Software & servicesLACERTE UTILITY

Intuit has released a trial balance utility for its Lacerte tax software that allows users to integrate virtually any trial balance data into a tax return, saving an awful lot of time-consuming work. It also lets you adjust journal entries or make tax-line assignments in the Lacerte tax software.

www.intuit.com

MANY MANAGERS

Fortunate is the employee whose reviews are conducted by a manager who is actually familiar with their work. All too often, those managers are nowhere to be seen when it comes time for performance ratings and evaluations, leaving the hapless employee in the hands of a relative stranger whose name just happens to be over theirs in an org chart. While this guarantees a certain impartiality, a better solution might be Halogen Software's Employee Performance and Talent Management Suite for Professional Services, a Web-based solution designed to help accountants and other professionals better manage their most valuable assets - people.

The suite automates the evaluation process with a library of competencies and comment help, and includes a multi-rater feedback feature that allows those who actually know an employee to chime in on their performance, and give today's employees the sort of intensive feedback they demand.

www.halogensoftware.com

SCATTERING CLUES

Ah, e-mail! What could be quicker, easier, or more incriminating? It's the electronic equivalent of fingerprints, or a signed confession. If you're looking for evidence - of, say, accounting fraud - Lucid8's new DigiScope e-mail discovery and recovery application makes it much easier to troll through the depths of a Microsoft Exchange Server database looking for all those supposedly "deleted" messages with the subject line "Re: Embezzlement." It also lets you recover files and folders that were accidentally (as opposed to feloniously) deleted. Our question: Who are all these idiots who put the details of their crimes in e-mails?

www.lucid8.com

THE NEW FUTURE

Children are no longer the future - computer software is, and you need to spend a lot more time with it. So it's a good thing that NetSuite's online business and financial management software is now available on BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Palm Treo wireless devices, allowing you to develop a close relationship with the software at home, during a school concert, at a Little League game, or anywhere else you can get a wireless connection. It's time to stop wasting time with the old future, and focus on the new one.

www.netsuite.com/wireless

NEW AND IMPROVED!

Fusion Software (www.fusionpos.com) has released Version 4.18 of its Fusion Retail Software point-of-sale application. ... Cartesis (www.cartesis.com) announced Release 2 of its governance, risk and compliance solution, Cartesis 10, which includes new workforce planning and governance modules. ... Colligo Networks (www.colligo.com) has released Version 2.1 of Colligo for Sharepoint, which lets offline users use Sharepoint applications. V. 2.1 includes an add-in for Microsoft Outlook to let users store and manage e-mails and more in Sharepoint. ... Cognos (www.cognos.com) has released Version 8.2 of its Cognos Controller.

Books

IOU 1 SOUL

Oh for the days when you could improve worker productivity just by raising prices at the company store, so they'd have to work harder just to afford the necessities they could only buy there. Unfortunately, tried-and-true incentives like the threat of starvation are no longer fashionable, and managers now must actually engage employees to help them develop themselves.

* Manager's Guide to Workplace Performance lays out a step-by-step approach to identifying employees' problem areas, creating solutions and getting the employee to buy into them, and looks to turn managers into leaders who can bring out the best in their underlings. Productive Performance Appraisals, meanwhile, aims to improve workers by improving your use of the performance review. This has all too often become an empty, meaningless ritual, but with better preparation and the techniques the book offers, it can become a great way to boost productivity and morale.

Once you've overcome your legitimate fear of closer contact with your employees, consider Coaching, Counseling & Mentoring, which explains the differences between these three activities, and how you can apply each in different situations to make the bad good, the good better, and the best shine. It will certainly involve a greater investment of time, energy and devotion than used to be required, but remember - you can't call in the Pinkertons anymore, so you're better off keeping your employees happy and on your side.

Amacom Books; Workplace Performance - $19.95, Appraisals - $10, Coaching - $24.95

VALUATION STANDARDS

Speaking of souls, we have often wondered what it profits a man to gain the whole world, if he forfeits his soul? The answer would seem to require a professional valuation of the financial value of both the individual soul and of the whole world, but given the ambiguities of the appraisal process, the first piece of business is to determine your standards of value. Standards of Value may be of use here, as it explores the assumptions and legal cases behind the various standards. It covers current and proposed standards in the field, and examines standards in four distinct contexts: estate and gift taxation, financial reporting, shareholder dissent and oppression, and divorce. The next step will be to acquire or develop a comprehensive database of recent soul/world swaps, which should help you establish a fair market value for both.

John Wiley & Sons; $95

GET STARTED

As an entry-level product, Microsoft Office Accounting is a kind of starter kit for company's looking to computerize their accounting systems - so Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 Starter Kit is a kind of starter kit for a starter kit. The book offers set-up tips; instructions on invoicing, checkwriting and customizing forms and reports; and many other valuable tips and tricks. It also comes with a CD that includes a full version of MSOA Express. You can consider what you just read the starter kit for the starter kit for the starter kit.

Que Publishing; $26.99

GET A LIFE

No one has ever accused New Products of working so hard on our business that we neglected our personal lives, but we understand from Small Business, Big Life that this is a serious problem for many entrepreneurs and small-business owners, including plenty of accountants, who find their work flourishing at the expense of their lives. Author Louis Barajas, who started his working life as an accountant and certified financial planner, aims less at the mechanics of starting a business, and more at the larger principles you should bring to it - starting with a strong set of priorities, honesty, and self-awareness. His main point is that your business should enrich your life, not other way around. We, of course, knew that without having to start a business.

Thomas Nelson; $22.99

Send your product news to daniel.hood@sourcemedia.com.

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