The rich and varied history of the traditional office binder stretches all the way back to the first patent issued for one, in 1854, and includes a remarkable stream of improvements in the U.S. and Europe, from adding rings and putting holes in the spine, to the critical technology of reinforcement labels for structurally compromised punched holes.
That's all over.
As with everything else, the digital world has consigned much fascinating physical history to the dustbin of, well, history - but with huge gains in efficiency. Consider, for instance, SurePrep's SPbinder, a Web-based electronic binder and workflow system that makes it far easier to organize, prepare and bookmark your firm's tax workpapers. It lets you simply drag and drop scanned documents into place, and includes a comprehensive set of annotation and sign-off tools to streamline return preparation and review. It has cross-referencing and automatic reports to track sign-offs; helps standardize the presentation and review of your workpapers; and can even identify missing documents. Perhaps most important, it will never pinch your fingers.
Plans and goals
Strategic Planning and Goal Setting for Results
The Rosenberg Associates; $95
In the course of his eternal research into what makes firms tick (and tick better), firm management expert Marc Rosenberg discovered that even though many were engaged in strategic planning, the results they achieved varied wildly. This latest in his series of monographs is a compilation of all the best practices that make the difference between creating a strategic plan and actually fulfilling it.
Get off my cloud
ProSystem fx Document On-Premise
CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business
The cloud's great and all, but it's not necessarily everyone's cup of tea. For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, CCH has released ProSystem fx Document On-Premise, a firm-hosted version of its document management solution. It stores documents, integrates with e-mail, and helps streamline workflow and ensure compliance with document retention and destruction policies just like the Software-as-a-Service version, but keeps the data firmly within your firm's control and off the cloud.
Life on the Moon
Sheetster Pro 4
Putting spreadsheets on computers was like putting a man on the Moon - an amazing achievement, but one that begs the question, what next? What's next for spreadsheets is to take them online, which is what Sheetster Pro does, making it much easier to deploy, share and collaboratively edit spreadsheets. The latest version of the open-source spreadsheet server, which is compatible with Excel, includes enhancements to the user interface to make it more familiar, and to allow users to embed personalized, programmable live data charts and tables into blogs and Web pages. It's the difference between going to the Moon once, and living there.
In quantum physics, two atoms can become entangled so that, no matter how far apart they are physically, a change to one immediately affects the other. Einstein called it "spooky action at a distance;" we call it a lot like the iTwin, a neat little device that lets you connect two computers securely and without cables, no matter where they are. Leave half the device plugged into your desktop, and plug the other half into your laptop or another computer while you're on the road, and you can access all the files on your desktop without having to make copies or multiple versions, and back up the contents of your remote computer to your PC back in the office. It leaves no temp files when unplugged, offers hardware-grade encryption and two-factor authentication, and has a remote-disable feature if you should happen to lose half of the device. Einstein, we have no doubt, would be impressed.
WorkForce Pro line
As soon as the "Toner low" light on the local printer starts blinking, we here at New Products stop printing, terrified of being the last person to get a readable printout - and of thus becoming the person responsible for changing the toner cartridge. If we had one of Epson's new line of WorkForce Pro printers and all-in-ones, these slow-downs would happen less frequently, as the line comes with new extra-large ink cartridges. They also have more paper capacity, to help avoid the "Load paper" light, and faster print speeds to cut down on the "Stop lingering near the printer and get back to your desk" light. The all-in-ones let you scan to PDFs for document management, and include built-in Wi-Fi networking, and they all come with Epson Connect, a collection of cloud and mobile services that let you print directly from a mobile device.
IceStat and AlphaBricks
Attempting to convert a spreadsheet full of financial data in some foreign currency is like being interrogated by a Turkish customs officer with a brick of heroin taped to the small of your back: You want to get it over with as quickly as possible, but you also want to be extremely careful to get every answer right. The Web-based Forex Converter lets you convert entire Excel spreadsheets all at once, rather than one value at a time, and offers five different conversion methods to make sure you get exactly the results you desire - or at least, the best results available within the law. Remember, one of the main goals in both situations is avoiding prisons, Turkish or otherwise.
Before the lawsuits
Decisiv Email 3.6
There's a reason the words "incriminating" and "e-mail" appear so often together: Lawyers know that some of the most important (and sometimes damning) information in companies is stored not in their official databases, but in the millions upon millions upon millions of e-mails sent and received every day by their employees. But unless a company has sophisticated e-discovery tools (or dozens of underpaid paralegals whom you can bill at high rates) to sift through them all, it can be hard to get at all the valuable information hidden within them.
Recommind's e-mail management solution, Decisiv Email, lets employees file and access e-mails quickly and easily, with predictive features that suggest where an e-mail should be filed in the system, and search features to help you find it when you need it. The latest version, 3.6, includes mobile filing and access tools so users can file and search for e-mails from their iPhones, Androids and BlackBerries, full integration with Outlook 2010 and Exchange 2010, and the ability to instantly sync Outlook folders with Decisiv Email folders.
New and improved!
Intuit Inc. has allied with Verizon Wireless to offer Intuit's GoPayment app and pocket-sized credit card reader in Verizon's retail stores and business-to-business sales channels. ... Insperity Inc. has expanded the mobile app for its ExpensAble Corporate expense management solution to Droid and BlackBerry devices, in addition to iPhones. ... AuraPortal has launched its Online Commerce Module, which allows companies to sell products on the Web. ... If we had an iPad, we would love it and pet it and call it George, but we would also get it one of NewerTech's NuGuard GripStand 2/GripBase Bundles, which include a protective plastic shell to keep your iPad safe, a detachable handle to make it easy to hold, and a variety of stands and temporary mounting options to make it easy to view.
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