Of course, you already know the best practices in accounting. You don't need any help in that department. Some of the folks in your firm, however, and many of your clients, might benefit from a look at Steven Bragg's Accounting Best Practices.
The fourth edition of the book has over 300 best practices, many of them brand-new, on everything from accounts payable and billing to budgeting, cash management, financial statements, inventory and payroll. There's also a new chapter on accounting management, as well as an index of suppliers whose products and services are mentioned in the book. Well-indexed and carefully organized, the book can help anyone improve the efficiency of their accounting - unless, of course, their accounting is already perfect, like yours.
John Wiley & Sons
'Articles of Merit'
The Professional Accountants in Business Committee of the International Federation of Accountants chose its favorite articles from the past year and bundled them together to create Articles of Merit: 2005, which is available for downloading for free. The collection includes discussions of risk management, performance measurement for sustainability, and corporate social responsibility.
Employee and pandas
Legal publisher Nolo is at it again, helping small businesses left and right and taking away your business. In the case of two recent releases, however, the titles may also help you in an area of great interest to accounting firms these days: their staff.
The employees in your office are much like pandas in captivity: Difficult to care for, demanding, and generally unwilling to do the one thing you want them to do. The difference is that pandas can't sue you. Since employees can, Nolo's The Employer's Legal Handbook may be useful, with valuable information on hiring and firing, personnel policies, workers' compensation, health and safety rules, privacy rights and everything else you need to manage your staff.
To make sure that they know the rules, there's Create Your Own Employee Handbook, which has all the information and advice you'll need to clearly communicate your firm's policies and procedures. The book has information about the laws of all 50 states, and comes with a CD-ROM of boilerplate policies that you can cut and paste to fit your workplace; with all that, it's easy to see why panda breeders around the world wish Nolo would consider publishing a handbook for them.
Price: Legal Handbook - $39.99; Create Your Own Employee Handbook - $39.99.
If you've read the books on employee care and maintenance from the item above, you may have idly wondered how all these complicated business processes got into place. For at least one area - pay - human resources expert Bruce Ellig has the answers. His The Evolution of Employee Pay in the United States is a fascinating examination of a subject near and dear to everyone who gets a paycheck.
There are plenty of good cocktail-party stories and factoids - excessive pay in the U.S. stretches back to George Washington, who earned $25,000 a year when the average wage was $1 a day - but also some intriguing conclusions on the growing complexity of pay and benefit plans, and the changing ways we value work.
Temin and Co.
Not Buddhism, business
To deal with the existential crisis that is life, Buddhism outlines the Eightfold Path: Right view, right intention, right speech, right livelihood, right mindfulness and so on. To deal with the immediate crises that face your business, Ian I. Mitroff's Why Some Companies Emerge Stronger and Better from a Crisis offers a Sevenfold Path: Right heart, right thinking, right social and political IQ, right integration, right technical IQ, right aesthetic IQ and right spiritual IQ.
Mitroff's interest is less in the mundane details of business recovery - back-up servers, emergency generators and the like - and more in the emotional and intellectual ways that businesses can prepare for and recover from a disaster. Disaster recovery plans, after all, are implemented by people, and the book focuses on how to make sure your people are up to such a difficult task, and on how they might even profit from it.
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