SOFTWARE & SERVICES
We here at New Products recently took a trip abroad, and were shocked - shocked! - to discover not only that some other countries think their money is worth more than ours, but that they re-appraise that difference in value on a regular basis! TIW Technology was apparently way ahead of us in this realization, because the latest edition of its Alere Accounting, Version 6.0, has a new Multi-Currency Module, which lets users take customer orders and place purchase orders in other currencies, and makes it easier to stay current with rate fluctuations, and to track exchange trends over time. Among other enhancements, the new version also makes it easier to start requisitions, and adds a 12-month balance sheet, mass-invoicing capability, and report previews.
In the face of cash-strapped states' more aggressive attempts to rake in sales and use taxes, the natural reaction of companies is to fortify their office parks and lay in a stock of Molotov cocktails and sniper rifles to fight off state tax collectors. In the interests of conflict resolution, we suggest starting instead with a solution like the most recent version of CCH's sales tax system, CorpSystem Sales Tax Office 2. It has new consumer use tax reviewing and processing features to keep companies compliant, as well as new freight-follow rule functionality, the ability to generate a stand-alone exempt sales report, a new sales tax holiday menu, and more. Only after trying that should companies consider a military option.
CHARTS AND ART
Probationary New Products staffer Ted Geisel submitted the following:
Charting here? Graphing there?
Now you can DrawAnywhere!
Charts that org, and charts that flow,
Charts to show off what you know!
So log in now! Do it quick!
And if you want, upload a pic!
It'll make your Web page slick!
Would you like it as a GIF?
Would you like it as a TIFF?
Then export it so, in a jiff!
There are plans to plan and charts to chart!
And DrawAnywhere's the place to start!
It apparently describes Version 2.2 of Belltech System's online flow chart and business diagram solution, DrawAnywhere.com. For actual information on this product, visit their Web site, below.
Pity the accounts payable department: Disdained internally because it sends the company's money to outsiders, and distrusted externally for not sending that money out fast enough, it would seem to have no friends. And while we could stand being distrusted and disdained if all we had to do all day was write checks, we're glad that trade group International Accounts Payable Professionals is taking their side. It recently created a comprehensive online resource center full of tools, white papers, templates, policies, benchmarking studies and much more to help accounts payable departments get better at their jobs - spending other people's money very slowly.
NICE AND CLOUDY
We can't help but think that the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud sounds like the title of a Ken Kesey novel, a George Harrison song or a psychedelic Peter Maxx poster, but we're aware that it actually represents the future of computing - allowing companies to buy computing power over the Web and to increase capacity or add capabilities "on the fly," rather than installing servers and applications in their own offices. Software vendor Compiere recently launched a Cloud Edition of its ERP software on Amazon EC2, so companies can deploy its accounting, purchasing, order fulfillment, manufacturing, warehousing and CRM functionality much more quickly and flexibly, and with lower overhead costs. Pretty trippy.
BE BIGGER THAN BERNIE!
If there is a bright side to the mammoth Bernie Madoff Ponzi, it's that we here at New Products have learned valuable lessons about how not to get away with fraud. In fact, Mr. Madoff has inspired us to resurrect our larcenous dreams, and so we have begun studying ways to bilk the unsuspecting public. First on our reading list: Computer Fraud Casebook: The Bytes that Bite, put together by Association of Certified Fraud Examiners' founder and frequent Accounting Today Top 100 Person Joseph Wells. While some might view the 40-plus case studies of high-tech fraudsters as useful tools for preventing fraud, we see them as mouth-watering opportunities to do better than earlier perpetrators. Still, the best advice for fraudsters we've learned recently comes directly from Bernie: Whatever you do, don't tell the kids.
John Wiley & Sons; $68
The American Institute of CPAs continues to lead the way in preparing the profession for the prospective switch to International Financial Reporting Standards. In addition to its online resource, www.ifrs.com, it has released "IFRS Digest: What U.S. Practitioners and Entities Need to Know Now," a compendium of over 30 articles on the subject from a wide range of experts that should help accountants wrap their heads around this tectonic shift in accounting standards. The institute also plans to update the book periodically, and is accepting nominations for useful new articles.
A COLLECTOR'S COLLECTION
While the serious collector is often deeply versed in the minutia of their subject - be it Blue-Period Picassos, Beanie Babies, or human ears - they are less frequently expert in the tax ramifications of their passion. All About Tax Tips for Collectors will help you, as their tax advisor, fill this lamentable gap in their knowledge, with plenty of useful information on planning strategies, gifting, choosing appraisers and dealing with the IRS.
Practising Law Institute; $29.95
If, like us, you're mostly looking to kill time before time kills you, nothing works better than a set of good distractions. If, on the other hand, you're one of those people who actually hopes to accomplish something, those same distractions can be deadly. Strategic Acceleration: Succeed at the Speed of Life aims to give you the mental tools to avoid distraction by getting you to develop three qualities: clarity, to know what you want and why; focus, to know what matters and what doesn't; and execution, to get what needs to be done, done faster. The book offers plenty of real-life examples, and a variety of thought-provoking exercises to help you know - and then change - yourself. We'd do some of them, but there's a She's the Sheriff marathon on cable.
Vanguard Press; $25.95
TIME FOR THE HERETICS?
Technical analysts - those who, broadly speaking, examine trading data to try and identify repeating patterns that offer profitable opportunities - have long had a bad reputation as little more than financial astrologers. But with the markets as they are, we're willing to give a listen to anyone with ideas. The Heretics of Finance is a set of interviews with 13 long-time (and successful) "technicians," who come across as much more reasonable and much less ideological that you might expect, with some interesting insights to share.
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