Software & HardwareTAXIVUS
Just as Seinfeld's Kramer had "Festivus," or the Festival for the Rest of Us, Thomson Tax & Accounting has its new Quickfinder Tax Manager, which is Tax Research for the Rest of Us - or at least for those sole and small-firm practitioners who can't afford or don't need a giant tax-research platform.
Tax Manager is an online service focused on the tools and research that small firms use the most; a subscription includes access to timely analysis of common tax topics, guides to legislation, over 100 calculators, the current Tax Code and regulations, a monthly newsletter, almost daily articles on current developments, and more. It also includes a copy of the 1040 and Small Business Quickfinder print handbooks, which integrate with Tax Manager's Quickfinder Bridge-It tool to take you directly from the handbook tabs to more detailed analysis of the same topics online.
Now if we could just stop Thomson from barging into our apartment all the time ... .
SPITE YOUR FACE
If you're looking to cut expenses, try getting rid of your clients. Serving them involves enormous costs - though exactly how enormous is often difficult to say. One way to get a handle on this drain on your resources is Journyx's new online Customer Cost Tracker, which lets you track, monitor and analyze time and expenses by client, project and activity. And at only $5 per user per month, it's a lot cheaper than doing all that work for clients.
Concur's new online travel and expense management solution, Concur Travel & Expense, integrates almost everything about travel - from booking trips to making expense reports to reimbursement - into one seamless service that the company describes as "One Touch Business Travel." We say "almost everything" about travel, because you still have to do your own actual traveling.
You can keep your pieces of eight and casks of jewels - the buried treasure we're interested in is state tax incentives, investment credits and enterprise zones. With so many tax credits and other incentives spread across all 50 states, the treasure map you'll need is the Business Incentives Navigator, which CCH has added to its Tax Research Network. By gathering all the details in one place, including application information, the BIN makes it easier to find the Xes that mark the best spots. http://cchgroup.com or
CHARTS AND MAPS
If you want to plot all the best state incentives from the Business Incentives Navigator, Version 2008.1 of SmartDraw will prove useful, since it integrates with Google Maps, allowing users to import maps from all over the world, as well as satellite images from Google Earth. The business graphics program now also offers an online Encyclopedia of Business Graphics, with every kind of chart, diagram, flow chart, decision tree, schematic and illustration all in one place, along with examples of their use and best practices.
People constantly point out that e-mail isn't secure - as if it were any safer to put, say, a client's tax return in a paper envelope in a box on a street corner and then let the fine folks at the USPS pass it along conveyor belts and from hand to hand for a week or so before it comes to rest in another box outside the client's home. Relative degrees of safety aside, Attach Plus offers a range of ways to safeguard files that are attached to e-mails, including password protection and 128-bit encryption. The new release, Version 2.2.11, includes new features for more quickly and easily merging multiple documents into bookmarked PDFs.
NEW AND IMPROVED!
CCH has released ProSystem fx Scan 3.0, with enhancements in speed, accuracy and image enhancement. ... Red Tail Solutions' online electronic data
interchange software now integrates with AccountMate 7.3 accounting software. ... Dymo has released two new labelmakers, the LabelManager 210D and the LabelManager 220P.
YOUR FIRM'S GRANDMA
One of the evolutionary functions of grandmothers is to explain to new and jittery parents that all the terrifying things their new babies do are perfectly normal, and to sound the alarm and give instructions for handling those few that are not. Growing CPA firms do not come with grandmothers - but they do have the American Institute of CPAs, which has published Life Cycle Planning to offer detailed advice on all the terrifying milestones in a CPA firm's existence. Covering everything from starting a firm and arranging office space, to adding (and subtracting) partners and acquiring other firms, the book comes with a CD-ROM of sample documents, such as partnership agreements, subleases, merger contracts and more, that should ease some of your worries as the proud parent of a CPA firm.
Note, however, that the institute is not available to baby-sit for your firm, no matter how much you just need a little time to yourself.
AICPA; members - $79; non-members - $98.75
MORE FROM GRANDMA
Evolutionarily speaking, grandmothers are also responsible for providing necessary-but-unexciting Christmas gifts such as sweaters and socks. By analogy, the AICPA has released its 2007 AICPA Audit and Accounting Guides, which have all been brought up to date with the new risk assessment standards issued by its Auditing Standards Board. Not, perhaps, the most exciting thing you'll ever get - but on the other hand, when was the last time your grandma was up to date on anything?
AICPA; guides range from $49 to $69 for members
AND YOUR GODFATHER ...
If the AICPA is the grandmother of CPA firms, then Steven Bragg is the godfather of CPAs in industry, turning out tome after tome of good advice on management accounting. His latest, Management Accounting Best Practices, delves into the many ways accounting executives can negotiate the ongoing refocusing of their positions to include more responsibility for management decisions, going far beyond reporting standards with ideas and strategies for helping make a company stronger and more efficient.
John Wiley & Sons; $60
In addition to being a groundbreaking management theorist, Peter Drucker was apparently also an inspiring teacher. While his death and our own dismal academic record might once have prohibited we here at New Products from benefiting from his tutorial wisdom, we can now turn to A Class with Drucker: The Lost Lessons of the World's Greatest Management Teacher, in which one of his students recreates both his words and his spirit in lessons on marketing, competitiveness, integrity, management and self-development.
Amacom Books; $24.94
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