Monday, April 5, 2010

Accounting Careers in Pontypridd

Have you ever been to Pontypridd? You don’t read the name as it is written. Here’s how you read it – Pontyp’reath’ and not ‘ridd’. To avoid confusion, local residents simply call their place ‘Ponty’. Pontypridd is a small town in Wales with a population of only 29,781 back in 2001. You can find this town north of Cardiff city, about twelve miles. Even in such a small town, you can find accounting career opportunities.

You see, businesses exist all over the world; from the smallest town to the biggest cities. You know by now that business makes use of accounting. But it’s not only businesses which use accounting; even individuals use accounting in their everyday lives.

It’s no wonder if you can find accountants in Pontypridd. Since the town is small, you can’t expect a lot of employment opportunities but if you’re one of the best accountants in town or of you’re diligent with your studies, you’ve got yourself a job. You see, the accounting career is among the top choices of students and professionals these days.

There are many reasons why most people prefer the accounting profession but it doesn’t really matter. As long as you’re determined and motivated to become an accountant, you can still do that even in Pontypridd.

Most businesses nowadays rely on technology, in current business practices, and in updated laws. Because of this fact, there is a great need for CPAs to perform such difficult duties. Don’t be discouraged just because you live in a small town in Wales; if you like numbers and you’re a fast learner, you can take advantage of the job opportunities in the accounting field. You can find accounting graduates in corporations, public agencies, charitable organizations, and even educational institutions.

You can’t find world class colleges in Pontypridd but you can surely find accredited colleges and universities online which offers accountancy degree courses. As long as you have an internet connection, you can already search for these online colleges and choose one that you want to enroll.

Young and old alike can still take up a course in accounting especially on the internet. You can stay at home while you’re trying to earn a degree. Aside from that, some of the accreditations in accountancy can already be secured online. Thanks to the new technology of today, more people are given the opportunity to finish college despite the problems they encounter everyday.

Living in a small town like Pontypridd is not that bad. You can stay connected as long as there is an internet connection in your home. You can also meet new friends from around the globe. All you need to do is to surf the internet patiently until you come across the right accounting opportunity for you.

Some people don’t have the time to attend classes in school. If you lack the time probably because you have an existing career or if you’re taking care of the kids, take advantage of the internet’s power. Log online and see what you can discover about Pontypridd and the accounting careers available in town.

Don’t waste your future in a work that you’re not even satisfied or happy. Pursue a career in accounting that you really like; you must have the driving passion so that you can keep yourself motivated. That way, you can work peacefully and efficiently.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Accounting Auditing Careers

Within the accountancy field, there are several career choices and that includes accounting auditing career. Auditors play a very important role especially in the business industry. They perform various tasks that are considered essential to the financial matters of any business.

A present, there is a great demand for company auditors and according to the labor bureau, the demand will still increase in the coming years. There are more employment opportunities in the accounting and if you still haven’t decided which career path to take, the accounting auditor career is an excellent choice.

Before, accountants and auditors are usually seen wearing coats and ties but due to the changes of today’s modern times, the persona of these professions have changed considerably. The auditing field alone is already on the brink of unbelievable growth. If you really like crunching numbers and you have a logical mind, auditing may be your thing.

Auditors are no longer considered as geeks or human calculators. Accountancy is an evolving profession and it’s no wonder why a lot of auditors nowadays are statistically savvy and are very sharp when it comes to business matters. Organizations and businesses are in great need of sharp and professional auditors to track their expenses and remain federally compliant. Being an auditor means that you’re a person of big responsibility.

Qualified auditors and accountants can take advantage of the many job opportunities in the market today. Government regulations and business processes are getting more and more complex these days; because of this fact, auditors are badly needed. How can you become an auditor?

Well, you need to finish a degree in accountancy and you also have to pass the CPA exams. Since auditing is a specialized profession, there are still other accreditations that you have to comply with. You can either study locally or you can also try online colleges. Just make sure the online college is accredited before you enroll.

Aside from online colleges, you can also get the necessary accreditations and certificates online. Entry level and master’s level certificates are now available online; advanced degrees are also available. You simply have to surf the internet to discover some of the opportunities that await you in order to become a competent auditor someday.

Again, it was mentioned earlier that you need to pass certain examinations like the CPA. How is that possible? Well, you simply have to prepare yourself. It’s just like taking your final exams in college. You should prepare your textbook materials, conduct group studies, and even online class session.

You can even secure samples of test questions that can be given during the exams. By doing so, you can easily pinpoint the specific areas that you’re still not good at; you have to study those weak areas so that when the day of the exam arrives, you will be prepared.

Accounting auditing careers are very popular these days. So what are you waiting for? If you think you posses the necessary qualifications and skills in order to become a competent and responsible auditor, why don’t you take up an accounting course in college?

This is great news for incoming college students and for those who want to shift careers. It’s really up to you. You have to be determined so that one day you can become a well-known auditor and many business and companies will be after your services.

Accounting/Accountancy Career: Steps to Success

If you have an ambition in pursuing a career in accounting or accountancy, then you might want to start planning first before jumping into this field. This will enable you to become successful in achieving your career goals in the accounting field. Always remember that the first step to success is by having good knowledge and making the right decisions. So, here are the steps to success in order for you to become successful in your chosen career.

The first is that you should excel in math.

You have to remember that accounting is all about numbers and how to manipulate it. Therefore, you have to make sure that you are good at math in high school. A person who doesn’t like math doesn’t succeed in the accounting field. Take extra attention on your math subjects and always ask your teachers and counselors for guidance on which courses you must take if you plan on pursuing a career in accounting. This will help you out in making a clear path for your goals.

The second thing that you have to do is request information from a college or university you plan on attending about their accounting course offer.

Always remember that getting good education on your chosen course is very important. In this case, you have to choose a college or university that can offer you a solid education for their accountancy courses. Companies are particularly choosy when it comes to the educational background of their prospective accountants.

As mentioned before, information will get you well-prepared. So, the third thing that you should do is research on the requirements for becoming a Certified Public Accountant or a CPA. Although being a CPA is not required by companies, it is preferred. If you want to stand out when you are applying as an accountant in a company or an accounting firm, you might want to get certified. Basically, in order to become a CPA, you will need to get a bachelor's degree in accounting or in other courses related to business. By knowing what is required, you will be become better prepared when you are going to pursue a career in this field.

Also, if you are now going to start your first career or job, you will normally do it in your own state after graduating. So, try to know if you fulfilled the state requirements. If you don't, then you might get problems in starting your accounting career in the future.

Computers are now used in most companies today. Because of this, you have to know and become proficient with the different types of accounting software. Everything today is now computerized and not knowing how to work an accounting software program will lead to difficulty in finding jobs in the accounting field.

Experience is very valuable. Having more will mean opening up more career opportunities. So, try getting jobs that is related in the accounting field you choose.

Being prepared for your future career is what you should be doing if you have ambitions in starting a career in the accounting or accountancy field. By being prepared, you can be sure that you will not run into any problems in the future and ensure a smooth career path that can lead to your goals and success.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Accountancy Career: The Reasons Why You Should Choose Accounting

Accounting or accountancy is one of the best careers available today. Accountants are always on demand and the fields or jobs that you can choose from are huge. This means that there are a lot of opportunities for having a career as an accountant and you also have a lot of career choice to choose from.

In accounting, you will see that there are lots of things that you can benefit from. Here, you will see that it will be able to help you gain experience in the field of accounting as well as learn a lot about the inner workings of businesses. It basically means that it will teach you on how to organize and run your own business.

In fact, most successful entrepreneurs started out as accountants. The knowledge they gained in this line of work eventually paid off and they are now continuing to build a business empire. If you too would want to become like most of the successful accountants today, then you will want to know the skills required in accounting.

Basically, the required skills are not that high except for two areas. The first is your analytical skills and the second is your computer skills.

If you compare the accounting field to other professions out there, you will see that most of it will require a skill, such as having some type of attention to detail as well as knowledge about computers. However, you have to remember that in accounting, there are different skills and knowledge needed than the rest of other professions.

Here, you don't need to know how to socialize with other people. You will work in a self-pressure environment only and you also do not need a high amount of initiative. It's not saying that accounting is much easier than other jobs, but it just means that it is different. It basically separates this profession from other types of careers.

The best feature in becoming an accountant is that you really don’t need special skills or talents in order to become one. Everything here can be learned and developed.

In accounting, the best thing about it would probably be the great pay. In fact, during your fist year as an accountant, it is very possible that you can earn as much as 55 thousand dollars a year. After ten years in this kind of career, you can be making money amounting to six figures. However, this can be achieved with patience and with dedication to your work.

