SOX and night terrors
We don't know what monster used to dominate the nightmares of corporate governance professionals, but since 2002, it has definitely been the Sarbanes-Oxley Act - a slavering, two-headed beast that enmeshes its unwitting prey in a gush of rules and regulations (all for the public good, of course). To the rescue comes CPA David E. Hardesty, with the latest edition of his Practical Guide to Corporate Governance and Accounting: Implementing the Requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The book is an invaluable bestiary, offering unique guidance on the creature known as SOX, including detailed and up-to-date examinations of Section 302 and Section 404 of the act, and of Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Auditing Standard No. 2.
Hardesty's expertise in the area is such that he was named to Accounting Today's 2004 list of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting; with his guide on their bedside table, chief financial officers and internal auditors can sleep easy.
For corporate directors - whose sleep, probably, used to be deep and dreamless - SOX comes as a rude awakening. (There goes our long metaphor.) For them, Hardesty has co-authored, with lawyer Paul Hilton, Director's Guide to Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance, a guide to the operation of the modern board and the responsibilities of its members. With checklists, sample language, best practices, and current information on the latest regulatory requirements for directors, it's a must for board members looking to reclaim the peaceful night's sleep they used to enjoy.
Price: Practical Guide - $74.95; Director's Guide - $65. Volume discounts available.
Warren, Gorham & Lamont
'The New Workforce'
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is dead, as is the all-male, all-white, all-married-with-2.5-kids workforce that used to surround him. What's replacing them, according to benefits and HR consultant Harriet Hankin's The New Workforce, is both older and younger, more racially, sexually and religiously diverse, and a lot more demanding. Hankin's book describes the radically different characteristics and needs of this multi-faceted labor pool, and offers a host of practical ideas for keeping them happy and productive.
'Plan Your Estate'
The seventh edition of Plan Your Estate falls in the category of books you never want your clients to see. Like many of the titles from do-it-yourself legal and business publisher Nolo, it's basically designed to put the financial planners, accountants and lawyers that serve individuals out of business, by empowering their clients.
Plan Your Estate, by attorneys Denis Clifford and Cora Jordan, puts everything a person needs to know about wills, trusts and estate planning - from the basics on up to sophisticated tax strategies and the latest on estate and inheritance laws - in plain English, so that everyone can understand it.
We bring it to your attention in order to make this suggestion: Buy every copy you can find, and bury them in your backyard.
The pros of outsourcing
There are three schools of thought regarding outsourcing: pro, con, and the rest of us. Firmly enrolled in the first school are the authors of Business Process Outsourcing: The Competitive Advantage, Rick L. Click and Thomas N. Duening, for whom BPO is a crucial tool in a rapidly globalizing and highly competitive marketplace, one that modern companies cannot afford to do without. Since Click is the chief executive of American Outsourcing Group, a BPO consultancy, and Duening is a professor at the University of Houston, it is, perhaps, natural that the two took this approach.
That said, however, they don't present BPO as an easy cure-all - it must be approached with care and diligence, like any other business tool. Their book offers expert guidance on every aspect of outsourcing, from managing costs to choosing the right vendor and handling contracts, as well as a host of useful rules and best practices for making sure you gain all the advantages available, without suffering the downside.
John Wiley & Sons
Once again, we'd like to recommend a book that, at first glance, has nothing to do with accounting. In fact, it doesn't have anything to do with accounting - but it was written by a colleague of ours, Jeff Stimpson, from our sister publication, Practical Accountant.
Alex: The Fathering of a Preemie is a chronicle of the life of Stimpson's seven-year-old son, who was born prematurely (weighing only 21 ounces) and whose survival was, for a long while, uncertain. By turns heartbreaking, infuriating and inspiring, the story of Alex's struggles - and those of his parents - is told with candor, humor, love and anger.
Academy Chicago Publishers
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