Software & HardwareWORKFLOW FOR ALL

The tax folks' incessant crowing about their shiny new workflow systems risks making other departments jealous. Fortunately, the latest release of industry leader XCM Solution's workflow app greatly extends the number of categories and statuses, and adds a number of A&A compliance tools, so the audit folks won't feel quite so left out.

XCM Version 6.0 also includes enhanced due date monitoring, with the ability for firms to create custom jurisdictions; greater capabilities for handling and automating recurring tasks; and integration with Windows Explorer, letting users search, link, edit and manage documents stored there from within the XCM workflow.


Be warned: The edition of CCH's ProSystem fx Scan solution that's due out in December is slated to include the very useful AutoFlow Technology, which will automatically flow data from a large number of source documents and forms into ProSystem fx Tax. This should make tax season much smoother, and save your firm a great deal of inputting time, which sounds great - but what it really means is that software is that much closer to preparing taxes on its own, rendering you little more than an expensively educated on/off switch. or (800) 739-9998


If you could watch all the different ways a horse race could unfold, then go back and bet accordingly - well, you'd still lose money, but maybe not so much. The more respectable class of bettors known as investors actually can watch the race to their financial goals in a range of different ways, using "Monte Carlo" simulations like those provided by Advisor Software's ASI Portfolio Forecaster. Users (whether planners or their clients) define cash flows, time horizons and assumptions, and the Web-based Forecaster simulates the performance of their portfolio over time, at either the asset-class level or the product level. With this kind of foreknowledge, investors should be able to avoid finishing last - but only because they get to change their plans after post time.


AccuFund has launched the latest release of its AccuFund Accounting Suite. Version 3.07 of the reporting and accounting system for nonprofits and governments features a number of enhancements to its core modules. The Cash Receipts module, for instance, now includes point-of-sale functionality and lets cashiers process electronic funds transfer and automatic direct payments from checking accounts, while the Human Resources and Grants Management modules let users customize how information is set up, and create specific views of data and user-defined reports.


Nothing says "big firm" like a complicated phone system with a toll-free number, voice mailboxes and an automated directory - but that sort of thing can be awfully expensive for a small firm. Enter GotVMail, which offers a hosted phone service with all the bells and whistles of a "big firm" system at small-firm prices. For a monthly fee, firms get a range of big-firm tools, including Web delivery of fax and voicemail messages. It also works with any type of phone, whether landline, cell or VoIP.


Intuit has announced iPhone and BlackBerry integration with its QuickBooks Online, so users can check their business' finances wherever they are. ... BlackLine Systems has added Brazilian Portuguese and Korean to the languages available for its period-close automation software, which is already available in French, German and Spanish.



With everyone all worked up about the next big upheaval in accounting - the switch to International Financial Reporting Standards - it's easy to forget about the last big upheaval - Sarbanes-Oxley. But it's still there, complicating the lives of auditors and finance execs, and it continues to evolve. Sarbanes-Oxley Internal Controls is a timely guide to the latest in that ongoing evolution in the rules and compliance procedures since 2002, as well as other internal control rules for auditors like CobiT and ITIL. So even as you brush up on your IFRS, you can still keep up with SOX.

John Wiley & Sons; $65


Death may be as inevitable as taxes, but it doesn't keep to the same predictable schedule, and you can spend an awful lot of time and money waiting for it to come around. More and more people are challenged with paying for long-term care, and many are turning to their accountants for help. The CPA's Guide to Long-Term Care Planning, from the American Institute of CPAs, can help you help them, with information on a variety of elder law issues, government and private insurance, financial and inheritance planning, and much more.

AICPA; members - $89, non-members - $111.25


We were intrigued by the title of Five Hidden Mistakes CEOs Make, since all our mistakes are glaringly public, and we've been looking for some that we could make and then hide. It is, in fact, not so much about avoiding mistakes as it is about not missing opportunities. The author, Tom Northup, has served as CEO at three different successful companies, and offers here a blueprint for making your own business successful, with advice on everything from leadership and strategic planning to system-building and developing your staff.

Solutions Press; $19.95


The mere fact that you're reading this item answers the question in the headline, which is why Time Management in an Instant is perfect for you. Chock full of tips and techniques for turning yourself into a lean, mean working machine, the book shows you how to streamline your day, deal with the time sink that is e-mail, delegate like crazy, and "broaden the definition of 'finished'" (in a nice, non-Clintonian way). And while the book does not explicitly say so, the first step is obviously to stop wasting your time reading this column.

Career Press; $11.99


The time will undoubtedly come when your very life depends on being able to convince someone that you are a brain surgeon, a member of an obscure terrorist group, or an alpaca farmer. That's when you'll wish you'd read How to Become an Expert on Anything in 2 Hours. With its expert advice on fast research, masking your areas of ignorance, and reading the body language of those you're trying to convince, you'll be ready to infiltrate the operating room, terror cell, or alpaca herd when the time comes. In the meantime, it'll come in handy when prospecting for clients in industries you're not totally familiar with.

A similar interest in speed informs Quick Meeting Openers for Beginning Managers, which offers more than 50 ways to break the ice, make introductions, build energy, and prepare participants for lively, useful discussions. Conversely, you can reverse-engineer it to sabotage meetings you don't want to succeed, like the terrorist planning session or the annual meeting of the Alpaca Breeders Association.

Amacom; Expert - $15, Meeting - $17.95

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