Explaining themselves

Compilation and Review Engagements Guide

AICPA; $75 ($60 for members)

In many cases, those who promulgate standards and regulations have the luxury of leaving the explanation of those rules to others. Congress, for instance, leaves it to the IRS to figure out what, exactly, tax legislation means and how to apply it. The American Institute of CPAs doesn't take that route: Having issued Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services No. 19, the institute has now released a guide to implementing the fairly significant changes to compilation and review engagements that it will bring into effect by the end of this year. The guide includes sample reports and engagement letters, as well as detailed illustrations and case studies. So now you don't have to ask someone else what they meant.

 

Lesson No. 29

One Report: Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy

Wiley; $31.96 (with WebCPA discount)

The lessons of the disastrous Gulf oil spill are many and varied: For instance, our ability to exploit the environment generally outpaces our ability to protect it; regulatory capture is a bipartisan achievement; and we've yet to find an animal that looks good coated in oil. One of the less-obvious lessons is the increasing importance of environmental and social issues to companies' bottom lines. One Report makes the case for integrating information on these and other non-financial issues with the standard financial report, not merely for PR purposes, but to spur companies to develop strategies to address them. Beyond supporting the business case for sustainability reporting, the book looks at companies that are actually doing it, and at the new technologies that are making it feasible.

 

Set it, don't forget it

Dynamic Asset Allocation: Modern Portfolio Theory Updated for the Smart Investor

Bloomberg, $29.95

When Dynamic Asset Allocation suggests that investors' asset allocations should be, well, more dynamic, it hastens to point out that it's not suggesting investors turn to the slightly squalid and self-defeating practices of market-timing and chasing returns. Instead, it aims to update Modern Portfolio Theory and allocation practices with the knowledge we've gained about investing over the past couple of decades - among the most important point of which is the fact that good investment is not about returns, but about risk management. The book offers an excellent overview of the development of investment as a science, and an intriguing guide to how it will develop in the future.

 

Intelligent business

Profiles in Performance: Business Intelligence Journeys and the Roadmap for Change

Wiley; $45

Business intelligence may not be quite the oxymoron that military intelligence is, but it's safe to say that business intelligence doesn't necessarily guarantee intelligent business. All the data and drill-downs and dashboards in the world don't mean a thing if a company isn't prepared to do something with them. Helping a company become one that can is the aim of Profiles in Performance, which offers in-depth examinations of the "performance-driven culture" of a number of successful organizations. These case studies offer a number of insights into making the most of BI, identifying a number of different ways to move forward, and offering a wide variety of "lessons learned." It's valuable intelligence for those interested in business intelligence.

 

Yes, even at nonprofits

Fraud and Embezzlement in Nonprofits: How It Happens and How to Prevent It

Lorman Education Services; $159.20 (with WebCPA discount)

More nonprofits could be profits, if they weren't swarming with embezzlers and fraudsters of all kinds. This set of CDs and a reference manual details the many kinds of schemes out there, and shows what kinds of internal controls can prevent them. It also includes a tool to help organizations assess their own controls.

 

Also in print

CCH has published 2010 Tax Legislation, a mammoth reference on the tax provisions of the recent health care legislation, as well as the HIRE Act and other recent tax laws, with all kinds of useful information and resources, including tables of effective dates, and client letters explaining the changes. It also released Practical Guide to California Taxes: The Impact of Economic Crisis, which should be of great use to Golden State accountants, and a new white paper, Customer Exemption Management, on the complexities of handling customers who may - or may not - have to pay sales tax. ... Grant Thornton has released a white paper, Maintaining Sufficient Reserves to Protect Your Not-for-Profit Organization, that is available for free at www.grantthornton.com/nfpreserves.

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