If you want success in this field in a faster way, then furthering your degree in accounting is the way to go, such as becoming an MBA. Other types of careers take a lot longer to receive accreditation and this is the reason why accounting is a great career choice.

As you can see, it is not surprising why accounting is a very popular career choice. Although a lot of people are considering this type of career, you can be sure that you will never run out of jobs as an accountant as there are a lot of fields in accounting that you can enter.

So, if you want to be successful and you are looking for a good career choice, accounting or accountancy career can be your best choice, just remember to work hard and you should be dedicated in this line of work.

Accountancy Career Change

There are times when you suddenly feel that there is a need to change your career path. If you are not satisfied with your present work, you have to decide the right career path to take. Life is too short and you should be doing a work that you truly love and enjoy.

There are various reasons why many individuals want to make a career change. Perhaps you find your job boring lately because of the low salary or you have higher ambition that you want to fulfill; well, whatever the reasons are, you can make that change in your life and you shouldn’t even fret about it. You see, nowadays, there are a lot of employment options and opportunities. You can already secure a high paying job for as long as you qualify and did you know that an accountancy career might be good for you?

Even if you’re not a graduate of an accounting degree, you can become an accountant. That’s not a lie but that can only happen if you’re willing to study again. You’re never too old to go to school. If you’re an undergraduate or you’ve taken a business-related course, you can pursue your college education in accounting. Those who have taken business-related courses can easily shift to accountancy because some of their subjects in college can be credited. They will only be taking the necessary units in order to finish the degree. Although it might take a few more years, the rewards can make your head spin. Be patient and don’t hesitate to gain more knowledge.

There are thousands or even millions of people out there who have decided to make a career change. If you’re planning to do the same thing, it’s a good feeling to know that you’re not alone in your quest. But before you make that ‘big’ career change, here are a few things to ponder.

1. You have to ask yourself why you want to change your career. Even if you can name a lot of reasons why you want to leave your old job, that will not help in making a good decision. What you must do is to identify the aspects of accounting (if you plan to make an accountancy career change). If you think that you have the qualities of an accountant and you feel that you can be creatively and commercially expanded, go ahead. Does the thought of math figures and numbers excite you?

2. Suppose the reason why you want to leave your job is the low salary, an accountancy career can give you a high salary. You see, starting salaries of accountants is usually around $35,000 per year. It increases as years go by. But you must remember that you can enjoy these salary benefits if you finished a degree in accounting.

3. Get to know people who are in the accounting industry. You can conduct some research to determine the necessary skills required, how business accounting works, and many more information.

Changing a career to accountancy can alter your life forever. You have to come up with a responsible and conscious decision. Once you’re already in the accountancy profession, you have to work carefully and diligently.

Keep yourself motivated because you will surely experience set-backs. If you can overcome these things, nothing vcan stop you in doing your job efficiently.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Accountancy Auditing Careers

Within the field of accounting, there are a lot of career choices and accountancy auditing careers is just one. Auditing is very important and it is considered as an integral part of business finances. Auditors are greatly needed to examine, analyze, and verify the business finances.

The Bureau of Labor claims that accountancy auditors are in-demand at present and in the years to come. Employment of auditors is expected to increase eventually. If you’re still looking for an accountancy career, you might want to consider working as a company auditor.

What is an auditor? Auditors are also accountants. However, they primarily deal with examining and corroborating financial statements. The various statements are examined closely and the auditors make sure that everything will ‘add up’. Sometimes, inaccuracies and errors occur. The task of the auditor is to determine where these inaccuracies or errors exist. Aside from that, auditors develop certain courses of action to avoid future errors.

If you think that the task of the auditor is simply scrutinizing financial statements, you’re quite wrong. Auditors examine the various company bills and they ensure debit and credit accuracy. Errors are immediately corrected to avoid financial problems.

Government auditors are different from non-government auditors. You see, they are the ones who examine from different perspective – the tax perspective. Some filed tax returns are suspicious and so the task of the government auditors is to conduct an audit on the individual or business entity and check if it’s accurate. A very good example is a business who filed a tax return, claiming that they incurred many expenses.

IRS auditors will then check the said expenses to ensure that it meets the tax code criteria. If it does not meet the criteria, the company can be given penalties. Most tax auditors have bad reputations but they deserve more than that. You see, being a government auditor is among the top accountancy careers because they make sure that the people are honest enough to file their tax returns and that the government will not be cheated.

An accountancy career is technology driven. Many years ago, auditors work manually but nowadays, it’s a lot different. Present-day auditors should know how to work with computers and complicated accounting software or programs. This is the only way to keep up with technology and to stay competitive in the market.

If you want to become a company auditor someday, you have to graduate with a bachelor’s accounting degree. Certifications are oftentimes needed although some states don’t require it. More job opportunities are open to those who earned a Master’s degree as well as some certification.

Salary is a very important consideration when choosing a career. Auditors are earning a yearly salary of about $54,000. Senior auditors receive higher salaries which can reach as high as $80,000 per year. However, if you’re a new auditor, you can earn about $35,000 per year. You see, accountancy careers let you earn big money.

Starting salaries are reasonable and don’t you worry because after a several years, your salary will definitely increase. If accounting is your passion, choose an accountancy auditing career. Despite the bad reputations of auditors, you should still believe in yourself and that you’re going to have a decent job that let’s you earn reasonable salary.

Who cares what other people say; the important thing is that you’re doing an excellent job.

Friday, March 26, 2010

About the California Board of Accountancy

The California Board of Accountancy is under the California Department of Consumer Affairs, and was established in 1901 by the California Accountancy Act. The California Board of Accountancy was created by the California government in order to protect California residents from fraudulent representation by public accountants. Since it's inception, the California Board of Accountancy has been responsible for licensing of California Certified Public Accountants as well as California Public Accountants.

The California Board of Accountancy is not only responsible for the licensing of California certified public accountants and California public accountants. The California Board of Accountancy is also responsible for making sure that candidates for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination are qualified to take the examination and apply for a license from the California Board of Accountancy.

The California Board of Accountancy is also responsible for the regulation and registration of California certified public accountants partnerships and California public accountant partnerships, as well as California corporate partnerships.

Being charged with protecting California consumers, the California Board of Accountancy also has the authority to receive and investigate complaints of fraudulent or unethical activity against California consumers by California certified public accountants and California public accountants. In order to discipline certified public accountants and public accountants that violate Board statutes and regulations, the California Board of Accountancy may suspend a license, revoke a license, or place the licensee on a probationary period. The terms of the probation can vary based on the Board's decision and the facts of the case. Standard probationary terms are included in every act of discipline within the California Board of Accountancy. However, additional terms may be required during the probationary period if the California Board of Accountancy deems it necessary based on the facts of the case.

As a part of the authority and responsibility to monitor and discipline certified public accountants and public accountants, the California Board of Accountancy may monitor the compliance of certified public accountants and public accountants within California to ensure that continuing education requirements are met by all California licensees. This monitoring may also include examining the work of California certified public accountants and California public accountants. The examinations performed by the California Board of Accountancy are traditionally in the form of an audit of the certified public accountant or the public accountant records and financial statements.

The California Board of Accountancy is unique in several ways. First, the California Board of Accountancy examines and licenses more than 75,000 licensees, which is the largest group of licensed accountants in the nation. The California Board of Accountancy is also unique in that it has the ability to regulate not only individuals, but also California based firms.

As you can see, consumers in California are well protected from fraud, embezzlement, and other accountancy crimes that may occur when utilizing the services of a certified public accountant or public accountant. More so than any other state in the United States of America, the California Board of Accountancy certainly lives up to its mission of protecting California consumers, and regulating accountancy in California.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Career in Accounting: Tips on How You Can be Successful

In any type of businesses, an accountant is needed. You have to consider that accounting is basically the language in business and having enough knowledge about accountancy is essential for businessmen and women to know how their business is doing. This is why accounting professionals are very much in demand today. And, a lot of certified accountants have become quite successful in their field and some have even started their own business.

The great thing about this career is that it will enable you to interact with all levels of business and you will also learn a lot from it.

So, just what does it take to become an accountant and follow this career?

First of all, you need to know about the eligibility in becoming an accountant.

You need to be a graduate in a 4 year bachelor's degree in accountancy or any related field. Aside from this, an accountant should be able to have good analytical and technical expertise in business systems. Good mathematical aptitude is also a must-have for accountants. And, because computers are now one of the most used medium in computing, you should also have knowledge and the operating skills of a computer.

Another requirement is that you will need a bachelor's degree with a minor in another subject. This should be taken from an accredited college or university in order for you to apply for Master's in accounting.

You can also pursue this career if you had your course in accounting over distance learning programs or through the internet.

Also, you will need an accreditation or license of certain organization, such as being a CPA should have a license by the STA or the State Board of Accountancy.

