The way we work now

How CPA Firms Work: The Business of Public Accounting, and The Rosenberg Survey

Rosenberg Associates; $105 and $450

Given that young accountants spend years studying and learning, it's sort of amazing how little they actually know about the business they're going into. How CPA Firms Work, the latest monograph from firm management expert Marc Rosenberg, is the remedy for that -- it's a quick, yet detailed, primer on both the profession and the business of public accounting. It's got practical explanations of how firms are set up and managed, an illuminating introduction to the recent history and current issues facing the profession, and frank discussions of some of accounting's problems. It's well worth handing out to interns, new hires, and anyone else who hasn't been a partner for 20 years.

Separately, Rosenberg has also put out his annual National Map Survey of CPA Firm Statistics, an invaluable source of benchmarking data gathered from almost 400 firms. This one's probably not for entry-level staff, but it's full of hard numbers on all sorts of management topics that your firm's leaders can use.

 

Short stories

Instant Budget

Spendology LLC

www.spendology.net/enterprise

Mr. Micawber knew the benefits of a carefully maintained budget -- but he didn't have the software to create one. If his CPA had been able to help him use the online budgeting tool Instant Budget to look after his monthly expenses, David Copperfield would have been a much shorter novel. There's also an Enterprise version that allows businesses to host Instant Budget on their Web sites for their employees and clients, which might have helped abridge Dombey & Son.

 

Harbingers

TaxACT 2013 Preparer's Editions

TaxACT

www.prep.taxact.com

While it may seem like you just finished tax season on October 15, there's another, bigger one coming up -- and if you needed any proof, consider the recent release of TaxACT's 2013 Preparer's 1040, 1065, 1120 and 1120S federal editions. They're updated with the latest tax law changes, including various provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and also feature a new report featuring personalized information to help clients navigate health care reform. The programs will be updated with any late-breaking tax law changes and final IRS forms in early 2014, and state editions will also be released in January. By that time, of course, it'll really feel like tax season ... again.

 

Your back, and others

Protection Plus Audit Assistance

Protection Plus Audit Assistance

https://myprotectionplus.com/

When faced with an IRS audit, most taxpayers take comfort from having their professional tax preparer backing them up. Professional preparers, meanwhile, can take comfort from having Protection Plus Audit Assistance back them up: The bilingual service covers 1040 returns with Schedules C, E or F, and will reimburse taxpayers for the first $2,500 of penalties, interest and tax liabilities in case of legitimate preparation errors. It also offers help with denied credits, and backs up clients in the event of an audit. And this year, they partnered with CCH Small Firm Services to extend their coverage to the latter's customers.

 

App-happy

CCH Tax on Hand app and CCH Financial Reporting Brief CCH, a part of Wolters Kluwer

www.cchgroup.com

To be absolutely completely sure that you can never, ever escape work or your clients, CCH has released a couple of very useful mobile apps. The first, CCH Tax on Hand, is actually a low-cost research service, anchored by CCH's U.S. Master Tax Guide, that lets small firms and sole practitioners access practical tax information and guidance through their iPhone, iPad, Android or Kindle device. It includes a number of CCH Smart Charts, tax news headlines, and searches for IRS rulings, citations and publications, among other things. The second is its CCH Financial Reporting Brief app for Apple and Android devices, which gives users access to daily news updates on accounting, audit, regulatory and government developments, and lets them access an archive of past news briefs.

 

Learn more, buy easier

Online marketplace and Premier Plus CPE Package Thomson Reuters

www.tax.thomsonretuers.com/store

Thomson Reuters has launched its new Premier Plus CPE package, offering more than 500 webinars and 450 online/downloadable courses. The package offers access to over 3,000 hours of CPE content, including courses on hot topics like health care reform and FATCA, as well as more than 40 live webinars a month, discounts on instructor-led courses, automated CPE tracking and compliance monitoring, and a competency model for setting learning plans, discussing performance issues, and planning career stages.

Separately, the company also launched an enhanced online marketplace for its handbooks, guides, e-books, treatises, online libraries and journals, as well as its mobile apps, articles and special reports.

 

Three times the charm

Serenic Navigator Express, Essentials and Enterprise

Serenic Corp.

www.serenic.com

Serenic has released its Serenic Navigator 2013 nonprofit accounting software in three new options for organizations of different sizes with different priorities. Serenic Navigator Express is a cloud-based solution aimed at organizations with basic accounting needs; Serenic Navigator Essentials offers more functionality, including purchasing, procurement and workflow; and Serenic Navigator Enterprise has the most functionality and is designed for large organizations with complex needs.

 

Spreadsheets on trial

KPMG Discovery Radar

KPMG

www.kpmg.com

We here at New Producdts were once on a jury in a malpractice case that involved looking at about 200 pages of nurses' notes on a patient's care, and trying to figure out their handwriting, abbreviations and jargon was maddening for both us and the lawyers. Imagine, then, how difficult it must be for lawyers to present, and juries to understand, the contents of a really complex and juicy spreadsheet, with all its calculations, hidden fields, millions of rows and columns, and so on. That's why Big Four firm KPMG has upgraded its Discovery Radar e-discovery tool to make editing and presenting spreadsheets easier and more accurate, and to allow case managers to more accurately determine the true intentions of the spreadsheet's creator, and avoid the complexities of converting them to TIFFs or PDFs.

 

Help hiring help

ADP Recruiting Management

ADP

www.adp.com/recruiting

When it comes to hiring help, most businesses could use some help with hiring, and accounting firms are no exception. The new ADP Recruiting Management platform might be worth a look, as it helps organizations source, attract and manage critical talent. It includes reporting and analytic tools, and candidate relationship management tools, to make sure you keep in touch, as well as mobile and social capabilities, to make sure you're not missing any of the younger, hipper, more annoying talent pools.

 

New and improved!

The American Institute of CPAs has released a three-volume comprehensive set of its professional standards, as well as the 2013 version of its Technical Practice Aids for auditors, all of which are now available on Amazon. ... ISoft Systems LLC has released AMmobile, an iPad app with real-time integration to AccountMate's accounting software that lets AccountMate users do a lot of their work while on the go, from creating and maintaining customers to selling products in the field and charging credit cards. ... Brittenford Systems has released ExpenseConnect for Dynamics GP, an expense data integration tool for the Microsoft accounting software. ... Rivet Software has released Crossfire 5.7, the latest version of its financial management solution. ... Maxwell Systems Inc. has launched RedLine for ProContractor MX Mobile Connect, which lets users modify documents in its construction project management app.

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