SOFTWARE & HARDWARETHE LITTLE PICTURE
From our days hunting on the prehistoric savannah, the human brain is famously adapted for picking out relevant details from a jumble of images. Computers, however, would most likely have starved to death long before discerning an antelope in tall grass, let alone a phone number or contact information in a scanned document or PDF. They're evolving, though, with software like Rebus Technology's Recollect Desktop. The desktop search engine understands and retrieves content from all sorts of scanned documents, PDFs, e-mails and much more, so you can find the information you need, no matter where it's hidden on your computer, without you having to remember what you named the file. The software also automatically indexes files for better document management.
WHAT GOES NEXT?
Sure, electronic document management systems do allow you to get rid of all of those space-hogging paper file cabinets - but now you have all those servers cluttering up the place. To get rid of them, consider the new CNG-Online from Cabinet NG - a Software-as-a-Service DMS that relieves you of the burden of maintaining the application in house, and offers worry-free backups and data protection. Unfortunately, you will still have to have your own computer to access it, which means we still haven't reached the Holy Grail of document management, which should be to make all of those documents go away.
"The law," a Dickens character once observed, "is a ass." In fact, the law is an entire herd of them, each braying its opinion. To be sure you're listening to the right braying on any particular tax issue, CCH has added the new State Tax Citator to its State Tax Reporter. It allows users to quickly and easily track the history of a case and its treatment by the courts, to make sure that cited tax authorities still have valid precedent, and provides related authorities and additional information.
There is a sort of cosmic balance in the fact that something that gives so much pleasure to one person - receiving a paycheck - should be the result of so much pain on the part of another - the person who has to process the payroll. SurePayroll is upsetting that cosmic balance with its new 1-Click Payroll, which makes its already-easy online processing even easier. Users can run payroll and access reports wherever and whenever they like. Fortunately, the balance of the universe will be maintained by the fact that, however streamlined the process, employers will still feel the infinite pain of having to pay employees to work.
Speaking of checks, Acom has released a new MICR-enhanced laser check printer that balances security features with affordability for companies that produce up to 1,000 checks a month. With a small footprint and a reasonable price, Acom's Xerox Phaser 3250 comes with a three-position key lock and security code access, as well as an optional lockable second paper tray and a removable security card for storing the corporate logos and identity graphics needed to make a check valid. And simply switching out the MICR cartridge lets you use it for conventional laser printing.
NEW AND IMPROVED!
Softrax Corp. has released Version 2.0 of its Softrax Revenue Manager revenue recognition software. ... Travelex Global Business Payments has added a Payee Manager feature to its Global Pay online payments platform. ... RedTail Solutions Inc. has updated its EDI managed services solutions to support the Sage Accpac Extended Enterprise Suite. ... Maxwell Systems Inc. has released Version 8.0 of its American Contractor business management software.
STEAL FROM THE BEST
In any business, you're well-advised to steal ideas, innovations and best practices from the leaders in the field. Sometimes this can be tricky, and you'll end up facing charges of corporate espionage; in others, the leaders make it inexplicably easy by publicizing their ideas.
Such is the case with Deena Katz's Complete Guide to Practice Management: Tips, Tools and Templates for the Financial Advisor. Katz is a renowned financial planner and authority on managing advisory practices, and reading the book is just like spying on her at work, without any of the difficult moral or legal questions.
WORKING ON RETIREMENT
It won't be long before the Treasury Department initiates a stop-loss program on retirement, forbidding workers to retire until the markets recover. Until then, those who still cling to the belief that they'll be able someday to retire would do well to delve deeply into The Retirement Challenge: Sink or Swim, which offers a complete retirement planning system (including advice on how to deal with financial planners). The book is paired with a Web site that hosts over 75 financial calculators and budget spreadsheets, sample asset allocations, and regular updates.
FT Press; $21.99
HAPPY TO FOLLOW
Here's the thing about leadership: It always sounds like really, really hard work. Just flipping through Lead by Example, with its long list of required attributes for leaders, made us tired. It turns out that to be a successful leader you not only have to listen, inspire, support, confront, defuse, decide, delegate, innovate, persevere, stand up, stay humble and constantly set an example, but you don't even get to blame, bully or abuse your power. With all its detail and real-world examples, the book may help those who want to lead, but job requirements like that are why we here at New Products will always be found at the back of the pack.
Amacom Books; $21.95
BEHIND THE COUNTER
The average person may think of "unclaimed property" as that box behind the counter with all the gloves and umbrellas - but states see it as a potential treasure trove of uncashed checks, abandoned accounts and much, much more hidden in almost every business. As Unclaimed Property makes clear, every business is exposed to it, and state revenue demands are making it a much bigger issue. The book demonstrates the need for complying with escheat laws, and can teach readers how to develop a compliance system, as well as how to survive a state audit.
John Wiley & Sons; $55
LESSONS FROM THE FBI
Despite the occasional error or bit of bad press, the Federal Bureau of Investigation remains an impressive institution, one with a remarkable record of success, and valuable management and cultural lessons for any business. From the Bureau to the Boardroom examines the unique organizational qualities that enable G-men to take down terrorists, mobsters and drug dealers, and helps translate them for all of us who aren't allowed to bring Tommy guns to work.
Amacom Books; $24.95
ALSO IN PRINT
Yale endowment wizard David Swensen has revised and updated his Pioneering Portfolio Management (Free Press; $35).
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