Most companies also require that you should complete a number of semester hours as well as work hours, which are considered for a 4-year bachelor's degree. If you become a public accountant, you will be taken as a trainee. You will usually start your career as a junior internal auditor or as cost accountant.

It is recommended that you should have a master's degree in business administration or an MBA because it is preferred by more companies who are looking for accountants as part of their employees

The great thing about pursuing accountancy as a career is that it presents a lot of career opportunities. For example, you can get a job as auditors or accountants in government offices or in private companies even if you do not have any license.

During the course of your career, you can even get promoted to a position, such as the chief financial officer position which presents a lot more great opportunities for your career.

You can also work in the legal office. You can work as an auditor, a financial officer, a budget analyst, a management accountant, and even as a tax accountant. Most companies that are looking for tax accountants will prefer accountants with legal background.

Forensic accounting is another promising career for accountants. Here, you will investigate crimes, such as fraud in company's finances.

If you have a knack for teaching, you can teach a subject related to accountancy in college. This is a great career option and many accountants feel that this job is really fulfilling.

Just remember that in this profession, you have to start slow. If you are just beginning a career as an accountant, try to start as a trainee and work your way up to the career path that you want to take.

Accounting or accountancy career is a very promising career that presents a lot of great opportunities. You can be sure that you will find the right career that you want if you take this type of career.

How is accounting used in business?

It might seem obvious, but in managing a business, it's important to understand how the business makes a profit. A company needs a good business model and a good profit model. A business sells products or services and earns a certain amount of margin on each unit sold. The number of units sold is the sales volume during the reporting period. The business subtracts the amount of fixed expenses for the period, which gives them the operating profit before interest and income tax.

It's important not to confuse profit with cash flow. Profit equals sales revenue minus expenses. A business manager shouldn't assume that sales revenue equals cash inflow and that expenses equal cash outflows. In recording sales revenue, cash or another asset is increased. The asset accounts receivable is increased in recording revenue for sales made on credit. Many expenses are recorded by decreasing an asset other than cash. For example, cost of goods sold is recorded with a decrease to the inventory asset and depreciation expense is recorded with a decrease to the book value of fixed assets. Also, some expenses are recorded with an increase in the accounts payable liability or an increase in the accrued expenses payable liability.

Remember that some budgeting is better than none. Budgeting provides important advantages, like understanding the profit dynamics and the financial structure of the business. It also helps for planning for changes in the upcoming reporting period. Budgeting forces a business manager to focus on the factors that need to be improved to increase profit. A well-designed management profit and loss report provides the essential framework for budgeting profit. It's always a good idea to look ahead to the coming year. If nothing else, at least plug the numbers in your profit report for sales volume, sales prices, product costs and other expense and see how your projected profit looks for the coming year.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What does an audit report contain?

Most audit reports on financial statements give the business a clean bill of health, or a clean opinion. At the other end of the spectrum, the auditor may state that the financial statements are misleading and should not be relied upon. This negative audit report is called an adverse opinion. That's the big stick that auditors carry. They have the power to give a company's financial statements an adverse opinion and no business wants that. The threat of an adverse opinion almost always motivates a business to give way to the auditor and change its accounting or disclosure in order to avoid getting the kiss of death of an adverse opinion. An adverse audit opinion says that the financial statements of the business are misleading. The SEC does not tolerate adverse opinions by auditors of public businesses; it would suspend trading in a company's stock share if the company received an adverse opinion from its CPA auditor.

One modification to an auditor's report is very serious - when the CPA firm says that it has substantial doubts about the capability of the business to continue as a going concern. A going concern is a business that has sufficient financial wherewithal and momentum to continue it normal operations into the foreseeable future and would be able to absorb a bad turn of events without having to default on its liabilities. A going concern does not face an imminent financial crisis or any pressing financial emergency. A business could be under some financial distress but overall still be judged a going concern. Unless there is evidence to the contrary, the CPA auditor assumes that the business is a going concern. If an auditor has serious concerns about whether the business is a going concern, these doubts are spelled out in the auditor's report.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What does an audit do?

If a business breaks the rules of accounting and ethics, it can be liable for legal sanctions against it. It can deliberately deceive its investors and lenders with false or misleading numbers in its financial report. That's where audits come in. Audits are one means of keeping misleading financial reporting to a minimum. CPA auditors are like highway patrol officers who enforce traffic laws and issue tickets to keep speeding to a minimum. An audit exam can uncover problems that the business was not aware of.

After completing an audit examination, the CPA prepares a short report stating that the business has prepared its financial statements, according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), or where it has not. All businesses that are publicly traded are required to have annual audits by independent CPAs. Those companies whose stocks are listed on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq must be audited by outside CPA firms. For a publicly traded company, the expense of conducting an annual audit is the cost of doing business; it's the price a company pays for going into public markets for its capital and for having its shares traded in the public venue.

Although federal law doesn't require audits for private businesses, banks and other lenders to private businesses may insist on audited financial statements. If the lenders don't require audited statements, a business's owners have to decide whether an audit is a good investment. Instead of an audit, which they can't really afford, many smaller businesses have an outside CPA come in on a regular basis to look over their accounting methods and give advice on their financial reporting. But unless a CPA has done an audit, he or she has to be very careful not to express an opinion of the external financial statements. Without a careful examination of the evidence supporting the amounts reported in the financial statements, the CPA is in no position to give an opinion on the financial statements prepared from the accounts of the business.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What is accounting fraud?

Accounting fraud is a deliberate and improper manipulation of the recording of sales revenue and/or expenses in order to make a company's profit performance appear better than it actually is. Some things that companies do that can constitute fraud are:

--Not listing prepaid expenses or other incidental assets
--Not showing certain classifications of current assets and/or liabilities
--Collapsing short- and long-term debt into one amount.

Over-recording sales revenue is the most common technique of accounting fraud. A business may ship products to customers that they haven't ordered, knowing that those customers will return the products after the end of the year. Until the returns are made, the business records the shipments as if they were actual sales. Or a business may engage in channel stuffing. It delivers products to dealers or final customers that they really don't want, but business makes deals on the side that provide incentives and special privileges if the dealers or customers don't object to taking premature delivery of the products. A business may also delay recording products that have been returned by customers to avoid recognizing these offsets against sales revenue in the current year

The other way a business commits accounting fraud is by under-recording expenses, such as not recording depreciation expense. Or a business may choose not to record all of its cost of goods sold expense fore the sales made during a period. This would make the gross margin higher, but the business's inventory asset would include products that actually are not in inventory because they've been delivered to customers.

A business might also choose not to record asset losses that should be recognized, such as uncollectible accounts receivable, or it might not write down inventory under the lower of cost or market rule. A business might also not record the full amount of the liability for an expense, making that liability understated in the company's balance sheet. Its profit, therefore, would be overstated.

What are independent auditors?

Indpendent CPA auditors are like referees in the financial reporting arena. The CPA comes in, does an audit of the business's accounting system and methods and gives a report that is attached to the company's financial statements. Publicly owned businesses are required to have their annual financial reports audited by independent CPA firms and any privately owned businesses have audits done as well because they know that an audit report will add credibility to their financial reports.

An auditor judges whether the business's accounting methods are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Generally everything is in place and the financial report is a reliable document. But at times an auditor will wave a yellow or red flag. Some indicators of potential trouble include when the business's capability to continue normal operations is in doubt because of what are known as financial exigencies, which could mean a low cash balance, unpaid overdue liabilities, or major lawsuits that the business doesn't have the cash to cover.

An auditor must exercise professional skepticism, meaning the auditor should challenge the accounting methods and reporting practices of the client in order to make sure that its financial statement conform with accounting standards and are not misleading - in short, that the financial statement are fairly presented. Indeed, the words "fairly presented" are the exact words used in the auditor's report.

A good auditor need technical know-how, but also needs to know how to be tough on the accounting methods of the client. His job is to be the agent of the shareholders and other users of the business's financial report. It's incumbent on an auditor to strictly uphold GAAP, and not let any irregularities slide.

There are a number of well-known companies that engaged in accounting fraud recently and that fraud was not discovered by the CPA auditors. Enron is one of these companies. In this case, the auditing firm, Arthur Anderson was found guilty of obstruction of justice because it destroyed audit evidence.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What is acid test ratio and ROA ratio?

Investors calculate the acid test ratio, also known as the quick ratio or the pounce ratio. This ratio excludes inventory and prepaid expenses, which the current ratio includes, and it limits assets to cash and items that the business can quickly convert to cash. This limited category of assets is known as quick or liquid assets. The acid-text ratio is calculated by dividing the liquid assets by the total current liabilities.

