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CPAs face brave new world in LTCI  CPAs are under increasing pressure to provide long-term care insurance to firm members, as well as to advise clients on appropriate LTC coverage. The triple-whammy of increasing medical costs, longer life expectancies, and the aging Baby Boomer workforce approaching retirement is moving the concept of long-term care to the front burner.

A tremendous outpouring Accounting firms and various state boards from around the country are reaching out to both the victims of Hurricane Katrina and displaced accountants who need a new home and a place to work.

CPAs reach out in Katrina's aftermath  Accountants who lived and worked in the path of Hurricane Katrina are relocating, rebuilding and, very slowly, recovering from the unprecedented devastation that changed hundreds of thousands of lives last month.

May it please the court: Litigation support is hot   How many lawyers does it take to provide detailed evidence regarding a financial crime? None - if they've got the right accountant.

Hammering out the details: SSTP gets closer to reality   During a recent meeting in Chicago, representatives of the 18 states in the Streamlined Sales Tax Project reached agreement on how items are to be classified across the board for purposes of assessing sales tax.

IRS behind the wheel on charitable auto deductions   The popularity of donating used cars to charity has increased in recent years, to the point of creating a subculture of companies that do nothing but collect and distribute old cars. Billboards, radio ads, flyers in the mail - they all attempt to encourage people to donate vehicles to charitable organizations in return for hefty tax deductions.

Long-term care insurance: Answer to a looming crisis?   In May 2005, a U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health concluded that the rising cost of long-term health care, coupled with the impending surge of Baby Boomer retirees, could cripple the country financially unless changes are made.

Lease accounting tempest rages on   Almost overnight, lease accounting has morphed into one of the profession's biggest headaches, as more than 300 companies have had to restate their financials, citing, among other issues, corrections to lease accounting errors.

Bankruptcy reform act may open new doors for CPAs   In April, President Bush signed into legislation the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, also known as the Bankruptcy Reform Act.

Tax me out to the ballgame!   Baseball season got underway this spring with a new frustration for ball players.

Don't bring your gun   Employees at the Greenwood, Ind., office of the Internal Revenue Service were more than a little surprised a few weeks ago when a disgruntled man pointed a gun at a revenue officer saying, "You can't do this. You can't take my money like this."

Is a consumption tax the answer?   In recent testimony before the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan floated the idea of a consumption tax to replace all or part of the current income tax.

Firms scramble to stave off 21st century 'brain drain'   Most often, the phrase "brain drain" refers to the mass exodus of a nation's smartest and most talented people to countries that can offer them better opportunities. But there's a new definition today, one that is expected to change the nature of business as we know it in as few as three years.

Benefits groups mobilizing to handle new rollover rules   The Internal Revenue Service's new rules for qualified retirement plans went into effect on March 28, but the ripple effect from the rules has yet to play out. 

Payroll Moving to the Forefront   Once viewed as an unwanted stepchild within the CPA profession, payroll services can now offer a veritable lode of profitability for those willing to wade into this segment of client services. 

Planning for e-businesses: Don't forget the financials!   As most everyone knows, e-business is the act of conducting business on the Internet. Not only is there a steady stream of new businesses that exist completely in cyberspace, but most traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are branching out, or already have branched out, to add an online component to their existing business. 

Social Security struggle starts George W. Bush's presidency will be remembered for many things - and if the president has his way, one of those things will be an overhaul of the venerable Social Security system.

Data warehousing: The next generation of usage  One of the most interesting developments in the computer technology arena is the concept of the data warehouse - a group of technologies that communicate with all of the data sources, pull all of the information from those sources together, and allow the user to create a query that accesses all of the information at once.

 This is not your father's CPE  Continuing professional education has evolved beyond mandatory time away from clients, to cutting-edge, mandatory time spent honing skills and staying abreast of a constant stream of new rules. In fact, the phrase "continuing education" has rarely been more appropriate than in today's climate of legislative minefields.

 Proposed Treasury regs to permit phased retirement  As the renowned Baby Boomer generation inches its way into the retirement years, employers are beginning to consider how this vast purge of experienced workers is going to affect the workplace. To help employers ease through the demographic shift and to enable them to continue to provide training to an upcoming, smaller generation of workers, the Internal Revenue Service has issued proposed new Treasury regulations that would permit a system of phased retirement.

 Sin taxes seem a safe bet for many states in 2005  With many state budgets stretched to the limit and the added issue of sales tax dollars being siphoned off to online Internet sales, states are ready to take their tax money any place they can get it. This election year provided voters with several opportunities to accept or reject additions and increases in sin taxes at the state level, and most of these measures were passed.

Intuit releases 22 products in QuickBooks line updates  The 2005 version of the family of QuickBooks products, which was set to ship in mid-November, is comprised of 22 products and services with more than 400 enhancements. According to Intuit officials, the 2005 line promises to meet more of the relentless demands of the marketplace, while still leaving gaps for the programmers of next year's version.

 Trends, new legislation fuel an increase in e-payments  The 2003/2004 Study of Consumer Payment Preferences conducted by the American Bankers Association and Dove Consulting shows that electronic payments have surpassed cash and checks as the preferred method of payment, and now account for 53 percent of all American purchases. The need to accept various forms of electronic payment is resulting in a plethora of issues and concerns for business owners, including security and control issues, additional costs, and bookkeeping issues.

 All is well, or at least it's getting there, at Big Four  A recent survey of large employers published by Hewitt Associates - a high-volume human resources outsourcing and consulting firm - showed that a whopping 95 percent of the 960 companies participating in the poll offer some form of wellness program for their employees. This year, KPMG has begun offering a health risk appraisal program that can be performed online.

Global IT surveys show some cause for concern  The need for reform and improvement in information security continues to grow. Estimates by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners indicated that the typical U.S. organization loses 6 percent of its annual revenues to fraud, and that included fraud promulgated by security breaches.

IRS 527s are at heart of campaign controversies  Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code has come under intense scrutiny during this year's presidential election race - a campaign replete with examples of organizations using the shield of Section 527 to collect large sums of money and produce politically provocative television advertisements, documentary films, and radio and print ads.

Accountants find ways to diversify, expand practices  How can accounting firms help clients with software needs, above and beyond the obvious acquisition and installation of accounting software? This question is being repeated by accountants everywhere as they look for new directions in which to grow their practices and serve their clients. By making software consulting a more visible service, accountants can expect to be the obvious candidates to fill the role of trusted advisor, not just in the financial arena, but in the technology support arena as well


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