Short takes, notes and items of interest.


Short takes, notes and items of interest

KPMG Leaves Broker Business
   In January of this year KPMG Peat Marwick dissolved a controversial 16-month alliance with an independent broker-dealer, KPMG BayMark Capital, that offered investment banking services. The Securities and Exchange Commission had questioned the independence of the firm's auditors when KPMG served a dual role as both auditor and investment banker to corporate clients.

Fool-Proof ID Cards
   The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) issued a new, more tamper-proof employment authorization card called form I-766. It is issued to nonpermanent aliens who have been granted temporary permission to work in the United States. The new ID cards, which include a photograph and anti-replication holograms, will be phased in. Employers can obtain more information by calling the INS at 800-870-3676.

Disclosures Under the Gun
   At Senate Banking Securities Subcommittee hearings on derivatives regulations witnesses disagreed about whether recent Securities and Exchange Commission regulations and proposed Financial Accounting Standards Board standards on derivatives disclosure would benefit U.S. investors. While some witnesses said disclosures would provide important transparency in the derivatives market, others said the high compliance costs could harm both companies that use derivatives and investors. The subcommittee chairman, Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas), said he would confer with SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, Jr. "If we decided we were going to try to override the SEC rules, we would want to do it quickly," said Gramm.

FAF Looks at Its Own Books
   The Financial Accounting Foundation needs money for the future. Contributions from industry have dropped by $500,000 since 1992, said FAF trustee Kathryn Wriston, who is leading a fundraising campaign to help keep rulemaking in the private sector. The Financial Executives Institute has called on its members to increase their financial support.

Banking on Wall Street
   Three bills in the House, HR 669, HR 268 and HR 10, and the comprehensive reform bill introduced in the Senate (S 298) would allow banks to establish securities affiliates that could offer municipal revenue bonds and asset-backed securities. Another effort by federal regulators would allow section 20 bank affiliates to underwrite more municipal revenue bonds.

Fellows in the Capitol
   The SEC's Office of Chief Accountant selected Jeffrey N. Jones of KPMG Peat Marwick, New York, and Robert Uhl of Deloitte & Touche, Wilton, Connecticut, to serve as professional accounting fellows for two-year terms beginning in June.

Bankers Fight Rubber Checks
   The American Bankers Association recommended all banks use a standard classification for check fraud losses to help track nationwide fraud trends. It also should help correct weaknesses in the system and lead to new loss prevention methods. For a free copy of the classifications, fax John Hall at 202-663-7578.

Researching the Future
   The Indiana University School of Business will establish the Price Waterhouse Center for Information Technology for the development of the technical proficiency of future accounting and business consulting professionals. The center is expected to bring together auditing and cost accounting work with integrated computer networks.

DOL Offers Family-Friendly Number
   The Labor Department has a toll-free number that explains the Family and Medical Leave Act. Callers hear a recorded message and are able to request detailed information through the mail. The number is 800-959-3652.

Help Is on the Way
   Accountants for the Public Interest, a nonprofit organization through which volunteer accountants donate their time and expertise, has publications useful to not-for-profits: What a Difference Preparation Makes: A Guide to the Nonprofit Audit, What a Difference Nonprofits Make: A Guide to Accountant Procedures and What a Difference Understanding Makes: Guides to Nonprofit Management (a five-booklet series). To learn about API or to order publications, call 202-347-1668.

Women's Businesses on a Roll
   The Census Bureau recently released data on women-owned businesses: In 1992, women owned 6.4 million businesses, a third of all domestic companies and 40% of all retail and service companies. These businesses generated $1.6 trillion in revenues and employed 13.2 million people. Los Angeles has the greatest number of women-owned businesses, followed by New York, Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia. For more census data, visit the bureau at .


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.