December 1998 Issue

  December Features:
  "The Numbers Game"
    SEC Chair Arthur Levitt, in a September 28, 1998, speech, warns of the growing practice of earnings management. He speaks of the use of trickery to obscure actual financial volatility, while identifying five popular ways of accomplishing the manipulation. He outlines a nine-point program, very much based on cooperation with the financial community, to stop the abuses. Here is the complete text of his remarks on the issue.   Article


  A Status Report on the Work of the Independence Standards Board
  An Interview with William T. Allen
  By James L. Craig, Jr., and Douglas R. Carmichael
    The Independence Standards Board has been in existence for a little more than a year. Chair William Allen tells the editors what the board has been up to an what can be expected from it in the near future. Allen also discusses the board's intention to develop a conceptual framework. In the meantime, its public board members are being educated on the workings of the large firms that audit most of the public companies.   Article


  Avoid the Rush--Plan Now
  By Isaac Assael and Edwin J. Kliegman
    December is the perfect time for practitioners make a last-minute check to see if they are ready for yet another busy season. Do they have the right equipment, the right software, the right form letters and other preprepared materials? The race will be won by those that do the best planning.   Article


  Audit Independence Concepts
  By Robert K. Elliott and Peter D. Jacobson
    The Independence Standards Board has decided to develop a conceptual framework before making wholesale changes to the current independence rules developed over the years by the SEC. The AICPA vice-chair and his colleague at KPMG Peat Marwick kicked off the process with their thoughts on the issues the framework should address.  


  Emerging Technologies. the Internet, the IRS, and You
  By Eric E. Cohen and Walter C. Schmidt
    Technology is a vital part of the successful tax practice. It means greater productivity and better answers. The authors review a number of ways to maximize the use of technology in a tax setting. There is contact management software to take advantage of and a wealth of information on the Internet. The sheer volume of it all can be overwhelming.  Article


  Auditor Independence as the SEC Chief Accountant Sees It
  An Interview with Lynn E. Turner
  By James L. Craig, Jr., and Douglas R. Carmichael
    The SEC is concerned about the potential dilution of the importance of the independent audit because of the increasing emphasis by the large accounting firms on consulting services. The SEC seeks to have those concerns addressed through the work of the Independence Standards Board. Chief Accountant Lynn Turner gives his views on the progress the ISB is making and his fundamental concerns about audit effectiveness.   Article


  December Departments:
  · SOP 98-5--Reporting on the costs of start-up activities  Article
   The CPA in Industry
  · Perceptions of chief financial officers concerning FASB  Article
   Employee Benefit Plans
  · Automatic enrollment of eligible employees in 401(k) plans
  · Automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans approved by the IRS: another perspective  Article
   The CPA and the Computer
  · Make your e-mail powerful  Article
   Federal Taxation
  · Assuring individual taxpayer compliance  Article
   Estates and Trusts
  · Discount allowed for built-in capital gains tax in valuing closely held stock
  · Election to treat a revocable trust as part of an estate
   The CPA in Mediation and Arbitration
  · The CPA as Mediator   Article

  December News & Views:
  · Auditor Independence  Article
  · The Writings of Mason  Article
  · The Demise of the CPA Profession?  Article
  · AICPA Council Approves Vision Program  Article
  · First Woman and First From Industry Assumes Chair of AICPA  Article
  · Medicare Part C--Medicare+Choice  Article
  · Book Review: Advances in Accounting Information Systems, Volume 6  Article
  · Countdown to the Year 2000  Article


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