SOFTWARE & EQUIPMENTTHE BIG THING NOW
After years as the “next big thing,” software as a service seems to have finally caught on. For instance, Intacct, one of the leaders in the field, has noted that 70 percent of its growing subscriber base signed up in the last 14 months. The company has announced a number of major additions to its offering, starting with Intacct Insight, a reporting and analysis feature that lets users mine data and create dashboards to look more deeply into their financials, as well as over 200 enhancements to its main solution, including a contract renewal feature and the ability to embed external applications in the Intacct interface. It has also added multi-entity and multi-currency support.
Intacct has also upgraded its already-considerable security and backup features, partnering with SunGard for a secure disaster recovery site so they can guarantee that users will be up and running again within 24 hours of even a major catastrophe. Finally, the company has introduced a new fixed-price implementation fee and QuickStart, a set of standardized templates and charts of accounts for new users, to take some of the sting out of transitioning to new software.
EXCEL TRIAL BALANCE
Pendock Mallorn has released the latest edition of its Excel-based Accounting For Practitioners trial balance, working paper and financial statement application. Among its enhancements, Version 5 now offers direct export of tax data for a number of forms; a choice of 34 tick marks, half of them user-defined; seven journal entry types; the ability to reference scanned images; the ability to lock client files for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance; and a log to show when a file was locked and the activity performed each time it is saved. AFP comes in three versions — Light, Standard and Gold — starting at $599 for the first year.
www.pendock.com or (800) 567-4500
Need some shut-eye? Next time you’re in a presentation, sit off to one side of the screen, and when you’re caught, simply say, “I couldn’t see the screen from this angle, and I didn’t want to interrupt your fascinating presentation.” Do not, however, try this with DNP’s new Supernova Flex Screen, a retractable projection screen that the company claims can be viewed from 180 degrees, even in bright light. If your office gets one of those, it’s back to napping in bathroom stalls and file cabinet drawers.
NEW AND IMPROVED!
Approva Corp. has released Version 4.0 of its BizRights Platform and Controls Intelligence Suite. ... Sage Software has released Version 7.2 of its Sage BusinessVision50 Accounting, while its Payment Solutions Division announced a credit card processing solution that integrates with its Sage MAS 500 software. ... CCH has added BNA’s Accounting Policy & Practice Series to its Accounting Research Manager Platform. ... Attitude POSitive announced that its AccuPOS Food Services 2008 point-of-sale software can now handle online ordering. ... RedTail Solutions announced that its SaaS supply chain and data synchronization solutions now integrate with Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0.
THRILLERS FOR CPAS
We think it’s safe to say that no one has ever joined the accounting profession in search of danger, excitement and thrills. This explains both the relative dearth of bestselling memoirs by CPAs, and why we were surprised to see not one, but two recent books about accountants who found themselves thrust unexpectedly into pulse-pounding adventures worthy of Grisham or Ludlum.
Both recount the real-life stories of accountants who discover large-scale corporate crimes and then do the right thing, at some risk, to thwart them: Extraordinary Circumstances (John Wiley & Sons; $27.95) tells that of Cynthia Cooper, a former vice president of WorldCom who risked her job and her reputation to uncover the massive accounting fraud there, and was named one of Time’s Persons of the Year in 2002 for it, while Undercover (Amacom Books; $24) is about the somewhat-lesser-known John Schilling, who spent most of the 1990s working to reveal huge misdoings at health care provider Columbia/HCA. While neither skimps on detail, both aim to be gripping, page-turning stories (Cooper’s is written noir-style in the present tense, and Schilling actually wears a wire), and both largely succeed. They also manage, however, to place a great deal of stress on the importance of ethical behavior in business, which would be the kiss of death to a fictional thriller, but which renders them more valuable to the profession. We might have asked for more sex and gunplay in both, but no doubt Hollywood will take care of that when the movie versions come out.
NONPROFITS IN TROUBLE
It’s tough to be a nonprofit — sure, you don’t have to pay tax, but you can still be audited, and while you don’t have to make money, you can still go out of business. IRS Audits of Tax-Exempt Organizations aims to help the hapless EO that wins the “audit lottery” with information and guidance on the IRS’s often-opaque audit process. With the agency performing more and more audits of these kinds of organizations, it’s an indispensable aid for them and for the professionals who work with them.
By definition, nonprofits aren’t supposed to make money. Not making money, by definition, is bad business — and that apparently, is what many nonprofits are, according to Zone of Insolvency, which claims that as many as a third of the nation’s nonprofits are in financial distress, and that board members are increasingly being held liable for it. Even though profit isn’t the goal, continuing to operate is, and the book shows nonprofits how to do this by accurately assessing whether they’re in the danger zone, and offering action plans for exiting it.
John Wiley & Sons; Audits — $165, Zone — $45
SLIM, TRIM AND USEFUL
The more business books we see, the more we’re sure that, for all but the most technical of topics, they could all easily be boiled down to a few incisive paragraphs with no diminution in value. That’s why we were drawn to Harvard Business Press’ “Memo to the CEO” series, which condense the best practices and advice of leading practitioners and consultants into slim volumes without the padding that all too often puffs out books of business advice.
Of the two most recent books in the series, Lessons from Private Equity sums up the tools that PE firms use to maximize the operating value of the companies they buy, and 5 Future Strategies You Need Right Now clues readers in to five specific business innovations that are on the cusp of changing the way companies are run.
Harvard Business Press; $18 each
LET HARVEY TELL THEM
In the same vein as the “Memo to the CEO” series, Don’t Bust the Budget, Toss It! is a pithy recitation of the accumulated business wisdom of an expert — in this case, Harvey Goldstein, the chairman of Top 100 Firm Singer Lewak Greenbaum & Goldstein. Goldstein has spent decades working with small businesses, and has learned just about everything they can do wrong, and a lot about how to fix it. His main premise is that small, entrepreneurial companies don’t pay enough attention to their financial statements, or use them properly to plan and grow. Read the book and tell your clients why they’re going to fail, or give them the book and let Harvey do it.
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