AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 15

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The AccountingWEB Newswire - Issue 15 October 29, 1999

In the headlines this week:
1. PWC To Lay Off 1000 Administrative Staff
2. The Line Between CPA and Legal Professions Continues to Blur
3. (Unfortunately Not) The Final Word on Computer Viruses
4. Association Helps Modernize The Chinese Accounting Profession
5. Working With Generation X
6. Big Five Consulting Arms Invest In Start Ups
7. Avoiding The Superman Complex
8. Looking to Specialize? Consider E-Commerce Accounting
9. Analyzing Financial Statements -- Practical Tips

Editor's Note

I want to take this opportunity to extend a personal note to a friend and colleague and congratulate Jake Netterville, Chairman of the Board of Postlethwaite and Netterville, on being awarded the Gold Medal from the American Institute of CPAs. This award is the association's highest honor, and recognizes recipients for their outstanding contributions to the profession. Congratulations Jake!

Meet the Team: Please take a moment to click here and meet the outstanding individuals who make up the team behind AccountingWEB.

Visit Our $$$ Savings Corner: Be sure to check out this new feature on the AccountingWEB site that will highlight cost savings ideas that can be implemented in any setting.

Michael T. Platt
[email protected]

1. PWC To Lay Off 1000 Administrative Staff

If you are looking for HR, marketing, finance and admin people with a CPA firm background, now might be a good time to find them. PricewaterhouseCoopers announced this week its intent to trim it's internal administrative staff worldwide by as much as 1000 people in an effort to reposition itself in its post-merger being, and to take advantage of future e-commerce consulting opportunities. The layoffs are not expected to affect the accountants or the consultants of the firm.

2. The Line Between CPA and Legal Professions Continues to Blur

Big Five CPA firm Ernst & Young and legal giant King & Spalding have been negotiating for the past couple of weeks to create a new business entity that would provide clients with a full array of accounting and legal services. This may result in a newly created law firm, with "extremely close" ties to E&Y, and may even reside in the E&Y offices in Washington, providing legal services to accounting clients. Up until now, a long standing Bar Association ethics rule and widespread state laws prohibit non-lawyers from owning or controlling law firms, although the lines have become increasingly blurred in recent years. How will this effort turn out? No one knows, but one thing is certain -- the momentum for the CPA and legal professions to come together is strong, and is likely unstoppable.

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3.(Unfortunately Not) The Final Word on Computer Viruses

One of the curses of living in a completely wired world is the ability for hackers, pranksters, and -- at their worst -- cyber terrorists to infiltrate our computer systems and wreak havoc on our contented lives. This week saw the proliferation of a new "worm" called Badass -- yes, Badass -- which is potentially as destructive as the Melissa virus. The worm comes in the form of an email with a message that says "This is sort of funny" and includes an attachment which is the badass.exe file. If you or anyone in your firm receives an email like that, simply delete the file. Best advice: If you receive an attachment in your email from someone you don't recognize, it's best to err on the cautious side and delete the file.

4. Association Helps Modernize The Chinese Accounting Profession

Recognizing the sleeping giant that is the Chinese economy, global accounting association ACPA International has crafted an agreement with the Shaanxi Institute of CPAs to develop programs and services to ensure that the Chinese Accounting profession has what it needs to lead the way in modernizing the businesses they service. This agreement is a first-of-its-kind between the Shaanxi Institute and any group from the outside. ACPA International plans joint venture assistance, training and fact-finding delegations to help Chinese accounting firms.

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5. Working With Generation X

Are you a Generation Xer who can't figure out your boss? Are you a boss who can't figure out you Generation X staff? Guess what folks, you're working together and need to figure out how to do it with maximum effectiveness. A research project, "A Generational Xchange: A Guide to Managing and Mentoring Generation X," found that Gen Xers are entrepreneurial by nature and act more like independent contractors. Gen Xers are hard working and committed to companies; however, they may not be as loyal as their older counterparts. What they crave most, according to the study, is stability and structure, with flexibility to bend the rules a little. Mentoring, learning and sharpening their professional skills are also important. Finally, Gen Xers want to be valued. Come to think of it, it sounds like a recipe for dealing with all of the staff . . .

6. Big Five Consulting Arms Invest In Start Ups

The landscape continues to change as consulting firms continue their investment spree in start-up companies, often pooling the equity received in exchange for consulting work and splitting it between partners. This week Andersen Consulting added ChemConnect, the Net's largest global chemical and plastic exchange, to a growing list of investments it is making in start-up companies. Analysts are concerned that professional firms in a consulting role will begin acting like speculative investors, and may give advice based on short term gains rather than what is in a client's best long-term interest. Stock-for-consulting deals are beginning to pop up among many of the Big 5 consulting firms, leading skeptics to be greatly concerned about leaving long-standing ethical positions in the dust in search of opportunities to hit home runs on investments. Yes, it's getting a little weird out there.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with a friend . . .

7. Avoiding The Superman Complex

If you are like me, and like most of the people I know, you are lucky if you can cut down to just two ends of the candle that you feel you need to be burning constantly. Trying to be a superhero at work, at home, in friendships and in relationships does take its toll. Inc. Magazine this month profiles Max Carey, an executive who first coined the term "Superman complex" over eleven years ago. Armed with this piece of information, I encourage you to do yourself a favor. Shut your door, put the phones on do not disturb, and take ten minutes to read this interview with Carey. That's a bunch of lost time if all of our readers take ten minutes to read this now, but the benefits will be well worth it to you, your co-workers, your firm, your family, your friends, etc.

8. Looking to Specialize? Consider E-Commerce Accounting

US News reports this week that one of the hottest jobs in the financial services area in the year 2000 will be an accountant who specializes in E-Commerce. Helping clients determine if it makes sense to sell products and services on line, assisting with finding web designers, structuring on-line credit card processing while keeping would-be hackers away is the job description of one of the most sought after positions for the next decade. If you want to kick your career into the fast lane, consider migrating to this specialty area. It will help you and your firm succeed.

9. Analyzing Financial Statements -- Practical Tips

AccountingWEB was fortunate this week to be joined by credit risk analysis specialist Cindy Moorhead in our weekly workshop, discussing ways to improve on analyzing client's financial statements. A much overlooked area where you can bring significant value added service to your clients is in assisting them to analyze their customers' financial statements, assessing their credit-worthiness and the impact on your client's business. Read the transcript of this session and be sure to consider Cindy's tips in your practice. And be sure to look at their website and subscribe to a free credit risk newsletter.

10. Internet Tip: Looking For Images? Check Here.

It's 7:00am. You're getting ready to give a PowerPoint presentation to a client in two hours, and just realized you really need to enhance your presentation with some graphics. But where can you find a picture of a construction site to add to that one critical slide? Or a picture of the Eiffel Tower to pitch a prospective client looking to expand overseas? Check out and bookmark, a wonderful search engine that looks for images across the Web. Type in a key word and it returns thumbnail images with detailed information about the origin and the size of the file. Right click on the image to "Save Image As" and import it into your presentation. Or print it in hard copy on proposals. Remember though that just because images are on the Web doesn't mean that they are not copyrighted. Use your professional judgement . . .

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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