Better spreadsheetsWhile both spreadsheets and calculators are enormously useful - indeed, crucial - to accountants, they have one big difference: No one expects you to build your own calculator. And even though you never have to get near a soldering gun to produce a spreadsheet, it's still a process fraught with potential for career-ruining, business-destroying mistakes.

Spreadsheet Check and Control, by Patrick O'Beirne, guides readers through the process, warning you away from errors both common and uncommon, and showing you how to make Excel spreadsheets that are safe, reliable, more efficient, consistent and auditable. Beyond that, the book teaches readers how easy it is to make mistakes, and offers a set of tools for testing and detecting errors. It's the kind of book you ought to have two of - one for you, and one to pass around.

Price: $39.99.

Systems Publishing

+353 (0) 55-22294

You deserve a break

A tax break, that is. Here you are, slaving away through the filing season, finding all linds of deductions and better tax treatments for your clients, but who's looking out for you? Nolo, that's who.

Their Tax Deductions for Professionals is aimed at anyone who runs a professional practice, including doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers, architects, and even chiropractors - to say nothing of accountants. While much of its comprehensive advice on how to minimize a professional's taxes may already be familiar to you, you never know when you might learn something new that can save you money. And at the very least it makes a handy guide for any clients you may have in the other professions.

Price: $34.99.


(510) 548-1976

Eightfold Paths

In Buddhism, the Eightfold Path leads to enlightenment and inner peace; in financial planning, the Eight Prosperity Factors laid out in Building Your Multi-Million-Dollar Practice lead to less stress and higher profits. They're not incompatible, but if we ran a financial services practice, we know which one we'd start following first.

Authors Peter and Katherine Vessenes, who run their own successful practice, share practical suggestions and proven techniques for making your work easier and more lucrative, including tips on creating a team-based, not star-based, business; fiscal and asset management; marketing; building an effective support staff; defining your sales system; and more. Once you've mastered their Eight Prosperity Factors, you can move on to right thinking, right action and right mindfulness.

Price: $30.

Dearborn Financial Publishing

Hiring time

With qualified staff hard to find at all levels, we understand that some firms have taken a hint from the Royal Navy and started sending press gangs to abduct promising young accounting students from campuses across the country. As this is illegal, we recommend that you do it very carefully - or you could find other ways to improve your recruitment process, such as reading Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting & Orienting New Employees, now in its fourth edition. The book offers advice on all aspects of staffing, including tips on the latest trends in recruiting, new talent sources, better interviewing techniques, and much, much more.

The shortage of accountants may tempt you to take short cuts in your hiring - one of the benefits of the press gang is that your catch is ready to work immediately (or at least once they regain consciousness) - but you should resist the temptation to lower your standards. In fact, eagerness to hire may make the sort of insightful answers you can elicit by using High-Impact Interview Questions - which contains 701 questions to ask to learn about a candidate's skills, work behavior and business acumen - all the more important.

Price: New Employees -$49.95; Interview Questions - $17.95.


(800) 714-6395

Also in print

Aspen Publishers has published The Pennsylvania Payroll Guide, a loose-leaf sourcebook on that state's complicated state and local payroll laws. Since the rules often change, it's updated every year. ($189; (800) 638-8437).

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access