This ratio is also known as the pounce ratio to emphasize that you're calculating for a worst-case scenario, where the business's creditors could pounce on the business and demand quick payment of the business's liabilities. Short term creditors do not have the right to demand immediate payment, except in unusual circumstances. This ratio is a conservative way to look at a business's capability to pay its short-term liabilities.

One factor that affects the bottom-line profitability of a business is whether it uses debt to its advantage. A business may realize a financial leverage gain, meaning it earns more profit on the money it has borrowed than the interest paid for the use of the borrowed money. A good part of a business's net income for the year may be due to financial leverage. The ROA ratio is determined by dividing the earnings before interest and income tax (EBIT) by the net operating assets.

An investor compares the ROA with the interest rate at which the corporation borrowed money. If a business's ROA is 14 percent and the interest rate on its debt is 8 percent, the business's net gain on its capital is 6 percent more than what it's paying in interest.

ROA is a useful ratio for interpreting profit performance, aside from determining financial gain or loss. ROA is called a capital utilization test that measures how profit before interest and income tax was earned on the total capital employed by the business.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What are other ratios used in financial reporting

The dividend yield ratio tells investors how much cash income they're receiving on their stock investment in a business. This is calculated by dividing the annual cash dividend per share by the current market price of the stock. This can be compared with the interest rate on high-grade debt securities that pay interest, such as Treasure bonds and Treasury notes, which are the safest.

Book value per share is calculated by dividing total owners' equity by the total number of stock shares that are outstanding. While EPS is more important to determine the market value of a stock, book value per share is the measure of the recorded value of the company's assets less its liabilities, the net assets backing up the business's stock shares. It's possible that the market value of a stock could be less than the book value per share.

The return on equity (ROE) ratio tells how much profit a bus8iness earned in comparison to the book value of its stockholders' equity. This ratio is especially useful for privately owned businesses, which have no way of determining the current value of owners' equity. ROE is also calculated for public corporations, but it plays a secondary role to other ratios. ROE is calculated by dividing net income by owners' equity.

The current ratio is a measure of a business's short-term solvency, in other words, its ability to pay it liabilities that come due in the near future. This ratio is a rough indicator of whether cash on hand plus the cash to be collected from accounts receivable and from selling inventory will be enough to pay off the liabilities that will come due in the next period. It is calculated by dividing the current assets by the current liabilities. Businesses are expected to maintain a minimum 2:1 current ratio, which means its current assets should be twice its current liabilities.

What's the difference between private and public company reporting

A public corporation is a business whose securities are traded on the public stock exchanges, such as the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. A private company is held solely by its owners and is not traded publicly. When the shareholders of a private business receive the periodical financial reports, they are entitled to assume that the company's financial statements and footnotes are prepared in accordance with GAAP. Otherwise the president of chief officer of the business should clearly warn the shareholders that GAAP have not been followed in one or more respects. The content of a private business's annual financial report is often minimal. It includes the three primary financial statements - the balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows. There's generally no letter from the chief executive, no photographs, no charts.

In contrast, the annual report of a publicly traded company has more bells and whistles to it. There are also more requirements for reporting. These include the management discussion and analysis (MD&A) section that presents the top managers' interpretation and analysis of the business's profit performance and other important financial developments over the year.

Another section required for public companies is the earnings per share (EPS). This is the only ratio that a public business is required to report, although most public companies report a few others as well. A three-year comparative income statement is also required.

Many publicly owned businesses make their required filings with the SEC, but they present very different annual financial reports to their stockholders. A large number of public companies include only condensed financial information rather than comprehensive financial statements. They will generally refer the reader to a more detailed SEC financial report for more specifics.

Friday, March 19, 2010

42 What is price/earnings ratio

The price/earning (P/E) ratio is another measurement that's of particular interest to investors in public businesses. The P/E ratio gives you an idea of how much you're paying in the current price for stock shares for each dollar of earning. Earnings prop up the market value of stock shares, not the book value of the stock shares that's reported in the balance sheet.

The P/E ratio is a reality check on just how high the current market price is in relation to the underlying profit that the business is earning. Extraordinarily high P/E ratios are justified only when investors think that the company's earnings per share (EPS) has a lot of upside potential in the future.

The P/E ratio is calculated dividing the current market price of the stock by the most recent trailing 12 months diluted EPS. Stock share prices bounce around day to day and are subject to big changes on short notice. The current P/E ratio should be compared with the average stock market P/E to gauge whether the business selling above or below the market average.

P/E ratios are currently running high, despite a four-year slump in the stock market. P/E ratios vary from industry to industry and from year to year. One dollar of EPS may command only a $10 market value for a mature business in a no-growth industry, while a dollar of EPS in a dynamic business in a growth industry may have a $30 market value per dollar of earnings, or net income.

To sum up, the price/earnings ratio, or P/E ratio is the current market price of a capital stock divided by its trailing 12 months' diluted earnings per share (EPS) or its basic earnings per share if the business does not report diluted EPS. A low P/E may signal an underbalued stock or a pessimistic forecast by investors. A high P/E may reveal an overvalued stock or might be based on an optimistic forecast by investors.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What is earnings per share

Publicly owned companies must report earnings per share (EPS) below the net income line in their income statements. This is mandated by generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP). The EPS gives investors a means of determining the amount the business earned on its stock share investments. In other words, EPS tells investors how much net income the business earned for each stock share they own. It's calculated by dividing net income by the total number of capital stock share. It's important to the stockholders who want the net income of the business to be communicated to them on a per share basis so they can compare it with the market price of their shares.

Private businesses don't have to report EPS because stockholders focus more on the business's total net income.

Publicly-held companies actually report two EPS figures, unless they have what's known as a simple capital structure. Most publicly-held companies though, have complex capital structures and have to report two EPS figures. One is called the basic EPS; the other is called the diluted EPS. Basic EPS is based on the number of stock shares that are outstanding. Diluted earnings are based on shares that are outstanding and shares that may be issued in the future in the form of stock options.

Obviously this is a complicated process. An accountant has to adjust the EPS formula for any number of occurrences or changes in the business. A business might issue additional stock shares during the year and buy back some of its own shares. Or it might issue several classes of stock, which will cause net income to be divided into two or more pools - one pool for each class of stock. A merger, acquisition or divestiture will also impact the formula for EPS.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How to analyze a financial statement

It's obvious financial statement have a lot of numbers in them and at first glance it can seem unwieldy to read and understand. One way to interpret a financial report is to compute ratios, which means, divide a particular number in the financial report by another. Financial statement ratios are also useful because they enable the reader to compare a business's current performance with its past performance or with another business's performance, regardless of whether sales revenue or net income was bigger or smaller for the other years or the other business. In order words, using ratios can cancel out difference in company sizes.

There aren't many ratios in financial reports. Publicly owned businesses are required to report just one ratio (earnings per share, or EPS) and privately-owned businesses generally don't report any ratios. Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) don't require that any ratios be reported, except EPS for publicly owned companies.

Ratios don't provide definitive answers, however. They're useful indicators, but aren't the only factor in gauging the profitability and effectiveness of a company.

One ratio that's a useful indicator of a company's profitability is the gross margin ratio. This is the gross margin divided by the sales revenue. Businesses don't discose margin information in their external financial reports. This information is considered to be proprietary in nature and is kept confidential to shield it from competitors.

The profit ratio is very important in analyzing the bottom-line of a company. It indicates how much net income was earned on each $100 of sales revenue. A profit ratio of 5 to 10 percent is common in most industries, although some highly price-competitive industries, such as retailers or grocery stores will show profit ratios of only 1 to 2 percent.

Monday, March 15, 2010

3 Smart Reasons Why You Should Consider Paying For Your Traffic

There are numerous success stories you will hear about businesses making it good on the internet . The troubling thing is, there are maybe a tenfold or even a hundredfold of stories inconsistent to theirs. Many have unsuccessfully launched a business venture that is internet based but only a handful shall succeed.

Is this because of luck? That is even more remote. It takes good business sense and a lot of help and team effort. Most importantly, it is the eagerness to succeed and the persistence to learn and the willingness to put in a lot of hard work and some money.

However, before shelling out your hard-earned money on advertising, here are three (3) smart reasons why you should consider paying for your traffic including common-sense methods of showing you how to prepare your website.

1. The quickest method for getting customers to your website is to pay for your traffic.

Like Neo, traffic is 'The One' . Without traffic, all your efforts would just go to waste. Every business needs customers, without them you wouldn't have anyone to sell your products to. In the Internet world traffic is the walk in customer. The more traffic you possess the more people you'd be able to sell your products to.

But similar to any business that's in every corner building or in the mall, not everyone that goes in will buy. But for those who do come in to browse your merchandise, most of them will buy your products. It is a clear and known fact.

