SoftwareSHARE — A LITTLE
Adaptive Planning has released Version 5.0 of its Web-based planning, budgeting and reporting software. In addition to major enhancements to multi-dimensional modeling, personnel and expense allocation, and its user interface, the new iteration offers both private collaboration spaces, so you can work together to make better plans and build better budgets, and an online public financial best practices community, so you can learn from your peers. Of course, Adaptive Planning’s robust security and access-limiting features mean you only have to work and share as much as you like — or as little.
SpringCM has launched an online accounts payable solution that automates the whole process, from invoice capture to routing and approval to dispute resolution. Built on a robust document management and workflow platform, the app creates a single stream where all invoices and related documents, whether faxes, e-mails or hard copies, are automatically consolidated in a single place, and invoices are automatically routed to keep approvals on track. It also offers a dashboard to monitor the efficiency of the whole process.
YOU ARE NORAD
Having two or more screens comes in handy for reviewing tax returns and workpapers, for data entry, and for pretending that you’re running a space mission or playing war games with WOPR. Ergotech Group’s “Convertible” monitor arm lets you mount up to 15 (yes, 15!) flat panel displays easily and securely, attaches to just about any desk or wall without tools, saves space, neatly manages the inevitable snakes’-nest of cables, and looks pretty cool, too, so you’ll really believe you’re tracking incoming warheads.
The Wizard of Oz gave the Scarecrow a diploma to show he had brains, and a medal to the Cowardly Lion to show he had courage. If Dorothy had been accompanied by a project team from, say, her local CPA firm, the Wizard would most likely have given them access to Genius Project, an on-demand project management solution. After all, if they’re working on Genius Project, they must be geniuses, right?
The software-as-a-service offering allows “matrix planning,” so project leaders can “borrow” resources from other projects; has features for document and budget management; and much more. It’s also particularly useful for projects that involve partners outside of the original project team.
THE ‘IN’ BOX
In the sewer access tunnel where we here at New Products make our communal home, it’s awfully easy to lose all sorts of small personal items, like keys, money clips, loose change and our dignity. And in the highway underpass where we work, it’s often difficult to find a place to charge the mobile phones, PDAs, iPods and Tasers that we need for our jobs. Bluelounge’s Sanctuary takes care of both — it’s a swanky-looking tray that helps you keep track of all the fiddly impedimenta of modern life, while also charging up just about all the electronica that that life has foisted on us (but not Tasers, as far as we know).
NEW AND IMPROVED!
Sage Software has launched the Sage MAS 90 and 200 Extended Enterprise Suites, which integrate a range of business management applications for small and midsized businesses. ... FiREapps has released a new foreign exchange risk exposure management application, FiREapps Enterprise.
Legend has it that when Spielberg and Lucas were trying to choose an occupation for a new character, they threw a dart at a list of jobs, and it landed on the line right between accountant and auditor — which is why Indiana Jones is an archaeologist, and not a CPA. If he had been, the result might have been something like The Big R, a “forensic accounting action adventure” about an internal auditor for the New York Yankees who uncovers a plot that involves serial killers and holding the national pastime for ransom.
Meant both as an entertainment and a teaching aid for forensic accounting, the book covers interviewing, internal controls, risk assessment and fraud detection — to say nothing of an awful lot of baseball history.
Carolina Academic Press; $25
USEFUL, YES; HANDY, NO
If you need a measure of the dramatic increase in regulation over the past decade, the number and sheer heft of the various reference handbooks that come across our desks is a good proxy. Where once they were few in number and relatively easy to handle, they are now all monsters that require weight training and a complicated series of trusses just to pick up. Blame the regulators and legislators, though, not the books. Governance, Risk, and Compliance Handbook, for instance, may be huge, but that’s because it’s comprehensive, covering the whole range of GRC issues that business managers need to be aware of — and for a wide range of industries and countries, too.
John Wiley & Sons; $135
ALWAYS SUCH A QUIET MAN ...
Know this: If we were millionaires, we wouldn’t be the quiet kind — we’d be calling press conferences every time we bought another gold-plated toilet. As The Quiet Millionaire makes clear, that may be why we’re not millionaires. The book is a guide for the steady, disciplined accumulation of serious wealth, with valuable advice on everything from investing and managing retirement, to understanding the emotions connected with money. If you can get your clients to apply its lessons, some day people will marvel at the scale of their wealth and say, as they do of serial killers, “Who knew? He was always so quiet ... .”
FMG Publishing; $24.95
IT’S NOT? REALLY?
We’ll admit we were dubious about a financial planning book called It’s Not About the Money (Harper One, $24.95). For a book with that title, it spends an awful lot of time discussing money — how to save, invest and spend it wisely. Where it’s not about money, it’s about people’s relationships with money, and its eight different “archetypes” for this relationship could come in handy in knowing how to manage and motivate your financial planning clients.
We were less dubious of another book we received on the same day, It’s Not All About Money (Beaufort Books; $29.95), which had to hedge its claims since it’s the memoir of one of the most influential wealth managers of the 20th century, banker Hans Baer. But then, Baer had money, and hobnobbed with the likes of the Shah of Iran, so for him it may really not have been all about money — just mostly.
To paraphrase Steve Martin, one of the things that’s always weirded us out about foreign countries is that they seem to have a different word for everything. They also happen to have entirely different levels of risk, and different accounting, legal and regulatory regimes. If you’ve got clients venturing overseas, Global Edge can help you help them with managing almost all of these risks. Its “CLEAR” framework offers a way to delineate cross-border business risk, while its Opacity Index shows how to measure key risk aspects for individual countries.
Harvard Business School Press; $29.95
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