Catalyzing agent

Checkpoint Catalyst

Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters is rolling out a brand-new tax research library on its Checkpoint platform this month. Checkpoint Catalyst incorporates the results of three years of customer research, with the aim of making research quicker, easier and more efficient. Ease-of-use features include a new user interface, results that are collapsible and expandable, automatically generated links to news that's relevant to your search, and to related material in a user's other Checkpoint subscriptions. The search engine also learns from all of its users, collecting their reactions to search results - which ones they forward, which ones they ignore, etc. -- to rank future results and give searchers an idea of what's most valuable.

Catalyst focuses on corporate business and tax issues, with all of its content written specifically for the Web and to fit the Catalyst format. It also includes very useful decision trees and questionnaires to help users understand how particular issues apply to them or their clients, as well as images and graphics to help illustrate complex ideas. All in all, it's an impressive new tool, well worth a look as it rolls out in the first few weeks of June.


Next steps

The Intentional Accountant: Your Roadmap to Building a Next Generation Accounting Firm

RootWorks; e-book -- $9.99, paperback -- $14.95

Once upon a time, there was a single, well-established model for running an accounting firm, and a single, well-established model for being an accountant. You could drift along the well-trod path without much thought or effort or even purpose, and still be pretty successful. Those days, sadly, are rapidly ending, and both firms and individual accountants can no longer afford to drift. What's more important is that those who are willing to risk undertaking major changes can create vastly more successful firms. The Intentional Accountant is all about the journey toward that "next-generation," more entrepreneurial type of firm, as it's a journey that author Darren Root, a well-known thought leader, consultant and CPA himself, has made with his own firm.

Separately, Rootworks LLC, Root's organization for small and midsized firms, has launched a new Web site with a set of free resources, including webinars on practice management, a guide to becoming a "next-generation" firm, a blog and news center, and more.


New from Sage

Sage 300 ERP 2014

Sage North America

Sage North America has released Sage 300 ERP 2014, a "cloud-connected" business management system that is aimed at promoting collaboration while also facilitating better business decision-making. Besides a new Web technology, enhancements include faster access to customized lists; Sage 300 ERP Portal for personalized, role-based access to information; Sage 300 ERP Snapshots, for secure access to key performance indicators; workflow enhancements; better management of fiscal periods; and more. In addition, Sage 300 ERP features smooth integration with a group of mobile solutions that Sage released earlier this year for billing and payment, sales, CRM, inventory and field service.


Les comptes, c'est moi

The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations

Basic Books, $28.99

Louis XIV knew it; that's why he carried around a set of gold account books. Cicero knew it, and so did the Medicis, the Founding Fathers, and a whole host of figures of world-historical importance: Accounting matters, in a big way. The ability to report accurate information transparently -- or to misreport it -- has contributed enormously to the rise and fall of dynasties, nations and civilizations. In this insightful whirlwind tour of the history of accounting, professor and MacArthur Fellow Jacob Soll demonstrates why the profession and its players are crucial players in any civilization, while also making a strong argument for integrity and transparency in reporting.


Back and forth

Intacct-Adaptive Insights Solution


Top 100 Firm and technology consulting pioneer Armanino has released the Intacct-Adaptive Insights Solution, which integrates the cloud-based accounting software with the business analytics software, so that users can send trial balance and transaction-level detail to Adaptive Insights, for instance, or budgets to Intacct. There's a configurable framework so you can pick and choose which data should be integrated, rolling forecasts, and the ability to easily create custom management reports and executive dashboards.


Stand up, speak up ...

The Leader's Guide to Speaking with Presence: How to Project Confidence, Conviction, and Authority

Amacom Books; $6.96

A speaker of the House of Commons apparently had three golden rules for members of Parliament: "Stand up. Speak up. Shut up." While succinct (and valuable), the nervous first-time speechmaker may be looking for a little bit more in the way of specific guidance. They could do far worse than turning to The Leader's Guide to Speaking with Presence, a quick, clear set of over a hundred tips that will make you more engaging, more comfortable, and more effective when you're behind a lectern. And it goes beyond just general speechifying to discuss the specific communication issues and strategies of leaders, whether you're addressing a staff of two, or a workforce of thousands.


Until retina scanning

WorkForce DS-40


We're still waiting for the scanner that fits into your retina, but until then, accountants on the go will want portable scanners that fit in their bags and can go wherever they do, whether it's client sites, airport gates or conference halls. Epson's new WorkForce DS-40 is a wireless scanner that does just that: It weighs in at 1.1 pounds, but still scans up to 600 dpi, and can send files directly to popular cloud services like GoogleDrive, Evernote, OneNote and more.


Harder to be dumb

The Managers' Guide to HR: Hiring, Firing, Performance Evaluations, Documentation, Benefits, and Everything Else You Need to Know

Amacom Books; $24.95

The first words of The Manager's Guide to HR are: "Hiring dumb is easy. Hiring smart is hard." And the dense compendium of information that follows makes it clear why: Hiring and managing people is a complicated minefield of laws, regulations, rules and processes that no one in their right mind would enter into. Freshly updated, the second edition of the book will terrify any manager (or make them run out and hire an HR professional to handle all of this) but it will also clue them into a host of important topics, and while it can't make it any easier to hire and manage people, it can make it easier not to be quite as stupid about it.


New and improved!

Audit Analytics has made a number of updates, including new Saved Search Alerts, adding new red flags and the state of incorporation on company profile pages, and more. ... Wolters Kluwer CCH has published Tax Briefing: 2014 Post-Filing Season Update. In addition, the company has been granted a patent for its ProSystem fx Knowledge Coach audit solution technology. ... FreshBooks has added a ratings and review feature to automate the process of asking for customer testimonials, sharing them on Facebook, and asking customers to recommend the company to someone they know. ... Becker Professional Education has launched a mobile app for its CPA Exam review course, so students can access the course from their Apple and Android devices. ... Flight Tax Systems LLC has added a data import feature to its tax software for business aircraft, so users can import pertinent flight data. ... Employee benefit, HR and payroll services provider BenefitMall has partnered with restaurant software provider Avero to include the latter's Payroll Link in its Restaurant Payroll solution.

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