New software, hardware, books and services for accountants.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016
The new release of Microsoft's Dynamics NAV accounting and business management system includes a host of features aimed at increasing ease of use, accessibility, and the depth of insight offered. To start, there are native apps for all kinds of devices for the three major operating systems (Android, iOS and Windows). Then there's the native integration with Microsoft's customer relationship management solution, as well as expanded extensibility and connectivity capabilities to enable tight integration with other cloud-based services. And that's without mentioning all the pre-built Microsoft Power BI dashboards and data connections to help users access key performance indicators, or the expanded document management and workflow capabilities, among many other enhancements.
Back from the bend
Gathering client documents -- in an audit, for tax prep, or for any kind of client task -- is maddening grunt work that can drive even the most patient CPA around the bend. That's why tools like next-generation portal Suralink are a huge bonus: To the basic document-transferring function of the portal it adds dynamic request lists, approval workflows, dashboards, timelines and notifications, and other tools to help you better manage whatever kind of maddening engagement you're involved in.
Value versus whining
CPA Firm Partner Compensation: The Art and Science
Rosenberg Associates; $265
Of all the complex situations that accountants deal with, establishing a partner compensation system that produces the most value and accountability with the least whining and bad feeling has to be right there at the top. From his vantage as a veteran practice management expert who has seen the inner workings of countless accounting firms, Marc Rosenberg is better suited that most to lay out a blueprint for those who want a harmonious, well-paid partnership. His latest monograph brings together his valuable advice, proprietary checklists and handouts, case studies and more to give you a comprehensive guide to this vexing topic.
Motes v. beams
Insight HR & Career Development Toolkit
CPA Center of Excellence
It's often easier to assess other people than it is to accurately judge ourselves, but considering the beam in your own eye is usually far more useful -- and now it's a little easier, with the Insight HR & Career Development Toolkit from the Indiana CPA Society's CPA Center of Excellence. It starts with a free self-assessment that helps you understand your current skill levels, and then offers an annual subscription with more in-depth options that can include 360-degree assessments with up to 300 people, a mentor and mentee tracking system, and more. Firm and group discounts are available, so you can tackle your neighbors' motes at the same time.
Where's the path?
Riding the White Water Rapids: Career Success in the 21st Century (Special Accountants' Edition)
Contento Now; $4.99
Once upon a time, we talked about "career paths" and "ladders to success" -- so it's a little disturbing that the most appropriate metaphor for the course of your life in the workforce is now "white water rapids." And yet enormous changes in technology, demography, business practices and more have brought us to the point where managing your career is as complicated (and dangerous!) as shooting a 50-year-long set of rapids. Rather than head out alone, consider taking this book along as your guide -- it's full of precisely the sort of landmarks you'll need to make it to the calmer water.
Checkpoint Learning Tax Fundamentals Certificate Program
The fact is, with demand for CPAs so high, finding people with the tax expertise you need may be impossible -- so you may want to think about creating them yourself. One way to do it might be through Thomson Reuters' new Checkpoint Learning Tax Fundamentals Certificate Program, which is aimed at giving new tax professionals and those who help in tax prep the foundational knowledge they need to prepare a number of basic forms. They may not be CPAs, but they can certainly help you get through tax season!
Just for you
SmartVault for Accountants
Document management company SmartVault has been focusing on you for some time, with over 7,000 accountants as users, so it was able to fill its new SmartVault for Accountants with features that will appeal directly to you, including a streamlined document collection process; the Connected Desktop, which makes it easier and simpler than ever to find, view and edit client documents; customizable templates for quickly adding new clients; bulk e-mail and mail merge capabilities; and much more.
What's so funny?
Improv Is No Joke: Using Improvisation to Create Positive Results in Leadership and Life
Advantage; paper -- $14.99, Kindle -- $9.99
We usually associate improvisation with laughter (at least when it's done well), but that doesn't have to be the case, as CPA Peter Margaritis proves in his new book. By their very nature, the rules and methods of improv are designed to foster collaboration and teamwork, and can be applied to any organization to make it a better place to work. With disarming candor and a host of real-life examples, Margaritis explains the value of listening to and respecting those around you, of parking your own agenda to help build a bigger one, and much more.
When trends collide
Three trends are coming together to fuel a huge disaster: The exponential growth in the amount of proprietary data being created, the rapid proliferation of devices that allow that data to travel all over the place, and the growth in cyber-security liability cases against accountants for the kinds of breaches that can result from the first two trends. If protecting your data and your clients' data is a high priority for your firm, Alertsec might be worth a look: The Web-based service lets you encrypt data on everything from laptops to USB sticks and then monitor the security status of all of your computers. It also offers anti-malware and firewall features, and includes access to a round-the-clock help desk, all for a monthly subscription of roughly $10-15 per user.
The next wave
Business Sustainability: Performance, Compliance, Accountability and Integrated Reporting
Greenleaf Publishing; $45.95
Once upon a time, financial reporting as we know it was considered an impractical and not particularly valuable pie-in-the-sky kind of notion -- something that those who look askance at sustainability reporting ought to bear in mind. As this book makes clear, thousands of businesses are already reporting this way, and it might well be worth your while to give it a read, to get up to speed on the latest developments and how they will affect your clients and your business.
New and improved!
Roger CPA Review has updated its CPA Exam Simulator and Interactive Practice Questions software systems, including enhanced diagnostic reporting, the ability to review previously answered questions in a non-test environment, and more. ... ADP has launched its seasonal "Getting Back to Business" landing page (www.adp.com/backtobiz) with lots of information and resources for small businesses and their advisors. ... Alternative lending provider Bluevine announced a solution that will allow businesses that have manual accounting systems to receive advances on outstanding paper invoices. ... Thomson Reuters released Checkpoint Global Harmonized Schedules, a classification engine with harmonized schedule and duty rate information for 100 countries. It also released a new free special report, New FATCA Compliance Obligations Facing Business Entities. ... Xero announced an integration with Shopify to help merchants easily track their financials. It also added two new features: the ability to assign items to be billed to a client, and automated invoice reminders.
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