New hardware, software and books of interest to accountants.
Nail down the future
The Anticipatory Organization: Accounting and Finance Edition
MACPA, BLI and Burrus Research
CPAs like certainty, and few things seem as certain as the past. Conversely, few things seem as uncertain as the future. But, as any honest historian can tell you (and as financial restatements prove), the past isn’t as certain as we’d like to believe — and it turns out that if you approach it correctly, the future needn’t be all that uncertain. That’s the message of the new Anticipatory Organization learning modules being rolled out by the Maryland Association of CPAs and the Business Learning Institute in conjunction with futurist Dan Burrus, which are based on the idea that a great deal of the future is actually entirely predictable, once you learn how to distinguish between the “hard trends” that will definitely happen (think Moore’s Law, or the ongoing aging of the Baby Boomers) and “soft trends” that may or may not. The modules are based on very short (3-5 minute) videos that each introduce a key concept, and then reinforce it immediately by getting you to apply it right away. By the end, you should be prepared to turn from the profession’s traditional focus on the past to start addressing the issues and opportunities that await you and your clients in the future. After all, you’re going to live there for the rest of your life.
“It’s as if you had a CPA on your shoulder,” the CEO of One Up said, in describing the company’s new small-business accounting app. He doesn’t mean that literally, of course, since having anyone on your shoulder all the time would be uncomfortable, regardless of their professional credentials. Instead, he’s referring to One Up’s combination of smart features and portability. The accounting app was designed for mobile first, to make it easy for very small businesses to handle accounting tasks anywhere at any time. The suite includes inventory, CRM and invoicing, and also automatically synchronizes with banks, point-of-sale systems and other data sources to help reduce data entry and give users the information they need quickly and easily. Finally, since you can’t actually be on your clients’ shoulders, it lets accountants log in remotely to their clients’ books to audit them or export their financial records.
Global v. local
IFRS as Global Standards: A Pocket Guide
One of the nice things about GAAP is that pretty much everywhere you go, it’s the same; individual states don’t come up with their own versions of it. GAAP’s main rival, the International Accounting Standards Board’s International Financial Reporting Standards, covers a lot more countries, but almost every one applies it slightly differently. This handy pocket PDF includes summaries of the differences in over 100 jurisdictions around the world, so if you have clients who need to report in, say, Anguilla, you can get a quick idea of how closely it hews to standard IFRS. The guide also has a very useful overview of IFRS, and lots of interesting background on IFRS and the IASB. It’s available for free on IFRS.org
Checkpoint Learning Health Care Reform Certificate Program
The low level of general knowledge regarding the Affordable Care Act is such that, if you were to assert that it includes a provision requiring doctors and nurses to wear cheese on their heads, few people would be in a position to question you. And now, if anyone does question you, you can assert your expertise with Thomson Reuters’ new Health Care Reform Certificate, which you can earn through a blended-learning program of web- inars, self-study courses and an exam that aim to give practitioners the in-depth knowledge and expertise they need to guide their business clients through compliance. It does not touch on the cheese-wearing issue, but it will arm you with the credibility you need to take a strong position on it.
GAAP gone wrong
Profit First: A Simple System to Transform Any Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine
At first, the simple formula switch proposed by Profit First may seem like a gimmick: It suggests replacing GAAP’s “Sales expenses = profits” with the new “Sales profits = expenses.” But it’s not a trick to let entrepreneurs siphon money out of under-performing companies: It’s the first step in making sure they build more successful ones, the cornerstone of a healthier, smarter way to run a business. Too many businesses and business owners are stuck in a vicious cycle where the owners put everything they have in, and never get anything out — endangering both the business and themselves. The shift in mindset promoted by the book, and the clear-eyed business assessment it recommends, should help both do better in the long term. Interestingly, accountants are finding the idea a valuable one to share with clients — and a potential source of consulting revenue.
