Accounting & Audit
Technology Tools for Productivity
New technology tools are frequently showcased first at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas every January. While many innovative products have been initially introduced during CES, there have been a number of useful hardware and software ...
Nov. 16, 2017
New technology tools are frequently showcased first at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas every January. While many innovative products have been initially introduced during CES, there have been a number of useful hardware and software products introduced later this year. Many of you can benefit by deciding to use these gadgets and software. Clearly, you should make sure that the products fit your business strategy and tactics as well as your IT strategy and tactics.
Good innovation built with hard work and persistence
Software as a Service (SaaS) accounting continues to make progress. Two introductions this fall are of enough note that you should review them now: BQE Software’s Core and Zoho One. Both are breakthrough offerings from solid, well-managed publishers.
Let’s start with Core (http://www.bqe.com/products/core). Core includes actionable Business Intelligence including Real-Time Dashboards to performance metrics for Projects, Clients, and Employees. Core empowers business owners and managers to make informed decisions. Imagine what your firm would be like if you were able to make smart business decisions INSTANTLY. Imagine what your day would be like if you didn’t have to waste time trying to figure out what’s happening or where you should put your attention. Imagine your future if you instantly understood everything that was about to happen – and better yet – be aware of potential problems so you can take proper precautions. These resources might be helpful:
- BQE Core Brochure: http://www.bqe.com/media/pdf/CORE/ProductInformation/Core-Brochure.pdf
- Some blog posts by Eliza Fisher discussing Core:
o What’s the big deal about dashboards? http://blog.bqe.com/2017/07/24/whats-the-big-deal-about-dashboards/
o 10 project performance metrics that keep you on track http://blog.bqe.com/2017/08/08/11-project-performance-metrics-that-keep-you-on-track/
o A game-changer for professional services firms http://blog.bqe.com/2017/07/20/announcing-core-a-game-changer-for-professional-services-firms/
Another winner is Zoho One (https://www.zoho.com/one/). Zoho has been a good company with good products for some time. Some of you may recognize Zoho CRM, but many of you don’t know that there are 30+ Zoho applications (https://www.zoho.com/one/applications/web.html). The Zoho One offering includes all of these applications in one flat rate monthly fee per user. For example, Zoho introduced their accounting application Zoho Books last year and have expanded the functionality to include Inventory, Expense, Subscriptions, Invoice and Checkout. Further, the integrations (https://www.zoho.com/us/inventory/help/integrations/integrations-overview.html) make for good opportunities to integrate eBay, Etsy, Amazon and for most shipping companies globally. These resources might be helpful:
- Background on Zoho and their applications: https://www.zoho.com/aboutus.html
- Business Problems Zoho One addresses: https://docs.zoho.com/writer/published/1lmj62d38929dab54468ba3af66974fb82b0e
- Some background on Zoho One and Applications:
o Overview: https://www.zoho.com/one/
o Applications in the suite: https://www.zoho.com/one/applications/web.html
o Mobile Applications: https://www.zoho.com/one/applications/mobile.html
o Extras: https://www.zoho.com/one/applications/extras.html
In other columns covering SaaS, we have covered a number of products that are innovative. For example, ShareFile has continued to innovate by releasing their Client Request List (https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX217853). Now the product is gaining workflow (https://www.sharefile.com/workflow-management) adding this to other classic features like sync with unlimited storage and eSignature (https://www.sharefile.com/features). You’ll find this vendor continues to innovate, so you’ll need to check back for new features regularly.
Another software innovation has come from Neat (http://shop.neat.com/products/software-plans/). Traditionally, we have known this vendor for a small hardware scanner/software bundle. This year the company strategically decided to leave the hardware business and focus on the features of the software product. Instead of sourcing a scanner like they had in the past, they partnered with the big suppliers to the profession including Canon, Fujitsu and others (https://www.neat.com/partners/certified-hardware-partners/). One area of focus for the software is workflow (https://www.neat.com/solutions/workflows/) including those for accounting (https://www.neat.com/solutions/workflows/accounting/), bookkeeping (https://www.neat.com/solutions/workflows/bookkeeping/) and tax (https://www.neat.com/solutions/workflows/tax-prep/). For example, Neat interfaces directly to QuickBooks Online today and you can expect more integrations in the near future.
