From the November 2012 issue.
At The Sleeter Group, we believe that success in small business relies heavily on developing smarter, easier-to-use, and more efficient business processes to stay profitable and competitive. Successful business owners are constantly seeking better accounting software, more productive sales and customer tracking systems, improved product fulfillment systems, and superior vendor management systems.
Accounting professionals are always striving to keep up with the latest solutions in the marketplace so they can make the best recommendations for their clients. In addition, they now want to engage their clients anywhere, anytime to work better, together. So each year, we research the marketplace of accounting software and hardware solutions to identify and recognize the companies and products who deliver “awesome” value.
When the program began 7 years ago, it was designed to enhance the quality and quantity of “QuickBooks add-on software solutions” available in the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) accounting software marketplaces.
Since then, the “new world” of cloud solutions and business process “chunks” have begun to take hold in the marketplace, so we’ve updated the program name to the Awesome Applications Awards.
In order to qualify for an Awesome Application award, the product and/or service must be developed and sold by a solid company with a reputation for outstanding customer support, and the product must have the following attributes:
- Must be fully released and shipping in the U.S. by August 1, 2012.
- Although it is not a requirement that the product integrates directly with accounting data, if it does integrate, it must use the best practices for integration in addition to using the latest integration technologies as appropriate in the view of the evaluation committee.
- Must conform to good accounting principles and operating standards.
- If the product integrates with an accounting program (such as, but not limited to, QuickBooks) it should use appropriate transaction types and field population for recording data into that program, so as to preserve and/or enhance the program’s standard reporting features.
This year our selection process changed to include the accounting community in the selection of the award recipients. The accounting community voted during September 2012 and our expert panel worked during that time to diligently analyze each of the nominees. Community votes and expert panel votes each accounted for 50% of the overall score.
Sales tax may be inevitable, but the hassle is not. With AvaTax, never again research taxing jurisdictions that apply to a location, and never again manually assign nexus, taxability or sourcing rules to ensure a correct calculation – all of that is done behind the scenes within your accounting application, automatically. A Software-as-a-Service solution, AvaTax automates the full range of sales tax compliance tasks, from research and calculation of rates to reporting and returns, for a best-practices approach to sales tax – but without costly implementations or high-maintenance software. Simply download one of Avalara’s powerful connectors to link your accounting application with Avalara’s centrally managed sales tax engine, set up any tax profiles unique to your business using Avalara’s AvaTax Dashboard management console, and let AvaTax take care of the rest.
Bill.com is a cash flow command and control system that manages accounts payable and receivable for businesses of all sizes. Offering online bill pay, custom invoicing services, unlimited document storage, collaboration tools, and mobile access, Bill.com’s services easily syncs to users’ accounting software programs and online bank accounts to better control company financials. Bill.com guards against errors and employs enterprise-class fraud protections that current methods cannot match. More than 100,000 users are now getting paid and paying millions of bills, worth billions of dollars, using Bill.com. Financial institutions can now offer these benefits to their business customers by integrating Bill.com with their banking platform.
BillQuick is an integrated solution for Time and Expense Tracking, Billing and Project Management. It is designed to help your firm increase performance, streamline processes and make decisions faster. With different editions to choose from, it’s scalable to meet the needs of any firm size—from a single person to a global firm.
Cloud9 Real Time – Virtual Server Solution
Cloud9 Real Time
The Cloud9 Virtual Server is an all-inclusive solution to host all the clients applications, data and users in one central location – virtually replacing the need of an in-house server. All desktop applications that would normally reside locally, are now stored, accessed and managed on the Cloud.
Concur Small Business edition
Concur offers expense management and reporting for small and mid-sized businesses, designed to make expense tracking easier. With Concur’s mobile app, expense reports can be completed and approved from anytime, anywhere, and receipt capture is as easy as taking a picture. Concur automates and streamlines the submission, review, and approval of all business expenses with powerful administration tools. Concur’s integration with QuickBooks® is uses Intuit’s new Intuit Anywhere platform for cloud applications.
SmartVault allows businesses to store documents securely online. You can access and manage documents from inside your applications and share files safely and easily with trusted colleagues and clients. SmartVault’s unique approach makes your documents available to you, when you need them – from inside an app, over the web or from your mobile phone or tablet. SmartVault provides accountants with custom branded portals, activity & audit reports, large file upload, automated alerts, version history and full text search.
QuickBooks Online is the leading online financial management solution for SMBs with over 380,000 users. Developed in the early 2000s, the product has impressive features and a streamlined interface with excellent online tools for set up and help.
Xero is beautifully designed, easy to use online accounting software that changes the way you work with small and medium sized businesses. Xero includes unique features such as automated daily bank feeds, invoicing, expense claims, and fixed assets. Xero makes it easy for clients to keep the books up-to-date, making it possible for accountants to collaborate with them online. More than 200,000 people in over 100 countries around the world use Xero.
Zoho CRM is a great online and mobile platform to build, maintain and strengthen that relationship with your client. Email exchanges, engagements, marketing campaigns, unfinished tasks and invoices are all arranged in a systematic manner in your Zoho CRM account. In short, all your client information is available in one SINGLE spot. You can follow your prospects and identify bottlenecks in client acquisition and take corrective action. Social elements like LinkedIn keep you updated on your client’s activities and thereby build better relationships. A Zoho CRM account gives you access to the entire Zoho suite that include solutions for document management, accounting and project management. Furthermore, Zoho CRM will work great for your clients as evinced by several companies ranging from CPA firms to a private charter operator and to also non-profit organizations. Zoho CRM won the 2012 CRM Market leader award conducted by CRM magazine.
Previous winners of The Sleeter Group Awesome awards can be found on The Sleeter Group Web site at www.sleeter.com/awesomeaddons.
See inside November 2012
Partnering for Success: How a Property Manager Saved Time and Money
What does a property management company do when the technology they use to manage their property is causing them more headaches than it’s relieving? This is what Lynn Charles faced in 2008 as the general manager of 160-unit apartment property in Northeast Philadelphia.