A monthly roundup of new software, hardware, books and services for accountants.
We’ve written before in this space about how audit, of all the traditional accounting firm services, has benefited the least from the waves of computerization, digitization and automation that have swept the profession since the 1990s. At the same time, though, we usually write that in the context of some new tool that is helping audit benefit from the power of computers — and we’re going to do the same thing now! This time around, the new offering that’s helping revolutionize auditing is Validis, which makes it incredibly easy to hook up with a client’s accounting data, extract it, and turn it into a set of analyzable information and reports for auditors to work their high-value-added magic on. The cloud-based tool minimizes back-and-forth with the client, and the amount of time you have to spend cleaning up data to the point where you can actually do something with it. Already in use in Europe, it’s now available here in the U.S.
A new well
Bond Street Accounting Professional Partner Program
Eight years after economic collapse caused banks to turn off the tap, small businesses are still having problems finding capital from traditional sources, which has led to the rise of a whole new class of providers of alternative financing. One of the latest entries is Bond Street, which fills a gap in the market by offering qualifying small businesses quick turnaround on one-to-three-year loans of between $50,000 and $500,000, with an easy, online application process. The lender also has a partner program for accountants that includes referral fees and client discounts.
Mossack Fonseca redux?
Cyber Security Awareness for Accountants and CPAs
When most people think of the “Panama Papers” scandal, they think of the schemes the powerful and ultra-wealthy use to hide their money around the world. We here at New Products think of the professional services firm that has to go to all those ultra-wealthy clients and explain why it lost control of their super-secret private information. Even if you’re not helping your clients do anything dodgy in the Caymans, you’re still at risk from data breaches, information theft, and a host of other cyber-security threats. This book offers a good overview of the risks in all these areas, and what you can do to lower them — it’s well worth a look.
Do what he did
8 Steps to Great: The Eight Essential Strategies to Driving Success at the World’s Largest CPA Firms
CPA Trendlines; $295.50
Not every firm can be great, but every firm can try — and it’s a little easier now with this book from Domenick Esposito, who has held leadership positions at not one or two but three of the biggest and most successful firms in the profession, and has laid out this roadmap to similar success. Moving your firm up into the best of the profession requires a commitment to long-term strategy, and new ways of thinking about your partners, your governance structure, the value you bring clients, and the brand you intend to create. If you’ve ever wondered what it would take to elevate your firm to the next level, this is the place to start.
Meet someone else
Accountants Client Acquisition Services
If the grim prospect of drumming up new business in a competitive environment has you wondering, “Can’t someone else do it?” then you’ll be happy to know that someone else will — specifically, the new Accountants Client Acquisition Services, which uses a free “Find an accountant near you” matching system to bring small and midsized businesses together with bookkeepers, accountants and tax pros. Professional members of their directory network get automated leads, and the prospect of exclusivity in their ZIP code.
Numbers, and numbers
There are numbers, and then there are numbers: all the millions and millions of data points in the average company’s financials, for instance, versus the handful of key metrics and analytical conclusions you can draw from all those points, which can clue managers in to the health of their business. Fiscal Advantage’s new Fiscal Checkup aims to provide the latter through a quick, cloud-based solution. Users enter three years of company data (or upload data from QuickBooks or QB Online), and get six customizable reports: an executive summary, an industry comparables chart based on five industry codes, a business valuation, a cash driver report, a profit driver report and a lenders report. With the wheat separated from the chaff, numberwise, business owners (and their advisors) will be better able to plan for the future.
It’s in the name
ShareFile for Accounting
We here at New Products automatically give extra points to products whose names explain what they do. Looking to share files? Then ShareFile for Accounting is worth a look — and not just because it has the words “share” and “file” in its name. It’s a client portal solution that lets you swap documents and collaborate with clients and team members securely, with complete control over who sees what and when. Users can also PDF files directly into ShareFile, and it integrates with RightSignature, so you can get important documents e-signed quickly and easily, and with ScanSnap.
The average individual taxpayer thinks their taxes are pretty complicated — but that’s because they haven’t been exposed to the complexity faced by even relatively small businesses. Cutting through that complexity is a mammoth task, and the self-appointed goal of the suite of corporate tax and abandoned/unclaimed property tools created by tax consultancy Ryan. Their Ryan Software includes five solutions for businesses: PinPoint, for tax calculations; RatePoint, for rate look-up and monitoring; FilePoint, for sales and use tax filings; ControlPoint, for managing and sharing purchase and sales exemption certificates; and Tracker Pro, for AUP compliance.
Better to look good
People laughed when Fernando Lamas said, “It’s better to look good than to feel good,” but looking good is pretty important in more ways than you’d expect. Data visualization is one of those areas: Charts, graphs and reports that people can’t or won’t read are worse than useless — they’re often misleading and confusing. Zebra BI is an add-in to Excel that lets you create top-notch data visualizations based on industry best practices, and then share them easily in a wide range of formats, so that people can actually benefit from how good you (and your charts) look.
For those who know
If you know what BEPS stands for, then you know how important it is for international tax professionals and multinational businesses to stay up-to-date on different countries’ responses to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Action Plan, which aims to tighten international tax regulation. Bloomberg BNA has added the new BEPS Tracker to its Premier International Tax Library, so users can find out exactly where a country stands regarding the Action Plan, in terms of both proposed and final laws and regulations. With daily coverage of developments, as well as the ability to create country-by-country comparison charts, quick links to relevant government announcements, and more, it offers those who know all they need to know.
New and improved!
Thomson Reuters announced that it has integrated its OneSource Indirect Tax solution with cloud-based accounting software NetSuite. The company also added a new topic on the taxation of real estate investment trusts to its Checkpoint Catalyst research platform, as well as the new Checkpoint Financial Management and Controllership resource. ... Bill.com has updated its mobile app with new accounts receivable features. … Taxify has launched a Xero add-on to manage sales tax compliance, remittance and reconciliation in every U.S. jurisdiction. … ImagineTime launched its ImagineTime Anywhere mobile app for Apple and Android devices. … Vertex SMB and TaxCloud have partnered to expand the latter’s service area to include all U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions, and to make the former’s cloud solution available to even the smallest retailers.
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