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Management Montage

Column: Up Front

From the Oct. 2007 Issue

We are heading into the home stretch of 2007. If your year has been like mine,
you are shaking your head and trying to figure out where the time went. October
begins the fourth quarter for many businesses, and we are all busy preparing
for next year — looking ahead, planning, budgeting, and evaluating overall
growth strategies and internal business procedures. Ahhhh! The joys of management.
We know it is a BIG job, and some days seem overwhelming. So this issue gives
you some practical tips and advice as you juggle all the balls and keep the
plates spinning!

Now is the time to look at the technology you use in your business. If you are
going to be making changes in 2008 to transition to Windows Server 2008 or Windows
Vista (or even updating Office 2007), then this issue gives you some valuable
insight and recommendations to consider when looking at your network infrastructure.
(See Randy’s very thorough and helpful advice on page 40, in the first
half of a two-part column. It’s like having your own IT expert helping
you analyze and evaluate your current setup. And you aren’t even getting
the bill! At least send the guy a pizza! Actually, just a note letting him know
it was helpful will do. But I’m sure our writers wouldn’t turn down
free food if it arrived!)

Looking at implementing a solution in 2008 that will help you more effectively
capture, store and analyze customer information, and, therefore, allow you to
more effectively manage your relationships, communications and projects with
clients? Then this issue has several variations of products highlighted that
can assist you in that endeavor and provide guidance for you to offer your business
clients as they look at ways to manage their businesses better too. (Lisa looks
at an original contact management tool that is now truly a contender in the
CRM arena. See her case studies for how this tool can be used in various industries
on page 36. CRM can also include “social networking” tools as Greg
points out on page 70, where he gives you some great tips on how you can be
“discovered” and instantly increase your network by at least one
… maybe even 150! And Matt takes a look at the changing environment of
practice management products, beginning on page 8. You owe it to yourself to
take a really close look at these reviews and see how far these products have
come and what exactly they can do for you. Plus, you can learn even more and
earn CPE by attending our free live webcast event on Practice Management/Time
& Billing on October 4 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Just sign up today on our website!)

So how much should you invest in your 2008 technology budget? What is the average
amount accounting firms spend on infrastructure, software and training? We hear
these questions a lot at tradeshows and on reader visits. Everyone wants a simple
answer, but every firm is different. Unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter
solution to offer you. However, Greg talks with one tax and accounting professional
who shares some great starting points for you to consider in the “Technology
Talk” feature.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend some time with us.
If there are other management issues you would like us to cover in 2008 or if
there are additional areas for which you’d like some technology advice,
drop me a note at,
and we’ll see what we can manage (sorry, couldn’t resist)!