Originally published Nov. 29, 2004

Paperless CCH

With the release of ProSystem fx Document, CCH has added document management to its ProSystem fx Office Suite of applications. Originally developed and marketed as SIAN by the Atlanta-based accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne LLP, Document creates an electronic repository for the endless stream of paperwork that accountants have to deal with, offering firms a way to reach the elusive goal of the "paperless office."

Everything from tax returns to employee records to e-mail can be stored, saving costs on storage and offering access to documents from anywhere in the office - no digging through cabinets or heading down to Records. Plus, the application automates document retention, so you can implement a consistent, firm-wide policy and know that it will be adhered to, which should make the Sarbanes-Oxley-cognizant very happy.

Price: Contact vendor.

CCH Tax and Accounting


(800) 739-9998

Office Tracker

Designed specifically for small and midsized CPA firms, Office Tracker is a contact management and scheduling application that helps keep everyone on the same page. The program centralizes and automatically updates customer contact information, meeting details and scheduling information, with the ability to record customized information about contacts in user-defined fields.

The developers claim that users can learn Office Tracker in as little as 15 minutes. The program runs on Windows 98, NT, 2000 and XP, and, through an optional Web-based calendar, can be used on Mac or Unix platforms, as well as Palm handheld devices.

Price: Single user - $495; five users - $995; 25 users - $2,395. 30-day free trial available.

Milum Corp.

(800) 257-2120


Text marketing

They have been warning for years that someday people would find ways to send marketing materials to your cell phone, and that day has finally arrived: Textalert.com now offers a service that will quickly and easily send text messages to your chosen audience.

With over 120 million Americans carrying text message-enabled cell phones, some of your clients are bound to have them. If you can persuade them to tell you their cell phone number, then Textalert.com might be an excellent way to inform them of tax law changes, upcoming due dates, new services, promotional meetings and events, and more.

Designed with small and midsized businesses in mind, Textalert.com requires only an Internet browser and is remarkably simple to use. Once you've collected the cell phone numbers, all you do is open your browser, type your message, and click "Send."

Price: Based on a pre-paid credit system; contact vendor.



Storage the HP way

Continuing its "Smart Office" initiative, Hewlett-Packard has introduced a range of new storage and computing products that are designed to reduce business risk for small and midsized businesses. Among them:

* HP StorageWorks NAS 500s Storage Server. This affordable, powerful Windows-based storage system offers centralized storage for file sharing, print services, application storage and Exchange hosting, in a tower design that is easy to deploy.

* HP iSCSI Feature Pack. This pack allows users to leverage their existing investments in Ethernet to migrate to networked storage.

* HP Compaq Thin Client t5510 and t5710. These offer simple, secure, server-based computing for customer-facing business environments.

Price: Contact vendor.



Who needs a shredder?

Given all the new document retention rules, this may be the last product an accounting firm should have - but it sounded so cool we couldn't resist: The Model 3 Disintegrator is, quite simply, the mother of all shredders. Not only can its seven giant knifes dispose of 500 pounds of waste per hour (suggested items include paper, of course, but also hard drives, cell phones, PDAs, casino chips and video cassettes), but it's also bolted to a solid metal base that makes it portable - if you have a forklift.

We imagine that having this in the office would be an irresistible temptation, so unless you can afford to lose half of your office furniture in employee experiments, it might be best just to admire its awesome destructive power from afar.

Price: Contact vendor.

Security Engineered Machinery


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