Software & HardwareCONTROLSDOC
In response to its own new risk standards, as well as the PCAOB's Auditing Standard No. 5, the American Institute of CPAs has released ControlsDoc, a CD product that streamlines the process of documenting, assessing, archiving and updating internal controls required by the regulatory standards.
The product can be tailored to fit users' companies or clients, and makes it easier to archive and update the internal controls documentation going forward. Discounts for multiple licenses and AICPA members are available.
CHECKING ON CHECKS
Speaking of controls, the latest edition of Cougar Mountain's Denali accounting software, Version 2.6, comes with a new Bank Reconciliation module that lets users stay on top of thousands of checks a month, including any questionable transactions that may pop up. Denali is based on Cougar Mountain's CMS Professional product, but with increased speed and power, allowing companies to more robustly network multiple users.
If the accounting profession wants to instantly end its staffing problems, it should switch en masse to using Macs. As anyone who watches TV advertising knows, Macs make everything cooler. Just think of the Beatles-level hysteria that accompanied the recent release of the iPhone - on which, in what we assume is no coincidence, you can now use NetSuite's Web-based business and accounting solutions. The vendor's new SuitePhone capability supports Apple's Safari Web browser, so now accountants, too, can sneer at PC users in coffee bars. Meanwhile, next up from Apple: iWorldPeace.
COMPANY AT HOME
In Egypt, according to Time Magazine, it can take as much as 500 days and visits to 29 different government agencies to form a company, which is why, despite all of Cairo's many advantages as a business hub, we won't be forming New Products LLC there, but rather right here at our desk, through Form-A-Corp, a Web-based incorporation service that can quickly handle all the necessary forms, checks and submissions to get a business up and running.
Form-A-Corp also has a partner program for accountants and law firms that includes customized order forms and online storage of client data.
LESS IS MORE
Recently, we've noticed a number of new products that make PowerPoint files smaller, so they take up less computer storage space. Balesio's latest release of its compression tool, PPTminimizer 3.0, can reduce them by as much as 96 percent, and is compatible with the new PPTX format of Microsoft Office 2007. This is a trend we should all encourage, to the point where PowerPoint presentations are so small that they can no longer be seen at all.
NEW AND IMPROVED!
CCH (http://cchgroup.com) has released a plug-in to integrate Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0 with its CertiTax suite and Sales Tax Load Utilities.
GET LEAN EVERYWHERE
Since Toyota first made a big splash with "lean manufacturing," the concept has caught on faster than the all-the-candy-you-can-eat diet craze - and provided more durable results. And yet some companies, like some dieters, see no results. The problem, argues Lean Accounting: Best Practices for Sustainable Integration, may be that while a company's shop floor or production line may be lean, its accounting function may not be set up to make the most of it.
With chapters from a number of experts in the field, Lean Accounting first educates readers in lean production techniques, then shows them how to implement a complementary accounting system to make the most of them.
John Wiley & Sons; $60
While it's nice to have clients who need you, it's not always nice to have them running to you for every little thing. One idea to consider: Give them a copy of Accounting at Your Fingertips or Personal Finance at Your Fingertips. These handy reference books cover all the basics, so that your clients won't need to bother you with beginner's questions. And if you're worried that they might start feeling like they can get along without you, just cut out the last chapter of each book, so they won't know how it ends.
Alpha Books (Penguin); $16.95 each
We've been looking forward to an old-fashioned retirement of nostalgia, yelling at kids and being in bed by 8, but all the pictures we've been seeing lately of hyperactive seniors biking, swimming and taking Viagra seem to indicate that that kind of retirement has been retired.
The New Retirement is an excellent guide to this more active, more complex post-work era, covering everything from updated financial and tax information to different kinds of lifestyle communities, travel and much, much more. It's enough to make work seem relaxing.
Rodale Books; $19.95
GIVE ME YOUR AUDIT, DO
Sir Arthur Clarke's original idea for the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey called for a team of interstellar auditors to try to figure out what went wrong with HAL's internal controls, armed only with a copy of Auditor's Guide to Information Systems Auditing. While this massive reference may not be Hollywood blockbuster material, it is invaluable for auditors who need to evaluate computer information systems - which, these days, is almost all of them. The book even comes with a CD containing a student's version of Caseware's Idea Data Analysis Software, though, sadly, there's no CD of Thus Spake Zarathustra.
John Wiley & Sons; $85
Your mother always said you had hidden talents, and Bain consultant Chris Zook agrees - at least when it comes to your business. His latest book, Unstoppable: Finding Hidden Assets to Renew the Core and Fuel Profitable Growth makes the argument that companies should scrutinize their own operations to find the unrecognized assets that can reshape their businesses and help them avoid being outdated. Based on extensive studies and interviews with chief executives from a wide variety of companies, the book makes a persuasive argument for introspection, and shows how to turn what you find into growth.
Harvard Business School Press; $29.95
ALSO IN PRINT
The Institute of Internal Auditors (www.theiia.org/bookstore) has released Internal Auditing: Assurance and Consulting Services; Intellectual Property: Auditing the Process; and Conflict Management and Negotiation Skills for Internal Auditors.
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