Fairly confusing

Fair Value Measurements: Practical Guidance and Implementation

Wiley; $95

We think it's safe to say that fair value accounting didn't cause the economic meltdown of 2008 - but it is also safe to say that it's causing some confusion. Fair Value Measurements aims to clear up some of that, serving as a "nuts-and-bolts" guide to the latest developments in using fair value in preparing financial statements, including discussions of different valuation approaches, fair value's role in the economic crisis, and even fair value under International Financial Reporting Standards.

 

Marc's busy right now

Guide to Planning the Firm Retreat

Marc Rosenberg; $95

Practice management expert Marc Rosenberg is in high demand as a firm retreat facilitator; in the past, that meant that he might not have been available to help with yours. Now, though, you can read his Guide to Planning the Firm Retreat, which covers everything from how a retreat is different from a partner meeting, to setting the agenda and running the meeting, to handling logistical issues and possible alternative formats. It's like having him facilitate your retreat, but without him having to travel.

 

The next big thing

Fraud 101; Protecting Clients from Fraud, Incompetence and Scams; Financial Statement Fraud: Prevention and Detection

Wiley; Fraud 101 and Protecting - $39.96 each, Financial Statement Fraud - $60 (all with WebCPA discount)

Despite all the bad press, fraud remains a growth industry in the U.S. If you're interested in getting into this exciting area - whether as a perpetrator or a preventer - publisher Wiley has a collection of helpful guides. The third edition of its Fraud 101 is an excellent primer on financial fraud schemes, as well as the detection methods and internal controls you'll need to overcome to successfully implement them. Protecting Clients from Fraud, Incompetence and Scams is a guide to the ways in which individual financial planning clients can be scammed, defrauded or otherwise deprived of their assets, while the second edition of Financial Statement Fraud highlights the ongoing evolution of fraud at the corporate level, and the best ways to prevent cooked books.

 

Franklin was wrong

Practical Estate Planning in 2010

Thomson Reuters; $120

Death and taxes may be inevitable, but their intersection in estate planning has never felt less certain. The current unresolved status of all sorts of tax rules has left planners and advisors in desperate need of advice on what to tell clients. Enter Practical Estate Planning in 2010, which addresses the issues stemming from the repeal of the estate tax and the generation-skipping transfer tax, as well as the implications of the carryover basis provisions that went into effect in January. Full of practical advice and real-world scenarios, the book is an authoritative resource on a confusing area, and should help planners offer their clients some certainty regarding taxes. Regarding death, of course, they're on their own.

 

Already here

Wiley IFRS 2010

Wiley; $100 (with WebCPA discount)

The ongoing debate over the possible adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards overlooks the fact that many companies in the U.S. are already using it, and that one way or another it will form part of the body of knowledge required of accountants. Wiley IFRS 2010 offers a one-stop guide, with detailed coverage of all the current standards and plenty of real-world illustrations of how to apply the rules.

 

Make the data dance

Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results

Harvard Business Publishing; $29.95

It's frequently noted that modern businesses have vast quantities of data available to them, and just as frequently noted that most don't have the first clue what to do with it. If anyone is well-positioned to show them how to use the data, it's accountants - and Analytics at Work can show you how to show them.

The book makes a strong case for replacing "gut" instincts and sloppy thinking with data-driven and analytical decision-making to improve efficiency, manage risk and raise company profits, and uses examples from real-world companies to explain how to use data effectively; how to manage and coordinate data, people and technology at an enterprise level; how to choose realistic targets for analytical activity; and even how to hire and manage analysts.

 

The consultant's consultant

An Insider's Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice

Amacom Books; $18.95

If, like many in the current economy, you've been considering striking out on your own as a consultant, An Insider's Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice should be a must-read: Written by a successful consultant and including the insights of over 200 other successful consultants, it offers advice on everything from making the fateful decision, to marketing, establishing your credentials, setting fees and much more.

 

They work for you

The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself

Portfolio (Penguin Group); $29.95

Given all the work you do for them, it's about time your clients started returning the favor - and one of the best ways they can do that is by referring more business to you. The Referral Engine makes the claim that people actually want to do this anyway, and lays out a process for you to tap into this hardwired instinct. It starts, naturally, with being referable: doing high-quality work and making sure that your current clients love you enough to recommend you to others. From there, you can build a system that encourages them to do so - and before you know it, they're working for you.

 

Managing in the middle

Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up

Amacom Books; $21.95

Given that our idea of "managing up" usually involves incriminating pictures and threats of exposure, we were interested to learn that there are kinder, gentler ways to influence your boss. Lead Your Boss explains the fundamentals of this particularly tricky exercise in managing from the middle. It involves cultivating high degrees of professionalism and composure, and a willingness to put the needs of the business first, which is why we'll be sticking with blackmail. But we'll be the first to admit that the discipline of this kind of stealth leadership is not just useful in itself, but is also great training for the day when you yourself are the boss.

 

Surviving SAS 70

SAS 70 Requirements, Obligations and Audit Survival Best Practices

Lorman Education Services; $175.20 (with WebCPA discount)

Proving the effectiveness of a company's internal controls through a SAS 70 audit is becoming more and more important; this teleconference and related materials explain the process in detail, and how to navigate it successfully.

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