Software & HardwareEASY DYNAMICS
Wizard Productivity Systems has unveiled Wizard Accounting Solutions for Microsoft Dynamics, which aims to make it easy to purchase, install and learn the accounting software by offering a turnkey end-user package that companies can purchase online or over the phone. The package includes Dynamics; a step-by-step program for configuring a company's system; a customized server with a three-year service plan; and a choice of three different levels of technical guidance and coaching. Pricing starts at $12,250, including hardware. WPS has offered the set-up component of the package through Microsoft resellers for a year; this marks the first time it has been available directly to users.
(800) 939-4119 ext. 701.
SHOTS IN THE ARM
CCH has added two new features to its Accounting Research Manager platform: the Internal Controls Library and the FIN 48 Manager. The library offers authoritative information and guidance on Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 internal controls, including information from the AICPA, the SEC, the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and more. The FIN 48 Manager, meanwhile, has a comprehensive set of support materials for complying with the SEC's recent rule on accounting for tax positions.
Clients, like unruly livestock, need to be carefully monitored and controlled, but until you can brand and pen them, you'll need to make do with tools like the new Client Management module that Thomson Tax & Accounting has released for its Practice CS practice management application. The module lets users track all client communications using digital dashboard technology, and lets them organize and store all client interactions in all areas of activity, from prospecting to cross-selling to billing.
Since even the traveling executives of the Lollipop Guild find the munchkin-sized keyboards of the average PDA difficult to use, those Yellow Brick Road warriors will rejoice at the release of the Palm Foleo, a smartphone companion with a decent-sized screen and a full- sized keyboard that lets users read and edit e-mails from a paired smartphone, and vice versa. The phone and the Foleo stay synchronized throughout the day, or at the touch of a button. The Foleo also has a full-screen Web browser, and editors for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but is small enough to fit on an airline tray table. (Booster seat not included.)
With the stampede to document management and the avalanche of document retention requirements, more and more firms are going to be looking for easy ways to store huge amounts of information. Digistore Solutions has unveiled an automated, plug-and-play CD/DVD storage device that holds up to 100 CD/DVDs. Designed for data management, back-up and recovery, and archiving, the Centurion DiscHub Optical Library has a high data transfer rate, is easy to set up and use, and can be scaled up by daisy-chaining extra libraries.
NEW AND IMPROVED!
Cabinet NG (www.cabinetng.com) has released CNG-SAFE for Peachtree, an automated document management system integrated with Sage's entry-level accounting application. It has also released a custom import feature for CNG-SAFE that automatically processes electronic data feeds from key suppliers into users' QuickBooks software.
WORLDS OF COOL
The world of "coolhunting" - the identification of new trends and those who shape them - might seem light years away from the world of accounting, but, as Coolhunting makes clear, the same tools that are used to discover what cool kids will wear, eat and watch can be applied to discover up-and-coming business sectors, methods and ideas. Innovation, after all, is not limited to twenty-something hipsters living in lofts in Williamsburg - it's a vital part of any business, and the book lays out ways to spot and nurture it in the workplace through things like collaborative and predictive networks, "swarms," and communication mining.
Even if it doesn't help you innovate better, at the very least it will show you how to identify the cool people - and cool people need accountants.
Amacom Books; $24.95
FREE ISN'T CHEAP
Let's clear up a misconception: Information may want to be free, but it also wants to be expensive - expensive to gather, expensive to use and maintain, and extremely expensive to lose or use incorrectly. With such a weighty asset on their hands, chief information officers would be wise to consult CIO Best Practices: Enabling Strategic Value with Information Technology.
Drawing on the insights and practical experience of real-world CIOs, the book lays out the skills and the specific strategies you need to survive and thrive in an ever-changing position, and to make the most of all that very expensive information.
John Wiley & Sons; $50
DISCIPLINE ABOVE ALL
When we saw the title The Progressive Discipline Handbook, we assumed that it would come wrapped in latex and leather, and require a safety word. Imagine our surprise when it turned out to be about coaching employees, and how to correct employee misbehavior without leaving any marks - except a lawsuit-proof paper trail.
Once you've "disciplined" your employees, of course, you'll want to measure how well it took, which is where The Performance Appraisal Handbook comes in. Both books come with CD-ROMs with templates, forms and the like, and since they're from legal publisher Nolo, both place a special emphasis on making sure that you're always within the boundaries of the law, no matter how rough the trade gets.
Nolo; Progressive Discipline - $34.99, Performance Appraisal - $29.99
COMPUTERS MAKE YOU WEAK
They look so innocent, sitting there with their monitors glowing brightly - but computers are not your friend. In fact, they are your deadly enemy, opening you up to fraud, theft, corporate espionage and disaster. That, at least, is the initial message we took from Computer Forensics. Written for the non-expert, the book presents a terrifying picture of the treachery and unreliability of computers, but then, happily, explains how computer forensics can help you uncover and prosecute all the frauds that computers opened you up to in the first place. Our plan? Quill pens, abaci and playing Solitaire with a real deck of cards.
John Wiley & Sons; $50
GUIDE TO M&A
Accounting firms aren't the only ones merging, acquiring and restructuring like mad these days, and it seems like every press release trumpets a new and different kind of change. The fourth edition of Mergers, Acquisitions, and Corporate Restructurings keeps up with the proliferation of possible avenues of restructuring, covering everything from regular old M&A to equity carve-outs, spin-offs, joint ventures, recapitalizations, leveraged buy-outs, and much, much more.
John Wiley & Sons; $75
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