Software & ServicesGET PROFESSIONAL
You know you're using software worthy of your exalted status as a credentialed professional when it calls itself that right in the name - like CMS Professional 2009, the latest release of Cougar Mountain's accounting, nonprofit accounting and point-of-sale lineup. New enhancements focus on retail-related tasks such as inventory control, credit card security and specialized payroll functions. It also allows you to attach documents to master records; block new charges for past-due customers; view logs of credit-card activity; and print packing slips and picking tickets during order entry.
GORILLAS ARE GREAT
Describing something as an "800-lb. gorilla" always seems negative - but, in fact, gorillas are actually shy, gentle creatures. So when we call QuickBooks the 800-lb. gorilla of entry-level accounting, we only mean that it successfully serves the vast majority of that market, and that it makes sense for vendors like online accounts payable solution provider Bill.com to integrate its online AP software with the gentle giant - which it has.
Bill.com has enhanced its integration with both QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online, offering the multitude of QB users benefits like paperless AP workflow with digital images of invoices; improved bill payment and fraud protection; and easy access to payment status, cleared check images and transaction audit trails. Because the best thing to do with an 800-lb. gorilla is befriend it.
While we would unhesitatingly declare that knowing exactly who is hot and who is not is a valuable educational service provided by the Web, it isn't doing anything for anyone's professional credentials.
Fortunately, Becker CPE has announced a new Web-based professional education program that makes a wide range of accounting- and finance-oriented courses available online. With both on-demand and Webcast courses, online Q&A, expert instructors, and interactive materials on topics like International Financial Reporting Standards, fair value measurements, fraud and much more, the program has significantly increased the Web's educational value.
ASPIRING TO EASE
Just as all art supposedly aspires to the condition of music, all software and hardware should aspire to the ease of use of telephones, where you need to know little more than which part to aim at your mouth and which to aim at your ear. Obviously, installing and running complex business software can't be that easy, but it's nice to know that on-demand vendor NetSuite is aspiring in that direction with its new SuiteSuccess program, which brings together everything it has learned in the past decade about implementing and supporting its ERP software for mid-market companies.
SuiteSuccess has three elements: SuiteConsulting, for helping customers implement and customize NetSuite; SuiteTraining, which offers a variety of training and learning options to make sure customers get the most out of the software; and SuiteSupport, to keep ongoing use smooth and easy.
NEW AND IMPROVED!
SpeedTax announced plans to integrate its Web-based sales tax management solution with QuickBooks Enterprise, Pro and Premier. ... Thomson Reuters has released Version 5.0.57 of TaxStream, which integrates with its InSource Tax RS corporate income tax software. ... CCH has added Knowledge-Based Audits of Real Estate Entities as a module in its Knowledge Tools library and on its Accounting Research Manager platform. ... Cognos has released Cognos TM1 9.4, the latest edition of its business-planning platform.
MOVING TO MOGADISHU!
There is much to be said for the main argument of Global Tax Revolution, which essentially maintains that the recent competition between countries to offer lower taxes to businesses is a good thing. Less onerous tax regimes attract and encourage businesses, and should, in theory, force governments to cut wasteful spending, so some level of tax competition can be beneficial. The trick, as with most things, is not to take it too far. Somalia, for instance, has an extremely light tax regime - which probably explains all the multinational corporations and millionaire rock stars flocking to relocate there to escape the crushing burden of a functioning state.
Cato Institute; $21.95
BE LIKE BUFFETT
When Warren Buffett invested billions in GE and Goldman Sachs, we took that as a sign that it was time to get back into the market. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a surviving bank that was interested in an infusion of the $27.45 in our 401(k), and who wants to invest in stocks with the Dow plunging? That's why we're looking at The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You'll Ever Need, which takes you through "the Good, the Flawed, the Bad and the Ugly," from real estate and fixed annuities to precious metals, hedge funds, leveraged funds and everything in between, discussing each in terms of returns, volatility, liquidity, how it mixes with other assets, and, most important, whether you should avoid it. It's an excellent book for a financial planner to have on their shelf - so they can take it down and use it in three or four years, when the markets are ready again.
Bloomberg Press; $25.95
In one of our favorite paradoxes, the nonprofit industry is a profit-center for some accounting firms. The fact is that there's a fair amount of cash sloshing around the nonprofit sector, and the people there can be fairly hopeless at accounting for it - to say nothing of occasionally criminal - so they need CPAs to come in, straighten them out, and make sure their books are presentable. To help them help nonprofits, CPAs can turn to Knowledge-Based Audits of Nonprofit Organizations with Single Audits, a comprehensive book on current techniques for auditing nonprofit financials using a risk-based methodology.
In tough times like these, you can't afford to have staff who aren't performing to their full potential (assuming you can afford staff at all). Managing for Performance: The Cycle of Success is a guide to bringing your staff up to snuff, with a particular focus on financial advisory firms. With plenty of worksheets and sample forms, it shows you how to implement a cycle of management activities that create awareness and build accountability in your staff, helping keep them and your clients happy. It will even show you how to manage your staff's main source of stress - you. The book is available at www.lulu.com.
Securities America; $17.95
BETTER TO LIGHT A CANDLE
As the world flirts with economic Armageddon, we here at New Products think it's the perfect time to open that scented-candle franchise we've always dreamed about - but before we do, we're going to read Franchising: An Accounting, Auditing and Income Tax Guide. The book is a soup-to-nuts resource on everything franchise-related: from setting one up, and the rules and regulations governing franchises, to the financial reporting and income tax issues, and much, much more. We're also going to send a copy to our accountant, along with some scented candles, which we figure will come in handy once the economy finally collapses and we're all reduced to living in caves.
Hill Books; $125
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