Software & Equipment
WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
We here at New Products once wore lab coats to work every day for a year, under the assumption that that would qualify any work we did for the research and development tax credit. (We were mistaken.) If you and your clients want to approach the R&D credit in a more scientific manner, try Research Credit Group's CrediTrak, which calculates, analyzes, documents and supports R&D credit claims. The Web-based software lets you gather all the relevant information in one place, and allows you to approach the IRS with confidence. Take it from us that this is invaluable: After our year in lab coats, we then spent a year in orange jumpsuits.
INTUIT TO THE RESCUE
In one of the more interesting responses to the staffing crisis, software vendor Intuit has created the Intuit Work Exchange. Currently in an introductory version, the online resource allows accountants to post jobs and positions that need filling and excess work that needs doing -- or their own qualifications for the same -- so firms can more easily and efficiently hire contractors.
Separately, the vendor announced its new Intuit Document Management for QuickBooks Accounting, a full-featured DM system for accountants and clients using the popular accounting software.
The old saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans," didn't count on business planning and scenario analysis software like Whitebirch Planning. Available in Web-based and on-premise editions, it lets users import historical accounting information, build dynamic budgets, and create unlimited alternative scenarios based on the same set of data, with changes to the underlying assumptions updated to all the scenarios you've created. And so God will be less likely to laugh than to say, "Hmm. I see you've really thought this through ... ."
Few things are more aggravating than a client who refuses your advice, and then follows exactly the same advice from another person. Your best bet is to make sure that the other advice-giver isn't an idiot. To that end, consider Technology Group International's Software Selection Tool Kit, a set of templates and worksheets that help manufacturing and distribution companies choose enterprise-level software. The recently upgraded tool kit guides companies through evaluation, budgeting, calculating the potential return on a software project, and much more. It's free for companies, can also be used by qualified independent consultants, and is far better than leaving your advice-deaf clients to consult their golf buddies, bartenders and pets.
NEW AND IMPROVED!
Financial-close automation vendor BlackLine Systems announced the release of an adapter to allow users of Oracle's Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management to move data into BlackLine's balance sheet account reconciliation module. ... CCH has added Knowledge-Based Audits of Not-for-Profit Entities to its Knowledge Tools library for its ProSystem fx Engagement product and its Accounting Research Manager platform. ... Kodak and Marex Group have integrated the Kodak Scan Station 120EX with Marex's FileBound software to scan documents directly to document management systems and automatically start workflow processes and notifications. ... MessageSolution Inc. has released Version 5.6 of its Enterprise Email Archive with new tools for drill-down analysis, reporting and litigation support.
CATCH US IF YOU CAN
Every time we receive a book on fraud prevention and detection, we chuckle evilly, drywash our hands, and further refine our nefarious schemes. Sure, books like Fraud Risk Assessment: Building a Fraud Audit Program offer both internal and external auditors a comprehensive program for determining the level and possible sources of fraud in an organization, and developing audits to detect it -- but they also show us how to avoid leaving a trail that auditors can detect. It's an arms race, and we're in the lead. Mwa-ha-ha-ha!
John Wiley & Sons; $65
We have been developing our foolproof scheme for large-scale fraud for years now, and yet we're no closer to thumbing our noses at the FBI from the shelter of our own private island in the South Pacific. It's not that we're not fully dedicated to crime -- we are -- it's a question of not following through. Goal Setting promises to help us get off our duffs by showing us how to understand our goals, establish priorities, create a precise action plan and overcome the obstacles in the way. It's filled with worksheets, quizzes and other practical tools that should help us achieve our dreams of fraud. Now all we need to do is steal a copy.
Amacom Books; $12
NO CHEAT SHEETS
One crime even we blanch at is cheating on the CPA Exam. So we would never suggest that you try to slip a copy of Mastering Accounting Research for the CPA Exam into the test, or have critical passages from it tattooed on various parts of your body. Instead, try reading it, as the ability to do research is a big part of three of the four parts of the new computerized exam. The second edition updates all Web references, discusses changes to accounting standards, and includes practice review problems for each chapter, as well as quick study lists for each of the three exam sections with research components -- all in plain English. So study hard, and leave the cheating to us.
John Wiley & Sons; $40
A recent addition to Wiley's "Essentials" series, Essentials of Corporate Fraud, will help the novice embezzler get started, and introduce the more law-abiding to this fascinating topic with discussions of who commits fraud, red flags to watch out for, best practices in fraud management, and detection, investigation and prevention.
Another recent book in this handy series, Essentials of Banking, gives those in banking, and those who have to deal with them, an education in the subject from the ground up (though we're sad to say there's nothing in there about bypassing alarm systems or disabling dye packs).
John Wiley & Sons; $40 each
A DIFFERENT TAKE
We always enjoy a good diatribe, and Spend 'Til the End has plenty, savaging a wide range of financial planning commonplaces, as well as the PFP industry as a whole. In place of the current conventional thinking, it proposes an economist's view of planning, with the notion of "consumption smoothing," or maintaining a steady standard of living throughout one's life, as its main pillar. Whether right or wrong -- given economists' track record, we're not as inclined as the authors are to assume that the dismal science's view is necessarily worth following -- the book is worth a look for its different and intriguing take on many of the planning issues your clients face.
Simon & Schuster; $26
If you have clients who aren't thrilled by the economic prospects of the U.S., Top 10 Investments for the Next 10 Years (Wiley, $29.95) may be the solution, as it claims to have found plenty of great investment opportunities outside the country.
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