Developments in the payment industry have brought additional payment options to small business owners who are on the go. Square and Intuit GoPayment streamline credit card processing from smartphones or the iPad. Charlie Russell, founder of CCRSoftware, offers a detailed look at Intuit GoPayment on the iPad2, which is worth investigating (see image 2).
Dwolla takes the paperless concept one step further, offering the ability to pay vendors or accept payments utilizing electronic transfers (neither cash nor credit cards are required). Users can quickly identify merchants that accept Dwolla using the vendor’s Spots feature.
If you’re not quite ready to fully immerse yourself or your firm in mobile and SaaS solutions, you’re in good company. Many firms find that they still need access to features that reside in their desktop products. Companies like CPAASP/Insynq, Right Networks, Awensa and Cloud9 Real Time are helping to bridge the gap that exists between desktop, SaaS and mobile applications. These companies host almost any computer application in a secure server farm. One hosting provider, Insynq, offers the ability to host more than 300 applications, including tax preparation software, financial accounting software, and even Microsoft Office.
Vendors in the mobile tax and accounting marketplace realize that security is a concern for everyone. You will want to ask questions and review documentation and third-party reports to become comfortable with each vendor’s approach to security and business continuity. Some areas for evaluation include data center operations (SAS 70/SSAE 16 reports and compliance), industry-specific compliance requirements (e.g. HIPAA, GLB, IRC §7216), safeguards that prevent Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, the physical security of the servers, backup systems, support and response times.
The introduction of apps for smartphones, hosting platforms and SaaS solutions has changed the way we think about where we want to work. This revolution, combined with the general availability of reasonably priced hardware, powerful software and always-on connectivity everywhere means that today’s users will not accept the business processes of a generation ago. We should all evaluate how we can use mobile technology to better serve clients and provide ourselves and our employees a better quality of life without sacrificing productivity.