Some claim that accounting is "recession-proof," since people always need their books kept and their taxes filed. But the fact that it has to be done doesn't mean you'll get to do it. In the market for very small businesses and freelancers, for instance, the newly launched IAC-EZ is an online bookkeeping solution that aims to give these small bread-and-butter clients independence. Designed specifically to be easy for the number-phobic, it requires no training or bookkeeping expertise, and offers options for customizability and secure data storage.
Worst of all, it only costs $19.95 a month, which means that a price war could develop over this legion of very small clients - assuming, that is, that any of them manage to do any business in the near future.
If you're not worried about the coming switch to International Financial Reporting Standards, you're just not paying enough attention.
Fortunately, help is available in the form of CCH's new Accounting
Research Manager IAS Standard, which combines a wealth of resources to help you manage the transition. In addition to bringing up-to-date interpretive guidance, news and authoritative source material all together in one place, IAS Standard also includes The IFRS Manual of Accounting from PricewaterhouseCoopers, a set of model IFRS financial statements, and the Are You Ready to Adopt IFRS? white paper. So feel free to get worried, knowing reassurance is available.
Sage has released the latest edition of its Sage CRM customer relationship management software for small and midsized businesses. Version 6.2 includes new preconfigured and customizable screen themes, an expanded editor for multilingual e-mail campaigns, and an enhanced view for managing multiple contacts. It also offers simplified address management and enhanced integration. Available currently as a stand-alone or as part of the Sage Accpac Extended Enterprise Suite, it was due at press time to shortly be available for the Sage MAS 90 and 200 Enterprise Suite.
Where previous generations had "Tune in, turn on and drop out," the current generation has "Dial up, log on and get to work." Once-plausible excuses for not working while out of the office like, "I don't have that file with me," or "I'm too high to come in" are rendered moot by new technologies like LogMeInPro, which allows you to access and control your office PC from anywhere - whether it's a client site, an IRS office, your home, or a crash pad in Haight-Ashbury. The easy-to-install software lets you print remotely, drag-and-drop files for seamless transfer and synching, and much more.
It's bad enough that you have to pay sales and use taxes, but having to manage all the notices put out by tax authorities strikes us as adding insult to injury. Avalara has added a new enhancement to its Web-based sales tax automation solutions that gives users up-to-the-minute automated reports of notices received and worked on by Avalara's professionals.
NEW AND IMPROVED!
T-ReX Global has released a new version of its Simplify'Em.com property management software, with an enhanced interface.
JUST LIKE MARRIAGE
When business mergers are discussed, marriage metaphors inevitably emerge. This is more than reportorial laziness, however, since mergers and marriages have much in common. Not the least of these shared qualities is the fact that so many of both fail, but only after producing significant misery for all involved. This is often due to the misconception that, because so many people marry and merge, anyone can. Well, anyone can do it - but not everyone can do it well.
For those who want to merge well (or advise others how), Mergers & Acquisitions: A Condensed Practitioner's Guide, by the ludicrously prolific Steven Bragg, is an excellent primer. It covers everything from letters of intent and terms sheets to valuation, due diligence, the various legal forms of acquisition, the integration process, and (naturally) the accounting issues, plus much more.
For marriage, you're on your own.
John Wiley & Sons; $65
THE HORROR, THE HORROR
The last major software installation we here at New Products were involved in was so terrifying that it prompted us to develop a horror movie about a serial killer who decapitates the members of a software implementation team one by one - and they actually thank him for it.
Now we're developing a sequel, in which a plucky heroine, armed only with The Executive Guide to Implementing Accounting Software, rallies her team of techies to defeat the serial killer. The book breaks down implementations into their major phases, with a chapter for each phase, and includes both at-a-glance summaries and detailed explanations and in-depth analysis, which should make it easier to get implementations done on time, on budget, and with far less bloodshed.
Next up: Our killer returns for Installker 3: The Upgrade.
BookSurge Publishing; $19.95
The second edition of Retire Secure! has come out just in time to help would-be retirees face cratering markets - to say nothing of their advisors, who could benefit from its up-to-date information on the latest tax law changes, such as Roth IRA conversions, and whole new chapters on retirement planning innovations like the one-person retirement plan, or Super K.
As always with this sort of client-oriented book, we recommend you memorize it, and then buy up any copies that a client of yours might run across, to prevent them from wondering if they can do without you.
John Wiley & Sons; $24.95
TROUBLE WITH A CAPITAL 'E'
One aspect of the productivity boom enabled by the computer revolution has gone sadly under-examined: employees' enormously enhanced ability to cause trouble with inappropriate e-mails, software piracy, data theft, hours and hours of time-wasting Web surfing, and cell phone cameras at the Christmas party. Before your staff can damage your firm with their e-shenanigans, give The E-Policy Handbook a read and implement its recommendations. Recently updated in a second edition to cover the many new opportunities for trouble, such as blogs, social networking sites, instant messaging and the like, it shows you how to set rules, prevent security breaches and data theft, manage new technologies, and train your employees.
Amacom Books; $19.95
As accounting may be one of the areas where new managers are actually hired in 2009 (or at least hired for more than their ability to say, "You're fired"), The New Manager's Tool Kit will come in handy at firms that need their novice managers to operate like savvy veterans. Better still, it goes beyond the classic managerial skills to include the latest developments in increasing productivity, building teams and much more. At this rate, all those new managers will have more skills than the veterans ... .
Amacom Books; $16.95
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