Back to the future

Beyond the Days of the Giants: Solving the Crisis of Growth and Succession in Today's CPA Firms

Productivity Press; $39.95

It's common, when discussing the current succession planning crisis in accounting, to talk about what's coming up, from major demographic changes to new methods of technological disintermediation. Beyond the Days of the Giants author Paul Fisher, however, starts by talking about what's gone before, finding the roots of the present problem in the profession's past practices -- in particular, the way it combined and managed cheap labor to serve clients. The old model, he maintains, has crumbled, but no new model has taken its place to engage and inspire the next generation of accountants. Fisher's history of how public accounting's current problems developed is insightful and persuasive, but what's even more important is that he then offers a new model of value creation to replace the outmoded one. It's untried, of course, and may not fit every type and size of firm, but at the very least it can serve as a starting point to start fixing the real, underlying problems that the profession is confronting.

 

With gun and camera

A Field Guide to Cash Flow Projections

Polaris Bookkeeping Services

www.polarisbookkeeping.com

Who better to guide clueless clients through the wilds of cash flow projections than a professional bookkeeper? With so many small businesses struggling with cash flow and cash flow management nowadays, Polaris Bookkeeping Services decided to help them out by writing up this handy guide, which includes tips and suggestions for improving cash flow, as well as a fully functional template with step-by-step instructions for creating a 12-month cash flow projection.

 

Training people

Accounting, 6th Ed.

Barron's; $18.99

Sometimes it's sort of cute to watch clients act like they understand accounting; it's like dogs who think they're people. But most often it's annoying, and sometimes it's downright dangerous. While Barron's Accounting, now in its sixth edition, may be a little to entry-level for you or your accounting staff, it's perfect for that small-business client who keeps mixing up their assets and their liabilities. It's also a good primer for any of your employees who don't have an accounting background.

 

Finally, death

Final Roadmap

Final Roadmap LLC

www.finalroadmap.com

Death and taxes are both inevitable, but for years, accountants have only been able to help their clients with one of them. Now, though, you can help your clients with death -- if only in the limited sense of using Final Roadmap to help them get their affairs in order. It's basically an online system for creating and storing important end-of-life documents like wills, as well as documenting the user's wishes regarding health care, funeral arrangements, and the like. And it lets the user share the information with the appropriate parties, either before death or from beyond the grave.

 

Making is faster

The Bounce, and more

Business Learning Institute

www.blionline.org

The old question of whether leaders are born or made has long since been retired; we now know that they can come either way -- but when they're born, you have to wait an awfully long time before you can put them in service. Better, then, to make your own, and to that end, the Business Learning Institute (founded by the Maryland Association of CPAs) has launched a new set of learning tools to help firms and other organizations train their employees to be leaders. At the core of the system is the Bounce, a learning framework that matches individuals with the skills they need to develop into leaders, and then connects them with a portfolio of courses, as well as a leadership academy and a learning management system that firms can use to make sure they're making their future leaders the right way.

 

Getting behind the data

Using Analytics to Detect Possible Fraud: Tools and Techniques

Wiley; $95

Numbers don't lie, but if you have enough of them, they can pretty effectively mask fraud, embezzlement and other financial crimes. Using Analytics to Detect Possible Fraud is an introduction to the first stage of forensic accounting, offering readers analytical tools that range from the simple to the advanced to search through data for signs of trouble. Written by a forensic accountant from Top 100 Firm Decosimo, the book includes four in-depth cases studies, and if that isn't enough to lure you in, we should point out that some of the investigative techniques it explains include Dechow-Dichev Accrual Quality, the Piotroski F-Score Model, and Lev-Thiagarajan's 12 Signals. If those names alone don't intrigue you, we give up.

 

Join the revolution

Fieldbook ERP

Fieldbook ERP

www.fieldbookerp.com

You've probably heard of the ongoing energy revolution in the United States that is seeing a boom in oil, gas and energy-related companies -- some of them may even be your clients, and some of those may well be interested in the new Fieldbook ERP resource management and accounting software for oilfield companies. The Web-based software is designed specifically to manage all aspects of oilfield services operations, including tracking the availability of personnel and equipment.

 

Experience counts

The NCI Effect: Explosive Client Growth Plan for Accountants and CPAs

Linx Corp.; $22.95

With almost a quarter century of experience working with accountants on bringing in new clients, NCI's Bruce Clark ought to know a thing or two about growing a successful business - and he's put a lot of it down in The NCI Effect, which is a great guide to what to do (and what not to do) as you market your firm -- but it's also a great guide to what to do (and what not to do) with your professional life.

 

Pedal to the metal

Accountant's Accelerator 2014

Sandra L. Levya Inc.

www.accountantsaccelerator.com

Firm growth consultant Sandi Smith Levya has announced her 2014 Accountant's Accelerator program, which aims to show sole practitioners and firms with under $1 million in revenue how to market themselves better and boost their book of business. The program includes self-study materials, webinars, private coaching and a community forum for participants to share best practices. It runs through August 2014, and is available in three different levels (though when last we checked, the top tier was sold out, so hurry).

 

New and improved!

Cougar Mountain Software has released the 2014 version of its CMS Professional nonprofit accounting software. ... The Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters has released a number of enhancements to its Workpapers CS software, including new integration with Source Document Processing, new integration with NetClient CS, the ability to assign tax codes to multiple accounts at the same time, and the ability to assign a default workpaper reference. ... Infinitely Virtual will now offer support for QuickBooks Enterprise and Advanced Inventory for QuickBooks Enterprise on a monthly subscription basis. ... CCH, a part of Wolters Kluwer, has enhanced its CCH ProSystem fx Mobile app with, among other things, the ability to view a list of open invoices for a particular client; enter new or edit existing time, expense and CPE transactions; and check real-time updates of a transaction's status. It has also enhanced its CCH Mobile research app, so that users can share content via e-mail and social media, print content, make notes and annotations, and more. Finally, the company has also enhanced its IntelliConnect research platform with a Notes & Highlights feature and the ability to share research folders, among many other things.

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