Adult supervision

Balance Professional

Balance Financial Inc.

Clients, like children, cannot be watched all the time. No matter how good the advice you give them, once they are beyond your immediate vicinity, they will inevitably do something stupid. You can't prevent this entirely, but you can delay its onset with new tools like Balance Professional, which lets you leverage the personal bookkeeping and expense and financial management services of Balance Financial to keep a watchful eye on your clients and hopefully keep them out of trouble. The Web-based solution gives you and your clients tools for expense tracking, budgeting, filing, document management and bill payment, as well as account aggregation, a customized client portal for sharing documents and messages, and detailed reports. You can also brand the tool with your logo and contact info, so your clients will know who's looking out for them.


Adult supervision, Pt. 2

Enhanced Practice CS

The Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters

Staff members, like clients and children, cannot be watched all the time, but the recent enhancements to Thomson Reuters' Practice CS practice management system should make it a little easier to keep them busy, productive and out of trouble. There are a number of new features focused on giving managers more control over scheduling and prioritizing assignments, including a brand-new Assignments tab for dragging and dropping items into specific unsuspecting staff members' laps; new tabs for automatically scheduling items; a tab for defining schedule items as urgent; an Infotips function to make it easier to view staff members' availability and qualifications for a particular task; and the ability to make meetings, to-do items and phone calls recurring.



Very little in the way of live video chatting is acceptable in the office environment, but is one of the exceptions. The new networking site aims to connect financial professionals like CPAs, accountants, enrolled agents and tax return preparers with remote clients via video chats, for which the clients pay by the minute. Clients get quick answers to their questions, and accountants like you get paid - and an excellent opportunity to get in front of potential new clients.


Always a good time


Enloop Inc.

When times are tough and business news is slow (or too depressing), editors like to trot out the evergreen story of how many successful companies were founded during recessions; big businesses like Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and GE always get a mention. The fact is that businesses are founded constantly, and good ideas will rise above bad times. It helps, of course, if they're well-executed, and that starts with creating a sound business plan. The makers of Enloop are helping entrepreneurs do just that: The free Web app takes would-be business owners through a step-by-step process to autowrite a bank-ready business plan in a professionally formatted PDF document, along with customized financial forecasts. Better still, it gives you an Enloop Performance Score as you go along, rating your plan as it develops to encourage better planning.


Outlast their money

The Cheapest Places to Retire in 2012 e-book series

The Rich Habits Institute

The recent volatility in the markets has threatened the retirement savings of many of your older clients, which threatens their ability to pay you. Before they start looking for cheaper accounting services, why don't you suggest a cheaper place for them to retire? CPA Thomas Corley has amassed a list of The Top 100 Cheapest Places to Retire in the U.S. in 2012, based on an exhaustive study of over 3,000 communities on a variety of factors. Corley is the founder of the Rich Habits Institute, and since one of the foremost of those habits is not paying for extravagances, he offers the list broken down to the Top 20 and Top 10, and the Top 50 Places by the Beach. A client can only retire to one of them, after all - but as long as they do, they can keep paying your fees.


Good morning, Mr. Phelps

A Manager's Guide to Virtual Teams

Amacom; $27.95

Oddly enough, the new model of teamwork borrows a lot from the old Mission: Impossible: Teams will assemble on the spur of the moment from widely different locations to accomplish specific tasks, and then disband again, often without ever having met in person. These new "virtual teams" will require new skills from leaders, according to A Manager's Guide to Virtual Teams. The disconnected nature of the virtual team makes it harder to build trust, develop accountability, manage conflict, and instill a clear sense of mission and responsibility, so managers will have to work hard in all those areas, and particularly on their ability to communicate clearly and consistently. The book offers a roadmap for the virtual team, as well as exercises and activities to help you handle managing a virtual team with all the cool aplomb of Peter Graves, without all the messy self-destruction.


Charge what?

2,600 Phrases for Setting Effective Performance Goals: Ready-to-Use Phrases that Really Get Results

Amacom; $11.95

The famous charge (and resultant slaughter) of the Light Brigade, we're told, happened because a manager miscommunicated the goals he wished his subordinates to accomplish. Among other things, at a crucial moment, rather than specific words or phrases, a broad gesture was used to indicate where the brigade should charge - and so it charged in the wrong direction. If the commander had used some of the 2,600 phrases in this book to set the Light Brigade's performance goals, there'd have been a lot fewer dead English cavalrymen. The stakes may not be quite so high at your firm, but strong, clear goals that everyone understands in the same way are valuable in any organization.


Capitalism mutates

Standing on the Sun: How the Explosion of Capitalism Abroad Will Change Business Everywhere

Harvard Business Review Press; $27.95

We thought we were doing the rest of the world a favor by letting them in on all the details of our secret weapon: capitalism. Now it turns out they're making all kinds of changes to it, according to Standing on the Sun, re-imagining it in ways that will, at times, seem strange and contradictory, but that may well represent the future of the economic idea. The book explores a range of these local mutations, and shows how to adapt to the fact that capitalism isn't ours anymore - it belongs to everyone.


New and improved!

CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, has made enhancements to its IntelliConnect research platform, including a new Library View feature to make it easier to sort through information sources and publications. ... Thomson Reuters has released a mobile version of ARNE, its online community for tax and accounting professionals that is available on Apple and Android devices. ... Excel4apps has released a new version of its GL Wand for SAP solution, which lets SAP users quickly create month-end and ad hoc reports. ... Panasonic has released the Panasonic Cloud Business Phone System, aimed at small businesses and supporting up to eight phone numbers.

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