(This article originally appeared in Accounting Today)
A number of vendors release tools that make it easier for businesses to create their own solutions, lots of cybersecurity news, and a handful of other developments in technology this past month, and how they’ll impact your clients and your firm.
Note: Some of these stories also appeared on Forbes.com.
1. Only 21% of remote workers are aware of cyber threats
A recent report released by Unisys revealed that 61% of remote and hybrid employees believe they are responsible for being aware of and preventing cyber threats. However, the report showed that a mere 21% of employees are actually aware of more advanced cyber threats. With 83% of companies sharing that they’ve had a successful transition to working remotely and 55 percent of employees want to stay remote, internet security has become a primary focus and concern despite the report finding many remote employees lack proper internet security awareness. (Source: Venture Beat)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: The biggest cause of data breaches and malware attacks is employee error. And the biggest reason why so many employees are making errors is because they’re not satisfactorily trained. In 2022, so that your business isn’t victim to an attack that could disrupt or shut you down, I strongly recommend you contract with an IT firm to provide training for your employees.
2. Jotform Apps launches no-code app builder
Leading online forms SaaS solution company Jotform released details that it now has a no-code app builder that anybody can use. The new platform — called Jotform Apps — will allow users to create portals for internal teams, bundle forms, and build apps for businesses, among many other things. Key features include the ability to receive payments from any device, create an app with a single form, and a drag-and-drop app builder. On any device, users will be able to simply download Jotform Apps instantaneously without having to visit the app store. (Source: PR News Wire)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Jotform is a client of my company, but their public news captures a growing trend among software companies that are providing “no-code” tools so that their users can build custom applications and integrations without relying so much on a developer. The reality is that experts and developers will still be needed because none of us want to learn how to do this stuff. But the time required will be much less and the support can come from a wider field of resources.
3. Slack aims for workflow automation and app integration
Slack recently revamped its platform in order to make the popular app a vital piece in helping integrate multiple systems and ease workflow automation. The new layer will also help integrate more third-party apps and services. (Source: ZDNet)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Like Jotform, Slack is also jumping on board with “no-code” tools. According to ZDNet, Slack’s new approach will allow users to develop workflows and apps without the use of a code and make it simpler to tie together other workflows and apps with Slack through its new developer tools.
4. Apple announces Self Service Repair; makes a new play for small biz
Apple announced details about its Self Service Repair. The new service will let customers who have the knowledge to repair their own hardware have access to genuine Apple tools and parts. The tech giant also released details last week about its new business tools service, which will be geared toward helping companies with 500 or fewer employees navigate technology as it pertains to working remotely. (Sources: Apple.com and CNBC)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: This is a big thing for small businesses and a big win for the “right to repair” movement. How annoying is it that if repairs are needed to your or your employees’ mobile devices, you have to send the device back to Apple or Samsung or whatever? The tide is turning and now Apple is going to allow people to do their own repairs. I suspect this will also lead to small fix-it shops expanding their services.
5. Microsoft drastically increased request limits for Power Apps
Microsoft shared that it is making a big adjustment when it comes to increasing request limits for Power Apps in order to help out businesses. The reason for the change is that Microsoft wanted to be able to aid with most scenarios involving customers. The update will increase the limits for Dynamics 365, Power Virtual Agents, Power Automate, and Power Apps users. (Source: Windows Central)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Want to get something done in your business or automate a small process? Want to integrate your CRM system and your accounting system? Want to create special applications that perform special tasks like onboarding, expense approval, service requests or crisis communications? All of this can be done using Power Apps and at a much lower cost than ever before because these apps have code built in that will need a lower-skilled developer and less testing.
6. Just 30% of SMBs have started automating AP
New data from finance website PYMNTS revealed that only 30% of small businesses have started the process of automating their accounts payable processes in order to release payments instantly. The same data revealed that 58% of larger businesses and corporations have already started this process. One of the greatest concerns regarding automating the AP process has to do with security risks. In fact, a third of the companies surveyed are worried about B2B fraud, with 26% worrying about the sensitive data of payments. (Source: Pymnts)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Don’t let your clients be part of the 70%. They should move forward with tools that will help them run their businesses more profitably. To better manage their cash flow, increase productivity and limit their employee-related overhead, I suggest taking a deep dive into the major accounts payable management platforms that many of my clients use, such as Bill.com, Avidxchange and Dext.
7. A kinder, gentler Twitter?
Twitter’s new subscription service — known as Twitter Blue — has added new features, including the ability to allow users to pay in order to read ad-free news and undo tweets before they send. While the service itself launched initially on iOS this past June in Australia and Canada, last week it became available in New Zealand and the U.S. on both the web and Android. Bookmark folders and a reader mode for tweet threads were some of the other features that rolled out with the original launch. (Source: The Verge)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: A kinder, gentler Twitter? Perhaps, assuming people want to pay for it. If the service catches on, then it may help small businesses on the platform who just want to have normal debates about the issues that challenge them, without suffering the wrath of the Twitter mob.
8. 57% of all ecommerce cyberattacks are bot-driven
Imperva Research Labs recently released its 12-month analysis of cybersecurity risks that currently impact ecommerce and found that bots were responsible for 57% of attacks on ecommerce websites. The same analysis revealed that other industries only saw 33% of attacks carried out by bots. Compared to 2020, the amount of bot attacks each month on ecommerce sites went up by 13%. The report shared that ecommerce websites continue to be a main target for cybercriminals. (Source: Venture Beat)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: As I write this, millions of bots are trolling the Internet looking for devices to attack. And their main targets? Devices that are running older operating systems of Windows, Mac and Android. Your response as a business owner should be to invest in an IT firm that will monitor your work-from-home employees and ensure that they’re running the most recent operating system. It won’t guarantee protection, but it will significantly decrease the probability.
9. Fiverr launches new solutions for small biz management
Fiverr announced that it will be introducing a new set of management tools meant to assist small-business owners and freelancers when it comes to taxes, payments, and additional day-to-day items. (Source: Pymnts)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: The new platform — called Fiverr Workspace — will allow users to manage and connect various revenue sources through the single platform. The new suite will also help with the back end of businesses to help owners manage those items more efficiently. If you’re a freelancer on Fiverr you should be diving into these tools.
10. Microsoft OneDrive will no longer be compatible with millions of PCs
Microsoft has announced that, beginning March 1 of next year, the OneDrive app will no longer sync with Windows, 7, 8 and 8.1. According to the tech giant, the change comes in order to allow more focus and resources to be spent on newer operating systems and technologies. For business owners using OneDrive, beginning on the first of next year, the support for business owners on OneDrive will align with Windows support. (Source: Tech Radar)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Besides security (see above) this is another reason to upgrade your Windows operating environment.