Behind The Curtain
When all is said and done, the Wizard of Oz isn't really a whiz of a wiz - he just knows things other people don't. This is a position that accountants, with their in-depth knowledge and expertise, can relate to, and the driving idea behind BidaWiz, a new online tool that lets scarecrows, tin men, lions and other clueless clients post their accounting and finance questions. Wizards like you then post offers (including a time frame and a fixed fee) to answer them. If a user picks your offer, you're off! If they don't, send in the flying monkeys.
Behind The Name
New America Software
While it might be tempting to think that the name of New America Software's new tax prep product, MultiTax, refers to the fact that everywhere you turn, someone is waiting to tax you, often in multiple ways, it actually stems from a number of more positive things. To start, the software, which was originally developed for the fast-growing Latino market, works in multiple languages, with English and Spanish standard, and other languages easily added. Then, with its advance form-filling capabilities, it can quickly and efficiently prepare multiple years' worth of returns at once (as well as automating applications for ITINs). Finally, it offers a number of features for managing a tax prep business across multiple offices. They'll still tax you everywhere you go, but at least MultiTax makes it easier to prepare the returns.
Behind The Portrait
SmartVault Accountant Edition and Business Edition
While we'd be the first to say that a safe hidden behind an oil painting protected by infra-red beams is the coolest place for your clients to store important financial documents, it doesn't make it easy to update and share them. Their next best bet is an online client portal for document transfer and management, like that offered by SmartVault. The company recently released two new versions: SmartVault Accountant Edition and SmartVault Business Edition. The first offers you streamlined client set-up and management, enhanced security access levels, and free use and training to get you up to speed quickly, while the second offers businesses an efficient and secure way to communicate and collaborate, and safe storage of important documents for business continuity in the event of a disaster. Both let you and your clients access the vault through QuickBooks or a Web browser, though your clients will still have to find a place to store their bearer bonds and blackmail photos.
Behind The Times
V1 Document Management
If you haven't begun considering a document management system to replace your old filing cabinets, it's time to join the rest of us in the 21st century. A new entrant in the field is V1 Document Management, which recently debuted its solution for the electronic handling of financial documents in the U.S. With tight integration to all the major accounting and ERP systems, it offers a range of solutions for creating, scanning, delivering, authorizing and storing all sorts of financial documents, using Optical Character Recognition technology to improve accuracy and significantly reduce manual data entry, and authorization and circulation features to make sure that everyone who should sign off on a document does.
Behind The Camera
VIA3 6.0 Web collaboration solution
If Survivor and Big Brother have taught us anything, it's that collaboration is always enhanced by the presence of a camera. Where they missed the boat was in incurring huge travel costs to bring all their players together, whereas with the release of the latest edition of Viack's Via3 Web collaboration and communication solution, users never need to leave their office to interact in real-time with live audio and video; send secure instant messages; share applications, and files and folders; and hold meetings with up to 1,000 people. Accessible over any high-speed Internet connection, the new version also includes presence detection, to let you know which of your contacts are online and available; whiteboards; strong security features; the ability to brand the solution with your logo; and much more. We can only hope that features for backstabbing and undermining absent colleagues will be added in future releases.
Behind The Numbers
ValuSource has revamped and expanded its KeyValueData.com valuation Web site. Available in three different subscription levels, the site offers a wide range of data sources, including Institute of Business Appraisers Market Data, IRS corporate ratios, a Guideline Company Database, the Risk Management Association Valuation Edition and much more, as well as powerful analysis tools.
Ahead Of The Curve
ProLine Tax Online Edition
At press time, Intuit had begun offering a beta version of its new Software-as-a-Service tax prep program, ProLine Tax Online. It's designed with a single-screen data entry process to streamline workflow, and a visual three-step process for inputting, reviewing and filing, as well as lots of diagnostics to catch mistakes and omissions. With federal, California and Arizona 1040 forms available to start, the company plans to add more federal forms, expanded states and other features.
Eating Your Lunch
Outright and Network Solutions
Troubled economic times often see new businesses spring up, started by people who've left other businesses (whether of their own free will or not). A new Web site, UnintentionalEntrepreneur.com, aims to give these new business owners a head start. Created by Outright.com and Network Solutions, the site offers advice and resources on a wide variety of topics, from dealing with customers to managing the finances. Hey - isn't that what you're supposed to do?
Spectrum Equipment Service System
Dexter + Chaney
Our favorite episode of kids' show Bob the Builder is the tear-jerker where Bob realizes that Lofty the crane and Dizzy the cement mixer have reached the end of their depreciable lives and sells them off to Farmer Pickles for spare parts. If Bob's accountant had recommended he install Dexter + Chaney's new Spectrum Equipment Service System, it might not have come as such a devastating surprise to the elderly machinery, as the system automatically logs operating hours and fuel use, as well as preventive maintenance, to help improve the return on investment for each piece of equipment.
New And Improved!
While we don't condone the buying and selling of people, we don't consider those who use Twitter or Facebook people, so it's OK for uSocial.net to sell followers on Twitter and friends and fans for Facebook to firms looking to market effectively using those social networking tools. (Actually, they don't really sell individual followers, etc. - they just promise to help you attract certain numbers of them - but that they describe it that way makes us wonder ...). ... CCH has enhanced its Tax Zone Locator for finding location-based tax credits and incentives, and released it in a comprehensive Tax Zone Locator Toolkit. ... Intacct has released the Summer '09 version of its Intacct Max for Salesforce CRM, with advanced price book management, new automated contract renewals, and expanded payment posting detail. ... Zytax has released its Tax Determination Solution 2.0 for better indirect tax determination and excise motor fuels compliance for the energy industry. ... Advanced Systems Concepts has released Version 7.0 of its ActiveBatch cross-platform IT job scheduling and management software.
(c) 2009 Accounting Today and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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