Just a year or so back, mere mention of the subject of lease accounting by the chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission caused over 300 companies to restate their financials in terror, so it’s not a subject to be taken lightly — particularly if you’re a lessee. Financial Computer System’s EZ13 software aims to soothe that terror (and relieve lessees of a ton of confusing and time-consuming calculations and judgments) by automating the whole process of lessees’ accounting for leases to comply with FAS 13. Version 2.0 has greatly expanded capacities and a host of new enhancements, and comes in either a Standard or a Lite edition.
www.ez13.com or (203) 652-1375
Like Web sites and small children, accounting firms want to get sticky, so that their Gen Y and Millennial employees won’t quit every 15 minutes. That’s why Mentor Scout, taking a page from the Web, has added social networking capabilities to its Talent Network Edition talent management software, allowing employees to create MySpace-style pages related to their work lives, helping bind them to the firm and their colleagues. The TNE also includes a self-service mentor-matching function. If all that isn’t enough to get them to stick, we suggest lots and lots of juice, candy and fruit.
MORE LIKE TETRIS
The chief technology officer of AtTask describes its latest on-demand project management solution, @task Enterprise, as “like playing Tetris with your projects and resources” — it lets users literally drag initiatives around a timeline to see how resources and other projects will be affected by different schedules and goals, while also offering all the usual project management capabilities, and integrating with QuickBooks, Outlook, Salesforce.com and handheld devices. What we want to know is why more software vendors don’t aim for a game-like experience. If spreadsheets looked more like Solitaire, for instance, accounting firms probably wouldn’t be suffering a staffing drought.
Firms with nonprofit clients, particularly religious organizations, may find the new executive salary comparison tool on the Web site of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability extremely useful when it comes to advising them on compensation and compliance with Internal Revenue Service rules. The data covers a number of positions, is broken down by region, type of organization and revenue, and, as befits the nonprofit sector, is free.
NEW AND IMPROVED!
CaseWare has released Version 7.2 of its IDEA data analysis software. (www.caseware-idea. com) ... CCH has added the Tax Zone Locator and the Liquor Control Law Reporter to its Tax Research Network. (http://cchgroup.com) ... LexisNexis has added TaxAdvisor – Federal Code to its Tax Center research platform. (www.lexisnexis.com) ... Sage Software has released Version 5.6 of its Sage PFW ERP business management system. ... Intacct has launched Intacct Max to link its hosted financial management applications with Salesforce.com’s online customer relationship management solution. (www.intacct.com) ... Expensewatch.com has added new credit card management and control features to its expense management service, including a new credit card dashboard for viewing charge counts, totals and statuses on all the credit cards in your system.
FACT, FICTION AND FRAUD
We love reading about fraud, and it doesn’t matter to us whether it’s real or not. For those who prefer to read about frauds that have actually happened, there’s Fraud Casebook: Lessons from the Bad Side of Business, compiled by Joseph Wells, the founder of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He pulls together over 60 case studies about real frauds and how they were stopped, and then includes valuable lessons and practical recommendations from each.
Corporate Fraud: A Manager’s Journey takes a different tack, recounting the fictional story of a manager working to protect his company from fraud by implementing a new fraud policy and internal controls. We wouldn’t go so far as to call it pulse-pounding fiction, but it’s a fun way to learn a lot about what can be a dry subject (the author has used the same fictional treatment in Internal Controls and Enterprise Risk Management).
John Wiley & Sons; Casebook — $68,
Journey — $60
INMATES AND CO-WORKERS
In the 1700s, Londoners used to tour the notorious insane asylum Bedlam and cruelly mock the deranged inmates — but they can’t do that anymore, largely because all those maniacs now work in the cubicles around New Products, and our company has a strict no-mocking policy. Instead, we turn to the pages of From the Difficult to the Disturbed, a fascinating guide to the wide range of psychological issues that employees can bring to the workplace, with practical tips for handling them.
Amacom Books; $22
TIME TO CARE AGAIN
Every time we have a heart attack, we remember that neglecting or abusing our bodies is a bad thing — and every time U.S. businesses suffer a bout of scandals, they remember that how you run your company actually matters. The crimes and collapses of the turn of the century have led to a revival of interest in corporate governance, with a flood of regulation, introspection and, of course, books. Corporate Governance Post-Sarbanes-Oxley, for instance, examines the new structure that companies are expected to adopt for oversight, compliance and internal control, with plenty of practical aids to help them implement it, while COSO Enterprise Risk Management focuses on the new model for assessing and controlling corporate risk that emerged after SOX.
While those two take an admirably detailed view of governance in the trenches, Essentials of Corporate Governance offers a wider, more philosophical perspective, elevating governance from a specific set of criteria to the loftier status of being a process and an ideal that companies should strive for because it makes them better — sort of like how we’re striving not to have any more heart attacks.
John Wiley & Sons; Essentials — $40, COSO ERM — $45, Post-SOX — $85
BEYOND THE POINT
The point of the The Point of the Deal is that the deal isn’t the point — it’s just the beginning. Too many negotiators forget that signing a contract isn’t the goal, which is why so many deals that look good on paper unravel in execution. This book aims to get them to focus beyond the finish line and develop an “implementation” mindset, so they create deals that their companies can actually follow through on.
Harvard Business School Press; $26.95
‘RICHES IN NICHES’
As a rule, we are wary of business advice that rhymes, but given that many firms have, indeed, been finding riches in niches, Riches in Niches comes with a certain built-in credibility. The book touts the benefits for services firms of finding and digging deep into a specialty, and stresses the importance not just of being an expert in your field, but of being seen to be an expert.
Career Press; $21.99
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