AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 16

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The AccountingWEB Newswire - Issue 16November 5, 1999

In the headlines this week:
1. The Rumor Is True: CPA/Law Firm Is Formed
2. New Independence Requirements for Auditors Approved
3. IRS Will Be Ready for Y2K (Not!)
4. Congratulations, You've Got a Website. Now What?
5. Workplace Violence: These Resources Can Save Lives and $$$
6. Required Reading: M&A Insight from One of the Best
7. Proven Ideas To Keep Paper From Burying You
8. No Operating System. No Booting Up. No Kidding . . .
9. Search the Web Like a Pro

Editor's Note


Big news this week as the CPA and legal professions take one giant step closer toward a blurred co-existence. For the first time in US history, a Big 5 CPA firm has entered into a formal alliance with a US based law firm, changing the landscape forever. (See story #1 below.) On a related front, the US Senate late Thursday passed legislation breaking down long-standing barriers between banks, insurance companies and investment firms, paving the way for those industries to partner together. Hold on to your hats -- bigger and bigger mergers are on the horizon. . .

The Accounting Community is crying out for help in improving its communication skills, according to the most recent AccountingWEB online poll. Clearly 50% of those who voted indicated that they needed the most help in presentations, listening skills and written communication skills. 30% felt that they could use the most help in sales and marketing skills. How are you addressing this need inside your organization? For poll results, see

AccountingWEB Sales Workshop Reminder: Mark your calendars now for Tuesday November 9 at 4:00pm Eastern Time and join us online from your desktop for a Q&A session with freelance media consultant Scott Cytron as he discusses "Getting The Media To Work For You" in the AccountingWEB Workshop Room. Find out how, with careful planning and not very much money, you can interest the media in your firm or business, and what techniques you can put to use to ensure both short- and long-term results. To participate, you'll need Internet access and about an hour of time. For more details, see:

Michael T. Platt
[email protected]

1. The Rumor Is True: New CPA/Law Firm Is Formed

As reported here last week, Big 5 CPA firm Ernst & Young has entered into a landscape-altering alliance this week with a new DC law firm called McKee Nelson Ernst & Young LLP. (Yes there is an echo in the room!) The CPA firm will provide a loan to the startup law firm, but no fees or profits will be shared between the two. The two firms will share contiguous space in the DC office, and the law firm may contract administrative services from the CPA firm, but the two are structurally independent of each other. The law firm will be an independent affiliate of the E&Y international global network, and is restricted from providing legal services to E&Y publicly traded audit clients. Got that? For more, see:

2. New Independence Requirements for Auditors Approved

The AICPA is determined to stay one step ahead of the SEC and this week announced new independence requirements for auditors of public companies. Among the new requirements is the need for auditing firms to set up an internal computer database of restricted investments in public companies that they audit. Another calls for independence policies governing financial relationships between the company and the firm, including staff and close relatives of staff. The new rules go into effect January 1, 2000. You will recall that the SEC recently pounced on the accounting profession for a perceived lack of independence and objectivity when dealing with audits of public companies.

$$$Savings Corner:

This week's tip involves business travel airfare reductions - If you are travelling with someone else on an airline and are willing to sit separately, you could save a lot of money on the flight. Lower priced seats may be available as "singles" and may be sold out as "doubles." Be sure to ask your travel agent or airline reservationist if this is an option. For more $$$Savings Corner tips, go to

3. IRS Will Be Ready for Y2K (Not!)

The dwindling calendar counting down to January 1 is not helping matters as the IRS admits this week to several "trouble spots" in its preparation for Y2K. In a letter to House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Archer, the IRS indicates that its inventory of computer equipment is something less than perfect and poses "a high risk to the Y2K effort." Although IRS Chairman Rossotti expressed high confidence that the agency will be prepared, contingency plans for issuing up to 10,000 manual refunds daily to taxpayers most in need are being kept at the ready. We've always wondered if 1/1/2000 was as strict a deadline as April 15 . . .

4. Congratulations, You've Got a Website. Now What?

Break out the cigars. After months of planning, your firm has just rolled out its new/improved website. But it's not like completing a painting where you can now step back and celebrate being at the end of the process. It is more like giving birth to a child that now needs to be nurtured, mentored and developed. This is where all the work comes in! Why do some websites fail, and how can you help assure that yours will be one of the successful ones? (1) Be sure expectations are realistic; (2) Be sure the responsibility for the site is in the right marketing hands; (3) Be sure you analyze trends and developments on your site; and MOST importantly (4) Be sure that the rainmakers in the firm -- the pillars of the organization -- are not only supportive of the website, but ACTIVELY promote it to their clients, prospects and referrals. Your website won't provide the results you are looking for unless it's marketed consistently at each opportunity. For more on website success, see:

5. Workplace Violence: Resources That Can Save Lives and $$$

This week's headlines from Honolulu and Seattle remind us again of the unpredictability of workplace violence. "We never thought it would happen here" is one of the few common links between these senseless tragedies. If you don't really think your employees are at risk, take a minute to consider whether your business is at risk. Earlier this year, widows of employees killed in the workplace were awarded almost $8 million by a jury that found two managers guilty of negligence by not taking appropriate security precautions after threats were made. 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:

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 to for details and to download the code to add topicality and timeliness to your site.

6. Required Reading: M&A Insight From One of the Best

Would you take advice on acquiring a business from someone who has bought a company in the last six years? How about 4 companies? How about 40? Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers shares his insights in this interview into what works and what doesn't in today's fast paced merger-mad world. Common sense advice on identifying acquisition candidates, developing partnerships that make sense, and measuring success are all laid out in this very candid interview in Business 2.0, an Internet magazine. If you are responsible for, or assist clients in, any merger or acquisition activity, this interview is a must read.

7. Proven Ideas To Keep Paper From Burying You

I'm sure you're not one of these people, but I've been in offices where you couldn't tell where the floor ends and the desk begins, because both have stacks of paper piled six feet high. (Bill, I'm not referring to you . . .) How do you clean up the clutter, while still achieving your business goals and being true to your personal style? Professional Organizers suggest you: (1) Get rid of the obvious clutter first; (2) Sort your stacks into no more than four major categories; (3) Purge your hidden away files; (4) Keep your files organized but close by; (5) Limit your purging to just six files per day; (6) Handle paper only once. From today on, your new mantra is "File, delegate or toss." Want details?

8. No Operating System. No Booting Up. No Kidding . . .

Imagine a Microsoft-free computer that acts as an Internet appliance -- you get all the functionality you need to surf the Web but you are not depending on Mr. Gates' operating software to power it. Then, picture a computer that costs less than $200 and can always be connected to the Internet, requiring just an on/off switch to save electricity. Now imagine that these machines will soon appear in businesses across the country forever changing the way you look at PCs. No need to get stressed out though, it will be the next millennium before these products hit the marketplace. Barely.

9. Internet Tip: Search The Web Like A Pro

If you're going to use the Internet for business, you need to know how to get in, get what you need, and get out. To search the Net like a pro, follow these guidelines: (1) If you're short on time, consider using a multiple search engine like Don't go back and forth -- open a new window to view your results. (3) Focus your search by finding industry-specific engines on sites like Bookmark your search results so you can access them later. (5) Learn from others' searches at Full details:

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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