SOFTWARE & SERVICES
Avalara has released the latest version of its AvaTax online sales and use tax compliance software. The upgrade incorporates a number of new features, including improvements to the AvaTax Dashboard functionality, new reports that are easier to set up and maintain, and enhancements to the Tools Tab that allow users to import item numbers.
Avalara has also boosted the functionality of the AvaTax Connector for Microsoft Dynamics GP, with usability enhancements, more control over the interface, new customer categories, and more.
MANAGED AND SECURE
Like children, business documents need to be kept track of, and kept safe. But while no one has yet worked out software to do this for kids (or at least not without implanting a chip), Cabinet NG has teamed up with EVault to combine the benefits of the former's CNG Shared Access Filing Environment paperless document management system with the latter's back-up, recovery and data protection services and software. Designed specifically for small businesses with limited IT infrastructure, the new partnership should let users manage, track and protect crucial business information, with no painful and messy chip implantations.
REVERSING THE FLOW
The government is tireless in its efforts to discover new ways to make us pay, so it's nice to know that someone is figuring out a way to make the government pay: Vengroff, Williams & Associates' new Government Solutions Program is designed to ensure that companies receive prompt payment from federal government agencies.
VWA's strategy for remapping and compliance training lets users generate invoices and statements that meet the government's stringent requirements, and it claims that the process can reduce time to payment by as much as 50 percent.
www.vwainc.com or (866) 393-4892.
RevenueRecognition.com, a Web site dedicated to providing information on the complicated - but crucial - field of revenue management, has been relaunched with a new look and feel, and more information. With commentary, opinions, news, surveys, CPE courses and job listings on a range of topics including revenue accounting, reporting and forecasting, as well as Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, internal controls and more, it's an extremely valuable resource for a critical area.
BROTHER, CAN YOU PAY YOUR BILL?
Of the two main ways to beg for money - panhandling and invoicing - only invoicing will benefit from a new hosted service from Transcepta, which lets companies send invoices electronically, by mail or by fax, and receive payments by ACH or credit card. Transcepta Distributor Edition is designed specifically to help distributors invoice more effectively, and lets users import invoices and payments directly into their accounting system. Also, it won't get you kicked off the subway.
THE SOVIET JUDGE SAYS ...
Just as the Olympics have moved on from the bad old days when the Soviet judge could be relied on to mis-score any non-Communist athletic performance, businesses are getting better and better at accurately measuring their performance, with new tools for that purpose popping up every day. Two recent books delve into these best practices, offering new ways to score - and improve - your company.
Five Key Principles of Corporate Management examines a number of these best practices, with a special emphasis on the establishment of your own personal corporate performance management officer (who would, one hopes, be a little more impartial than the old Warsaw Pact judges), while Key Performance Indicators offers a simple process for companies to identify which scores really matter for them, with plenty of resources and templates for monitoring and reporting on them. That way, when you get a 4.5 out of 10, you'll know it's for real.
John Wiley & Sons; KPI - $45, Five Key Principles - $45
LIBRARY OF FRAUD
We're amassing quite a few of books on fraud, and the latest addition, The Handbook of Fraud Deterrence, looks likely to be a cornerstone of the collection. That's not a reflection of its size (though it is a big brick of a book), but of the comprehensive resources that it offers on the subject at hand. Exploring everything from internal controls and the mentality of potential fraudsters, to professional standards and the role of technology, its depth and range make us glad we stole the money from petty cash to buy it.
John Wiley & Sons; $90
TIME ENOUGH AT LAST
We don't have time to implement all of the time-saving plans that would free up the time we need to implement the time-saving plans that would allow us the time to implement them. A similar constraint often causes frustration with introducing other business improvement plans, which is why Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing has streamlined and focused the usual ABC plan to help businesses better measure their costs and profitability by using the data in their ERP systems, and to show them how to avoid the sort of efficiency-boosting program that actually makes you inefficient.
Harvard Business School Press; $45
In the red-in-tooth-and-claw days of early human development, management was always claiming the juiciest hunks of antelope and taking over the most comfortable corner of the cave, which may explain why humanity has evolved an instinctive hatred of anyone who's in charge. Interestingly, promotion to management seems to trigger a separate evolutionary trait that makes the promotee blind to this near-universal loathing (possibly because it's the only way to function while commanding staff who hate you with the passion of a thousand burning suns). Thirty Reasons Employees Hate Their Managers should open their eyes to all the different ways they actually deserve to be hated - and can then show them how to get more work and less hatred from their employees.
Smarts: Are We Hardwired for Success? takes a somewhat different approach to inbuilt behaviors. It posits a set of 12 brain functions that allow everyone to execute tasks (such as prioritization, working memory, flexibility, stress tolerance, and so on), but which are under- or over-developed in each individual to varying degrees. The trick is to discover your own mix of strong and weak skills (or your emloyees'), and then maximize or work around them, as appropriate.
Amacom Books; 30 Reasons - $21.95, Smarts - $21.95
ALSO IN PRINT
PPC has converged the 2007 updates of its Guide to Audits of Small Businesses and its Guide to Risk-Based Audits into its new Guide to Audits of Nonpublic Companies.
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