Guide to the guides
With tax season just around the corner (or possibly the corner after that; it's a little unclear as we here at New Products write this), it's time to start getting all your resources and references lined up. One good place to look is the host of 2014 guides put out by Thomson Reuters' RIA division, including the RIA Federal Tax Handbook, the RIA Complete Internal Revenue Code, and the RIA Federal Tax Regulations. You can order them all from Thomson Reuters' online store, and now you can access them all on your iPad or Android tablet or computer through the company's ProView e-reader app.
An iPad original
Here's a glimpse of the future: The new Workbox bookkeeping solution is first, foremost and only an iPad app. It wasn't designed for the desktop or the Web and then made accessible on the iPad, and it isn't an iPad window into a few features of desktop product -- it's an iPad app for micro-business owners and the self-employed to manage work and run their finances. It lets them track and bill hourly tasks, products sold, services provided, fees, and expenses; generates invoices for mailing or e-mailing; and lets clients pay via PayPal or credit card. And since it's self-contained on the iPad, it's usable even when you don't have an Internet connection.
Health and taxes?
CCH, part of Wolters Kluwer
Among a number of other additions, CCH has added a new Health Care Reform Library to its CCH IntelliConnect research platform. (Feel free to take a minute to marvel at the fact that it's now perfectly normal and appropriate for a tax research tool to have a whole section on health care.) In addition to all the details of the Affordable Care Act, the library also offers a Health Care Analysis Locator to make it easy to dig up explanations, and interactive research aids. Other recent enhancements include: an Apportionment Planner; a Home Office Deduction Evaluator; the ability to save customized Smart Charts to research folders; the ability to save specific sections of publications as "favorites;" and the ability to track your research history for up to a year.
Those who can teach
The Client Knowledge Center
CPA Leadership Institute Inc.
Those who can, do -- mainly as an excuse to not have to teach, because teaching is very annoying, and can only be tolerated by the most saintly among us. Think of the last time you tried to teach a client the latest in estate planning dodges, or how lenders look at their financial statements. The glazed look of incomprehension (or, worse, the barely disguised look of boredom) is enough to drive anyone to murder. As a preventative, consider the new Client Knowledge Center, which offers your firm a library of educational webcasts that can be custom-branded and delivered to your audience. Covering a wide range of topics, from those mentioned above, to international taxation, Lean Six Sigma, asset protection, fraud, and much more, the webcasts let you educate your clients without all the pain of actually teaching them.
Cougar Mountain Software
Cougar Mountain Software has released the latest version of its Denali accounting software, incorporating a "substantial number" of suggestions from customers. Some of the enhancements include new report types in the GL Audit Trail Report, so you can print the Audit Trail in landscape format; vendor names included in the Bank Reconciliation Posting Audit Report; and the addition of e-mail addresses to the AR Multiple Shipping Address window and the Customer Quick List Report.
Ever notice how many plane crashes happen during takeoff? Most pilots will tell you that that and landing are the hard parts -- all the time flying in between is pretty easy. That's not quite the case when it comes to your employees, who can crash at pretty much any point, but it is true that launching them well at the start is crucial. And yet many firms and businesses don't pay enough attention to how they on-board their staff, leaving new hires lost, confused, and wondering if they've made the right choice. Enter Onboardia, a customizable Day One training program that lets users incorporate need-to-know information into a "virtual boot camp" that gives new hires everything they need to know - without requiring that someone at the firm give up a day to teach them.
Divided by language
I Hear You: Repair Communication Breakdowns, Negotiate Successfully, and Build Consensus ... in Three Simple Steps
Amacom Books; $24.95
We cannot stress this enough: What you say is not always what the person you're talking to hears. Human communication is fraught with possibilities for misinterpretation on both sides of the equation, as the words used are filtered through screens of personal preference, ignorance, bias, solipsism and worse. This can lead to frustration, conflict and disaster, but once you understand the problem, it can give you an edge on those who remain mired in the faulty notion that we're all communicating just fine. I Hear You aims to teach you to identify both your own and everyone else's problems in this area, and then give you the tools to hear what they're really saying, and make sure they understand you, too.
Ideally, scanners would either fit directly into your eyeball or hover constantly overhead like a fly, scanning whatever you point your finger at. Since the tech boffins haven't gotten their act together on either of those options yet, you'll have to make do with small portable scanners like the Visioneer RoadWarrior 3. To be fair, it is no bigger than a rolled-up magazine and fits in your laptop bag, launches as soon as you insert a piece of paper, and comes with a big bundle of software to help you make the most of the your scans. It's very cool - but it still doesn't fly.
Wiki Management: A Revolutionary New Model for a Rapidly Changing and Collaborative World
Amacom Books; $25
In these split-second-need-it-now-blink-and-you-miss-it days, there's no time to discover an issue, walk it up the corporate ladder, get a response from the wise ones at the top of the hierarchy, and then let it filter down through all the intermediary rungs. If you can't respond quickly, a competitor will, and they will most likely be an annoying 20-something in a hoodie. We can't allow that. Instead, organizations need to be flatter, able to easily access all the distributed wisdom they possess, with a few key metrics to follow, and the right practices in place to hold all levels of employees accountable (including the hoodie-wearing annoyances who are gunning for your job). Wiki Management offers a roadmap to precisely that kind of organization. While it may not lead you to completely restructure your firm, it will definitely give you ideas to make you nimbler, more responsive and more creative.
New and improved!
AccountantsWorld has changed the name of its flagship accounting product, Accounting Relief, to Accounting Power. ... Paychex has partnered with Kashoo to create Paychex Accounting Online, a cloud-based finance and accounting solution for small businesses. ... Billtrust has launched a new version of its invoice presentment and payment service, Invoice Gateway 7.0. ... Softrak Systems released Adagio Console, an administrative tool for users of its Adagio Accounting software.
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