Levels of complexity

Learning Guide for the Codification Research System

Financial Accounting Foundation


No matter how much the Accounting Standards Codification rationalized GAAP, it was never going to make it simple, and that means a certain irreducible amount of complexity when it comes to accounting standards research. But the Financial Accounting Foundation hasn't given up improving its research platform, or helping subscribers use it efficiently: It recently released its Learning Guide for the Codification Research System, which is free for subscribers and offers a series of lessons to help them use the codification better. Each lesson includes real-life scenarios, work-related tasks, instructional content, tips and key points, and questions and exercises.


Test results

Uniform CPA Examination: Candidate Performance


Hard copy -- $120; e-book -- $100

It's entirely understandable if, having passed the CPA Exam, you never want to think about it again. Still, there are reasons to be interested in it even after you've completed the grueling process, and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy's annual Candidate Performance Book is full of reasons why. With its detailed demographics and assessments of performance, it's an excellent guide to where the best new CPAs are coming from. This year's edition was published earlier than usual, thanks to new data-tracking and tabulation technologies, and has a number of enhanced reporting options. It's also available as an e-book -- just ask a recent exam candidate to show you how to access it online.


Bigger than your eyes


PlanOn System Solutions Inc.


The most efficient and portable scanner is still the human eye, but until they figure out a way to stick sharp wires in yours so you can download what you see to a computer (and believe us, someone is working on exactly that), you might consider PlanOn's new ScanStik, which is small enough to bring along on any audit or engagement, but can scan a full page in just four seconds and hold thousands of scans in color or black and white.


Mostly Greek

Accounting Is Not a Foreign Language

Brown Books Publishing Group

Accounting is all Greek to many of your clients (unless they're actually from Greece, where, if the current European crisis is any indication, accounting is in whatever language is most incomprehensible to Greek-speakers) but it doesn't have to be, according to Washington State accountant Jeanine Pfeiffer. Her new book, Accounting Is Not a Foreign Language, which is due out this month, aims to demystify accounting for small-business owners, guiding them through the fundamentals of accounting in a clear, easy-to-understand way. It includes sample journal entries, receipts and invoices to help clients follow a step-by-step process to build a better business. No word yet on whether it will be translated into Greek.


Your own little network


Ziptr Inc.


Convenience and security are, generally speaking, two ends of a spectrum, with all of us sliding uncomfortably back and forth between the two - creating an unbreakable password, for instance, only to forget it, or transporting client files on a thumb drive, only to lose the unencrypted drive at a bar. (At least, we think it was the bar. It could also have been the parking lot. Or possibly the clients' office, when we broke in at 2 in the morning.) Ziptr sits comfortably at the fulcrum of the convenience-security seesaw, letting you create your own private network to securely share even very large files with full encryption, but without the hassle of constantly sending out new user names and passwords to recipients. You let in who you want, and control exactly what they can see. While it backs all your data up in the cloud, it also syncs with your computer, so you don't have to have Web access to work with your files. It's also available in both a free personal version and a business version that offers more storage and other features.


Get on this cloud

Together in the Cloud

Robert J. Chandler; $19.95


Now that the Rolling Stones are old and leathery, no one wants to get on their exclusive old cloud. The real action is on that other cloud -- you know, the one you keep hearing about -- and Robert Chandler's Together in the Cloud aims to show accountants and their clients how to get on it quickly and easily, and then make the most of it. As president and CEO of hosting service Cloud9 Real Time, Chandler knows whereof he speaks (or, in this case, writes), and if he occasionally indulges in a little breathless hype, it's still a valuable primer on the new, more welcoming cloud.



TheFormTool Pro Version 2.0

Your Dollar Matters Inc.


When people say that information wants to be free, they generally mean they don't want to pay for it. But there's a more important sense in which information wants to be free, and that's that it doesn't want to be tied down -- it wants to run around naked in the wild, with none of the sort of constraints on it that make it useful. The FormTool Pro aims to help you strap information into presentable, useful uniforms. By automating Microsoft Word documents, it lets you create highly intelligent forms for repetitive use, whether it's for audit reports, fee agreements, contracts, or any other type of uniform. And the recently released Version 2.0 adds math capabilities to the forms, so you can make your newly tamed information jump through all kinds of new and useful hoops.


Less drift

Lead with Purpose: Giving Your Organization a Reason to Believe in Itself

Amacom Books; $23

The reason there are so many books about leadership is because there's so little actual leadership, leaving many organizations drifting aimlessly. We here at New Products are quite comfortable with that, but some businesses may prefer to actually accomplish something. In that case, Lead with Purpose may be of some use: It teaches leaders how to use the organization's narrative to instill purpose in its staff, and how to direct that new purpose in ways that make the occasional failure acceptable while doing everything to make success inevitable.


New and improved!

Bisk Education Inc. is now offering its Bisk CPA Review exam prep textbook in Kindle format, available through Amazon.com. ... Billtrust has released a new version of its Web-based CustomerCare portal, with a new payment interface and enhanced support-tracking capabilities. ... ADP announced that its ALine Pay payment solution will now allow users to register and view their pay statements, paycard balances and recent transations on their smartphones. ... Fund E-Z Development Corp. has partnered with F9 to integrate Fund E-Z's nonprofit software with F9's financial reporting application. ... Deacom Inc. has released Version 14.3 of its Deacom ERP Software System for midsized and large batch process manufacturing companies. ... Redcort Software Inc. has released Virtual TimeClock '12, with a new, simple user interface, and new support for QuickBooks. ... Vistaar Technologies has released Version 1.5 of its Distributor Price Management solution for beverage alcohol companies. ... Avidian Technologies has added Prophet Ultimate OnDemand Edition to its line of CRM software.

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