Better Workmen

Productivity Consulting and Tax Pack

CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business

http://cchgroup.com

A good workman may be known by his tools, but it hardly seems fair to say the reverse; after all, tools don't get much choice in which workman uses them. We wouldn't suggest that CCH doesn't think you're worthy of their tools, but they have launched a Productivity Consulting service for their ProSystem fx Suite and research tools, where they'll consult with you both online and in your office to make sure you're getting the best out of their offerings. From their interviews and workflow analyses, they'll develop a list of efficiency gains that you can implement immediately, as well as a recommended deployment plan for longer-term improvements.

Separately, as an example of the kinds of CCH tools that you should strive to be worthy of, the company recently released Tax Pack, a combination of products aimed at making tax preparers more efficient. Its Tax Prep Partner Series offers all sorts of research materials, guidance, practice aids, compliance tips and more that are focused on the needs of practitioners who prepare large numbers of non-complex returns, while its TaxScripts Tax Pro streamlines the process of submitting disclosure authorizations to, and getting transcripts from, the Internal Revenue Service.

An Aid to Inertia

Customer Manager and QuickBooks Conversion Tool

Intuit Inc.

www.customermanager.com

Of all the laws that govern the physical universe, the one that businesses should be most grateful for is that of inertia, since it explains the majority of their customer retention. There is always the chance, however, that some outside force will come along and prod customers out of their torpor, which is where tools like Intuit's new Customer Manager come in handy. It's a customer relationship management tool for small businesses, bringing all of a company's customer data together in one place, from contact info to past due balances (it automatically synchronizes with Intuit's QuickBooks), so users can make sure inertia is still operating in their favor.

Meanwhile, proving that it is not relying on inertia, Intuit separately released a tool to help users of Microsoft Accounting, which was discontinued in November, convert their data to QuickBooks.

Donations, Real or Not

iDonatedIt

BMG CPAs LLP

www.idonatedit.com

You know the drill: You ask, "So, did you make any charitable donations last year?"

And they say, "Um ... yeah? Yes? Yes! Of course! I made many charitable donations!"

Needless to say, most of the donations they go on to describe (including those that actually occurred) are undocumented, and the IRS is getting pickier about that. To help, CPA firm BMG has created an iPhone app called iDonatedIt that donors can use to track and value their non-cash donations right at the moment of giving. It creates a permanent record of what they gave when, and to whom, and how much it was worth. They can even attach a picture of the item for documentation, and then e-mail the whole thing to you for tax prep. At the very least, it will relieve you of the embarrassment of sitting there while they "remember" all their donations.

Debtors and Creditors

Expense management functionality in Logon2

Patersons HR & Payroll Solutions

www.patersons.net

A company's employees are, in effect, its main creditors, having advanced it labor, which it then pays back in cash. What's more, employees are often creditors twice over, when you take into account the travel and other expenses that they often cover. Considered that way (and in a whole lot of other, less academic ways), the addition of expense management functionality to Patersons HR and Payroll Solutions' Logon2 Software-as-a-Service human resources and payroll management platform makes good sense. Employees can now easily create an expense report through their self-service portal from any Web browser; the solution then notifies the appropriate manager that the report is ready for denial, and lets the employee know when it has been denied. If the manager should accidentally approve the report, payment is processed in the same manner as a paycheck.

The Final Hurdle Remains

Sabrix Managed Tax Service

Sabrix Inc.

www.sabrix.com/sabrixmts

The latest release of the Sabrix Managed Tax Service, which handles outsourced sales and use tax compliance and management, offers all sorts of new features. It has enhanced reporting capabilities, including period-close reconciliation reports, and returns summary reports with a summary of tax to cash for each return; it also offers new tax services, including tax rate scenario testing, which lets users implement and test tax changes for accuracy prior to production. But for all its good points, it still doesn't fulfill Corporate America's sales tax dream: not having to pay them at all.

Tell Us What This Is

The Manual Number Cruncher

The Superficial Intelligence Co.

www.themanualnumbercruncher.com

For those who enjoyed the "That was easy" button, but may have thought it was a little generic, the Manual Number Cruncher is an office novelty aimed squarely at those who crunch numbers (though it can be inflicted on the broader public during "crunch" times). To be perfectly honest, we're not quite sure exactly what the Manual Number Cruncher is, but that doesn't matter: It repeats recorded messages that involve the word "crunch" whenever you like, which should be all you need to hear to know that you need to order two or three dozen to strew around the office during tax season. Whether it is, in fact, a "hand grip manipulator" and a "whole body workout system," as its maker claims, is beside the point.

Pin Down the Ephemeral

iCyte

www.icyte.com

Unlike a printed page, a Web page is a dynamic, ever-changing entity, which is great - unless you bookmarked the page and were relying on the information that used to be on it before it got all dynamic and ever-changing on you. The new iCyte service lets you highlight the text, pictures or whole pages that you want to refer to, and save them as they are, with your own tags and notes attached. Individual "cytes" can be organized by project, and projects can be accessed through a dashboard of all your content, and even shared with other users, making research much easier and more reliable.

E-invoices for All

billFLO

Anoowa Inc.

www.billflo.com

Say what you like about paper invoices, they have the benefit that they can be read by everyone who can read. Electronic invoices, on the other hand, may or may not be readable by a recipient's accounting system, which is why billFLO has released a new application program interface to make it easy for accounting system vendors to integrate its electronic-invoicing functionality with their products. It's one step closer to cutting down on the 20 billion paper invoices sent out every year.

New Navigator

Serenic Navigator 2009

Serenic Corp.

www.serenic.com

Serenic has released the latest version of its accounting software for nonprofits, which applies the technology and functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 to add a number of new features, including a new user interface; Role Centers that personalize the user's experience based on the information and tasks most relevant to their jobs; built-in support for Web Services to make it easy to connect to other applications and share data; and tight integration with Microsoft Office products.

New and Improved!

SpeedTax has released the SAP Tax Bridge for SpeedTax, so SAP users can use its sales tax solution. ... NetSuite has released NetSuite OneWorld for Oracle, so users of Oracle's E-Business Suite can also use its SaaS business management and accounting application. ... Internet fax service MyFax is now available through the Intuit App Center in QuickBooks 2010.

Send new products for consideration to daniel.hood@sourcemedia.com.

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