Journal of Accountancy

A monthly publication of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants focusing on the latest news and developments related to the field of accounting, and written for CPAs and other accounting professionals.

Articles from Vol. 196, No. 4, October

AICPA Conferences 2003
AICPA National Auto Dealership Conference October 23-24, 2003 Marriott Rivercenter San Antonio, TX CPE Credits: 17 (main), 4 (optional) Pre-conference optional workshops on October 22 Conference Highlights * James Ziegler--The view...
An Insider's View of the New, Computerized CPA Exam
Last month, the JofA began a series of articles exploring different aspects of the new CPA exam. This month, a corporate practitioner and member of the AICPA committee that developed the test's content offers insights into what this version is like...
A Paperless Success Story: A Firm's Use of IT to Organize the Office Led to a Digital Makeover and New Business
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY * DURING THE 1997 TAX SEASON, Atlanta firm Habif, Arogeti & Wynne LLP (HA&W) suffered so many technical problems that afterward about one-third of its professionals left. The firm decided to revamp its tax function and...
Do You Know the ABC's of Engagement Letters?
Good engagement letters can be an essential ingredient in maintaining smooth client relations, insuring solid project planning, and, when all else fails, as effective tools in resolving differences and winning disputes. The most important reason...
Exposure Drafts Outstanding
Exposure Drafts Outstanding (This list was compiled as of September 1, 2003. For exposure drafts issued after that date, consult The CPA Letter. Note: The policy for updating the list of exposure drafts is that a document should remain on the list...
Golden Business Ideas
Speed Up Cash Flow In these tight times, doing something to expedite cash flow can make a big difference in a company's finances. And the department that can influence the flow of funds with the least effort and with almost no investment is credit...
Internet
Q, Since I got a new broadband Internet connection, I stay online all the time and find it very convenient. But my information technology adviser tells me that leaving my Internet access open full-time makes me vulnerable to hackers. Should I assume...
OCBOA Financial Statements: Here's Some Practical Guidance on a Popular Accounting Option
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY * IN CERTAIN INSTANCES CPAs SHOULD CONSIDER preparing and reporting on financial statements using an "other comprehensive basis of accounting" (OCBOA). Tax-basis and cash-basis, including modified-cash-basis, financial statements...
Operating System
Q. I hear there's a way to get my screen images, especially text, to appear sharper. How can I do that? A. If your computer runs on the XP operating system, you can evoke what Microsoft calls ClearType--a technology for sharpening the slightly fuzzy...
Outlook
Q. I use the signature feature in Outlook to sign my emails, and while it's OK, it's not the most convenient system when I want to use a less formal signature at the end of a message. Do you have any suggestions? A. Indeed, I do. I also don't like...
Pass-Through Entities' Tax Payments for Nonresident Owners: Ensuring That Nonresidents Pay Their Share
Many states, in order to collect revenue without having to pursue nonresidents for it, have begun requiring flow-through entities (for example, S corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies (LLCs)) to either withhold taxes or pay estimated...
Plan an Effective Retreat
Perhaps your CPA firm or client is plagued with a problem, such as high employee turnover or a reduction in billable hours, that needs a creative solution. Or you want input on how best to proceed with the launch of a new service. Whatever your reason...
Principal Residence - Which Home Is It?
Taxpayers generally can exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 on a joint return) of gain on the sale of their principal residence. To qualify, a taxpayer must have used the property as his or her principal residence for at least two years during the five-year...
Reasonable Inquiry Required to Avoid Tax-Preparer Penalties
In a recent case, the court held that the owner and president of an accounting firm who signed a client's tax return was the preparer of that return. As such he was liable for preparer penalties for failing to make a reasonable inquiry. IRC section...
Starting Over: CPAs Can Use Well-Honed Skills to Help Divorcing Individuals Begin a New Chapter on Sound Financial Terms
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY * CPAs' SPECIALIZED SKILLS put them in a unique position to help divorcing individuals and their attorneys organize financial issues related to property settlements and support awards. Some practitioners are developing a domestic-relations-consulting...
Step Transaction Doctrine Thwarts Attempt to Exclude Gift Taxes
IRC section 2035(c) presumes gifts an individual makes within three years of death are tax-avoidance transactions and eliminates the advantage of such "deathbed transfers" by increasing the gross estate to include gift taxes a decedent paid in the...
Tax Relief - Chapter 2003: What CPAs Need to Know about the New Tax Act
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY * CONGRESS PASSED THE JOBS AND GROWTH TAX RELIEF Reconciliation Act of 2003 to boost consumer spending and increase business capital expenditures. The act accelerates previously passed rate reductions, lowers long-term capital...
The Fraud Examiners: Sleuthing Careers Bring CPAs Personal and Professional Satisfaction
Becoming a fraud examiner--a.k.a. a financial detective--is not for everyone. Detectives either in law enforcement or in the private sector--typically have distinct personality traits (see "America's Original Private Eye," page 77): They're as good...
The Most Misunderstood Investments
The article "Investment Tax Planning for Retirement" (JofA, Aug.03, page 63) contains the following statements: "There are some savings options CPAs should encourage clients to avoid. These include tax-deferred annuities, which usually carry high fees...
Trust Investment Fees Revisited
There currently is a split in the courts of appeal concerning the deductibility by trusts of expenses they pay for investment advice. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has now joined the debate. In 1944 John Stewart Bryan's will established a...
Users Rank Tax Software: Products and Vendors Get Lower Satisfaction Grades
This year practitioners generally were less happy with their tax-preparation-software products and services than last year. That's the conclusion of an informal survey that the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) took this summer of its...
Word
Q. How do I automatically insert the current date in a document? A. There are several ways. Let's start with the simplest and work our way up to the more complex. But before we start, be sure to turn on Word's AutoComplete feature, or else some...
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