OHIO SOCIETY EXPANDS RECESSION RESOURCES

Columbus, Ohio - The Ohio Society of CPAs has launched "Navigating the Recession," an online collection of educational resources and career tools to help its 23,000 members manage their businesses and careers through the economic downturn.

The online Financial Crisis News Center updates members on the latest national and state news from the CPAs' perspective. It includes sections on both national economic stimulus acts, and a library of podcasts featuring prominent economists, financial and tax experts. The OSCPA has also added special tracks on the economy to its 2009 conferences.

For more, visit www.ohioscpa.com.

AUDIT COMMITTEE MEMBERS GET INVOLVED IN CRISIS

New York - Three out of four audit committee members say that they have increased their hands-on involvement with management, and are re-assessing risk management and oversight as a result of the economic crisis, according to a recent survey of approximately 280 audit committee members by KPMG's Audit Committee Institute and the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Audit committee members identified risks related to the financial crisis and oversight of risk management as their top two agenda priorities for 2009, according to the survey. In addition, directors expressed concerns about the quality of information they are receiving, particularly information related to the financial risks posed by information technology (48 percent), tax issues (30 percent), the economic crisis (22 percent) and fraud (22 percent).

While 95 percent of audit committee members rated their committee as effective or very effective, many also said that key oversight processes could be improved. Approximately one third of those surveyed said that agendas needed to be better prioritized, with less "box-checking." Two thirds said that more meeting time should be devoted to discussion and questions, versus listening to presentations.

ROBERT HALF OFFERS 'REBOUND' CHECKLIST

Menlo Park, Calif. - Accounting and finance staffing company Robert Half Management Resources offered advice for companies to position themselves to take advantage of a future recovery:

1. Keep re-assessing budgets. Financial staff must be prepared to continually modify budgets to reflect progress or setbacks.

2. Evaluate your bench strength. Some firms are realizing that they have cut staff too deeply. This can be an ideal time for a "talent upgrade," as many skilled professionals are in the market.

3. Revisit compliance requirements. Companies should be prepared to evaluate financial reporting competencies, information technology controls, risk assessment procedures and documentation. Smaller public companies should assess their ability to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

4. Anticipate next-generation financial reporting. The Securities and Exchange Commission has mandated that public companies report their financials using Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL, by 2011. In addition, proactive firms are already offering education and training to help staff better understand International Financial Reporting Standards.

5. Invest in your people. Organizations that scaled back on training and development in recent months should consider re-instituting these initiatives. Professional development also boosts employee job satisfaction.

6. Upgrade IT systems. Outdated financial systems can impair a business's ability to compete, but conversions take time and resources. Companies that are planning upgrades should ensure that they have the budget and staffing resources to manage the implementation.

7. Prepare for new products and services. This is the time to ensure that new offerings can be introduced quickly when the economy rebounds. Cost accountants, analysts and others who can ensure that projections are sound can positively impact the success of the initiative.

8. "Re-recruit" your best people. Don't be surprised if top performers are approached with offers once the economy turns around. Managers should meet with their best people now to discuss their careers and remind them how much they are valued.

(c) 2009 Accounting Today and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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