This publication routinely publishes information about apps. Two other software applications that you may not have located yet include: Blockfolio to manage cryptocurrency investments (https://www.blockfolio.com/) and for connecting applications to each other, I’m also a big fan of If This Than That, https://ifttt.com/.
Continue Reading Online at www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/12375854.
More than software
The motivation to write this article came from a vendor discovered at CES, Accell (https://www.accellcables.com/). The surge protection product Powramid® Power Center and USB Charging Station (https://www.accellcables.com/collections/power/products/powramid-power-center-and-usb-charging-station) has features that make me want to recommend this above competitors:
- 1080 Joules of Surge Protection
- Two USB Charging Ports (2.1A)
- Six Adapter Friendly Outlets
- Heavy Duty 6 Foot Power Cord
- Power Stop Technology – automatically stops conducting power once the Powramid’s absorption has reached capacity
- Fireproof X3 MOV Technology
- Green On/Off Switch for White Powramid
- Blue On/Off Switch for Black Powramid
- Safety Switch Cover
- 4 Rubber Feet that Protect Furniture from Scratching
The warranty is notable: 5-Years for Connected Equipment with $100,000 Limited Warranty. Its adapter friendly design is perfect for placement on top of a desk or a conference room table, providing easy access to multiple power outlets. The dual USB charging ports provide 2.1A charging for power hungry USB powered devices such as mobile phones, tablets or portable music players. Typical surge protectors continue to supply power even after they no longer are providing surge protection, exposing connected devices to potential damage from a power surge.
With its Power Stop technology, the Powramid automatically stops conducting power once the absorption has reached capacity. The Powramid features advanced X3 MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) technology that provides the safest surge protection by detecting surge conditions and reacts by directing excess energy away from equipment through the electrical grounding system. The MOV’s are encased in a fireproof material, fully containing the heat created by the power surge and eliminating the threat of fire. This advanced X3 MOV technology fully protects connected equipment from fire hazard during an abnormal or catastrophic surge event and provides longer protection lifespan than regular MOV.
But surge protection (https://www.accellcables.com/collections/power/Surge?view=all) is just one of many product lines. From display adapters to cables to mobile accessories to power (https://www.accellcables.com/collections/top-selling) this vendor tries to cover your key accessory needs. One final example might be the inclusion of USB-C adapters (https://www.accellcables.com/collections/adapters/USB-C?view=all).
Of course, the fall saw the introduction of new cell phones. Examples include:
- Apple iPhone 8 and 8 PLUS
- Apple iPhone X
- Apple Watch 3
- Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+
- Samsung Galaxy S8 Note with S-Pen
- HTC U11
- OnePlus 5
- Moto Z2 Play
- LG V30
Besides these mainstream products, there are small devices like the Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C (https://www.kingston.com/en/usb/personal_business/dtduo3c), The Dash Pro Bluetooth headset from Bragi (https://www.bragi.com/), or the Beoplay H5 from Bang & Olufsen Group (https://www.beoplay.com/products/beoplayh5).
Other Key Things to Look For?
It is enjoyable to teach CPE sessions with our K2 organization that include technology innovations for the Internet of Things (IOT), gadgets or technology in general (http://www.k2e.com/training). As each year ends and a new one begins, we reflect on the state of technology and the innovations to come. There are many leading and bleeding edge technologies that need explained and clarified in the coming months including but not limited to: Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cognitive Computing.
But sometimes, simple tools that just work have more value than complex systems. It is my commitment as a columnist to you that I will continue to look for innovative products that I believe are safe to use and fulfill my personal mission statement: to help as many people as I can use technology in the way that benefits them and their clients the most.
See inside November 2017
November 2017 Tax Channel
All in an effort to minimize filing fraudsters, the IRS has accelerated major information form filing. And to drive home their emphasis, the IRS has drastically increased preparer penalties.
5 Topics Every Accountant Should Address with Clients
The start of a new year is the perfect time to touch base with your clients or reach out to new ones. Don’t limit your discussion to traditional tax issues. Take the time to ask existing and prospective clients about their business plans overall.