CRM as you like it

Not sure that this whole "Internet" thing is going to last? Frankly, neither are we. Sage Software is apparently aware of our ambivalence, because they're offering their new CRM software for small and midsized businesses in both an on-premise and a Web-hosted version, and are giving users the option of switching between the two and adding features as they need.

Their rent-to-own program returns up to 50 percent of a hosted customer's subscription fees if they switch to an on-premise CRM product in the first year of service - thus protecting your investment against that inevitable moment when the whole world realizes that the Web was just a passing fad.

Price: On premise - $595 per user; hosted - $69 per user per month.

Sage Software

(866) 308-BEST

Tax reporting

The vast quantities of data that the average company routinely generates used to do little more than create commissions for server and tape drive salesmen. Of late, though, businesses are waking up to the fact that careful analyses of that information can yield business improvement dividends. Sales data offer a particularly rich vein - and if sales data, then why not sales tax data?

Vertex Inc.'s Reporting and Analysis 2.0 is a transaction tax reporting solution that works with the vendor's other tax technologies to provide powerful tools for the query, analysis and reporting of sales, consumer use and value-added tax transactions. Users can create summaries, analyze trends and quickly respond to audit questions with a wide variety of custom tables, sort capabilities, pie and bar charts, and exportable tables, reports and charts.

Price: Starts at $5,000, with discounts for multiple users.

Vertex Inc.

(800) 355-3500

Ethics lessons

Proposed changes to the Uniform Accountancy Act may require students to take more ethics courses - but that does not help the many accountants who have already graduated.

Rather than write them all off as ethically impaired, Working Values has created Learning Moments, an interactive online and offline ethics and compliance training program. Its brief learning modules can help companies reinforce and sustain their ethics and compliance policies, while at the same time letting management learn more about employees' ethical understanding.

Price: Contact vendor.

Working Values Ltd.

James Bond's notebook

If we were Q and you were James Bond, we'd waste a lot of time telling you about all the technical details of the new HP Compaq nx6125 Notebook PC - like its 64-bit AMD Turion processor, wireless LAN connectivity, light weight, ease of use, and so on - but we'd rather be Bond, so we'll focus on the fact that it comes with a built-in biometric fingerprint sensor. Yes, a fingerprint sensor! There's also an optional smart card reader, and a credential manager that provides a secure, single-sign-on password, but who cares? Fingerprint sensor! We can only hope that the next model will release a cloud of poison gas when the wrong person uses the sensor.

Price: Starts below $1,000.


Automatic Form 5500 has added a new feature, called 55Autofill, to its Form 5500 software for employee benefits plans. By entering the plan sponsor's tax ID number, users can now automatically download all of the available information from the Department of Labor database to populate the form. The Web-based 5500 Forms Package also offers extensive error detection, identifying all the required responses and highlighting most inconsistent responses.

Price: 5500 Forms Package - $250 a year.

(800) 596-0714

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