But, how do you get traffic, traffic great enough that could make a small portion of resulting buyers enough to make a fair profit. Many big companies generate traffic of tens of thousands a day and a measly ten to fifteen percent actually buys, but that small percentage is enough to supply them with adequate business.

Many of these success stories get their traffic from paying others. Yes that's right; you have to spend money to make money. Advertising is the key. The more people who know that your site exists the more people would of course go to your site, that's common sense.

While there are numerous ways to get free advertising for your business, free advertising doesn't generate the same high volume of traffic as paid traffic does. Paid advertisements include such advertising schemes as those offered by Google and Yahoo.

2. In order to take full advantage of the search engines, make sure that your site is properly optimized to rank high before paying for your traffic.

Search engines are the fastest and easiest way for finding what you need on the internet . Search engines are extremely popular because they provide an indispensable service to many people. They are free and easy to use. Because of their popularity, search engines receive many visitors as well as click throughs . With these benefits in mind, it is easy to see why so many companies would pay to advertise with search engines.

Search engines provide information to the millions of users they receive each day. They provide relevant links to many sites that a user may be looking for. If your site's link pops up as one of the top ranked sites on the search results page, you stand a great chance that the user will click your link and go to your site. While search engine optimization is a cheaper and low cost way to get your site a high rank, paying for advertisements will ensure that you will be on the top ranks.

When you pay for your advertisements, it is like paying for guaranteed traffic to your site. This may not seem like a good idea at first, but the benefits of doing so far outweigh the cost in the long run. When you pay for your traffic, you are guaranteed a consistent flow of traffic to your site. You will at no time go without making a sale on any given day.

3. Find and use tools that will aid you in researching relevant keywords for your chosen niche so that you don't waste money on advertising.

Normally, you will be charged with the number of hits a link gets when your ad is clicked, this is known as pay per click. For some search engines, you will be charged with the number of times your ad shows up when a certain keyword or keyword phrase is searched. It is imperative that you have good keyword content in your ad. There are many tools on the Internet which can aid you in using the right keywords at the right moment in time.

All the money you spend in paying for your traffic will not be for nothing. You will get an impressive boost in traffic which will also result in a great boost in your sales figures.

Keith Gloster has stumbled upon a proven system that solves four major problems 99.99% of marketers face everyday which are traffic generation, prospecting, lead generation and follow-up. For the exciting details, visit:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Parts of an Income Statement, Part 3

While some lines of an income statement depend on estimates or forecasts, the interest expense line is a basic equation. When accounting for income tax expense, however, a business can use different accounting methods for some of its expenses than it uses for calculating its taxable income. The hypothetical amount of taxable income, if the accounting methods used were used in the tax return is calculated. Then the income tax based on this hypothetical taxable income is fitured. This is the income tax expense reported in the income statement. This amount is reconciled with the actual amount of income tax owed based on the accounting methods used for income tax purposes. A reconciliation of the two different income tax amounts is then provided in a footnote on the income statement.

Net income is like earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) and can vary considerably depending on which accounting methods are used to report sales revenue and expenses. This is where profit smoothing can come into play to manipulate earnings. Profit smoothing crosses the line from choosing acceptable accounting methods from the list of GAAP and implementing these methods in a reasonable manner, into the gray area of earnings management that involves accounting manipulation.

It's incumbent on managers and business owners to be involved in the decisions about which accounting methods are used to measure profit and how those methods are actually implemented. A manager can be requires to answer questions about the company's financial reports on many occasions. It's therefore critical that any officer or manager in a company be thoroughly familiar with how the company's financial statements are prepared. Accounting methods and how they're implemented vary from business to business. A company's methods can fall anywhere on a continuum that's either left or right of center of GAAP.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Parts of an Income Statement, Part 2

Of course profit and cost of goods sold expense are the two most critical components of an income statement, or at least they're what people will look at first. But an income statement is truly the sum of its parts, and they all need to be considered carefully, consistently and accurately.

In reporting depreciation expense, a business can use a short-life method and load most of the expense over the first few years, or a longer-life method and spread the expense evenly over the years. Depreciation is a big expense for some businesses and the method of reporting is especially critical for them.

One of the more complex elements of a an income statement is the line reporting employee pensions and post-retirement benefits. The GAAP rule on this expense is complex and several key estimates must be made by the business, such as the expected rate of return on the portfolio of funds set aside for these future obligations. This and other estimates affect the amount of expense recorded.

Many products are sold with expressed or implied warranties and guarantees. The business should estimate the cost of these future obligations and record this amount as an expense in the same period that the goods are sold, along with the cost of goods expense. It can't really wait until customers actually return products for repair or replacement, should be forecast as a percent of the total products sold.

Other operating expenses that are reported in an income statement may also have timing or estimating considerations. Some expenses are also discretionary in nature, which means that how much is spent during the year depends on the discretion of management.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) measures the sales revenue less all the expenses above this line. It depends on all the decisions made for recording sales revenue and expenses and how the accounting methods are implemented.

Parts of an Income Statement, part 1

The first and most important part of an income statement is the line reporting sales revenue. Businesses need to be consistent from year to year regarding when they record sales. For some business, the timing of recording sales revenue is a major problem, especially when the final acceptance by the customer depends on performance tests or other conditions that have to be satisfied. For example, when does an ad agency report the sales revenue for a campaign it's prepared for its client? When the work is completed and sent to the client for approval? When the client approves it? When the ads appear in the media? Or when the billing is complete? These are issues a company must decide on for reporting sales revenue, and they must be consistent each year, and the timing of reporting should be noted on the financial statement.

The next line in an income statement is the cost of goods sold expense. There are three methods of reporting cost of goods sold expense. One is called "first in-first out" (FIFO); another is the "last in-last out" (LIFO) method and the last is the average cost method. Cost of goods sold expense is a huge item in an income statement and how it's reported can make a substantial impact on the reported bottom line.

Other items in an income statement include inventory write-downs. A business should regularly inspect its inventory carefully to determine any losses due to theft, damage and deterioration, and to apply the lower of cost or market (LCM) method. Bad debts are also an important component of the income statement. Bad debts are those owed to a business by customers who bought on credit (accounts receivable) but are not going to be paid. Again the timing of when bad debts are reported is crucial. Do you report it before or after any collection efforts are exhausted?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Measuring Costs

Measuring profits or net income is the most important thing accountants do. The second most important task is measuring costs. Costs are extremely important to running a business and managing them effectively can make a substantial difference in a company's bottom line.

Any business that sells products needs to know its product costs and depending on what is being manufactured and/or sold, it can get complicated. Every step in the production process has to be tracked carefully from start to finish. Many manufacturing costs cannot be directly matched with particular products; these are called indirect costs. To calculate the full cost of each product manufactured, accountants devise methods for allocating indirect production costs to specific products. Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) provide few guidelines for measuring product cost.

Accountants need to determine many other costs, in addition to product costs, such as the costs of the departments and other organizational units of the business; the cost of the retirement plan for the company's employees; the cost of marketing and advertising; the cost of restructuring the business or the cost of a major recall of products sold by the company, should that ever become necessary.

Cost accounting serves two broad purposes: measuring profit and furnishing relevant information to managers. What makes it confusing is that there's no one set method for measuring and reporting costs, although accuracy is paramount. Cost accounting can fall anywhere on a continuum between conservative or expansive. The phrase actual cost depends entirely on the particular methods used to measure cost. These can often be as subjective and nebulous as some systems for judging sports. Again accuracy is extremely important. The total cost of goods or products sold is the first and usually largest expense deducted from sales revenue in measuring profit.

Types of Costs

Direct costs are those costs that cann be directly attributed to a product or product line, or to one source of sales revenue, or one business unit or operation of the business. An example of a direct cost would be the cost of tires on a new automobile.

Indirect costs are very different and can't be attached to any specific product, unit or activity. The cost of labor or benefits for an auto manufacturer is certainly a cost, but it can't be attached to any one vehicle. Each business has to devise a method of allocating indirect costs to different products, sources of sales revenue, business units, etc. Most allocation methods are less than perfect, and generally end up being arbitrary to one degree or another. Business managers and accounts should always keep an eye on the allocation methods used for indirect costs and take the cost figures produced by these methods with a grain of salt.

Fixed costs are those costs that stay the same over a relatively broad range of sales volume or production output. They're like an albatross around the neck of business and a company must sell its product at a high enough profit to at least break even.

Variable costs can increase and decrease in proportion to changes in sales or production level. Variable costs vary proportionately with changes in production/

Relevant costs are essentially future costs that could be incurred, depending on what strategic course a business takes. If an auto manufacturer decides to increase production, but the cost of tires goes up, than that cost needs to be taken into consideration.

