Why Per Diem Travel Might be a Good Idea

Work-related travel is commonplace and often necessary these days, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a multitude of implications related to this topic.  A recent article in the November/December 2011 issue of FRAUD Magazine touched upon a variety of fraud schemes related to employee travel.  The article, titled “Traveling in High Style on the Organization’s …

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Department of Labor and IRS Audits of 401(k) Plans

Federal oversight of 401(k) plans is essentially divided between the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor. The IRS oversees the qualified status of 401(k) plans and issues determination letters. The DOL oversees fiduciary standards, reporting and disclosure requirements, and all other rules that do not affect the qualified status of 401(k) plans. Audits …

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Determining if July Debt Payments should be Accrued in Governmental Funds

Is your government about to obtain new debt in their governmental funds? If there is a payment in July following fiscal year end; should the payment be recorded in the current year or next fiscal year? Under cash basis, there should not be an expenditure recorded until amounts are due and payable; however there is …

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Incentive Based Compensation – Pay for Performance

Pay for performance can mean different things to different people.  Should the pay reflect past performance or should it reward for future performance?  Is the compensation meant to be for short-term purposes or long-term purposes?  This is a hotly contested issue and should be resolved based on the employee’s job function and the goals of …

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401(K) Expenses

Have you ever wondered how much in fees is being deducted from your 401k account? There are several types of fees that can be deducted from your 401(k) account including the following: Loan processing fees – a one time fee deducted for borrowing money from your account. Loan maintenance fees – a periodic fee charged for …

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Quickbooks – Tips to Reduce Errors

A significant portion of my career has been spent working with small or medium sized businesses that share two things in common.  They use QuickBooks for their accounting software and their accounting personnel are not trained on how to effectively use QuickBooks.  Without being trained on how to effectively use QuickBooks, the risk that errors …

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Big GAAP vs. Little GAAP – The Proposed Verdict is In!

As a follow up to the September 20th posting “Big GAAP vs. Little GAAP – Where are we at?” the Financing Accounting Foundation’s (FAF) Board of Trustees released its proposed plan last week to address constituents concerns over the standard-setting process for private companies.  The proposed plan calls for the establishment of a “Private Company …

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How to Make Your Auditor Smile (Or Getting Organized for Your Audit)

Most financial staff members do not look forward to their annual financial audit.  I have met an exception to this, however, and here was her method for going into the audit feeling comfortable and confident.  Let’s refer to this individual as Sally. Sally began her audit preparation by using her normal monthly closing procedures which …

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Deposition Mental Toughness

If you have never testified at a deposition involving a civil litigation matter but you soon will, it’s possible you will have some of the feelings I had the first time I had to testify.  Just before the hour of your testimony arrives, you may end up experiencing (pick one): a) stress; b) fear; c) …

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A Look into the Importance of Budgets for Governments and Not-for-Profits

Government and not-for-profit budgets are far more important than those for businesses because they are expressions of public policy and often carry the authority of law, preventing public officials from spending outside their budgetary authority.  The increased importance of budgets is reflected in government financial reports by a required report comparing budgeted and actual amounts.  …

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