Short takes, notes and items of interest

Empire State Joins the 150-Hour Club
¤ The New York State Board of Regents approved 150 hours of higher education as a requirement to join the accounting profession. The New York State Society of CPAs supported the change and worked with the board of regents in implementing it. The 150-hour requirement takes effect in August 2009 for those sitting for the examination and August 2004 for colleges and universities seeking to register accounting programs with the state. New York's move is also symbolic: It was the first state to license its accountants more than a century ago, and it has the largest and oldest state CPA society in the United States.

All in the Family
¤ The non-profit National Center for Financial Education is selling a book on money management for children, ages 5 to 12. The heavily illustrated text explains about budgeting, income and insurance. To order, call the NCFE at 619-232-8811.

You Can Bank on It
¤ The FDIC general counsel has issued two opinions on interest charges by insured institutions. Opinion 10 (Federal Register, vol. 63, no. 74, 4/17/98) comments on section 1831d of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, which established maximum rates that certain insured state banks may charge on most loans. The opinion concludes that the term interest , for this section, includes those charges a national bank may make under section 85 of the National Bank Act. Opinion 11 (Federal Register, vol. 63, no. 95, 5/18/98) provides guidance on the application of section 1831d to loans made by state banks operating interstate branches.

Interpretation Amended
¤ The AICPA audit issues task force has amended an interpretation, The Use of Legal Interpretations As Evidential Matter to Support Management's Assertion That a Transfer of Financial Assets Has Met the Isolation Criterion in Paragraph 9(a) of Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 125, of SAS no. 73, Using the Work of a Specialist. Some letters from legal specialists to their clients failed to communicate the legal specialist's permission for a client's auditor to use such a letter in an evaluation of management's assertion. The amendment to the interpretation includes sample language, prepared in consultation with American Bar Association committees, to help resolve any confusion. See Official Releases, page 124, for the text of the amendment.


Accountants Welcomed Here
¤ The Commercial Law League of America, a provider of professional services to the credit industry and publisher of the Commercial Law Journal and the Commercial Law Bulletin, has opened its membership, which had been limited to lawyers, commercial collection agency personnel, law-list publishers and bankruptcy trustees. Now, individuals in other professions, including CPAs, may join. For details, go to or call the league at 800-978-2552.

Guarding the Public's Money
¤ The GFOA is selling print and CD-ROM products covering recommended practices developed by the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting. The products include examples of the recommended practices and their implementation. The council is a project of the GFOA and seven other state and local government organizations. To order, call the GFOA at 312-977-9700.

Big Firm Goes to Madison Avenue
¤ Do clients expect you to talk to them clearly ? KPMG Peat Marwick is betting $60 million they do. That's the cost of an ad campaign created for the firm, which includes the tag line "It's time for clarity." A TV commercial features a grandmother saying, "Always make sure you conduct a mass utilization model before crossing the street." The point is that people you most trust always give you clear advice.

Red Letter Day for India
¤ The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The prime minister helped launch the festivities with a speech to an audience of accountants and students. Details can be found in the July 1998 issue of The Chartered Accountant: Journal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

Accountants Without Borders
¤ Do you want to work overseas? A new guide provides advice and details on working as an accountant in more than 20 countries, mostly in Europe but in Africa and Asia as well. Accounting Jobs Worldwide: A Directory of International Opportunities (ISBN 1-85458-199-6) is published by Vacation Work Publications, Oxford, England (phone: 44(0)1865 241978; Web site: ).


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.