Irrelevant costs are those that should be disregarded when deciding on a future course of action. They're costs that could cause you to make a wrong decision. Whereas relevant costs are future costs, irrelevant costs are those costs that were incurred in the past. The money's gone.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

About GAAP

While many businesses assume that accountants are bound by generally accepted accounting practices and that these are inviolate, nothing could be further from the truth. Everything is subject to interpretation, and GAAP is no different. For one thing, GAAP themselves permit alternative accounting methods to be used for certain expenses and for revenue in certain specialized types of businesses. For another, GAAP methods require that decisions be made about the timing for recording revenue and expenses, or they require that key factors be quantified. Deciding on the timing of revenue and expenses and putting definite values on these factors require judgments, estimates and interpretations.

The mission of GAAP over the years has been to standardize accounting methods in order to bring about uniformity across all businesses. But alternative methods are still permitted for certain basic business expenses. No tests are required to determine whether one method is more preferable than another. A business is free to select whichever method it wants. But it must choose which cost of good sold expense method to use and which depreciation expense method to use.

For other expenses and for sales revenue, one general accounting method has been established; there are no alternative methods. However, a business has a fair amount of latitude in actually implementing the methods. One business applies the accounting methods in a conservative manner, and another business applies the methods in a more liberal manner. The end result is more diversity between businesses in their profit measure and financial statements than one might expect, considering that GAAP have been evolving since 1930.

The pronouncement on GAAP prepared by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is now more than 1000 pages long. And that doesn't even include the rules and regulations issued by the federal regulatory agency that jurisdiction over the financial reporting and accounting methods of publicly owned businesses - the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


Ugh, budgeting is one of those topics we'd rather avoid, but in business, it's an absolute necessity. To prepare a reasoned and thoughtful budget, an accountant must start with a broad-based critical analysis of the most recent actual performance and position of the business by the managers who are responsible for the results. Then the managers decide on specific and concrete goals for the coming year. It demands a fair amount of management time and energy. Budgets should be worth this time and effort. It's one of the key components of a manager's job.

To construct budged financial statements, a manager needs good models of the profit, cash flow and financial condition of your business. Models are blueprints or schematics of how things work. A business budget is, at its core, a financial blueprint of the business. Budgeting relies on financial models that are the foundation for preparing budgeted financial statements. Those statements include:

--Budgeted income statement (or profit report): This statement highlights the critical information that managers need for making decisions and exercising control. Much of the information in an internal profit report is confidential and should not be divulged outside the business.

--Budgeted balance sheet: The connections and ratios between sales revenue and expenses and their corresponding assets and liabilities are the elements of the basic model for the budgeted balance sheet.

--Budgeted statement of cash flows: The changes in assets and liabilities from their balances at the end of the year just concluded to the projected balances at the end of the coming year determine cash flow from profit for the coming year.

Budgeting requires good working models of profit performance, financial condition, and cash flow from profit. Constructing good budgets is a strong incentive for businesses to develop financial models that not only help in the budgeting process but also help managers in making strategic decisions.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What is a sole proprietorship?

A sole proprietorship is the business or an individual who has decided not to carry his business as a separate legal entity, such as a corporation, partnership or limited liability company. This kind of business is not a separate entity. Any time a person regularly provides services for a fee, sells things at a flea market or engage in any business activity whose primary purpose is to make a profit, that person is a sole proprietor. If they carry on business activity to make profit or income, the IRS requires that you file a separate Schedule C "Profit or Loss From a Business" with your annual individual income tax return. Schedule C summarizes your income and expenses from your sole proprietorship business.

As the sold proprietor of a business, you have unlimited liability, meaning that if your business can't pay all it liabilities, the creditors to whom your business owes money can come after your personal assets. Many part-time entrepreneurs may not know this, but it's an enormous financial risk. If they are sued or can't pay their bills, they are personally liable for the business's liabilities.

A sole proprietorship has no other owners to prepare financial statements for, but the proprietor should still prepare these statements to know how his business is doing. Banks usually require financial statements from sole proprietors who apply for loans. A partnership needs to maintain a separate capital or ownership account for each partners. The total profit of the firm is allocated into these capital accounts, as spelled out in the partnership agreement. Although sole proprietors don't have separate invested capital from retained earnings like corporations do, they still need to keep these two separate accounts for owners' equity - not only to track the business, but for the benefit of any future buyers of the business.

What are partnerships and limited liability companies?

Some business owners choose to create partnerships or limited liability companies instead of a corporation. A partnership can also be called a firm, and refers to an association of a group of individuals working together in a business or professional practice.

While corporations have rigid rules about how they are structured, partnerships and limited liability companies allow the division of management authority, profit sharing and ownership rights among the owners to be very flexible.

Partnerships fall into two categories. General partners are subject to unlimited liability. If a business can't pay its debts, its creditors can demand payment from the general partners' personal assets. General partners have the authority and responsibility to manage the business. They're analogous to the president and other officers of a corporation.

Limited partners escape the unlimited liability that the general partners have. They are not responsible as individuals, for the liabilities of the partnership. These are junior partners who have ownership rights to the profits of the business, but they don't generally participate in the high-level management of the business. A partnership must have one or more general partners.

A limited liability company (LLC) is becoming more prevalent among smaller businesses. An LLC is like a corporation regarding limited liability and it's like a partnership regarding the flexibility of dividing profit among the owners. Its advantage over other types of ownership is its flexibility in how profit and management authority are determined. This can have a downside. The owners must enter into very detailed agreements about how the profits and management responsibilities are divided. It can get very complicated and generally requires the services of a lawyer to draw up the agreement.

A partnership or LLC agreement specifies how profits will be divided among the owners. While stockholders of a corporation receive a share of profit that's directly related to how many shares they own, a partnership or LLC does not have to divide profit according to how much each partner invested. Invested capital is only of the factors that are used in allocating and distributing profits.

Monday, March 8, 2010

‘Greed Is Good’ – Remuneration, Motivation And Organisation

The 1980's business culture in the USA and internationally put a considerable emphasis on personal reward on the basis that highly motivated individuals could transform organisations and societies. The extreme example in film was Gordon Gekko in Wall Street stating that greed was good. The 90's, however, have seen companies traumatised and bankrupted by the inappropriate use of remuneration as a motivator. Yet major corporate successes have been built on reward based remuneration systems. Phones4U recently and Allied Dunbar in the financial services market is an earlier example.

The notorious Barings Bank had individual traders on bonuses in the millions yet in the long term these motivated individuals were not fulfilling the company's objectives. Moreover even when an individual's reward system is based on entirely appropriate performance indicators, resulting in the organisation’s success and he or she is rewarded, there may still be problems arising from the large differential between salaries of senior people and those of middle management. A payment system that depresses or demotivates 10 people for every one it motivates may not be the best for the organisation.

Wise organisations are therefore trying to reward and motivate all staff so that staff act energetically to further the corporation’s interests both short and long term and feel they have been treated fairly. However there must be properly in place the link between the items on which they are being rewarded and the actions they are able to take to influence the desired outcome.

A wise organisation accepts that:

• It is reasonable for the individual manager to act in his or her own interests.
• Managers work for people not organisations and want to please the superiors closest to them, or failing that, their peer group.
• Managers want to achieve and will be attracted to those tasks at which they know they can succeed, usually favouring the short term at the expense of the long term.

The clear implication is that an organisation should lay some groundwork before relying on a remuneration structure to change performance and behaviour. In other words the management and organisation system must be in balance with the remuneration system.

There are 5 major pre-conditions to the installation of an effective reward structure.

1. Measurement: “If you don’t measure it you won’t get it”. There are various measurement systems of which Balanced Scorecard, which sets multiple objectives and is used by Tesco, is perhaps the best known.

2. Monitoring: If the performance measures are not monitored properly or only monitored in a review at the year end, it can give the manager signals that they don’t really matter or, worse still, that failure is acceptable providing all the managers fail together.

3. Control of the tools for the job: The organisation must ensure that the individual is not over dependent on factors outside his control to achieve the performance measures set out (this is the ‘how’ part of the equation).

4. Consistency: Ensuring that short term organisational factors don’t over-influence managers or drive them from their real objective. The organisation must also ensure that its own design (be it bureaucratic or loose) is appropriate to what is being asked of managers.

5. Reward and strategy in line: An organisation's achieving a clear strategy is not an event that will take place in the future; it is a journey. A remuneration system can be put into an organisation even when it has a relatively muddled strategy providing that organisational and management disputes are resolved by reference to strategy and the “balanced score card”. Only then will there be pressure on the organisation to refine its strategy, structure and remuneration systems.

