Socrates on Taxes

Intuit ProLine Tax Research

Intuit Inc. and BNA Tax & Accounting

If knowing what you don't know is the beginning of wisdom, then tax preparers are practically philosophers, since they know that they don't know the Tax Code and all the relevant rulings and guidance and tables - hence all the tax research and deskbooks and guidebooks. Truly philosophically advanced tax pros will welcome Intuit's new Intuit ProLine Tax Research, which not only alleviates their wise ignorance, but does it much faster. The Web-based solution, which was created in alliance with BNA Tax & Accounting, integrates directly with Intuit's Lacerte and ProSeries tax prep programs right down to the form and input-screen level, with context-sensitive links so you can research whatever you need to know without a lot of time-wasting toggling. It's available as an annual subscription, and on a pay-per-use basis. Of course, if tax preparers just knew all the things they know they don't know, they wouldn't need to do research at all.

Worry Less about Clients

ProSystem fx Portal

CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business

We've said it before and we'll say it again: If it weren't for the clients, accounting would be a pretty good business. But when you need something from them, they dawdle, and when they want something from you, they want it now - and they want it delivered safely. One way to ease this back-and-forth burden is with client portals, like CCH's ProSystem fx Portal, which creates a secure online space where you can put all the things they're always badgering you for, like tax returns and financial statements, for them to access at their convenience, and where they can upload source documents when they get around to it. ProSystem fx Portal also lets you organize, search and filter the documents, designate them as read-only, and check them in and out, so your clients can't mess them up while you're working on them.

A Club That Will Have You

HubStreet Fox Coaching Associates

Whether they're old-fashioned civic organizations like the Kiwanis or cutting-edge cyberspaces like LinkedIn, networks of any kind always walk a fine line: Let in too many people, and you're swamped with the hoi polloi; too few, and you may as well be at home alone. The new social networking site HubStreet aims for balance in bringing together accountants, lawyers and bankers who are looking for referrals in one online space, while keeping out all those pesky non-professionals. Users can create professional profiles to show what they can do and who they want to interact with, and post articles and presentations to demonstrate their expertise. They can also register for courses, get personalized guidance from a HubStreet career coach, and learn about live business events in their area, for when they feel the need to interact in person. Remember, just because it's a club that will have you as a member doesn't mean it has to have everyone else.

We Miss Plugs

Refresh charging station


At some point in the early days of electrification, someone decided that it would be a good idea to have one standard way of getting power to small devices. They called it the plug, and it was a brilliant success. We're still waiting for someone to make a similar decision about getting power to today's much smaller devices. Until they do, your best bet might be BlueLounge's Refresh, a charging station with six different connectors - two iPod/iPhone connectors, two USB sockets, a Micro USB and a Mini USB. It can handle over 1,000 products from a wide variety of brands, and comes in several colors that won't look too shabby on your desktop.

Good for a While

Web sites for accountants

RiaEnjolie Inc.

While we applaud the caution of the many thousands of CPA firms that don't have Web sites, we've finally become convinced that this whole Internet thing isn't just a flash in the pan, and is probably good for at least another couple of months. That means that it's time for you to give in and set up a site for your firm. Luckily, RiaEnjolie is there to make it easy - they'll create and host a Web site for you for a relatively modest $39 a month and a one-time set-up fee of $199. They have a gallery of designs to choose from, plenty of pre-written and accountant-oriented text, and various calculators that can be included. That should get you a site that will tide you over until we can figure out if this thing really has legs.

Just Like Caring

Online Tax Guide

BizActions LLC

Why should you offer your clients tax advice and updates, when you can put links on your site to BizActions' Online Tax Guide? With the guide presented under your branding, it'll be like you're telling your clients about tax strategies, new legislation and regulations, and giving them details like tax tables, and deduction and credit amounts. And with an easy Q&A format and the ability to specify information for either the U.S. or Canada, it'll be like you were taking your clients' needs into account. Just like it.

No Corners Cut

CCH TeamMate 9.0

CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business

Using the words "ease" and "speed" in the same sentence as the word "audit" can call to mind some unpleasant memories of 2001, but there are some areas where "ease" and "speed" don't mean "fraud," and one of them is CCH's TeamMate audit management software. The latest release, Version 9.0, has a number of improvements - like enhanced management reporting and issue-tracking capabilities; upgraded database, reporting and replication engines; and a new feature set for auditors focused on risk and controls - that should make audits faster and more efficient, without sacrificing quality.

Not a Coffee Bar

WorkForce printers and Perfection V500 scanner


Epson's new WorkForce line of small-business and home office printers work fast, enhance your productivity, and come with built-in WiFi, but that is where their similarity to your local coffee bar ends. We'd like to see Starbucks print 38 pages a minute, like the WorkForce 610, or handle pages up to 13 by 19 inches, like the WorkForce 1100. And we'd like to see it come with a 30-page document feeder, and scan up to three pages a minute at resolutions up to 6,400 dpi, like Epson's Perfection V500 Office Scanner. Furthermore, we'd like to see their baristas come with a transparency unit for scanning negatives, slides and film, or remove dust and scratch marks in film scans, or restore faded images. On the other hand, we'd like to see Epson make us a cup of coffee.



Caringo Inc.

Digital storage solutions provider Caringo Inc. is beta-testing a new cloud-computing storage solution, CloudFolder, and giving users four terabytes of free storage to test it out. CloudFolder sits on your desktop and allows you to drag and drop whatever you want to store directly into the "cloud" (that's computing space accessed over the Internet, to you and me), where you can access it at will just as if it were a Windows folder. CloudFolder is based on Caringo's content-addressed storage, or CAS, structure, which (for technical reasons that we won't go into here, because we don't understand them) offers almost infinite scalability and freedom from proprietary hardware. Did we mention that it's free, for now?

New and Improved!

Intuit Inc. has released its GoPayment credit card processing solution as an application for i­Pods and iPhones. ... Sageworks Inc. has released a new Industry Intelligence module for its ProfitCents financial analysis suite, with industry-specific metrics and ratios for over 1,000 industries. ... has released SmartDraw 2010, with significant enhancements including large-scale project management, SharePoint collaboration, better flow and org-charting, and PowerPoint slideshow animation ... Advanced Systems Concepts Inc. has released Version 7 of its ActiveBatch enterprise job scheduling and workload automation solution.

(c) 2009 Accounting Today and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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