Got everything you need?

It's tax time, and you want to double-check your supplies to make sure you have everything you need: cigarettes, donuts, antacids, machetes, body bags, extra jugs of hydrofluoric acid, etc., etc. Once you've taken care of those staples, you may want to consider some of the following tools.

Once again, the folks at Wiley are trying to ruin your business by empowering your clients with books like the flagship J.K. Lasser's Your Income Tax 2013 and J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes 2013 (Wiley, $22.95 and $19.95, www.jklasser.com). Buy as many as you can to keep good clients from learning how to do their own taxes, and give them to the bad clients you want to get rid of.

Given the tremendous uncertainty surrounding this tax season, it's a good thing so many vendors are offering new ways of getting up-to-the-minute information. CCH, for instance, has released two new apps, CCH Applicable Federal Rates 2012 and CCH Tax Rates and Tables 2012 for the iPhone, iPad and Android ($2.99 each), so you can access the latest data from wherever you are, as well as more than a dozen new iPad apps for various tax- and accounting-related titles, including Journal of Tax Practice and Procedure, and Journal of State Taxation. (On the tax-but-not-tax-season front, it also released the Tax in a Flash app for iPads to help students study tax in a Q&A flashcard format, and Global Tax Weekly -- A Closer Look, a new periodical and e-journal on international tax developments.)

Thomson Reuters, meanwhile, has released a flood of reference e-books through its ProView app, including 1040 Quickfinder Handbook, Premium Quickfinder Handbook -- Registered Tax Return Preparer, RIA Internal Revenue Code, RIA Federal Tax Regulations, The Individuals -- Special Tax Situations Quickfinder Handbook, and many more (including a number of accounting-related titles).

For those of you who are tired of watching clients waffle and flounder when you ask, "And what makes you think that old [dish set/record collection/prosthetic limb] that you donated to charity was worth $34,871?" consider CharityDeduction.com (www.charitydeduction.com), which uses actual market data from eBay to determine the going value of an item, and provides an itemized report to back it up. So you can spare your clients the blushing, and the inevitable IRS audit for ridiculous charitable deductions.

If you have individual clients who need to be a little better organized with their source documents (you probably just thought of three or four right then, didn't you?), you might point them to NeatScan (www.neatco.com/products), a new service from the portable scanner folks at Neat that lets clients mail in batches of paper documents and get back digitized versions through their NeatCloud (another Neat product that essentially acts as an online document management system). The files come back searchable, and Neat integrates with a number of tax prep and financial management solutions.

And finally, for those who are already dreaming of the end of tax season, post-filing services leader New River Innovation has added a number of enhancements to its Web-based Beyond415 Guidance research center for resolving those unfortunate issues that sometimes crop up with the Internal Revenue Service. Users can now add custom content to IRS issues in the solution, tag their own custom content so it shows up in searches, and download response documents.

 

The guide guide

Accounting & Auditing Research and Databases: Practitioner's Desk Reference

Wiley; $75

In accounting, auditing and tax, the rules are only getting more and more complicated -- and so are the guides to the rules, as sources proliferate and their structures grow more intricate. That makes this little reference book extremely useful - it's a guide to the guides, showing you how to make the most of your research. With a focus on online databases and tools, it aims to make practical, professional research on accounting and audit-related subjects more efficient and more authoritative.

 

A lot of knowledge

Paychex Accountant Knowledge Center

Paychex Inc.

www.paychex.com/accountingprofessionals

Payroll provider Paychex has launched a new version of its Accountant Knowledge Center, an online source of resources and information related to payroll, human resources and benefits. Now fully accessible by any mobile device, the center offers a collection of tools like tax, payroll and HR forms, financial calculators, and state tax data, as well as daily news articles on related topics, comprehensive tax alerts from federal and state governments, and unlimited access to CCH's U.S. Master Tax Guide. It also has improved search, print, save and e-mail functions.

 

They must be stopped

Performance Is Everything: The Why, What, and How of Designing Compensation Plans AICPA

www.cpa2biz.com

Books like this terrify us, because they show in clear, implementable steps how to create a connection between an individual's performance and how much money they make. We here at New Products, like many partners at accounting firms, would prefer to obscure this connection as much as possible, but authors August Aquila (a frequent Accounting Today contributor and member of our Top 100 People roster) and Coral Rice -- who terrified us with their earlier book, Compensation as a Strategic Asset -- are back with a companion volume to show firms exactly how to build a compensation plan that creates a vision and holds partners accountable for achieving it. What could be worse?

 

And whose army?

ReasonableCompensation.com

CPA Opinions Partners LLC

www.reasonablecompensation.com

Your S corporation clients run the risk of running afoul of the Internal Revenue Service when it comes to officer compensation. It's a complicated issue, and after all, who's to say what's reasonable? Well, it turns out that the folks at ReasonableCompensation.com are, and they're willing to offer an official opinion on the matter. Started by a CPA firm, the outsourcing service is set up so that other CPA firms can send in client information and get authoritative salary opinions from the site's compensation pros, which they can then bill clients for and use as the basis of further engagements.

 

Almost home

Grammarly

www.grammarly.com

As editors, we here at New Products pride ourselves on doing as little as possible for our salaries, and with tools like Grammarly, we are rapidly approaching the point at which we can completely relax and let computers do all our work for us. It automates proofreading, offers context-optimized vocabulary suggestions and even checks for plagiarism. It also explains its suggestions and corrections, so you can learn to write better -- but why would you, when Grammarly can correct whatever slop you put out?

 

New and improved!

Accountants' liability insurer Camico has launched a Subpoena Services Resource Center with information, resources and template letters, a comprehensive FAQ, and related materials on IRS and Treasury regulations. ... Thomson Reuters has made a number of major enhancements to its Accounting CS and Accounting CS Payroll, including new accounts receivable features for better tracking and reporting, the ability to customize the Batch Payroll Entry screen, a variety of new forms and files for 1099 form types, the ability to import transactions from a spreadsheet, and more. ... Aplos Software has released a new version of its Aplos Accounting Web-based software for small nonprofits and faith-based organizations. Among other things, the new release offers interactive reporting, and more functionality in the check register. Separately, the software developer has also launched Aplos Oversight, an administrative oversight solution for working with multiple nonprofits. ... BigTimeSoftware Inc. has released BigTime Express, an enhanced version of its entry-level time tracking software.

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