Short takes, notes and items of interest.


Short takes, notes and items of interest

Online Champions
   With its reputation for downloadable action games and pornography, the World Wide Web may seem at times as if it was designed by and for teenage boys. However, an online Web navigation test, organized by MCI Communications and the Educational Testing Service, had some surprising results. Out of a possible 100, women scored an average of 79.91, higher than the mens average of 78.29. Youth isnt a help either: Women 60 and older scored 71.38; boys 17 and younger only 70.64.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Pensions
   The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation published its Pension Insurance Data Book 1996 , a collection of charts and graphs on the status of the programs it protects. This book can be downloaded from . For free hard copies, fax a request to 202-326-4042 or write to PBGC Data Book, Room 240, 1200 K Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005-4026.

We Love Your Hedges
   The Securities and Exchange Commission released a staff publication that contains frequently asked questions and answers about the SECs new market risk disclosure rules. The rules, adopted in January, require disclosures about the policies used to account for derivatives and certain quantitative and qualitative information about market risk exposures. The publication is available on the SEC Web site at .

The Leaders of the PAC
   The public accounting profession donated more than $10 million to various political action committees and congressional campaigns in the 1995-96 election period. The biggest donor was Ernst & Young, with total PAC and individual contributions of $2.6 million, an average of $1,357 per partner.

Conquistadors Didnt Underestimate the Value
   When Hernando Cortes landed in the New World, he brought horses, soldiers—and his accountant. Recent historical research has highlighted Alonso de Avila, who kept the books for the Cortes army. As the reward for excellent service, he was made the first mayor of Veracruz, in what is now Mexico.

Families in the 1990s
   The Employee Benefit Research Institute published an article, "Domestic Partner Benefits," discussing the nature and extent of such benefits, including tax implications. The article also points out the costs of providing benefits to domestic partners are not as high as often assumed. For the full article, order EBRI Notes , no. 7, for $25 by calling 410-516-6946.

More Branches on the Net
   The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) made available on one Web site information on branches and deposits for banks and thrift institutions. The new Bank/Thrift Deposit Inquiry service allows users to search for information about any of the more than 81,000 U.S. FDIC-insured branches by accessing the FDIC Web site at or the OTS home page at .

New Chairman for Canadian CMAs
   The Society of Management Accountants of Canada in Hamilton, Ontario, appointed its 1997-98 executive committee. The new chairman is Derrick F. Sturge, CMA, FCMA, chief financial officer of Voiseys Bay Nickel Co., Ltd.

Pennies From Heaven
   The U.S. Small Business Administration published the 1996 edition of Micro-Business-Friendly Banks in the United States , which identifies 478 banks specializing in business loans of less than $100,000. To order, call the National Technical Information Service at 703-487-4650.

Boost for Future Accountants
   The National Society of Public Accountants awarded 40 scholarships to college accounting students, in amounts ranging from $500 to $2,000. Roger Wells, a junior at Bryant College, was selected as the outstanding student in the scholarship competition.

Learn More, Earn More
   CPAs planning their own future—and helping clients plan theirs—should note that according to Census Bureau data, the more advanced the degree, the more money you make. In 1995, those with just bachelors degrees earned an average of $44,523; with masters degrees, $55,384; and with a professional degree, $98,197.


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.