Short takes, notes and items of interest

Relief for FASB 125 Headaches
¤ FASB has issued a special report, A Guide to Implementation of Statement 125 on Accounting for Transfers and Servicing of Financial Assets and Extinguishments of Liabilities, because this complex statement has generated so many questions from preparers and auditors. The booklet is organized by topic and written in question-and-answer format. FASB will publish additional Qs and As soon. Meanwhile, an exposure draft amending the statement is on the FASB's agenda and scheduled for release by yearend. To order, call FASB at 203-847-0700.

Clinton Signs Y2K Bill
¤ Y2K readiness is not just a good idea anymore — it's the law. Or at least free discussion is. With the president's signature, the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act became law, encouraging open communication on this widespread problem. (For details, see "Talking the Talk on Y2K," JofA, Nov.98. For legislative history, go to .)

The Accounting Issue that Wouldn't Die
¤ FASB did not forget about derivatives after issuing its historic Statement no. 133, Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities . It formed a Derivatives Implementation Group to provide additional guidance, and this committee has already addressed several issues and referred others to the Emerging Issues Task Force. Tentative guidance can be found at . FASB is inviting comments and has opened the bimonthly group meetings for public observation.

Historical — and Historic — Audits
¤ The Independent Committee of Eminent Persons (ICEP) was formed to look into restitution of funds to victims of the Holocaust who entrusted money to Swiss banks and to their heirs. Recently, it issued a status report, which includes descriptions of the auditing process. PricewaterhouseCoopers has been investigating the Swiss Bank Corporation — now merged with the Union Bank of Switzerland, which is being investigated by KPMG. Arthur Andersen is looking at Credit Suisse, and a number of other subsidiaries are also coming under scrutiny by one of the three firms. The status report also said that more than 420 auditors are in the field and, by yearend, the investigation will have covered banks with 85% of the balance sheet liabilities in existence in 1945.


CPAs Rule!
¤ Worth magazine picked the top 300 financial advisers in its September 1998 issue: 89 were CPAs, 63 of whom also had the PFS designation. (Currently 2,500 CPAs have the PFS designation.) AICPA President Barry Melancon said the large number of CPAs on the list was a sign that the public sees CPAs as more than just tax consultants or auditors.

Volunteer Winners
¤ Accountants for the Public Interest (API) gave several CPAs its annual API Volunteer Achievement Awards: Charles J. Frago, at the Community Accounting Aid and Services, Inc.; Michael J. Robbins, the Florida Association of Nonprofit Organizations; William H. Doherty, Community Tax Aid of Boston, Inc.; Wanda R. Grant, CPAs for the Public Interest (Chicago); Raymond J. Murtaugh, Community Accountants; Paul Cullen, Minnesota Accounting Aid Society; Charles S. Lee, Accounting Aid Society; Richard H. Dively, Western Pennsylvania Community Accountants, Inc.; Charles Specht, API New Jersey; and R. Donald Ragland, Jr., Virginia Society of CPAs and Peninsula Marine Institute.

DePaul Confers Honorary Title On State Society Executive
¤ DePaul University awarded Martin H. Rosenberg the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his leadership of the Illinois CPA Society. Rosenberg, who has been executive director of the state society since 1977, also serves on the AICPA's accounting education executive committee and national steering committee on regulation of the profession.

Every Week Is Y2K Week
¤ The AICPA posted Y2K information on its Web site for National Y2K Action Week, October 19-23. The Year 2000 Issue: Current Accounting and Auditing Guidance includes discussions of financial reporting, disclosure, assurance engagements and auditor communications. Go to

Adding to "CPA"
¤ If you're in technology consulting, your CPA designation may not be the only one you want. A survey conducted by Microsoft Certified Professional magazine suggests IT certification in various products can increase salaries. Forty-two percent said they received a promotion as a result of certification, 58% believed certification boosted income, and 21% said they received a raise of 15% or more.


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.