Bribe American

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance Guidebook: Protecting Your Organization from Bribery and Corruption

Wiley; $65

Once upon a time, U.S. businesses could travel the world, happily dispensing envelopes full of cash in return for favors from local governments. The killjoys in Washington, however, decided that American businesses shouldn't have any fun overseas, and passed the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to make them behave.

With more and more small and midsized companies selling outside the U.S., Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance Guidebook is a must-read for understanding all the many different ways that companies can be exposed to the act's harsh penalties, and developing a compliance program. It also gives an interesting history of the act, details of current enforcement efforts, a couple of in-depth case studies, and (our favorite) a guide to worldwide hotspots for corruption. As attractive as those places may sound, though, enforcement of the FCPA is a high priority these days, so businesses are well-advised to reserve their kickbacks for American officials.

Quis custodiet?

Guide to Quality Control for Small- and Medium-Sized Practices

IFAC; free

When it comes to quality control at accounting firms, one might ask, in the spirit of Roman satirist Juvenal, "Who controls the quality controllers?" And the answer, it seems, might be the International Federation of Accountants, with its new Guide to Quality Control for Small- and Medium-Sized Practices. The latest edition of the free guide is aimed at helping firms implement its recent standards, and includes an integrated case study, checklists and forms, and two sample quality control manuals. The question now becomes, "Who controls the controllers of quality controllers?"

Google says you're a dog

Wild West 2.0: How to Protect and Restore Your Online Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier

Amacom; $24.95

A 1993 New Yorker cartoon shows a Web-surfing pooch saying, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're dog." Nowadays, the Internet might well be telling people you're a dog - whether you are or not. As Wild West 2.0 makes clear, the Web is an untamed frontier where your reputation can be massively damaged without your even knowing. From the embarrassing pictures you foolishly posted on Facebook, to slander maliciously spread by ex-employees or dissatisfied clients, the Internet will host it all, and it's up to you to head it off. The book details the dangers with some real-life stories of businesses damaged by the Internet gone wild, and then offers up a series of useful strategies for protecting your reputation in cyberspace. You can start by getting out there and owning your online identity, and laying down a base of positive or neutral content that will rise above any later negative content. Should that fail, the book also has tips for repairing a reputation damaged by, for instance, scurrilous digital accusations that you are, in fact, a dog.

Not rocks for jocks

Financial Accounting: A Course for All Majors

Information Age Publishing; paper - $39.99, hardcover - $73.99

Many colleges offer courses that attempt to explain complicated subjects to non-experts, making, say, geology or astronomy or basket-weaving accessible to someone who does not plan to become a geologist or astronomer or basket technician. The difference between those and the course of study laid out in Financial Accounting: A Course for All Majors, by David O'Bryan, an accounting professor at Pittsburg State University, is that many people who do not plan to be accountants still need to be conversant with the basic principles of financial accounting. The book is aimed at them, written in a non-technical and informal style that communicates the key concepts without getting too bogged down in the complicated numerical examples that terrify so many people. While it is primarily designed to serve as a textbook, we imagine many of your clients could benefit from reading it as a refresher course.

Not just for lawyers

Construction Accounting: A Guide for Attorneys and Other Professionals

American Bar Association; $159.95

Don't be worried that Construction Accounting is put out by the American Bar Association: While some of the introductory material on basic financial accounting will be old hat for you, much of what comes after delves deeply into the arcana of accounting in this particular field, and will prove a useful resource for accountants whose clients operate in it - and for the clients themselves.

Behind the curtain

Hire Your First Employee: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Finding, Choosing and Leading Great People

The Planning Shop; $24.95

As terrifying and painful as the hiring process is for job candidates, it's just as painful and terrifying for the would-be employer - particularly if they're just starting out. Hire Your First Employee takes the wanna-be boss through the whole process, with useful background on labor laws, researching salary ranges, handling payroll and much more, with useful checklists, forms and worksheets to reduce the pain and terror.

Alert the FBI

The Risk Takers: 16 Women and Men Share Their Entrepreneurial Strategies for Success

Vanguard Press (Perseus Books Group); $29.95

There are few better ways to learn about business success than by studying successful businesses, and The Risk Takers brings together the stories of 16 high-achieving entrepreneurs to do just that. While it contains plenty of useful pieces of advice, the main message seems to be that successful entrepreneurs ignore the advice of everyone around them, trust their gut, and refuse to let adversity defeat them. The interesting thing is that these are characteristics shared by most career criminals and international terrorists. We wonder if the FBI and other federal authorities are aware of this.

The big choice

LLCs, LLPs and Partnerships: Organization and Operation

Lorman Education Services; CD and manual - $369, manual only - $129 (with WebCPA discount)

With all the tax and liability issues surrounding the choice of business entity, it's a decision where your entrepreneurial clients can definitely use sound guidance. This CD and manual will keep you up to date on the latest developments and issues regarding forming, operating and terminating entities, as well as transferring their interests.

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