Useful at last
If, like us, you were wondering what the Apple iWatch could do that couldn’t be done by one of the other things you’re already carrying, you now have your answer: It can give you access to accounting and bookkeeping metrics through Receipt Bank’s Practice Platform app. This bookkeeping dashboard includes a number of key performance indicators you can carry around on your wrist to keep track of your bookkeeping workload, prioritize tasks, and track all sorts of data about clients and the state of their books. Thus, with a single release, Receipt Bank has justified the existence of the iWatch — though just in case, there are also iPhone and Android apps for Practice Platform, and it’s also available online via computers and tablets.
Filling the gap
Gravity Software has released Gravity 2015, a cloud-based business management solution that aims to serve “smart” businesses that have outgrown entry-level accounting software like QuickBooks but are not yet ready for enterprise applications like Microsoft Dynamics GP. Built on the Dynamics CRM platform, it also integrates users’ financials and CRM on one platform.
Angels and demons
Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
Hell, Sartre pointed out, is other people, but it turns out that there are ways to make them less devilish, provided you’re willing to be a little angelic yourself. The trick is to learn to really listen in the way described by this book, because when you do, you’ll find that not only will you be able to help them behave and perform better, but you yourself will do the same. The book offers nine core rules for reaching anyone, from Beelzebub down to the lowliest staffer, as well as a host of easy-to-use tools, concrete action steps, and illuminating examples.
SplendidCRM Version 9.1
SplendidCRM Software Inc.
When SplendidCRM Software moved its accounting from the desktop version of QuickBooks to QuickBooks Online, they realized that they needed to make sure their Microsoft-centric CRM solution worked with QBO — so they worked up Enterprise Version 9.1 to offer precisely that kind of integration, even though they had recently come out with a major release that includes a new chat system, a new report designer, and a set of mobile clients for Android and iOS devices. SplendidCRM had already supported synchronization with the desktop version of QuickBooks for three years.
You’ve got to get organized to be organized, and one very handy tool for that is Easy Checklist ABC, a Web-based app for building your own checklists, and then assigning the tasks on them to the appropriate people, and tracking their status. Designed specifically for professional services firms, it also lets you set due dates, add notes, track billable and non-billable hours, and more.
A new breed
AccountingSuite has debuted Keeshond, the most recent release of its cloud-based accounting software. Named after a particularly agile breed of dogs, the new release includes a number of new enhancements, including complex inventory, bill of materials and kitting features, the ability to e-mail invoices with a “Pay with Dwolla” option for those with customers who prefer that online payment system, and more.
Help where it’s needed
C-TRAC Suite Version 7
Tax-exempt organizations can use all the help they can get, frankly, so it’s good to know that Top 10 Firm Crowe Horwath continues to upgrade its tool for streamlining the process of filing the Form 990 required by the Internal Revenue Service. It has expanded beyond mere 990 support, though, to become a project management tool for all of a tax-exempt’s filing requirements. The Web-based suite of solutions offers support for the 990 family of forms; automatic conflict-of-interest questionnaires; an Alternative Investment Module that aggregates K-1 data and determines reporting responsibilities; a management tool for transfers between and among related organizations; a state module; and benchmarking capabilities.
New and improved!
Rosenberg Associates has released the 16th annual edition of its Rosenberg MAP Survey, one of the leading surveys of CPA firm benchmarking data. It’s available for purchase through CPA Trendlines. Thomson Reuters has released Checkpoint Credits and Incentives Pinpointer: Statutory and Discretionary, as well a global trade automation and management solution, ONESOURCE Global Trade, and the 30th anniversary edition of its Principles of Payroll Administration: The Complete Learning and Reference Guide. In addition, it has released a special report for professionals assisting victims of tax-related identity theft. Based on recent publications from the Internal Revenue Service, the report aims to help pros detect tax-related ID theft, and learn the appropriate steps for representing victims. The American Institute of CPAs has issued Questions and Answers Section 9540.01-.05 to offer guidance in connection with the American Land Title Association Best Practices Framework. Tallie has integrated its expense reporting solution with online accounting software Xero. Brittenford Systems has released InvoiceConnect, which integrates accounts payable data between Concur and Intacct. A new Stock Compensation Glossary app has been released by myStockOptions.com for iPhones, iPads and Android devices.
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