A roundup of new hardware, software, books and services for accountants.
Less stick, more carrot
The Engaged Employee: 10 Initiatives for Successful Firms
AICPA; $59 ($49 for members)
Astonishingly, the accounting profession got along for decades by mistreating entry-level staff and subjecting most of its members to months on end of 20-hour days without seeing their families, and still managed to produce and retain proud professionals. Recently, however, new accountants have discovered that they have other options, and firms are beginning to realize that abuse and overwork are not retention strategies. Enter Sandra Wiley, one of the leading voices on these issues in the profession, with a solution: building engagement. Her new book shows you how to keep staff and build strong teams by replacing misery with happiness, resentment with trust, and sullen acquiescence with passion. A must-read for firms that hope to have more than one person left on staff by the end of tax season.
Clothes make the return
While it’s comforting for those of us who are fashion-challenged to suggest that appearances don’t matter, the fact is that a shiny package can make a big difference. That’s one — but just one — of the appeals of SenTax, a combination of client portal and document presentation tool created by CPA Brad Richter to let him securely share good-looking tax docs with his clients. It combines 256-bit encryption with an attractive look and feel that mimics real envelopes and folders to make him stand out a bit, and now he’s making the tool available to other tax pros for an annual subscription of $79.
Great tax advice
Deduct Everything! Save Money with Hundreds of Write-Offs, Legal Tax Breaks, Credits, and Loopholes
Humanix Books; $13
No doubt you’ve been thinking a lot about taxes recently — yours and, more important, other people’s — and you may think you’ve got it all down. But it never hurts to check, and while “Tax Mama” blogger Eva Rosenberg’s new book is really aimed at consumers (i.e., your clients), it’s still full of a million great tips that it couldn’t hurt you to check out. Our suggestion: Either buy every copy in your area to keep them away from your clients (lest they think they can do without you), or buy every copy in your area and give them out as client gifts. Either way, it’s full of great tax advice.
Say what they say
Model auditor’s report
American Institute of CPAs
The AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board has released an illustrative report for service auditors reporting on a description of a service organization’s systems and suitability and the suitability of the design and operating effectiveness of controls under AT Section 801 and ISAE 3402.
Learn and tell
New Becker certification programs
Becker Professional Education
We here at New Products have long felt that you don’t really know a thing until you can explain to someone else that you know it, preferably at annoying length and in a condescending tone of voice. This is one of the privileges of knowledge, and we’re glad to see that Becker Professional Education is making this easier with its seven new Professional Certification Programs, which give you the opportunity not just to take curated self-study courses on a number of subjects (from the Securities and Exchange Commission to fraud and business valuation), but then to prove it to innocent strangers with a certificate, which you can even add to your LinkedIn profile.
You need help
Clarity Practice Management
Software developers and other outsiders are beginning to realize en masse that, while accountants offer great business advice to their clients, their firms are often not all that well-run, and in an age of increasing competition, they can’t afford to be inefficiently run. That’s led to the introduction of a number of new practice management tools, but unlike many of them, Clarity Practice Management has the distinction of being created by actual CPAs who know the sort of work you do from personal experience. The cloud-based system offers project management, due date tracking, strong client and workflow management tools, and more.
Still need help?
Trilobyte Solutions Inc.
As we said, we’re seeing more and more practice management systems on the market, and Clear Biz comes with the advantage of being built on a mature platform that’s been proven over the years in the international arena, and is now being brought here, with customizations like built-in federal and state filing dates for the U.S. market. It aims to make it easy to track clients, staff and the work you all do. It comes in two versions, a basic Bookkeepers Edition, and a more full-featured Accountants Edition that adds time & billing and more comprehensive project management.
NFPs in the cloud
The advanced accounting tools available to their for-profit cousins have of late begun to benefit nonprofits, as vendors realize that not making money doesn’t mean you don’t have complex accounting needs. Araize has taken that a step further by giving nonprofits the benefit of the cloud with a Software-as-a-Service version of its FastFund Nonprofit Software suite. With accounting, fundraising and payroll all built around the same database and able to run on both Windows and Mac computers, it’s designed to handle the unique aspects of nonprofit accounting.
Timid tax help
Looking for tax help? At this time of year, who isn’t? TaxTalent has launched TaxJobs.com, a job board that helps employers reach the vast pool of passive tax talent — folks who might be your next tax star, but who aren’t necessarily on the hunt for a job. It offers guidance on writing more effective job ads and improving candidates’ pre-application experience, as well as distributing job information through a variety of unusual channels, to lure these timid woodland creatures into the open.
New and improved!
Thomson Reuters has enhanced its myPay Solutions payroll platform with a customizable user interface, greater access to employee information, and new payroll reporting tools. … Integrated Business Systems has released Version 1.0 of its cloud-based property management/accounting system, Imperium Powered by Acumatica. … Cash flow forecasting application Float now integrates with QuickBooks Online. … Incisive Software Corp. has launched its new Concourse API, which gives a comprehensive view of all spreadsheets in an organization, wherever they may live. … IntelliChief LLC has added auto-approve enhancements to its document management and workflow solutions.
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