CCH has created a hosted version of its ProSystem fx Document document management solution, so your firm can have paperless workflows, manage document retention, offer client portals - and save even more space, since not only can you get rid of all that paper, you don't even have to maintain your own servers. Naturally, we assume this means that all staff will now get larger offices. http://cchgroup.com or (800) CCH-REPS
WHO NEEDS YOU?
ABBYY's FineReader 9.0 optical character recognition software is so smart that it recognizes and reproduces not just text and the basic layout of documents for conversion, but also more complex elements such as tables and spreadsheets, as well as a document's logical structure across multiple pages. Which leads us to ask: If FineReader can so easily and intelligently read documents, how long will it be before you're not needed to read them at all?
BETTER ONLINE, PT. 1
Oversight Systems' new Oversight On-Demand is a hosted fraud monitoring solution that lets users perform one-time analysis of a company's financial accounting and reporting, accounts payable, travel and expense reporting, and vendor master file maintenance. It accommodates files from most leading ERP systems, and operates in an extremely secure environment, with all company data sent over encrypted links.
BETTER ONLINE, PT. 2
NetSuite has released SuiteBundler, a solution that lets resellers and third-party developers create vertical and customized applications within its on-demand business programs. That way, you can leverage all the time and effort you put into customizing NetSuite for, say, a local trucking company, by turning around and selling the same system to another one, without having to reduplicate the work. Not that they need to know that, of course.
We like to audit ourselves from time to time to make sure we're still up to snuff, and we suggest that companies do the same. One tool to use is the new OpenPages Audit, which integrates with the OpenPages risk management platform to let internal auditors test and validate their risk and compliance management. Users can conduct enterprise-wide risk assessments and risk-rank the audit universe by a number of factors, as well as defining, planning, tracking, executing and reporting on audits. This is, of course, a little more complicated than our personal self-audit, which mostly involves making sure that we're still wearing pants.
www.openpages.com or (781) 693-5999
The new release of Sage's Insight works with the data in Sage Accpac ERP to provide meaningful business intelligence and analysis that can help companies measure and improve their performance. Version 5.4 comes with a number of improvements, including a new report design wizard for more flexible reporting, and more analytical queries. Thankfully, it's only meant for companies, not people - we're not sure we could stand that much scrutiny.
www.sagesoftware.com or (800) 945-8007
PAYING FOR FICTION
Truth may be stranger than fiction, but when it comes to expense claims, fiction is generally more costly. Coda Financial's new Coda 2control Expenses is a stand-alone expense management solution that can link with any finance or ERP system to standardize and automate the expense claim process. With customizable rates and rules that ensure compliance with company policy, it should significantly reduce the amount of time and money spent separating fact from fiction.
JPMorgan Xign has extended its Order-to-Pay solution - which lets users automate electronic purchase order delivery, invoicing and payments across a settlement network of more than 55,000 suppliers - with its new Procure-to-Pay service, which helps businesses integrate their existing supply chain and financial operations over the Web.
NEW AND IMPROVED!
Project InVision has launched Version 8.0 of its on-demand project delivery solution for
professional services firms (www.projectinvision.com). ... Sage has released Version 8 of its BusinessWorks 50 Accounting with new drill-down screens and many ease-of-use enhancements (www.sagesoftware.com).
THE SCRIBE OF SOX
As Gibbon was to the Roman Empire, Dickens to the Industrial Revolution, and Ken Burns to six or seven other things, David Hardesty is the main chronicler and interpreter of all that matters in the Age of SOX. The just-released 2008 edition of his Practical Guide to Corporate Governance and Accounting: Implementing the Requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act brings that tome up to date with extensive coverage of the two developments that most affected SOX this year - the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's release of Auditing Standard No. 5, and the new Securities and Exchange Commission guidance on evaluation of internal controls. As with most guidance and standards, the new releases raise almost as many questions as they answer; fortunately, Hardesty is handy to eludicate.
Thomson Tax & Accounting
Whatever else people may say about us here at New Products, they can't accuse us of being proud. We're more than happy to borrow someone else's good ideas and present them as our own - which is what we suggest you do with Wise Investing Made Simple: Larry Swedroe's Tales to Enrich Your Future. Swedroe, the director of research at Buckingham Asset Management, demystifies the world of investing and debunks a number of commonly held misperceptions (particularly regarding active management and "beating the market"), using stories, anecdotes and metaphors that even the simplest of your financial planning clients can understand. You can either give them the book to read themselves, or, if you're not too proud (or scrupulous), simply tell the edifying stories as if they came from your own fund of financial wisdom.
Charter Financial Pub Network; $24.95
LESSON FROM THE BUSHMEN
A study of the Bushmen of the Kalahari discovered that even in the inhospitable African veldt, they could satisfy their needs with less than two hours of work a day. The developed world's corollary is the 80/20 rule - 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts - and it should lead to some obvious conclusions. Pareto's 80/20 Rule for Corporate Accountants starts to explore these, and in its first section proposes a number of excellent ways to cut down on the 80 percent of work that isn't that useful, by streamlining and improving reporting, period closes, annual planning processes and much more. In its second phase, though, it proposes using all that freed-up time to do more work that will make a company more profitable and leave behind a legacy of efficiency and success. This is clearly wrong-headed, as the main goal of eliminating work should be to eliminate it, not to replace it with more.
John Wiley & Sons; $45
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