SOFTWARE & HARDWARECLOSING THE BOOK

Someday soon, paper-and-ink ledger books will go the way of the buggy whip, the vinyl record and the buffalo - driven to extinction by products like Bookkeeper 2007, the latest version of Avanquest's financial management software for small business owners who are ready to give up their pencils and run their businesses on computer. The new release lets users record payments of company bills made with credit or debit cards; design and print custom expense and payroll checks; receive warnings of low stock levels; and create invoices and estimates that can be printed or e-mailed with a PDF export tool.

Avanquest Software

www.avanquest.com

MORE SUMMITS

Everest Software has introduced Professional and Enterprise packages for its Everest Advanced business management software, allowing small and midsized business users more configurations from which to pick the one that best suits their company. Everest also now offers the on-premise version on a year-to-year license, so users can "pay as they go."

Everest Software Inc.

www.everestsoftware.com

BEFORE THE BEACH

If the 98-pound weakling had any friends, they'd have looked at his pale, stick-like arms and sunken chest and said, "Don't go to the beach - you'll only get sand kicked in your face." The business world's equivalent of a face full of wet sand is being beaten by your competitors, and the much-needed friend is a CPA with benchmarking software like the recently upgraded BizBench 2007, which can help companies figure out just how much they weigh compared to others in the same industry. And once you've been benchmarked, you can start bench pressing, so no muscle-bound competitor can tell you to dry up and blow away again.

Gerke & Associates Inc.

www.bizbench.com

(573) 875-7125

A BETTER DASHBOARD

No matter how fancy your dashboard is, if you don't know how to drive, you're going to end up meeting another piece of your car - the windshield. But what if the dashboard could teach you? That's the theory behind FlexBudget, which combines a business dashboard that gives small business managers a snapshot of the health of their company, while also training them in sound fiscal and asset management with audio and video training and a Web-based support system.

FlexBudget

www.flexbudget.com

(952) 401-1045

ARE YOU READY?

We know this is hard to believe, but there are firms out there that, despite the many disasters of the past few years, haven't yet figured out that they need a disaster recovery plan. For them, crisis planning and prevention company 20/20 Innovations has made available on its site a set of free tools to help the unprepared evaluate their risk potential, take preventative action before disaster strikes, and learn what to do before, during and after. The site also features "lockboxes" where small businesses can store crucial documents like vendor lists, insurance information and more, for when a fire, flood or other catastrophe bars them from entering their offices.

20/20 Innovations

www.2020innovations.com

PRACTICE INSIGHTS

LexisNexis has added a new component to its Tax Center online research platform: Practice Insights, a collection of analysis and guidance on state tax issues by leading practitioners at firms like Deloitte, Winston & Strawn and Baker & McKenzie. Written in a short, easy-to-read format, Practice Insights offers expert analysis of timely issues and practical tips, identifies deadlines, and generally allows users to put to use in their firm the expertise that some other firm has paid to develop.

LexisNexis U.S.

www.lexisnexis.com

NEW AND IMPROVED!

Kaplan CPA Education has redesigned its Kaplan CPA Complete Learning System for the computerized CPA Exam. ... Winshuttle has released TxShuttle 7 for automating data transfers from Excel and Access to all SAP products.

BOOKS

POOR FRAUDSTERS

Everyone talks about how hard it is to uncover fraud, but what no one wants to acknowledge is that committing fraud is hard work. You've got to concoct your scheme, cover your tracks and hide your sudden wealth. And no one is providing entrepreneurial fraudsters with the sort of tools that their enemies - auditors, management and forensic accountants - get from in-depth, comprehensive references like Fraud Auditing and Forensic Accounting. It shows readers how to prevent, investigate and document fraud - and even how to interview suspects. Which just makes the embezzler's job harder.

(John Wiley & Sons; $65)

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY

In the category of things that you keep around, but hope you or your clients never have to use, we'd have to put How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, which covers all the recent changes to the bankruptcy law, and shows you how to get through the entire process with the least damage. Keep it in your office right next to the fire extinguishers, the envelope of bail money and the syringe of adrenaline.

(Nolo; $29.99)

LISTEN TO US!

We have always wondered why no one takes our advice, but Taking Advice: How Leaders Get Good Counsel and Use It Wisely explains it neatly: All the people we know are terrible advice-takers. If they're going to get any value out of our priceless advice, they'll need to read the book to find out how to make the most of the advice and counsel they receive. It explains what kinds of advice are best for which challenges, how to value the advice you get, and how to develop a "balanced advice network" so that you get all the perspectives you need to make the right decisions.

(Harvard Business School Press; $26.95)

INNOVATION KILLER

Smashing a light bulb is a lot easier than having one light up over your head, and The Innovation Killer shows why: What you think you know is more often the enemy of brilliant new ideas than mere unoriginality. The book alerts readers to the ways they and their organizations may be stifling creativity, and shows them how get past all that and truly get outside the box.

(Amacom Books; $26)

WHO'S YOUR SPOKESDADDY?

With the selection of actor/director Dennis Hopper as the public face of financial planning services provider Ameriprise Financial, we declare that the trend of pandering to Baby Boomers' nostalgia for the 1960s has gone too far. Far better for Ameriprise to have followed the advice of Master the Media to Attract Your Ideal Clients, which offers an approach to using the media to market yourself as a financial professional. The main message is to position yourself as an expert in print and on TV and radio for the market you wish to reach, and author Derrick Kinney shows exactly how to do just that. After all, you're the one who knows about financial planning - not Dennis Hopper.

(John Wiley & Sons; $49.95)

Send your product news to Daniel Hood at daniel.hood@sourcemedia.com.

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