From the September 2010 Issue
Accountants are a special breed of people with above average intelligence,
a genuine interest in helping people, and often a lot going on in their lives
both professionally and personally. No, I’m not trying to butter you up;
it’s simply an observation that we are busy people who can learn to use
tools fairly quickly to do a job better and faster. This month, I want to suggest
a few useful hardware and software tools that you may not have discovered yet.
MIFI CELLULAR BROADBAND – SPRINT, AT&T OR VERIZON
We have recommended cellular broadband modems for some time, but a key development over the last few years is a small, transportable unit that allows a single cellular connection to be shared by up to five devices. Think how often you and an associate, an audit team or a family member are out with computers, cell phones, iPads, etc., and you’re in need of Internet access. These devices conveniently give secure access to a small group of people.
PERSONAL SCANNER WITH FUJITSU SCANSNAP S1500
Personal scanners are not new news, but this model is good for your home, and possibly your own office for light-duty scanning. If you need the convenience of converting paper to PDF or a paper document into Word, this is probably your solution. We still prefer production quality workgroup scanners like the Fujitsu fi-6130 or fi-6230 for higher volume and higher quality.
This appliance allows you to share a hard drive from home or office securely over the Internet. There are no ongoing fees, and this device is priced at $129. Pogoplug allows files or folders to be transferred securely, and even has an interface for your iPhone if you’d like to pick up a file that you’ve left behind. Setup time is only a few minutes, and almost no technical expertise is required.
BARCODE WITH WASP BARCODE
Wasp Barcode has so many useful, practical and inexpensive products that the company deserves a column by itself. For those who need to manage fixed assets, count inventory easily, use payroll time clocks, need hardware for Point-of-Sale, this provider is the place to look (with even more solutions, as well). They create simple hardware and software packages to solve small business issues and are robust enough to be used in medium to large organizations.
BACKUP OVER THE WEB WITH GILLWARE
“As long as we have your data, we can recover you,” has served as a pretty good mantra for me over the last 40+ years. What happens if your home or office is destroyed? What happens if your computer’s hard drive fails? What happens if your client or family member has a hard drive failure? Gillware offers a backup program that will backup Outlook PST and QuickBooks files at no charge, and can be branded by your firm if you desire. Yes, they want you to buy their product to back up everything else, and I think that’s a good idea, too.
TRANSFERRING FILES & PORTALS WITH SHAREFILE
The difficult job of setting up a portal can be done in minutes with this product. They brand to fit your firm and can easily move very large files. A newly added feature to this product is Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for full text search of all the documents in the portal.