Biography of a New Firm

The Radical CPA: New Rules for the Future-Ready Firm

CPA Trendlines; $99.50

There are some ideas that are too expansive for a mere article -- and Jody Padar's vision of the "New Firm" is one of them. While she's drawn the outlines of it in her columns for Accounting Tomorrow and elsewhere, The Radical CPA is her full-length manifesto for the way CPA firms should be from now on. Based on four key tenets - the cloud, social media, value pricing and process -- the New Firm is designed to make more money, deliver more value to clients, create more value for owners, and generally make the lives of all involved better.


Best. Pun. Ever.*



* E-signature Category.

With the IRS allowing electronic signatures for Forms 8878 and 8879, we expected several providers to offer e-sig tools. What we didn't expect was a pun as excellent as the name of the e-signature add-on to Sqrl's client communication platform: 88seventysign. The tool includes the knowledge-based authentication required by the IRS, and will be available on February 1.


Opportunity everywhere

PPC's Practice Aids for Audits of Real Estate Entities

Thomson Reuters

One of the nice things about real estate is that it's everywhere -- and companies involved in it need to be audited. With that in mind, we'll draw your attention to Thomson Reuters' new Practice Aid, which covers every angle of audits of real estate operators, developers and retail land sales developers. It includes step-by-step processes, lots of links to related content, and expert analysis to guide you.



How to Review Tax Returns

CPA Trendlines; $195.50

By definition, internal processes are not subject to external scrutiny -- which means they are often inefficient, or worse. The review of tax returns is a perfect example: As long as the end result of an accurate return is reached, firms will often put up with ad hoc, over-complicated and otherwise unpleasant review processes, convinced that quality is worth any price. How to Review Tax Returns can put a stop to some of the more tortured versions out there, offering a clear, streamlined system; a unified training manual; and a host checklists and worksheets to help you build a tax review process that can withstand outside scrutiny.


Tis the season

ATX, TaxWise and Client Accounting Suite

Wolters Kluwer, CCH SFS

Wolters Kluwer, CCH SFS, for instance recently launched a number of enhancements to its ATX and TaxWise tax prep solutions. The company has given ATX a streamlined user interface, a real-time communications channel to help preparers manage the workflow of multiple clients, and built-in integration with CCH's Master Tax Guide, among other things. For TaxWise, enhancements include a new Configuration Assistant; an enhanced Managed Returns Grid for viewing, tracking and reporting on clients; and an extensive research library on the Affordable Care Act.

Separately, the company has boosted its Client Accounting Suite with an enhanced Client Checkbook for streamlined data entry.


Pay better Fast Pay

Given the precision with which we calculate bills -- both those we owe and those owed to us -- it's astonishing how imprecise we're willing to be about sending and receiving payment for those bills. Between the vagaries of mail delivery and bank clearing times, checks introduce a ridiculous level of unpredictability into a system, and some other forms of payment are only marginally better. Fast Pay aims to introduce precision and control into this part of the great money transfer that is business, with tracking tools, approval workflows, audit trails, payment tracking numbers, and a range of time choices for overnight e-payments and checks.


A better doorstop

Bloomberg BNA 2015 Federal Tax Guide

Boomberg BNA; $75

When it comes to tax guides, calling a book a doorstop is high praise. Our tax system and Tax Code are so complicated that even experts like you require massive tomes like Bloomberg BNA's new 2015 Federal Tax Guide to get through them alive. The 1,300-plus-page book also aims to make it easy to find the information you're looking for.


Speaking your language

Behind Every Good Decision: How Anyone Can Use Business Analytics to Turn Data into Profitable Insight

Amacom Books; $27.95

As accountants, you should be familiar with the value that hard data can bring to the decision-making process. Explaining that to clients who love to "go with their gut" is another matter, however, and perhaps the hardest part of that is convincing them that data analytics is not some abstruse realm filled with impossibly long chains of formulas. Behind Every Good Decision explains to business users the value of relying less on your gut and convincingly shows how the majority of good results actually emerge from the simplest of analytics.


New feelings

Primal Teams: Harnessing the Power of Emotions to Fuel Extraordinary Performance

Amacom Books; $24.95

Apparently, fear and anger are not the great motivating factors we here at New Products thought they were. Just because we feel them all the time doesn't mean they're useful; in fact, Primal Teams makes the claim that managers should spend significant amounts of time soothing and defusing those negative emotions, and then building up the sort of positive emotions we've always assumed employees only feel at home, like engagement, enthusiasm and happiness.



Weaver Compliance Navigator app


Top 100 Firm Weaver created a special app to help clients access the myriad environmental rules and regulations under which they're obliged to work. The new Weaver Compliance Navigator app, which is available free to all, includes a searchable directory of Environmental Protection Agency regulations, as well as select regulations and information from a variety of other regulators and organizations. The app will also provide timely updates from Weaver's energy compliance team.


New and improved!

SurePrep released a number of enhancements for its tax workflow and document management tools, included a simplified SPbinder workpaper index, customizable binder templates, dockable components for multi-monitor support, and more. ... TSheets and Cougar Mountain Software announced a planned integration of the former's Time Tracking system with the latter's Denali Payroll Accounting system to streamline users' payroll processes. ... BlackLine has launched its Finance Controls and Automation Platform, a cloud-based solution that integrates six solutions that users can add as they need them. The core of the platform is a cloud-based infrastructure that serves as a secure foundation for centralized business rules, workflow, analytics, security, reporting and dashboards. ... has released Version 9 of its Able2Extra PDF Converter, with new PDF creation capabilities, page editing features, enhanced PDF-to-Excel customization, and more. ... Trans-World Compliance has launched FATCA One to help organizations manage their FATCA reporting and compliance requirements.

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