Based on these 5 pre conditions, there is a checklist of 10 factors that the effective remuneration and reward structure must achieve:

1. Support the business strategy
2. Encourage the desired behaviour
3. Reward relevant performance
4. Be fair
5. Be substantial
6. Be tax efficient
7. Be timely (The reward must take place close to the achievement)
8. Incorporate non financial rewards (Recognition can be as important as cash)
9. Be firm (A bonus lost through missing target should not be recoverable whereas a salary increase should only be delayed until target is reached)
10. Be crystal clear

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What is a corporation?

Most businesses start out as a small company, owned by one person or by a partnership. The most common type of business when there are multiple owners is a corporation. The law sees a corporation as real, live person. Like an adult, a corporation is treated as a distinct and independent individual who has rights and responsibilities. A corporation's "birth certificate" is the legal form that is filed with the Secretary of State of the state in which the corporation is created, or incorporated. It must have a legal name, just like a person.

A corporation is separate from its owners. It's responsible for its own debts. The bank can't come after the stockholders if a corporation goes bankrupt.

A corporation issues ownership share to persons who invest money in the business. These ownership shares are documented by stock certificates, which state the name of the owner and how many shares are owned. the corporation has to keep a register, or list, of how many shares everyone owns. Owners of a corporation are called stockholders because they own shares of stock issued by the corporation. One share of stock is one unit of ownership; how much one share is worth depends on the total number of shares that the business issues. the more shares a business issues, the smaller the percentage of total owners' equity each share represents.

Stock shares come in different classes of stock. Preferred stockholders are promised a certain amount of cash dividends each year. Common stockholders have the most risk. If a corporation ends up in financial trouble, it's required to pay off its liabilities first. If any money is left over, then that money goes first to the preferred stockholders. If anything is left over after that, then that money is distributed to the common stockholders.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What is financial window dressing?

Financial managers can do certain things to increase or decrease net income that's recorded in the year. This is called profit smoothing, income smoothing or just plain old window dressing. This isn't the same as fraud, or cooking the books.

Most profit smoothing involves pushing some amount of revenue and/or expenses into other years than they would normally be recorded. A common technique for profit smoothing is to delay normal maintenance and repairs. This is referred to as deferred maintenance. Many routine and recurring maintenance costs required for autos, trucks, machines, equipment and buildings can be delayed, or deferred until later.

A business that spends a significant amount of money for employee training and development may delay these programs until the next year so the expense in the current year is lower.

A company can cut back on its current year's outlays for market research and product development.

A business can ease up on its rules regarding when slow-paying customers are written off to expense as bad debts or uncollectible accounts receivable. The business can put off recording some of its bad debts expense until the next reporting year.

A fixed asset that is not being actively used may have very little current or future value to a business. Instead of writing off the un-depreciated cost of the impaired asset as a loss in the current year, the business might delay the write-off until the next year.

You can see how manipulating the timing of certain expenses can make an impact on net income. This isn't illegal although companies can go too far in massaging the numbers so that its financial statements are misleading. For the most part though, profit smoothing isn't much more than robbing Peter to pay Paul. Accountants refer to these as compensatory effects. The effects next year offset and cancel out the effects in the current year. Less expense this year is balanced by more expense the next year.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Financial statements are the backbone of a complete financial report. In fact, a financial report is not complete if the three primary financial statements are not included. but a financial report is much more than just those statements. A financial report requires disclosures. This term refers to additional information provided in a financial report. Therefore, any comprehensive and ethical financial report must include not only the primary financial statements, but disclosures as well.

The chief executive of a business (usually the CEO in a publicly held corporation) has the primary responsibility to make sure that the financial statements have been prepared according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and the financial report provides adequate disclosures. He or she works with the chief financial officer or controller of the business to make sure that the financial report meets the standard of adequate disclosures.

Some common methods of disclosures include:

--Footnotes that provide information about the basic figures. Nearly all financial statements require footnotes to provide additional information for several of the account balances in the financial statements.

--Supplementary financial schedules and tables that provide more details than can be included in the body of the financial statements.

--Other information may be required if the business is a public corporation subject to federal regulations regarding financial reporting to its stockholders. Other information is voluntary and not strictly required legally or according to GAAP.

Some disclosures are required by various governing boards and agencies. These include:

--The financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has designated many standards. Its dictate regarding disclosure of the effects of stock options is one such standard.
--The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) mandates disclosure of a broad range of information for publicly held companies.
--International businesses have to abide by disclosure standards adopted by the International Accounting Standards Board.

What happened in corporate accounting scandals?

When a corporation deliberately conceals or skews information to appear healthy and successful to its shareholders, it has committed corporate or shareholder fraud. Corporate fraud may involve a few individuals or many, depending on the extent to which employees are informed of their company's financial practices. Directors of corporations may fudge financial records or disguise inappropriate spending. Fraud committed by corporations can be devastating, not only for outside investors who have made share purchases based on false information, but for employees who, through 401ks, have invested their retirement savings in company stock.
Some recent corporate accounting scandals have consumed the news media and ruined hundreds of thousands of lives of the employees who had their retirement invested in the companies that defrauded them and other investors. The nuts and bolts of some of these accounting scandals are as follows:
WorldCom admitted to adjusting accounting records to cover its operation costs and present a successful front to shareholders. Nine billion dollars in discrepancies were discovered before the telecom corporation went bankrupt in July of 2002. One of the hidden expenses was $408 million given to Bernard Ebbers (WorldCom's CEO) in undisclosed personal loans.
At Tyco, shareholders were not informed of the $170 million in loans that were taken by Tyco's CEO, CFO, and chief legal officer. The loans, many of which were taken interest free and later written off as benefits, were not approved by Tyco's compensation committee. Kozlowski (former CEO), Swartz (former CFO), and Belnick (former chief legal officer) face continuing investigations by the SEC and the Tyco Corporation, which is now operating under Edward Breen and a new board of directors.
At Enron, investigations against uncovered multiple acts of fraudulent behavior. Enron used illegal loans and partnerships with other companies to cover its multi-billion dollar debt. It presented erroneous accounting records to investors, and Arthur Anderson, its accounting firm, began shredding incriminating documentation weeks before the SEC could begin investigations. Money laundering, wire fraud, mail fraud, and securities fraud are just some of the indictments directors of Enron have faced and will continue to face as the investigation continues.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What happened at Enron?

Everyone knows at least a little about the Enron story and the devastation it created in the lives of is employees. It's a story that belongs in any discussion of ethical accounting processes and what happens when accounting standards and ethics are discarded for personal greed.
Enron began in 1985 selling natural gas to gas companies and businesses. In 1996, energy markets were changed so that the price of energy could now be decided by competition among energy companies instead of being fixed by government regulations. With this change, Enron began to function more as a middleman than a traditional energy supplier, trading in energy contracts instead of buying and selling natural gas. Enron's rapid growth created excitement among investors and drove the stock price up. As Enron grew, it expanded into other industries such as Internet services, and its financial contracts became more complicated.
In order to keep growing at this rate, Enron began to borrow money to invest in new projects. However, because this debt would make their earnings look less impressive, Enron began to create partnerships that would allow it to keep debt off of its books. One partnership created by Enron, Chewco Investments (named after the Star Wars character Chewbacca) allowed Enron to keep $600 million in debt off of the books it showed to the government and to people who own Enron stock. When this debt did not show up in Enron's reports, it made Enron seem much more successful than it actually was. In December 2000, Enron claimed to have tripled its profits in two years.
In August 2001, Enron vice president Sherron Watkins sent an anonymous letter to the CEO of Enron, Kenneth Lay, describing accounting methods that she felt could lead Enron to "implode in a wave of accounting scandals." Also in August, CEO Kenneth Lay sent e-mails to his employees saying that he expected Enron stock prices to go up. Meanwhile, he sold off his own stock in Enron.
On October 22nd, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Enron was under investigation. On November 8th, Enron said that it has overstated earnings for the past four years by $586 million and that it owed over $6 billion in debt by next year.
With these announcements, Enron's stock price took a dive. This drop triggered certain agreements with investors that made it necessary for Enron to repay their money immediately. When Enron could not come up with the cash to repay its creditors, it declared for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

What is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act?

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is a United States federal law passed in response to the recent major corporate and accounting scandals including those at Enron, Tyco International, and WorldCom (now MCI). These scandals resulted in a decline of public trust in accounting and reporting practices. Named after sponsors Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Representative Michael G. Oxley (R-Oh.), the Act was approved by the House by a vote of 423-3 and by the Senate 99-0. The legislation is wide-ranging and establishes new or enhanced standards for all U.S. public company Boards, Management, and public accounting firms. The first and most important part of the Act establishes a new quasi-public agency, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which is charged with overseeing and disciplining accounting firms in their roles as auditors of public companies. Some of the major provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act's include:
--Certification of financial reports by chief executive officers and chief financial officers
--Auditor independence, including outright bans on certain types of work for audit clients and pre-certification by the company's Audit Committee of all other non-audit work
--A requirement that companies listed on stock exchanges have fully independent audit committees that oversee the relationship between the company and its auditor
--Significantly longer maximum jail sentences and larger fines for corporate executives who knowingly and willfully misstate financial statements, although maximum sentences are largely irrelevant because judges generally follow the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in setting actual sentences
--Employee protections allowing those corporate fraud whistleblowers who file complaints with OSHA within 90 days, to win reinstatement, back pay and benefits, compensatory damages, abatement orders, and reasonable attorney fees and costs.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Who uses forensic accountants?

