Don't be picky
The Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters
One of the advantages of the modular approach to accounting software is not having to pay for anything you don't need. It has its limits, though, since half the time you end up picking most of the modules anyway. Thomson Reuters' new Accounting CS does away with this need for pickiness by combining write-up, live and after-the-fact payroll, trial balance, financial reporting and client accounting into a single unified platform.
What's more, its new architecture is designed to allow online, real-time collaboration between firms and clients, while at the same time opening up new approaches to workflow and division of duties, by allowing users to divide work by tasks, not just by client; offering configuration options to fit an individual firm's needs; and letting multiple staff work on the same client simultaneously, with instant access to the latest client data at all times.
Firm CPE Center
One of the things that makes a CPA firm is having CPAs employed in it - which you won't, if they fail to keep up with their continuing education requirements. That may be why so many firms are taking to managing their staff's CPE, whether with Excel and scolding e-mails, or with more advanced solutions like the new Firm CPE Center from course provider CPE Link. The CPE Center lets staff easily register for courses - or be registered by you; tracks CPE activity; and notifies you when staff register for, complete or cancel CPE events.
At the moment, it only tracks CPE for courses taken from CPE Link, but the company plans to add tracking for other vendors' courses in the future. In the meantime, the center lets you take advantage of all kinds of discounts and group pricing on CPE Link courses. Its Firm Advantage Pass lets you buy discounted course hours and distribute them to staff as needed, and there are even deeper discounts available if staff members view live webcasts as a group. It's a handy way to make sure you stay a CPA firm.
From bad to work
It was bad enough that being able to access your firm's digital document management system meant you could never get out of work by claiming not to have a particular document. Now the new version of Cabinet NG's CNG-Web - the browser interface to its CNG-SAFE DM system - has added workflow capabilities, so not only can you get documents, you can also access their workflow history, add notes to it, and route them as needed. To soften the blow, they've streamlined the navigation and added a feature that remembers where you were in the system from your previous session. But it still means it'll be harder and harder for you to get out of work.
If you must send ...
Biscom Delivery Server
The single best way to make sure that you don't send client information in an unsecured format is not to send it at all: Simply arrange for them to come to your office whenever you have something for them to look at. If they're too lazy for that, you might consider the Biscom Delivery Server, a secure file transfer solution that can encrypt and transfer files small and large. It's easier to use than FTP, and at the same time enhances Microsoft Outlook so that users can still e-mail files as they're accustomed to, without sacrificing security. Better still, BDS maintains a complete transaction and audit trail, and offers the ability to set up automated file transfers.
A good scam ruined
Payroll Analysis Service
Payroll fraud: Just the words make our mouths water. Who wouldn't want an extra paycheck or two? Unfortunately, Apex Analytix is making it harder than ever with its new Payroll Analysis Service. The service combines the expert analysis of certified fraud examiners with sophisticated detection algorithms to assess a company's payroll data and personnel files against dozens of potential fraud scenarios. It then ranks risks for investigation and recommends a mitigation plan. So now we're back to stealing office supplies.
Beyond the books
Real Asset Management International
With all the work that goes into accounting for a company's fixed assets, it's easy to forget that they're actual physical things, and not just entries in a computer system. Real Asset Management International hasn't forgotten, though, and has added Workflow4000 to its Series4000 fixed asset management products in consequence. The solution keeps track of the important events in the life of a fixed asset - such as insurance renewals coming due, or warranties approaching expiration - and sends automatic alerts and notifications by e-mail, text message or fax. Preconfigured notifications are available that can be used as is, customized, or copied and modified into new events.
Smart about phones
Telesoft 10.0 TEM
When we here at New Products need to make a phone call, we leave a quarter in a jar on our CFO's desk. While most companies aren't as cost-conscious as ours, that doesn't mean they can't find ways to cut their communications costs. Consider, for instance, the just-released Telesoft 10.0, a telecoms expense management solution that gives companies in-depth reporting on their telecoms usage and costs, as well as a single Web interface to control ordering and policies for both fixed-line and wireless phone services. Between the increased visibility into spending and the improved control, Telesoft claims that users typically save as much as 35 percent on costs. Which means we'd only have to put 16 cents in the jar.
Heartland PlusOne Payroll
Heartland Payment Systems
Heartland Payment Systems has released Heartland PlusOne Payroll, a comprehensive new payroll platform based on Oracle technology that lets users enter payroll data directly from a Web browser, while also letting them and their accountants access the information with SSL-encryption protection, and allowing employees access to paystubs and self-serve options through an online portal. It also offers easy-to-use reporting, and interfaces with leading accounting and time and attendance solutions.
Don't be BP
As BP is beginning to realize, environmental issues can have an effect on a company's bottom line. Before your clients go the BP route, they might consider Sustain4, a new environmental performance management solution from ERP vendor Unit4. It uses a company's financial and business performance data to benchmark its environmental impact in more than 700 areas against those of thousands of organizations across over 450 industries. Actually counting every barrel of illicitly dumped toxic waste and each ton of greenhouse gases emitted could take months or even years, but Sustain4 lets companies gain an immediate handle on their environmental impact, and enables the detailed reporting necessary for environmental compliance. After its initial launch in the U.K., Unit4 plans to market Sustain4 around the world. (For more lessons from BP, see Books, see page 39.)
New and improved!
ImagineTime has released Version 9 of its practice management solutions, which now include a document management system. ... Thomson Reuters has enhanced the integration between its Sabrix Managed Tax Service and Microsoft Dynamics GP. ... CCH has integrated its ProSystem fx Tax with its Tax Prep Partner Series, so users can access research, guidance and explanatory content directly from the program. ... Copanion has integrated its tax workflow application, GruntWorx Populate, with CCH's ProSystem fx Tax and Thomson Reuters' UltraTax CS. ... Open-source software vendor xTuple has introduced the new xTuple Web Portal so users of its accounting, ERP and CRM solutions can work directly with customers, suppliers and others. ... Cimcon Software has launched a new version of its SOX-XL governance, risk and compliance solution, which includes support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2. ... Lenovo has released a new set of ThinkPad laptops, including the ThinkPad L Series and the ThinkPad X100e Ultraportable.
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