Those who can, teachThere's an old saying: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." (Woody Allen added, "Those who can't teach, teach gym," but that's not important right now.) A great many books pile up here in the New Products department, offering all sorts of business lessons. Many of these are worth paying attention to, of course, but we often wonder: If these authors know so much about running a business, why aren't they running one, instead of writing books?
No such question presents itself with Running a More Exciting and Profitable Accounting Business - Seminar, by Edward Mendlowitz and Frank R. Boutillette, because they're both shareholders in WithumSmith+Brown, an Accounting Today Top 100 Firm, so you know they're accountants at the top of their game. The book is based on a one-day seminar the two gave on practice management, and is full of useful ideas on everything from vision statements, recruiting, marketing and staffing to strategic alliances, succession planning and new product development - ideas that you know have successfully been put into practice. The two have also released a Resource Manual; both books are available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Price: Seminar - $100;
Resource Manual - $100.
Everyone loves getting paid, but no one loves the payroll department. This cosmic injustice is, perhaps, unavoidable, as processing payroll is one of those corporate functions that no employee notices until there's a problem, at which point mere lack of love turns to active hate. To prevent this explosive wrath, we recommend Payroll: A Guide to Running an Efficient Department, by Vicki M. Lambert and the Institute of Management and Administration. With its eye firmly fixed on the best and fastest way to do things, the book breaks down and details all of the functions of the typical payroll department. Remember: You may not like being ignored by your fellow employees, but it sure beats being yelled at.
John Wiley & Sons
Guides to getting older
We are never sure how much space we should allot to books from do-it-yourself legal and business publisher Nolo. "DIY," after all, means "No professionals needed," which is why in the past we have recommended that you buy all the copies of their books that you can, and then bury them so your clients don't see them. Lately, though, we've been thinking that CPAs should be above that kind of thing (besides, it's expensive), and that it might make sense for them to use Nolo's books for their own - and their clients' - education.
As examples, take two recent Nolo books on timely subjects by attorney and tax expert Joseph Matthews. The 10th edition of his Social Security, Medicare & Government Pensions (written with Dorothy Matthews Berman) serves as an excellent primer for either side in the current debate over President Bush's privatization plans, while also offering the inside scoop on how to get the most out of the current system for your and your clients' medical and retirement needs.
Meanwhile, the fifth edition of Matthews' Long-Term Care: How to Plan & Pay for It would be a valuable read for those who failed to note a minor, but still unsettling, aspect of the Terri Schiavo case: how much it cost to care for her. Actually, it would be valuable even for those who did note that underreported fact - or for anyone who plans to live for a while. Matthews covers all the angles, from various kinds of care to evaluating facilities and insurance, to protecting your assets, and even detecting and preventing elder fraud.
Price: Social Security - $29.99; Long-Term Care - $19.99.
Why things gang a-gley
Poet Robert Burns was right that the best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft a-gley; what he couldn't tell us was why. (Or maybe he did, and we didn't understand his thick Scottish accent.) Management consultant Laurence Haughton, though, knows precisely why all those plans go wrong: the failure to follow through. As he explains in It's Not What You Say ... It's What You Do, the reason companies stumble and fail is the inability to execute plans, follow up on opportunities and fulfill the promise of their own big ideas. With examples drawn from Ikea, Charles Schwab, Time Warner, and more, he explains the best ways to make sure that your company follows through, and the disastrous consequences if it doesn't.
'The Qualcomm Equation'
Here's a business riddle for you: Why is mobile telecommunications company Qualcomm happy when its rivals do well? The answer is not, "Because they're stupid;" it's that many of its competitors license the technology standard that Qualcomm itself created, so the company makes money on both its own successes and theirs. In The Qualcomm Equation, author Dave Mock makes the case that this isn't just an anomaly; he thinks it's a model for growth that others can employ. The book draws all sorts of lessons and practical ideas from the company's history, with the fascinating story of the contribution of 1940s screen siren Hedy Lamarr to 21st century telecommunications as a bonus.
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