AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 19

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The AccountingWEB Friday Wrap-Up Newswire - Issue 19November 26, 1999

In the headlines this week:
1. AICPA Publishes New Peer Review Standards
2. Family Feud an Andersen Heats Up
3. Sexual Harassment Reminder: Know What To Do
4. Enhance Your Work Environment Through Student Internships
5. Internet Companies Face Accounting Crackdown
6. Helping Clients Make Money With Uncle Sam
7. IASC Approves Restructure For The Future
8. Tax Legislation Stalemate Yields Some Improvements
9. $$$Savings Corner Tip: Check Your Cellular Phone Plan

1. AICPA Publishes New Peer Review Standards

At its meeting last month, the AICPA Peer Review Board adopted several revisions to the Standards for Performing and Reporting on Peer Reviews (Standards) to take effect January 1, 2001. There will be three types of peer reviews: System Review, Engagement Review and Report Reviews. Understand the differences between these three types of Reviews and how they will affect your firm. You may take a peek at some of the changes that have been adopted at:

2. Family Feud at Andersen Heats Up

In one of the most public divorce cases ever to hit the business community, Andersen Worldwide (AW) has filed a $14.6 billion counterclaim against Andersen Consulting (AC), as part of a proposed settlement if the two firms actually break up. AW insists that if AC wants to go its separate way, it must give up the "Andersen" brand and return the technology it uses to run its business. Spokesmen for Andersen Consulting insist that no "break up fees" should be owed to AW because contractually there is no stipulation for what happens in the event the entire firm departs, it only outlines what happens if individual consultants depart. An international mediator is expected to rule on the split by March of next year.

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3. Sexual Harassment Reminder: Know What To Do

Lawsuits Happen. That is a fact of life. Because we are living in a litigation-happy world, you better know what to do to minimize the risk of a lawsuit when a situation arises. This week we focus on sexual harassment in the workplace. If an employee comes to you as a supervisor to make a complaint, knowing how to respond can mean the difference between resolution and trial: (1) Take the complaint seriously. (2) Consult your HR professional or the managing partner of the firm -- if necessary, call in outside counsel. (3) Collect facts - do not judge. (4) Keep your investigation confidential. (5) Document your investigation thoroughly. (6) See the situation through to the end. As with all business risks, you need to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Know in advance how to handle a complaint and you'll be that much further ahead.

Client Relations Idea: Want to get a client's attention? Have them pose under your firm's sign in your lobby and take their picture. Follow up with a letter of appreciation for stopping by, and include the photo in a cardboard frame, with your firm's name and mission statement printed on the back. Most people like to have their picture taken. It makes them feel important.

Source: 301 Great Management Ideas

4. Enhance Your Work Environment Through Student Internships

"We can't find good people anywhere" is the battle cry of the accounting profession these days. Be sure not to overlook the establishment of internship opportunities inside your firm as a way to combat this growing problem. Many business-savvy students and many student-savvy businesses are partnering early in the college career to offer the student the chance to gain valuable work experience and offer the business the chance to line up a future employee early in the process. College placement offices can help you structure an internship program that could just find you your next superstar. Enter into an internship relationship with your eyes open -- give the student meaningful work in an environment that can benefit the learning process, and have the intern stretch within their limits to provide your firm with a valuable product. It's a win-win that works for everyone.

5. Internet Companies Face Accounting Crackdown

Internet companies are strange animals. They follow few of the traditional business models, so it should be no surprise that their approach to accounting is raising the eyebrows of some regulators. This week the SEC asked the Financial Accounting Standards Board to take a look at the ways some Internet companies are overstating their numbers by booking revenue for "free" services, booking revenue for bartered exchanges, and booking revenue for the total sale of products where many times they are just distributing products on behalf of other companies. The SEC is looking to FASB and other accounting rule-makers to get a handle now on reporting issues in the Internet world while the industry is still young enough to address accounting changes without shaking up the economy. So if you work with any dot-com businesses, know that Big Brother is watching.

6. Helping Clients Make Money With Uncle Sam

In addition to helping your clients figure out how much they owe Uncle Sam, your role as a business advisor should also be to alert clients to the revenue-generating opportunities available in working with Uncle Sam. Last year, the federal government awarded contracts worth $40 billion to small businesses. A new service called can alert you or your clients for free to all the current proposal opportunities in any of over 100 categories of services or industries that the government is outsourcing. Accounting, consulting, operational audits, technology installation -- these are all areas that the government is looking for assistance in that many accounting firms can provide. If you don't want to get involved with the government, consider this: Would your manufacturing client appreciate it if you brought them an RFP for a $100,000 government project and helped them win the proposal? Try it and see what it does for client retention . . .
Find out more about BidRadar by going to:

7. IASC Approves Restructure For The Future

A restructuring of the International Accounting Standards Committee, approved at its meeting this week, will position the organization as a true global accounting standards setter, according to IASC Chairman Stig Enevoldsen. Under the new structure, the IASC would be established as an independent organization. The organization would have two main bodies, the Trustees and the Board, as well as a Standing Interpretations Committee and Standards Advisory Council. The Trustees would appoint the Board members, exercise oversight and raise the funds needed, whereas the Board would have sole responsibility for setting accounting standards. The IASC, which is made up of more than 140 professional accountancy bodies in over 100 countries, is setting a course to become the definitive global standards setter across the profession.

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! See our syndicated news page for details and to download the code to add topicality and timeliness to your site.

8. Tax Legislation Stalemate Yields Some Improvements

After several months of chest pounding on Capitol Hill, we have reached a stalemate between the Democrats and Republicans, who failed to do much with tax legislation during this session of Congress. However, several tax breaks that had expired earlier this year have been revived, including preserving credits for businesses and preventing the alternative minimum tax from limiting the availability of nonrefundable credits such as the lifetime learning credit and the Hope scholarship. A full description of the credits extended in the legislation, expected to be signed by President Clinton shortly, can be found at:

9. $$$Savings Corner Tip: Check Your Cellular Phone Plan

Nearly 40% of cell phone customers have a plan that is inappropriate for their level of usage. Contact your cellular provider and ask them to do a rate analysis on your usage and recommend the best plan available. New plans are implemented all the time, and competition is forcing the providers to be slightly more flexible in allowing you to jump in and out of plans depending on your usage. For more $$$Savings Corner tips, go to

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