Forensic accounting financial investigative specialists work with financial information for the purpose of conveying complicated issues in a manner that others can easily understand. While some forensic accountants and forensic accounting specialists are engaged in the public practice of forensic examination, others work in private industry for such entities as banks and insurance companies or governmental entities such as sheriff and police departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The occupational fraud committed by employees usually involves the theft of assets. Embezzlement has been the most often committed fraud for the last 30 years. Employees may be involved in kickback schemes, identity theft, or conversion of corporate assets for personal use. The forensic accountant couples observation of the suspected employees with physical examination of assets, invigilation, inspection of documents, and interviews of those involved. Experience on these types of engagements enables the forensic accountant to offer suggestions as to internal controls that owners could implement to reduce the likelihood of fraud.
At times, the forensic accountant may be hired by attorneys to investigate the financial trail of persons suspected of engaging in criminal activity. Information provided by the forensic accountant may be the most effective way of obtaining convictions. The forensic accountant may also be engaged by bankruptcy court when submitted financial information is suspect or if employees (including managers) are suspected of taking assets.
Opportunities for qualified forensic accounting professionals abound in private companies. CEOs must now certify that their financial statements are faithful representations of the financial position and results of operations of their companies and rely more heavily on internal controls to detect any misstatement that would otherwise be contained in these financials.
In addition to these activities, forensic accountants may be asked to determine the amount of the loss sustained by victims, testify in court as an expert witness and assist in the preparation of visual aids and written summaries for use in court.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How To Secure Your Wireless Network

People have more flexible time due to wireless network. Thanks to the invention of wireless. People can now work from home while taking care of their kids or doing house works. No more stress from traffic jam anymore. Is this great?

Well, there is something you should realize. Working from home while using a wireless local area network (WLAN) may lead to theft of sensitive information and hacker or virus infiltration unless proper measures are taken. As WLANs send information over radio waves, someone with a receiver in your area could be picking up the transmission, thus gaining access to your computer. They could load viruses on to your laptop which could be transferred to the company's network when you go back to work.

Believe it or not! Up to 75 per cent of WLAN users do not have standard security features installed, while 20 per cent are left completely open as default configurations are not secured, but made for the users to have their network up and running ASAP. It is recommended that wireless router/access point setup be always done though a wired client.

You can setup your security by follow these steps:

1. Change default administrative password on wireless router/access point to a secured password.

2. Enable at least 128-bit WEP encryption on both card and access point. Change your WEP keys periodically. If equipment does not support at least 128-bit WEP encryption, consider replacing it. Although there are security issues with WEP, it represents minimum level of security, and it should be enabled.

3. Change the default SSID on your router/access point to a hard to guess name. Setup your computer device to connect to this SSID by default.

4. Setup router/access point not to broadcast the SSID. The same SSID needs to be setup on the client side manually. This feature may not be available on all equipment.

5. Block anonymous Internet requests or pings. On each computer having wireless network card, network connection properties should be configured to allow connection to Access Point Networks Only. Computer to Computer (peer to peer) Connection should not be allowed.

Enable MAC filtering. Deny association to wireless network for unspecified MAC addresses. Mac or Physical addresses are available through your computer device network connection setup and they are physically written on network cards. When adding new wireless cards / computer to the network, their MAC addresses should be registered with the router /access point. Network router should have firewall features enabled and demilitarized zone (DMZ) feature disabled.

All computers should have a properly configured personal firewall in addition to a hardware firewall. You should also update router/access point firmware when new versions become available. Locating router/access point away from strangers is also helpful so they cannot reset the router/access point to default settings. You can even try to locate router/access point in the middle of the building rather than near windows to limit signal coverage outside the building.

There is no guarantee of a full protection of your wireless network, but following these suggested tips can definitely lessen your risk of exposing to attackers aiming at insecure networks.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What is forensic accounting?

Forensic accounting is the practice of utilizing accounting, auditing, and investigative skills to assist in legal matters. It encompasses 2 main areas - litigation support, investigation, and dispute resolution. Litigation support represents the factual presentation of economic issues related to existing or pending litigation. In this capacity, the forensic accounting professional quantifies damages sustained by parties involved in legal disputes and can assist in resolving disputes, even before they reach the courtroom. If a dispute reaches the courtroom, the forensic accountant may testify as an expert witness.
Investigation is the act of determining whether criminal matters such as employee theft, securities fraud (including falsification of financial statements), identity theft, and insurance fraud have occurred. As part of the forensic accountant's work, he or she may recommend actions that can be taken to minimize future risk of loss. Investigation may also occur in civil matters. For example, the forensic accountant may search for hidden assets in divorce cases.
Forensic accounting involves looking beyond the numbers and grasping the substance of situations. It's more than accounting...more than detective's a combination that will be in demand for as long as human nature exists. Who wouldn't want a career that offers such stability, excitement, and financial rewards?
In short, forensic accounting requires the most important quality a person can possess: the ability to think. Far from being an ability that is specific to success in any particular field, developing the ability to think enhances a person's chances of success in life, thus increasing a person's worth in today's society. Why not consider becoming a forensic accountant on the Forensic Accounting Masters Degree link on the left-hand navigation bar.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What are auditors?

Accountants and auditors help to ensure that the Nation's firms are run efficiently, its public records kept accurately, and its taxes paid properly and on time. They perform these vital functions by offering an increasingly wide array of business and accounting services, including public, management, and government accounting, as well as internal auditing, to their clients. Beyond carrying out the fundamental tasks of the occupation-preparing, analyzing, and verifying financial documents in order to provide information to clients-many accountants now are required to possess a wide range of knowledge and skills. Accountants and auditors are broadening the services they offer to include budget analysis, financial and investment planning, information technology consulting, and limited legal services.
Specific job duties vary widely among the four major fields of accounting: public, management, and government accounting and internal auditing.
Internal auditors verify the accuracy of their organization's internal records and check for mismanagement, waste, or fraud. Internal auditing is an increasingly important area of accounting and auditing. Internal auditors examine and evaluate their firms' financial and information systems, management procedures, and internal controls to ensure that records are accurate and controls are adequate to protect against fraud and waste. They also review company operations, evaluating their efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance with corporate policies and procedures, laws, and government regulations. There are many types of highly specialized auditors, such as electronic data-processing, environmental, engineering, legal, insurance premium, bank, and health care auditors. As computer systems make information timelier, internal auditors help managers to base their decisions on actual data, rather than personal observation. Internal auditors also may recommend controls for their organization's computer system, to ensure the reliability of the system and the integrity of the data.

Government accountants and auditors work in the public sector, maintaining and examining the records of government agencies and auditing private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Accountants employed by Federal, State, and local governments guarantee that revenues are received and expenditures are made in accordance with laws and regulations. Those employed by the Federal Government may work as Internal Revenue Service agents or in financial management, financial institution examination, or budget analysis and administration.

What is the FASB?

The FASB is one organization that provides standardized guidelines for financial reporting. The mission of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is to establish and improve standards of financial accounting and reporting for the guidance and education of the public, including issuers, auditors and users of financial information.
Accounting standards are essential to the efficient functioning of the economy because decisions about the allocation of resources rely heavily on credible, concise, transparent and understandable financial information. Financial information about the operations and financial position of individual entities also is used by the public in making various other kinds of decisions.

To accomplish its mission, the FASB acts to:

--Improve the usefulness of financial reporting by focusing on the primary characteristics of relevance and reliability and on the qualities of comparability and consistency;
--Keep standards current to reflect changes in methods of doing business and changes in the economic environment;
--Consider promptly any significant areas of deficiency in financial reporting that might be improved through the standard-setting process;
--Promote the international convergence of accounting standards concurrent with improving the quality of financial reporting; and
--Improve the common understanding of the nature and purposes of information contained in financial reports.

The FASB develops broad accounting concepts as well as standards for financial reporting. It also provides guidance on implementation of standards. Concepts are useful in guiding the Board in establishing standards and in providing a frame of reference, or conceptual framework, for resolving accounting issues. The framework will help to establish reasonable bounds for judgment in preparing financial information and to increase understanding of, and confidence in, financial information on the part of users of financial reports. It also will help the public to understand the nature and limitations of information supplied by financial reporting.