The Right Tools

BY ARTHUR E. NATHAN

Reading “ Mass Mailings Made Simple ” ( JofA , Apr.05, page 48) reminded me of the old story about the handyman who owned only a screwdriver, so he used the handle to drive nails. While the article is interesting, it does not do the accounting profession a service.

Why do so many of my CPA brethren continue to waste their most valuable asset—time—using screwdrivers instead of the right tools? Technology is a tool begging to be used.

With products such as ACT!, Sage CRM and SalesLogix, mass mailings are simple to create. Too often, when I consult to members of our profession, I understand why so many of their clients are afraid to invest in being more efficient: Their trusted advisers are often too lacking in knowledge to point them in the right direction.

Let’s publish articles that point us to the future, not bury us in the past.

Arthur E. Nathan, CPA/CITP
President
Solution Strategists, Inc.
Cranford, N.J.

Authors’ reply: We agree there are other products designed to facilitate the creation of mailing lists, and these products do a great job. However, the purpose of this article was to show how easy it is to use Microsoft Word, an application found on most desktops, to do simple mail-merge tasks. In our experience, we have seen many people who are unaware of Word’s built-in capabilities.

For others, Word’s functionality is more than sufficient, and they already are familiar with the interface. Our research indicates that people prefer to use Microsoft Office when possible, even when specialty applications exist that are more powerful.

We encourage readers who plan to spend a large portion of their time doing mass mailings to buy and learn to use an application specifically designed for that. For simple mass mailings, Word does a good job, and you don’t have to buy and learn another software package.

Bonnie Brinton Anderson, PhD
Larysa V. Oprya
Marshall B. Romney, CPA, PhD
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah

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