week as he expressed "grave concerns"
over the way that auditors do their jobs, and suggested the need
for a full time self-regulatory body to ensure the credibility of
audits. On the heels of several high profile audit failures, Mr.
Levitt questioned the ability of the profession to regulate

itself, and suggested that all the regulatory bodies are "stacked
with accountants" making it difficult to address the issues.
AICPA President Barry Melancon fought back in defense of the
current system, and pointed out that there is a 99.7% success
rate with audits. "It's not news when 1000 airplanes land safely
every day," says Melancon.

Happy Birthday! Last Tuesday was an ordinary day on the planet.
About 370,000 children were born. Half were born into poverty.
Half were Asian. But one of the newborns on October 12, 1999
became the planet's 6 billionth person. Pretty amazing. Just
thought you would want to know . . .

2. AICPA Issues New Standard For Audit Committee Reporting
A new standard has been proposed to improve the communication
between independent auditors and corporate audit committees. The
standard would require auditors of public companies to comment on
the quality of the client's accounting principles, not just the
acceptability of them. Comments would focus on (a) the
consistency of the application of the client's accounting
policies; (b) the clarity, consistency and completeness of the
accounting information contained in the financial statements and
related disclosures; and (c) other areas that have a significant
impact on the accounting information included in the financial
statements, such as changes to accounting policies and unusual
transactions. For the full story:

3. IRS Raises Mileage Rate
The rise in gas prices this year has yielded at least one
positive result... After a decline earlier this year to 31 cents
in the standard mileage rate for automobiles used in business,
the IRS has raised the rate back up to 32.5 cents per mile for
the year 2000. Other key mileage rates however, such as rates
for autos used for medical or charitable purposes, or rates
related to a move, remain unchanged.

You can now enhance your website or internal Intranet system by
syndicating the AccountingWEB daily news stories and adding them
to your site. These stories are available at no cost to you! Go
details and to download the code to add topicality and timeliness
to your site.

4. E&Y Markets Operational Risk Management Software
Global competition and a rise in e-commerce have thrust many
businesses into uncharted territory with respect to
understanding, quantifying and managing the risks they face in
conducting their business. Ernst & Young has partnered with JP
Morgan to market "Horizon," an innovative, web-based risk
management software tool. The tool standardizes reporting
formats, reduces the possibilities of human error, and presents
risk profiles in an easy-to-understand manner. For more
information on risk management and this new tool to help control
and measure risks, go to the Horizon site at out the full story:

5. Consulting .com's Proliferating Across The Internet
With some business experience and some Internet savvy, CPAs, CFOs
and consultants are opening storefronts on the Web with catchy
names like or or the soon to be available But unlike a small storefront in a small
town in the middle of nowhere, where potential clients can
ascertain the relative strength of resources of the organization,
these virtual storefronts appear to the general public as being
of the same size and resource by virtue of the fact that they are
all operating on the Internet as virtual consulting services.
What's going on here, and how might it affect you? The answer is
that it all comes down to reinforcing strong relationships with
your clients so they won't be wooed by a price cutting e-
consulting organization. Sites like this will continue to pop up
on a daily basis from now on. Just be aware that they exist and
give your clients the exceptional service they deserve.

If you like this newsletter, please enlighten a friend . . .

6. Strategies To Increase Public Relations Efforts
Some practical advice on boosting your PR effort: write an
appointment in your calendar once a month and spend two hours
writing a press release, meeting a media contact, or learning
about how your local press likes to receive information. It
doesn't take a lot to build a Public Relations campaign, but it
does take discipline. So schedule it. And do it. You'll be
surprised at the positive results it will yield!

Tax Tidbit: The New York Times reports that the IRS is leaving
$billions on the table by letting many tax delinquents go for
more than a year. Adopting an all-or-nothing stance on back
taxes, if the agency can't collect immediately, many cases are
being shelved as uncollectable. Payroll taxes are one of the
biggest areas of delinquency. And the government, which used to
seize as many as 1000 houses a year, hasn't touched one in over
14 months, encouraging some taxpayers to shield assets by putting
them into homes.

7. Download This Computer Usage Policy
If you haven't yet adopted a firmwide policy on Internet usage,
or are still struggling to find out what needs to be addressed,
then this article is your salvation. Courtesy of InfoTech
Partners North America, you can download this Internet usage
policy that has been used by countless CPA firms around the
country. Be sure to get your own legal input before adopting any
companywide policies.

Reminder: Roman Kepczyk, President of ITPNA, will be our guest
on Tuesday's workshop on Technology Planning For CPA Firms.

8. A College Experience -- Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!
Is a college experience something that should be auctioned off
like used cars or comic books? Is it a commodity like airline
seats where students should be able to name their own price like
they can at We're about to find out as goes live encouraging colleges to bid for
students by offering lower and lower tuitions to build its next
graduating class. Academia is appalled by the idea, and worry
that it would encourage students to entrust their college
experience to the lowest bidder. But if you or someone you know
is looking for a financial leg up on the University system, it
may be worth a look at

9. Internet Tip: Run a Client Business Plan By This Expert System
Do you have clients who come to you with a business idea or a
business plan and ask you to review it for feasibility? You can
now get some additional expert feedback to blend with your own
insight by logging on to http://www.businessinsight.organd
quickly get a forecast of how the business may fare down the
road. Answer 50 simple questions about the business model (15-20
minutes), and receive a free comprehensive analysis of the
strengths and weaknesses based on thousands of logical models
residing in the software. The system does not store any
information, so anonymity of ideas can be preserved.

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
[email protected]

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May be reproduced in any medium for non-commercial purposes as
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