News, notes and items of interest.





F Y I

Short takes, notes and items of interest


Things Are Tough All Over
¤ Middle-managers in Asia will receive lower raises in 1999 because of the economic crisis there, according to a William M. Mercer, Inc. survey. In Japan, the average raise is expected to be 1% compared with 3.1% in 1997; and in Korea, it will be 3.8% compared with 11.7% in 1997. Managers in Hong Kong and Thailand are expected to earn average raises of 4.5%, as opposed to more than 10% in 1997.

Lonely at the Top, but Comfortable
¤ Median CEO total compensation topped $1 million in five industries, according to the Conference Board. Insurance led the pack with median compensation of $1,275,000. The next top-ranked industries were: communications, $1,254,000; telecommunications, $1,141,000; energy, $1,020,000; and financial services, $1,009,000.

Departure at GASB
¤ Effective June 30, Barbara Henderson, a GASB member since 1991, will be leaving the board. She has timed her retirement to coincide with the expected completion of GASB's reporting model project. Henderson, a CPA, had been director of finance for Fullerton, California, when she joined GASB. Both GASB Chairman Tom L. Allen and Financial Accounting Foundation Chairman Manuel H. Johnson praised her contributions to the board over the years.

Fraud: Pros and Cons
¤ The ASB has issued a request for research proposals for an assessment of the effectiveness of SAS no. 82, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit . The Institute wants feedback to help decide if the SAS is meeting its objectives, and the ASB hopes the RFP will stimulate research. Full details have been mailed to members of the auditing section of the AAA and posted on the AICPA Web site, www.aicpa.org.

Sloppy Client = Fame and Fortune
¤ McBee, a manufacturer of printed materials for the accounting profession, is looking for the most disorganized U.S. accounting client of 1998. Accountants are asked to describe their sloppiest client in 150 words or less. McBee will give the winning accountant $750 worth of products and feature him or her in the company's ad campaign. The hapless client will also receive some McBee products, but McBee will mercifully not reveal the company's name to the general public. Entries are due by March 31 and should be sent to McBee, Dept. 219, 299 Cherry Hill Road, Parsippany, New Jersey, 07054; faxed to 973-263-8165 (attn: Dept. 219); or e-mailed to mcbeeusa@ixnetcom.com (attn: Dept. 219).

 

Watching the Watchers
¤ The Public Oversight Board, spurred by recent comments from SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, has convened a panel to study the effectiveness of public company audits. Shaun F. O'Malley, former chairman of Price Waterhouse, will be the chairman. Other members are Dennis H. Chookaszian, chairman and CEO of CNA Insurance Companies; Paul Kolton, former chairman and CEO of the American Stock Exchange; Bevis Longstreth, former SEC commissioner; Louis Lowenstein, Simon H. Rifkind Professor Emeritus of Finance and Law, Columbia University; Zoe-Vonna Palmrose, PricewaterhouseCoopers Auditing Professor, University of Southern California; Aulana L. Peters, former SEC commissioner; and Ralph S. Saul, former president of the American Stock Exchange and CEO of CIGNA Corp. The panel will report to the POB between August and November 1999.

Candidates Took a Fall
¤ NASBA compiled CPA examination statistics for 1997 that show candidates who took the November exam had the lowest passing rate since 1985. Only one in eight candidates at this sitting passed all the subjects. The decline in the passing rate was due, in part, to increased enrollment by candidates desiring to take the exam before the onset of the 150-hour requirement.

Trash Talking
¤ Quoting a recent study, IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossoti said that consumers ranked the IRS lower than trash collectors for customer satisfaction. In explanation of the agency's poor rating, former Commissioner Donald Alexander said that trash collectors were rated higher because, they, unlike tax collectors, take what you don't want to keep.

A Financially Secure Employee Is a Happy Employee
¤ A survey from Virginia Tech University shows that employers lose money by failing to provide financial education to employees. Apparently, workers with a handle on their personal finances have lower absentee rates. E. Thomas Garman, a professor at Virginia Tech said, Employers should know that when an employee's work productivity drops off sharply, personal financial problems are often involved.



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