(This article originally appeared on Accounting Today)
The debut of Windows 11, a stay of execution for cookies, crypto features in PayPal, and seven other things that happened in technology this past month and how they’ll impact your clients and your firm.
1. Microsoft announces Windows 11
In a big online event last month, Microsoft announced the release of its new operating system, Windows 11, which should be in wide public use by the end of the year. Included in the new operating system will be more design changes, “widgets” for seeing news, weather and other information, better integration with its popular Teams product, a revamped app store and support for Android apps, among many new features. There will also be significant improvement in performance, browsing capability and battery life. Oh, and updates will only be once a year instead of twice. (Source: CNBC)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: If you’re a Windows user, then of course you’ll be wanting this new version. In fact, you’ll likely be required to get it at some point. But I do suggest waiting a few months — if possible — before going through the process. Let others deal with the inevitable and unforeseen problems of this upgrade because, well, it’s Microsoft isn’t it?
2. Edge computing is coming, and businesses aren’t ready
According to a recent report put out by Intel, the ability to adopt edge technology will determine whether or not businesses can be successful moving forward. With 72 percent of leaders in IT currently using edge computing in order to supply forward-thinking and innovative services, businesses no longer have the luxury of avoiding edge computing. The explosion in edge computing across nearly every industry is thanks to the heightened use of data. With more and more users relying on tech, the amount of data generated is at an all-time high. (Source: ZDNet)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: By now you’re wondering, what is “edge” technology and how can it affect my small business? According to Hewlett Packard, “Edge computing is a distributed, open IT architecture that features decentralized processing power, enabling mobile computing and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. In edge computing, data is processed by the device itself or by a local computer or server, rather than being transmitted to a data center.” It means that more processing in the future will be done at the device level, not in the cloud.
Now that you know this, you can consider more robust device investments — laptops, local servers, “smart” equipment, etc. — in the future, knowing that, as HP says: “Edge computing allows for efficient data processing in that large amounts of data can be processed near the source, reducing Internet bandwidth usage. This both eliminates costs and ensures that applications can be used effectively in remote locations. In addition, the ability to process data without ever putting it into a public cloud adds a useful layer of security for sensitive data.”
3. Google delays the extinction of cookies
Last month Google, bowing to pressure from partners and customers, decided to delay their plans to scrap cookies — those little apps that download to a device and track a user’s online behavior. The delay will last until late 2023 so that publishers, advertisers and regulators have more time to make their plans — and to adopt other technologies being developed by the tech giant to replace. (Source: Wall Street Journal)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: It’s not just publishers and advertisers that leverage cookies. Many small companies spend significant dollars on advertising tools to track and target potential customers and drive them to their websites. They are doing this using cookies and the bottom line is that cookies are going to go away in just a few years and that’s going to change a lot of companies’ advertising and marketing models. Perhaps yours. You have more time to make your plans, so talk to your advertising partners and keep a close eye on the new tools that Google and others will be introducing that will replace cookies.
4. Osome raised $16M to automate repetitive accounting
Osome — an accounting platform powered by artificial intelligence — shared this past month that it has raised $16 million in funding and plans to use the funding to help expand internationally and build new products for integration. The Singapore-based company focuses mainly on providing accounting services online for small and midsized businesses mostly in the ecommerce realm. (Source: VentureBeat)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: The accounting platform stores the documents sent to them by companies, tags, categorizes them, and automatically creates the required paperwork for compliance while also ensuring that the processes and documents can be traced. Potentially worth a look, particularly if you’re in the e-commerce field.
5. PayPal to add a crypto withdraw feature
PayPal is planning to add a new feature that will allow customers to withdraw crypto and transfer money externally to digital wallets instead of just spending or hanging onto the funds. According to the company it wants to give options to users and allow them the choice to pay for items in various ways, while giving customers a platform that is easy to use and can help simplify the selling and buying process when it comes to cryptocurrencies. The new feature will be integrated through Venmo, which is owned by PayPal. (Source: Pymnts)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: According to the company, it wants to give options to users and allow them the choice to pay for items in various ways, while giving customers a platform that is easy to use and can help simplify the selling and buying process when it comes to cryptocurrencies. The new feature will be integrated through Venmo, which is owned by PayPal.
Crypto is here, folks. Get ready to deal with it.
6. PTO startup Sorbet reels in another $15M
The U.S./Israeli startup Sorbet raised another $15 million last month following a $6 million round last April. The company has a unique approach to paid time off, where it allows employees to “spend” accrued vacation time on other types of deals or convert those hours easily into cash and thereby helps employers better forecast their PTO liabilities for the future. (Source: TechCrunch)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: PTO is a critical benefit that small businesses must be offering in order to stay competitive in this tight labor market. Companies like Sorbet are providing other options and better control for companies offering their service. The more of these options you can provide to prospective employees the greater your chance of hiring them — and retaining your existing people too.
7. Apple has bad news for some Mac owners
Apple revealed last month that the new macOS Monterey will not operate on all existing Macs. Differing from older Apple devices such as watches, iPads, and iPhones, not all Macs that operate using the most up-to-date version of macOS will support the newest update that rolls out this fall. Some of the Macs that will support the new system include iMacs from late 2015 on, iMac Pros from 2017 on, to name a few. MacBook’s from early 2015, MacBook Pros from late 2013 and mid 2014, MacBook Airs from mid-2014 and early 2014, and iMacs from mid-to-late-2014 and early 2015 will not support the system. (Source: ZDNet)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: I know you’ve been putting it off, but it looks like it’s now time to budget for upgrading/replacing your Apple devices throughout your company if they were purchased before 2016.
8. Vivaldi adds mail and more to its privacy-focused browser
Vivaldi shared a vital web browser update this past month. With its new Version 4.0, users can expect to see beta models of Vivaldi Feed Reader, Calendar, and Mail, as well as a translation tool. The update is already available on Android, Linux, Mac and Windows devices. The new translation feature is built directly into the browser and — in order to keep privacy top-of-mind — all activity done through the translation feature will be protected from third-parties on the company’s servers located in Iceland. (Source: Yahoo Finance)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Not a big fan of Edge, Chrome or Safari? You may want to consider the very strong up-and-comer browser called Vivaldi. It touts built-in email and other media, a different interface and many other features that may appeal to you more than the standard offerings. People love it.
9. 5 Windows 10 features you should be using
A useful essay by tech expert Ed Bott that will help you and your employees save time and be more productive. I’m already a fan of Snip & Sketch. And you got to love the free 5GB of storage on OneDrive. (Source: ZDNet)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: What, saving time and being more productive isn’t important for your business?
10. Digital bank grabs $40.7M for growth
Novo, a digital banking service that focuses on small and midsized businesses, has pulled in close to $41 million to finance its growth. According to a company press release, more than 100,000 small businesses have opened a Novo account since the company launched in 2018. Over the next year, “Novo will continue to focus on solving the top problems small businesses face: cash flow, through faster payments and access to lending products banks traditionally do not offer to small businesses,” said Tyler McIntyre, chief technology officer and co-founder of Novo. (Source: Pymnts)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: The banking industry is undergoing a massive transformation and companies like Novo are leading this effort. Small businesses no longer need branches to conduct their banking business. It can all be done digitally, which is quicker and less expensive. Are you still banking the old way?
Note: Some of these stories also appeared on Forbes.com