Getting the greaseWe used to think that the ultimate in debt collection involved baseball bats and broken legs, but that was before we heard about Michelle Dunn. A long-time expert in the collections field - and owner of her own collection agency - Dunn has written a series of books on getting the money you're owed.

The latest of them, Become the Squeaky Wheel, is jam-packed with specific, easy-to-follow advice for clearing up delinquent accounts without having to hurt anyone. Turns out that having a clear credit policy, carefully scripting your calls and getting written payment agreements are more effective than Luca Brazzi. The bottom line is that we are determined never, ever to owe Michelle Dunn any money.

Price: $29.99.

Never Dunn Publishing

HSAs made easy

The American Institute of CPAs has a smash hit on its hands with its 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy educational program, and it continues to build on its success with a new tool for explaining the complexities of health savings accounts. These are tricky beasts, and the AICPA's new brochure, Guide to Understanding Health Savings Accounts, is being offered to insurance companies, financial institutions and others to help them offer clients and customers an independent, unbiased explanation.

Price: Contact vendor.


Cost management

Changes in corporate structure, as well as advances in technology and financial techniques, have dramatically altered cost accounting - and the change is nowhere more apparent than in the title accounting professors Roman Weil and Michael Maher gave the updated version of their Handbook of Cost Accounting: Handbook of Cost Management. As the ability to control resource use, measure performance and make timely decisions grows ever more complex, a resource like this is an invaluable addition to your office bookshelf.

Price: $115.

John Wiley & Sons

(800) 762-2974

'Fast Close'

Like our accounting department, we here at New Products have a deadline every month, but where we're able to simply make things up if time gets short, that sort of thing is apparently frowned upon when it comes to closing the books. The answer to their monthly nightmare is not an overactive imagination, as it is for us, but rather Fast Close: A Guide to Closing the Books Quickly, by accounting expert Steven Bragg.

Fast Close is packed with useful tips for speeding up the process, including specific suggestions for moving the timing of some closing activities, while streamlining and centralizing others. Following all of them could require a near-complete overhaul of your processes, but Bragg claims it can reduce your closing time to a single day - which is less than it would take to fake the whole thing.

Price: $45.

John Wiley & Sons

(800) 762-2974


In years to come, the late 1990s will represent for business what the Trojan War did for Homer's Greece - an age of heroes and villains, mighty deeds, great tragedies and, above all, hubris. Both also had multiple storylines going on, some of which don't get the attention they deserve.

One of these is the boom and bust in telecoms, the subject of John Handley's Telebomb, which chronicles the fateful collision of deregulation, the at-all-costs race to lay fiber optic cable, and the weaknesses, both moral and analytical, of industry executives. In the end, hundreds of companies lay bankrupt, with WorldCom topping the list at $30 billion - which kind of makes seem insignificant.

Price: $24.95.


(800) 714-6395

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