SOFTWARE & SERVICES
CAQ EXPLAINS IT ALL
There are a lot of misperceptions out there about what, exactly, public auditors do - most of them held by torch-bearing mobs who've just seen the value of their stocks plummet. When they come howling to your door, you might direct them to the Center for Audit Quality's new Guide to Public Company Auditing, an online resource that explains the auditors' role, their relationship with management, and the processes they follow. It should clear up a number of misunderstandings.
The CAQ isn't just explaining what auditors do to outsiders; with Resources for Integrated Audits of Non-Accelerated Filers, it explains what auditors should do to the auditors themselves. It's designed to help those who are preparing to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 and Auditing Standard No. 5, which will be effective for smaller public companies come December. The new online resource includes guidance from various regulators, best practices and more.
PAY LESS, FASTER
No one, it seems, is in any hurry to pay invoices, since it means turning our money into their money. Processing invoices more quickly, on the other hand, can save a company both money and time, which is where Seeburger's 4invoice comes in. It automates invoice processing by automatically interpreting, validating, formatting, routing and posting data from paper, fax and PDF invoices into a company's ERP system. It features a configurable workflow so it can be integrated into a company's approval processes, and in the rare case where an invoice requires manual attention, 4invoice keeps track of it to make sure it gets handled. And while moving invoices along more quickly may put a company in a position to take advantage of early-payment discounts and rebates, it doesn't mean they have to.
Everyone knows how data gets lost - fires, floods, electricity surges, and so on, to say nothing of carelessness, fits of rage and the occasional bout of ill-advised "percussive maintenance." Few know how to get it back, however, making WeRecoverData.com a particularly useful resource. The company uses state-of-the-art clean rooms and proprietary processes to reclaim data from just about any device or media, from hard drives and servers to laptops, mobile phones, CDs, tape and even iPods. You can send abused devices to them in the mail, or have them work on-site, and if they don't recover the data you need, you don't pay.
PRICE AND VALUE
A cynic may know the price of everything and the value of nothing, but subscribers to ValuSource's new Public Company Data valuation database can now know the value of over 9,500 public companies. What's more, they can use the built-in analyzer to compare a client company's data to the five years of annual and quarterly information in the database, and so help determine its value. And while only cynics put much emphasis on price, we'll risk noting that it's pretty reasonable for a resource with so much value.
AN APP FOR THAT
Suppose you're cool enough to have an iPhone, and you want to track your time and manage your expenses on it. Well, in the words of the increasingly annoying Apple commercials, there's an app for that: NetSuite's OpenAir has released OpenAir Mobile, a free application that lets users access their OpenAir accounts on their iPhones, so they can keep up with business from the local Apple Store or whatever other trendy location they happen to be in. Don't get us wrong - OpenAir Mobile is very handy, and Apple's products are very cool. We just wish we didn't have to hear about it all the time. Is there an app for that?
NEW AND IMPROVED!
Software Technology Inc. has released Version 15.2 of its Tabs3 and PracticeMaster practice management solutions.
OUR ECONOMIC PLAN
It has occurred to us that one potential solution to the current economic mess is fraud - fraud on a massive, unprecedented scale, in which we all cook the national books and simply pretend that the events of the last few years just never happened.
We, of course, are predisposed to fraud, but we think it could work, unless the killjoys at the Deloitte Forensic Center ruin it. The center's Frank Hydoski and Toby Bishop (a frequent member of our Top 100 Most Influential People list) seem to have written Corporate Resilience: Managing the Growing Risk of Fraud and Corruption with the specific goal of undermining our plan, by alerting corporate leaders to the potential uptick in fraud due to the dismal economy, and providing them with a proactive process for assessing fraud risk, managing that risk, and preparing to deal with it should it materialize. This kind of forward-thinking advice may better prepare companies for the future, but it will surely scuttle our plan to save the economy.
John Wiley & Sons; $49.95
ACTS OF CHARITY
With donations falling and demand for their services soaring, the last thing the nation's nonprofit organizations need is complicated new reporting requirements - so that's what the IRS has given them, in the shape of its significantly revamped Form 990. Fortunately, PPC's new 990 Deskbook should help accountants help nonprofits deal with the changes. It includes guidance on all the relevant forms and schedules, a client questionnaire, a client organizer, and plenty of real-life examples and samples.
We think the most frightening thing for most financial planning clients isn't the prospect of plummeting stocks or devastating illnesses or even their children's college tuition - it's the fact that they, and they alone, are responsible for their own economic future. Nothing can eliminate the terror of holding your fate in your own hands, but there are things that can ease it: an attentive financial planner, for instance, and guidance like that from The New Coffeehouse Investor. This updated edition of a successful book from the late 1990s takes some of the terror out of investing through three simple mantras and a mass of common sense that cut through the complexity of the process, and render it a lot less frightening.
Portfolio (Penguin Group); $22.95
THE RISK OF RISK
Businesses have always faced risks, but only recently have they begun to think of them in a systematic way, developing frameworks of thought and common approaches for dealing with them. With the field relatively new, it's perhaps no surprise that No Excuses: A Business Process Approach to Managing Operation Risk is one of the first books to make the case that handling risk isn't just about managing the downside, but that it can also help make companies perform better. It offers step-by-step lessons and checklists for assessing and managing operational risk, but also makes the case for recognizing a whole new level of risk - that of missing out on opportunities to make a business better.
John Wiley & Sons; $60
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