SOFTWARE, HARDWARE & SERVICESSTOP STUDYING

If you need to put a value on a client's company, you can take courses, study the complicated art/science of business valuation, and eventually meet the stringent qualifications for a credential like the ABV or CVA - or you can spend a few minutes and as little as $19.95 to get a BizBuySell Valuation Report.

The valuations are based on information from the tens of thousands of business that have been sold or are for sale on BizBuySell.com, in 80 different industry categories across the U.S. and Canada. It's a handy solution for firms that don't have their own valuation expertise - as well as a good excuse to stop studying for that credential.

www.bizbuysell.com

IS 50 TOO MANY?

Once again, we are forced to the conclusion that there are simply too many states in the union. Consider the tax complications if you have a financial planning client who has the temerity to cross state lines. Sure, you could use CCH's new Financial &

Estate Planning Smart Charts to trace all the tax issues and compare treatments across jurisdictions to get comparisons of answers, explanations, laws and regulations - but wouldn't it be easier to just combine all 50 states into some kind of single large entity? Something like, say, a country?

http://cchgroup.com

GET OFF THE PHONE

Ever since our receptionist ran off with the process server who subpoenaed us, we here at New Products have had to answer our own phones - and it's turning out to be a real time-waster. We can only imagine what it must be like for people who are actually busy, like accountants during tax season. For far less than the cost of an on-site receptionist, staffing company Call Desk Inc. will provide a live, virtual receptionist who will traffic, screen and forward calls, take messages, schedule appointments and much more. The savings in emery boards alone justify it - as long as no one ever comes to your office in person.

www.calldesk.com/accountants

GET ON THE PHONE

Financial calculators have become cool, a fact that we can state categorically because they are now available for the iPhone and iPod from Apple's iTunes store, in the form of the Formulator, which includes over 90 of the most useful financial calculations (such as actual cash value, interest computation, cash-to-working-capital and many more), and the Personal Formulator, which contains just personal financial calculators - and if TV has taught us anything, it's that everything associated with Apple is cool.

The iTunes store

COME TOGETHER

There are online communities for clog dancers, macramé enthusiasts and white supremacists, so why not for the users of different kinds of business software? Sage North America has taken that to heart, recently adding communities for its Sage MAS accounting software and Sage FAS fixed assets software to the communities that already exist for some of its other products. Members can use the communities to improve their use of the products, connect to other users to share tips and get answers to questions, and give feedback to Sage on product improvements.

Separately, Sage announced that it has expanded the library of courses available at its online Sage University, including over 2,000 courses from e-learning company MindLeaders.

http://community.sagemas.com and http://community.sagefas.com

NEW AND IMPROVED!

SpeedTax Inc. has launched versions of its online sales tax management solution for the QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise, and the Sage MAS 90/200 and Sage Accpac ERP accounting packages. ... Sage has released the 2009 edition of its Sage BusinessWorks 50 Accounting. ... CCH has added PricewaterhouseCoopers' The IFRS Manual of Accounting to its Accounting Research Manager platform. It has also released Worldwide Tax Rates and Answers: Middle East and Africa. ... Fireapps has released Version 4.3 of its online foreign exchange exposure management software. ... True Commerce has released a Software as a Service version of its Transaction Manager EDI translation software. ... Softrax Corp. has released the latest versions of its revenue management and billing solutions, Softrax Operations 8.5, Softrax Contrax 3.5 and Softrax Financials 8.5, as well as Softrax Business Intelligence 4.0. ... Software Technology Inc. has released Version 15 of its billing, practice management and financial software products, Tabs3 and PracticeMaster.

BOOKS

SEASON'S READINGS

Tax season has a lot in common with the holiday season: Both are frantic and hurried; both strain your relationships with your loved ones; and at the end of both you vow, "Never again!" - only to find yourself doing it all over again next year. What's more, the competition in both is fierce, whether it's between retailers, or between tax preparers and publishers who would convince your clients that they can go it alone. Wiley's J.K. Lasser imprint has upped the ante this year, following up its mammoth annual tax guide (which we mentioned last issue) with a salvo of three new books to empower your would-be clients.

J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks 2009 is full of all the tips, tricks and inside knowledge that you should be using to impress your individual tax clients, while J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes 2009 attempts to deprive you of your business clients with all sorts of tax guidance and compliance advice. Worse yet, J.K. Lasser's Guide for Tough Times offers tax and financial strategies that might make those same business clients feel like they can brave the financial crisis without your invaluable advice.

It's this kind of cutthroat competition that makes us long for the peace and good fellowship of wabbit season.

John Wiley & Sons

THIS YEAR I'LL DO IT!

Some people make New Year's resolutions to read giant tomes like War and Peace; tax preparers face doorstops like the RIA Federal Tax Handbook. The main difference is that reading (or at least referring to) the tax handbook is actually useful, since it covers the many significant tax law changes of the past year, with information on a wide range of current tax rates, guidance on which forms to use to report transactions, and access to a Web site with all the latest tax developments and updates. After all, what can Tolstoy tell you about the Alternative Minimum Tax?

Thomson Reuters; $72.05 (volume discounts available)

ALSO IN PRINT

It's never been more important to get the money you're owed from clients, so the Collecting Money Series from collections expert Michelle Dunn - including titles like How to Get Your Customers to Pay and Become the Squeaky Wheel, as well as books full of proven collection letters, forms and approaches - might be a wise investment (www.michelledunn.com). ... If you're determined to cut ethical corners to survive the current economic difficulties, avoid reading Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times (Wharton School Publishing; $21.99), which has been updated to argue you out of it.

Send your product news to daniel.hood@sourcemedia.com.

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