Jackie Mason Quote


  

 

AS QUOTED
“I have enough money
to last me for the rest
of my life. Unless I buy something.”

—Jackie Mason

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
A Student Threepeat
J eanette Maier-Lytle and her team of talented young CPAs-to-be from the University of Southern Indiana set a new record in achievement by winning the state CPA society’s Case Study Competition for the third year in a row. The threepeat performance—by this year’s team of seniors May Flores, John Hayden, Adam Knepp and junior Amy Oglesby—offered up a 63-page report on peer review put together in just 10 days. It suggested using a peer review certification process similar to the ISO 9000 quality standard of manufacturing companies. Firms certified in this way could go through peer review every five years instead of every three.

Maier-Lytle says practicing the presentation in front of her fellow professors and the local Kemper CPA Group helped sharpen and prepare the team. Flores, a second-year team member who’s already been hired by KPMG, says her membership in Toastmasters also gave her an edge. The students told the JofA the experience taught them to work as a team under strict time pressures—a lesson that no doubt will come in handy around tax time next year.

—Cheryl Rosen

BUSINESS TRENDS
Beware the Blog
logging can be a risky business. Unmanaged blogs dwarf e-mail and instant messaging (IM) in terms of risk to companies, according to the American Management Association (AMA). Hazards include legal claims such as copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, defamation and sexual harassment, security breaches such as trade-secret theft and financial disclosures, public relations disasters, productivity drains and records mismanagement.

However, while 76% of companies have adopted policies for e-mail usage and content and 31% have IM policies in place, only 9% control workers’ use of business blogs and just 7% govern the content employees may post on their personal blogs, according to a 2006 survey by the AMA and the ePolicy Institute.

TOP 10
Countries for Easy Tax Filing *

1. Maldives
2. Ireland
3. Oman
4. United Arab Emirates
5. Hong Kong
6. Saudi Arabia
7. Switzerland
8. Singapore
9. St. Lucia
10. New Zealand

*Based on number of payments and time required to file taxes and total tax rate.
Source: Paying Taxes—The Global Picture, World Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
A Peck of Jalapenos
e’s not quite Peter Piper, but retired CPA Richard LeFevre picked up a $2,000 prize purse by popping 247 pickled jalapeno peppers at the Jalapeno Eating World Championship at the Texas state fair.

LeFevre, who hails from Henderson, Nev., has been competing in contests sponsored by the National Federation of Competitive Eating since 2002. This latest event—which he completed in eight minutes—set a new record.

He’s proud as a peacock, though still plainly puckered.

—Cheryl Rosen

BOOKMARKS
Contemporary Issues in Financial Reporting:
A User-Oriented Approach

By Paul Rosenfield, CPA
562 pages; hardcover
Routledge; New York, N.Y.; 2006

Business Fairy Tales: Grim Realities of
Fictitious Financial Reporting
By Cecil W. Jackson, CPA
282 pages; hardcover
Thomson; Mason, Ohio; 2006

Contemporary Issues in Financial Reporting: A User-Oriented Approach by Paul Rosenfield, former director of the AICPA accounting standards division, and Business Fairy Tales: Grim Realities of Fictitious Financial Reporting by Cecil W. Jackson, a University of Southern California accounting professor, examine ethics and accountability in contemporary business reporting. Using very different approaches—the first is an accounting history textbook, the second a mass-market history of recent events—both CPA authors look at issues underlying a parade of financial reporting scandals and offer tools for refining critical thinking. They are voices in the dialogue of setting things right, and their concern is a measure of how deeply the financial world has been wrenched in recent years.

—Michael Hayes

SURVEY SAVVY
Staying Power
oday’s workers may change companies—or even careers—many times, but too much job hopping still looks bad on a resume, according to a survey of 1,400 CFOs. Most said they took into account how long a job candidate had spent with previous employers, and an overwhelming majority (87%) rated loyalty as a very or somewhat important factor in the hiring process.

Source: Robert Half Finance & Accounting, www.roberthalffinance.com .

SURVEY SAVVY
The Paycheck Doesn’t Lie
merican workers are pretty confident in their organizations’ payroll and accounting departments. According to the American Payroll Association’s Getting Paid in America survey, 90.6% of employees were certain their withholding and net amounts were correct each payday. Plus, 85% said they trusted that their employer adequately protected their personal information—salary or wages, Social Security number and bank account numbers—from identity theft.

NUMEROLOGY
Five Financial Concerns of
Your Affluent Clients

Members of U.S. households with more than $250,000 in investable assets ranked the following as the issues most likely to affect their savings and investments:

1. Health care costs.
2. Increases in energy prices.
3. Protecting current wealth.
4. Minimizing taxes.
5. State of the U.S. economy.

Source: Phoenix Marketing International, Affluent Marketing Service, www.phoenixmi.com .

BUSINESS TRENDS
Bringin ’ Home the Bacon
omen in management, business and financial operations earned more than those in any other occupational category, with a weekly average pay of $847 in 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Labor and the Census Bureau.

BOOKMARKS
Stay on Track
Managers spend an average of seven hours a week sorting out personality conflicts among staff members, said a survey of 150 senior executives in the human resources, finance and marketing departments of the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.

Here are some common office troublemakers and how to manage them:

Blusterer. Finds everything amusing and is unaware that voices carry to other cubicles. Solution : Encourage workers to keep their voices down during conversations or to find an empty conference room for discussions.

Ghost. Performs a disappearing act. Solution : Let everyone know how important it is to be accessible, whether out on official business or not.

Foodie. Distracts others with microwave popcorn and reheated leftovers. Solution : Remind firm members that it is inconsiderate and distracting to eat pungent foods at their desks.

Pessimist. Delights in dishing about the hardships of the business or the foibles of top management, especially around new hires. Solution : Talk to this person individually and try to stem the negativity.

Source: Accountemps, www.accountemps.com .

SURVEY SAVVY
Partners Pose Info Security Risk
Here’s one to share with your business- owner clients: Nearly 75% of responding companies said their information security risk had increased because of their business partners, according to a survey of more than 200 businesses worldwide by security consulting company Cybertrust ( www.cybertrust.com ). While organizations overwhelmingly agreed with the need to monitor their partners’ security, fewer than half actually did so.

About a third of respondents reported at least one security incident involving their business partners within the previous year. Of those organizations reporting incidents, malicious code was the most prevalent, with 43% of respondents reporting infections, followed by unauthorized network access (27%), denial of service (9%), system abuse or misuse (8%), data theft (7%) and fraud (6%).

ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
Back to School
W ith the youngest of her two daughters in college, Jan Colbert, CPA, is on a new campus herself. She’s been recruited to Eastern Kentucky University by a former colleague who’s a dean.

Colbert loves the technology at Eastern Kentucky—including computers and big screens in every classroom that allow her to quickly display the CPA exam or AICPA Web sites. In her spare time, she’s been exploring the byways on two wheels; an avid biker, “I can do 30 miles on a Saturday,” she tells the JofA .

Colbert’s students, meanwhile, will benefit from her experience as chair of the audit committee of the CPA Exam, which reviews the questions they will have to answer when the time comes to get their certification. But does she ever give them a little clue as to what a question will be?

“Absolutely not—they can’t get anything out of me that’s not public information,” she says. “But, of course, they still try.”

—Cheryl Rosen

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COLUMN

Deflecting clients’ requests for defense and indemnity

Client requests for defense and indemnity by the CPA firm are on the rise. Requests for such clauses are unnecessary and unfair, and, in some cases, are unenforceable.