What began in October 1989 as a retiree's pastime has become a hot business for Stanley Halper, founder of Audit Committee Support Network (ASCN). Halper's Plainview, N.Y., service provides seasoned advisers to the audit committees of public companies that want to control their insurance costs. ACSN's retired CPAs, chief internal auditors, and chief financial officers help audit committees oversee their financial reporting to avoid fraud or negligence suits, reducing claims and insurance rates in the process. While many client companies are large, Halper sees a fertile market among small to midsize public companies unschooled in federal regulations and financial reporting.

-- Anne Murphy