Someone's listening

IntelliConnect enhancements

CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business

No one around here listens to us, which is why we're always impressed when a company listens to its customers, and then acts on the feedback. As an example, we offer the latest round of enhancements that CCH has made to its IntelliConnect research platform, on which it worked closely with its customers to help improve the user experience. To start, they've put the browse tree on the home page, so you can start researching right away, and added the user's Favorite list to the browse tree. They've also added Relate buttons in selected documents so you can quickly find relevant content. Users can now conduct up to eight research sessions at a time, and IntelliConnect will automatically apply the filters you used on your last search to your next one. And in one of those small tweaks that end up making a major difference, you can now increase or decrease font sizes.

Having all too often printed hundred-page documents just to see one paragraph, though, our favorite enhancement is a new printing function that lets you print part of a document simply by highlighting the relevant lines and hitting a printer icon. That's useful enough; the brilliant part is that, no matter what part of the document you select, the document title will automatically print with the selection. It must be nice to have someone listen to you ... .

Cop tires, cop shocks

BNA Corporate Tax Analyzer 2010.1

BNA Software

The latest release of BNA Software's Corporate Tax Analyzer reminds us a great deal of the Bluesmobile, the apparently indestructible 1974 Dodge Monaco driven by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in TheBlues Brothers. Not because of its ability to automate complicated calculations for carrybacks, carryforwards, net operating losses and the like, allowing companies to run scenarios with different carryback periods, while still being sure that the calculations are accurate. And not because this all means that companies and their accountants can complete Forms 1139 and 1120x much more efficiently and quickly (which makes it cost-effective to consider filing claims for smaller amounts). No, the reason it reminded us of the Blues Brothers' decommissioned cop car is because the CTA is the same software the Internal Revenue Service uses for its audits - and just as the Blues Brothers needed "cop tires, cop suspension, and cop shocks" in order to outrun the police, using the same software as the IRS should help companies stay out of the agency's clutches.

The money value of time

Crowe Tax Risk Assessment and Control Solution

Crowe Horwath and the Urban Institute

Even for nonprofits, time is still money, and with their noted aversion to profits, they can hardly afford to spend the more than 400 hours that the IRS itself estimates are required to complete its new Form 990 for nonprofit entities. Enter Crowe Horwath, with its Crowe Tax Risk Assessment and Control Solution, or C-TRAC, which is designed to ease the 990 nightmare. Created in collaboration with the Urban Institute, C-TRAC breaks the data collection process into manageable pieces, has a delegation feature to spread the work appropriately, links to the IRS's instructions for completing the form, lets users view their actual Form 990 as they complete it, and more.

No guarantees


Investment Risk Management Systems Inc.

We all know that past performance is no guarantee of future returns, but really, what else are you going to judge an investment vehicle by - its engaging smile? its number of Facebook friends? Investment Risk Management Systems' new Web-based FundReveal tool acknowledges this fundamental truth, and then improves on it with a patented methodology that charts the performance of close to 20,000 mutual funds against the S&P 500 based on measures of risk, return and persistence (their tendency to regularly deliver higher returns and lower risk). It also presents its comparisons in an easy-to-understand format that should be comprehensible to even your dimmest clients. Different levels of subscription are available, depending on the number of funds you want to compare, and for the moment a free trial is available on the company's Web site.

Making customers right


American Express Open

Whenever we say that the customer is always right, we almost always mean that the customer is dead wrong, but we're willing to put up with it if the customer is willing to pay. That said, payment is one of the few exceptions to this rule: Any way the customer wants to pay is, in fact, right, and a good business goes out of its way to make sure of it, by offering lots of ways to accept the customer's money. American Express Open's AcceptPay system helps make customers right by letting businesses accept credit card, e-check and ACH payments online (even if they don't have a Web site), by phone and in person. It also lets users send invoices, set up automatic invoicing and payments for recurring billing, simplify their accounts receivable, and much more. The real rule, in the end, is that the customer is never right, but their money always is.

And back again

Solid Converter PDF

Solid Documents

A picture is worth a thousand words, but there are limits to what you can do with those words: You can't edit them, spell check them, or re-arrange them in Excel. Most PDFs are, essentially, pictures of words, and some of the same restrictions apply if you want to play around with the words or numbers they contain. To that end, Solid Documents has released Solid Converter for both Windows and Mac to more efficiently and accurately convert text and data, including complex tables and spreadsheets, from PDFs into Word, Excel and other files, where you can re-arrange them to your heart's content.

New and improved!

Concur has made its online expense reporting service for small businesses, Concur Breeze, available as a mobile application for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone smart phones. It's free for Concur Breeze customers. ... Colligo Networks has released Version 4.2 of its Contributor for SharePoint product line. ... Epicor Software Corp. has teamed up with Village Green Global Inc. to add the ability to identify, analyze, audit, track, manage, benchmark and report on carbon emissions, environmental impact and energy consumption to its ERP solution.

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