AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 23

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The AccountingWEB Friday Wrap-Up Newswire - Issue 23December 31, 1999

In the headlines this week:

1. Three CPA Firms Make Fortune's 100 "Best Places To Work" List
2. 10 Biggest M&A Bloopers of 1999
3. New Offers In Compromise Program Unveiled By IRS
4. Compute The Cost of a Bad Hire
5. Post-Y2K Security Checklist
6. CBIZ Starts Shaving Offices and Staff
7. Customer Covers $35 Microsoft Debt - Saves Christmas for 52 Million!
8. Legal Way To Get Fast, Accurate Candidate References
9. Internet Tip: Using a Picture of a Web Page in Communications

Editor's Note

With Y2K now upon us, we will FINALLY have the opportunity to find out what all the fuss was about. Some glitches will be obvious in the opening minutes of the new century. But some things won't appear for a couple of weeks, such as activities that you will perform with software in your office. To help ease the transition for everyone, AccountingWEB is starting its own millennium bug collection. You are encouraged to review the site and to report any and all glitches that you encounter (or hear about) so that everyone can benefit. To visit our bug collection, please go to

We hope that you encounter no problems this weekend, and wish you a safe, healthy and happy new year.

Michael T. Platt

1. Three CPA Firms Make Fortune's 100 "Best Places To Work" List

The January Issue of Fortune Magazine is about to hit the stands, and in it you'll find the annual "100 Best Places To Work For" list. Three CPA firms made this year's list, including Michigan based Plante and Moran (#17), Deloitte & Touche (#31), and Ernst & Young (#86). Still blatantly missing from Fortune's "Diversity Elite" - measuring the best places for minorities to work - are any CPA firms. One day maybe. . .


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This newswire will be read by over 3,500 accounting professionals this week. Worldwide, AccountingWEB is a global community of over 50,000 accountancy professionals. For details of how to reach this audience: contact Ryan Carmen or go online to

2. 10 Biggest M&A Bloopers of 1999

Anyone who follows the in's and out's of corporate mergers and acquisitions, and is interested in why some work and why others don't, will enjoy this year end Top 10 List of M&A Bloopers of 1999. Mark N. Clemente and David S. Greenspan - M&A consultants and authors of the best-selling book, Winning at Mergers and Acquisitions - have identified the Top Ten Bloopers of the M&A world this year, indicating that even the biggest companies with the brightest minds and unlimited resources stumble along the way. See their list at:

3. New Offers In Compromise Program Unveiled By IRS

A kinder, gentler IRS continues reforms by announcing this week a simplified alternative to the often complex offers-in-compromise payment plans, which could involve complicated formulas and adjustments each quarter, confusing taxpayers and making it difficult to resolve back debts with the IRS. The solution? A fixed payment schedule for the life of the agreement, which can be as long as ten years. All instructions for an Offer in Compromise will now be contained in the new Form 656 package, which will replace Form 656-A, which appeared as a new, separate form earlier this year.

Be sure you don't miss software consultant David Carter's much requested tutorial on Excel Pivot Tables developed exclusively for the AccountingWEB community, and described in last week's newswire. If you are an accountant and deal with developing budgets on Excel, be sure to get this tutorial and unlock the secrets of this Excel feature!

4. Compute The Cost of a Bad Hire

It's often easy to see the effect of a "bad apple" in the workplace -- but difficult to measure the impact on decreased employee morale, increased management time and energy, and other intangibles that can really take a toll on a company. At least you can now compute the hard financial cost of a bad hiring decision. Advantage Hiring, a recruitment company, has taken thirteen variables associated with the hiring process and built an online calculator, so you can see -- sometimes quite painfully -- what it costs to make a bad decision in the hiring process. Did you know that the conservative cost of a poor hiring decision for a mid-level manager can easily exceed $36,000! Run the numbers and keep the cost of the hiring process in perspective.

5. Post-Y2K Security Checklist

You've done all you can to prepare for the Y2K computer glitches, right? But security concerns over hackers trying to flex their muscles on New Year's Eve continue to haunt IT specialists, and they have a few recommendations for what to do both during AND after the Y2K conversion. A detailed checklist has been developed by Para-Protect Services which can help you cover your company's exposure to millennium hackers well into the month of January. Be sure to download this checklist and give it to the IT person in your firm who can help ensure that even after the clock strikes midnight, your firm remains in good shape.

AccountingWEB welcomes AuditWatch to the growing list of organizations that are offering daily AccountingWEB news headlines to their members on their website. Contact Kelly McRae if your organization would like to syndicate our news for free.

6. CBIZ Starts Shaving Offices and Staff

At least sixty office locations of Century Business Services related companies will feel the effects in the coming months of the next phase of integration and consolidation of the company. CBIZ has announced that it will look at those markets where they have multiple offices due to recent acquisitions, and systematically begin eliminating office space, redundant equipment, and excess personnel. CBIZ executives and stockholders expect the integration to yield an annual cost savings in the neighborhood of $15 million, but some staff are just seeing pink slips in their future.

7. Customer Covers $35 Microsoft Debt - Saves Christmas for 52 Million!

Microsoft's 52 million-user Hotmail system was down over Christmas weekend because the $600 billion software manufacturer forgot to pay a $35 invoice. The mistake was caused after Microsoft failed to pay the annual $35 fee for it's registered domain name, which verifies user names and passwords for the Hotmail system. The mistake was discovered by Michael Chaney, a programmer who works with Linux, a competing system to Microsoft's Windows. Chaney unilaterally and graciously took out his credit card, called Network Solutions (the vendor who was owed the $35) and paid Microsoft's bill over the telephone so the Hotmail system would start working again and the 52 million users could access their accounts again. Microsoft has since thanked Chaney and has offered to reimburse him for his $35. Chaney has accepted their gratitude but asked Microsoft to consider the value of what he did before they decide on an amount to reimburse him . . .

Communications Tip: When you have bad news to deliver, recognize that there is no right time, so do not delay. Give the news directly, but in a sympathetic way. Don't make the bad news sound negotiable if it is not.

Source: Boardroom Reports

8. Legal Way To Get Fast, Accurate Candidate References

Employers are getting more and more tight-lipped when it comes to providing a referral for a former employee. Fear of lawsuits and repercussions for nay-saying an employee is growing. Here's an innovative idea that will get you quick results: Call the candidate's former employer at lunch or in the evening, when the chance of them being available is slim. Leave a message for them (or their assistant) indicating that so-and-so is applying for a position and you are looking for a referral. Ask them to call you back IMMEDIATELY if the candidate is outstanding. If you find that you're waiting for days on a bunch of call-backs, it might make sense to keep interviewing. For more tips, see:

9. Internet Tip: Using a Picture of a Web Page in Communications

If you are working in a Word document (or PowerPoint or other graphics package) and would like to add an image of an Internet page, do the following: (1) Bring the page up in your browser. (2) Get rid of as many of the toolbars on the top & bottom of the browser as possible so you can maximize the size of the page on the screen (put your cursor at the edge of the toolbar frame just above the web page and click and drag up). (3) Copy what's on the screen by holding down the WINDOW button (the Microsoft Windows logo) and the PRINT SCREEN button simultaneously. (4) Paste the image in your document by hitting CTRL and "V" simultaneously.

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

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