(This article originally appeared on Accounting Today)
Businesses are divided over the productivity of their remote workforces; QuickBooks adds hardware to boost mobile payments; TikTok wants to be the next Linked In, and seven other things that happened in technology this past month and how they’ll impact your clients and your firm.
1. Nearly half of business owners say remote work hurts productivity
According to a new survey of over 1,000 U.S. business owners from review publisher Digital.com as much as 45 percent of respondents said that their companies weren’t as productive while employees are remote. Of those business owners, 39% said they would fire employees who refused to return to the office. (Source: Digital.com)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: It’s a brewing cultural war: to come to the office or stay at home. This survey says that people are less productive working from home. But other surveys I’ve seen say the opposite. The fact is that no one really knows because productivity is up to the person and some people thrive remotely while others need an office environment to perform their best. Your job is to leverage the technology, create a policy that allows some work-from-home benefits and keep things balanced.
2. QuickBooks introducing new hardware for mobile payments
With contactless payments becoming more prominent since the start of the pandemic, QuickBooks is rolling out QuickBooks Card Reader. QuickBooks Card Reader is a new piece of payments hardware that is geared toward small-business owners. (Source: Business Wire)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: This is important news for QuickBooks users — this innovative device will be able to be integrated with QuickBooks Payments and is the most recent offering designed to assist small businesses in getting paid quicker, regardless of whether they work remotely or in an office.
3. PayPal increases purchase limits for cryptocurrency
In order to meet the rapidly changing needs of customers, PayPal has raised its cryptocurrency purchase limits, according to an announcement made this past week. Moving forward, PayPal users who are eligible and located in the U.S. will be given a purchasing limit of $100,000. PayPal launched capabilities for cryptocurrency in the U.S. in October of last year and has been active in engaging with customers to understand their needs more fully to help develop a secure and trusted platform for users to checkout, sell, hold, and buy with cryptocurrency. (Source: IBS Intelligence)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: PayPal continues to expand its commitment to cryptocurrencies. This is something that is here to stay. We’re still telling our clients to be extremely careful with digital currencies — the markets are very volatile. But I do believe that digital currencies are the future and should not be ignored as viable options to both pay and receive funds.
4. Square plans new iPad POS with tap-to-pay
According to a new report, Square is developing a new point-of-sale system for iPad that will have a tap-to-pay function. The newest version of Square Stand will directly integrate the technology, allowing for a more efficient process than the previous version, which required an external device. Retailers pay a 2.6% fee for each transaction, in addition to 10 cents each time consumers dip, tap or swipe. Currently Square is $169, although the report did not include a cost for the newest system. (Source: Pymnts)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Square has gone from a credit card payment platform to a full-blown player in the point-of-sale technology industry, used by thousands of small merchants around the world. These upgrades will certainly keep it among the leaders and its offering should be considered by any merchant looking to implement or even replace their existing POS system.
5. Zoho launching biz intelligence platform
This past month, Zoho announced its new artificial-intelligence-infused business intelligence platform that will include tools to help with data prep, negating the need for businesses and organizations to get them separately. The new platform — known as the Zoho Business Intelligence Platform — will combine a heightened version of Zoho Analytics, Zoho Show Presentation, and Zoho Sites portal builder with Zoho DataPrep. The company’s goal is to streamline and simplify sharing data and analytics using a visual dashboard, while also allowing users to build and run queries alongside data that uses either the conversational AI platform ZIA or graphical tools. (Source: Venture Beat)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Full disclosure: My company is a partner of Zoho. We sell their products and I’m big fan of the company. Regardless, this news is another example of yet another popular small-business software company that is doubling down on analytics and reporting to deliver the best data possible for its users wherever they are. My clients have spent years accumulating terabytes of valuable data and they all complain of the lack of reporting tools available to truly leverage that data. This should certainly help.
6. Microsoft puts Windows in the cloud, boosts Dynamics 365
Microsoft is rolling out Windows 365, a new service that will work on any updated web browser, allowing businesses to have access to cloud PCs from various devices. Only businesses will have access to Windows 365 under a per-user, per-month subscription cost. The service launched on Aug. 2 and details on pricing have not yet been made available. Microsoft will also be integrating new Teams features with Dynamics 365. (Source: The Verge and XDA)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: This is big news for Windows users because it means you can use any device regardless of whether Windows is installed and, via Microsoft’s cloud service, have full access to your Windows desktop and experience as if you’re sitting at your desk. The new integrations will streamline collaboration processes for businesses, allowing users to troubleshoot, share information, and work together in Teams chat.
7. TikTok launches TikTok Resumes
Last month TikTok began a program called “TikTok Resumes,” where users can — for a limited time — post video resumes for employers to review. Why? Because according to some reports, there are more Gen Z users on TikTok than on Instagram and over half of the app’s user base is younger than 24 years old. That number is significantly higher than what’s found on LinkedIn. (Source: Business Insider)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: The biggest problem we have this summer is finding people. Now TikTok is jumping into the game and — given the size of their audience — the platform could be a great resource for employers looking for that next star.
8. Bill.com acquires Invoice2go
Leading cloud-based software provider Bill.com announced that it has acquired accounts receivable software company Invoice2go. Invoice2Go provides small businesses and freelancers with the capabilities to build their brand, manage payments and invoicing, and expand their client base. Through the acquisition, Bill.com will be able to offer a more robust accounts receivable experience for businesses, helping businesses create professional invoices, interact and engage with their customers, and more. (See the full story.)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Bill.com is more known for its accounts payable automation technologies. But the company has always offered ways to streamline receivables too. Now the company is expanding its reach into revenues. Through the acquisition, Bill.com will be able to offer a more robust accounts receivable experience for businesses, helping businesses create professional invoices, interact and engage with their customers, and more.
9. The Verge picks the best free apps for video calling
Technology website The Verge recently reviewed free apps for video calling as well as some chat apps with video calling capabilities, concentrating on apps that let you have more than 10 people participating and apps that let you use them without downloading the application. According to The Verge, some of the best free apps for video calling include Zoom, Skype Meet Now, Cisco WebEx, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Google Duo, StarLeaf, Jitsi Meet, Whereby, RingCentral Video Pro, Spike, and Telegram. (Source: The Verge)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: You’ll know a lot of these names. But you will also not know a lot of these names. Always good to have alternatives and maybe one of these platforms are better suited to the way you do business than the one you’re currently using.
10. Google Meet put the clamps on free users
Google will now be limiting group video calls for its free users to one hour, officially ending the promotion the company ran during the pandemic which previously limited group video calls to 24 hours. Initially, Google Meet was supposed to provide unlimited video calls from the time it launched in April of 2020 until the end of September of last year. However, Google extended the deadline two times. The free version of Google Meet still allows more flexibility compared to Zoom’s free version by allowing up to 100 participants for a one-hour meeting, whereas Zoom has a participation limitation of 100 guests for a 40-minute meeting. (Source: ARS Technica)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: I’ve been using all the video conferences heavily over the past year and I am going to now publicly say that I like Google Meet the best just for its ease of connection and quality of both video and audio. That said, Zoom is still excellent and provides more tools for meetings than Google currently does. Microsoft Teams has, in my experience, been less consistent and more difficult to deal with, particularly when my corporate clients are initiating meetings that require Microsoft sign-ins.