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Is PNC Blocking Out Venmo Users?…And Other Small Business Tech News

By December 23, 2019No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – PNC is fighting with Venmo.

PNC’s banking customers over the past few months have been complaining about issues connecting their accounts to the popular payment service Venmo, which is owned by PayPal. Venmo says it’s not their fault and that those customers should demand that PNC lets them “use the financial service apps” they need. Rather than fixing the issue, PNC is telling its customers to switch to their own payment service called Zelle. (Source: CNBC)

Why this is important for your business:

Venmo is used by hundreds of thousands of very small businesses, freelancers, charities and other organizations to make and receive payments. For many of these users, the free service has become a lifeline and a critical way for them to manage their cash flow. But banks are wising up. They’re taking more steps to protect customer data and they’re starting their own services. If you’re relying on Venmo, I suggest you consider alternatives, just in case.

2 – An HR startup promises to help you choose candidates better.

The UK-based Gloat, which just raised $25 million from a group of investment firms, offers artificial intelligence technology that helps employers to compare both current and prospective employee’s skills, strengths and interests and then recommends potential projects and jobs that would best suit the person. The company, per its website, says that it’s software will “engage employees with career opportunities that align with both their professional goals and with your current organizational needs.” (Source: CTech)

Why this is important for your business:

Gloat counts among its customers mostly big companies, but it won’t be long before we’ll see more affordable, simple AI-based technology like this that will help us solve the mystery of hiring and matching people with the jobs most suited to them.

3 – Instagram now lets you upload multiple photos on one Story post with ‘layout’ feature.

Instagram this week introduced a new layout for its Stories which will allow users to post multiple photos on one screen. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Many brands, businesses and individuals have been increasingly leveraging Instagram to market their products and services. The company, recognizing this, has been steadily pushing out new features to help users create, type faster, add in templates for quicker conversations and more easily show historical posts. According to The Verge’s Ashley Carman, the new Stories feature “speaks to Instagram’s power, because while this layout tool might be a selling point for third-party apps, once Instagram incorporates it into its own app, its billion users no longer need a solution from a separate company.”

4 – A payroll startup called Hourly gets $7.5 million.

Hourly, a Palo Alto-based startup that simplifies workers’ comp insurance, payroll and time tracking for small business owners, announced this week that it raised $7.15 million in seed funding. (Source: Yahoo Finance)

Why this is important for your business:

There are a lot of payroll companies competing for your business. So what’s so unique about Hourly? It’s that it focuses on small firms that have challenges reconciling their payroll, particularly for workmen’s compensation reporting. According to the company’s press release, Hourly can “save employers thousands of dollars on workers’ comp insurance by partnering with insurance providers and leveraging real-time payroll data. Its platform also ensures accurate reporting down to the penny and helps avoid over- or underpayment of workers’ comp insurance premiums.”

5 – A bookkeeping company owned by Lendio now does tax prep.

Sunrise Bookkeeping, which is owned by online finance company Lendio, says that users can now take advantage of its free tax preparation service which will alert users of potential tax liabilities in advance of deadlines. While the features do not allow filing taxes through the Sunrise platform, it will help small business owners better organize their documents, categorize transactions and reconcile accounts. (Source: PR Newswire)

Why this is important for your business:

Frankly, the tax features offered by Sunrise aren’t yet powerful, but they’re a good start. More importantly, they’re indicative of a trend that will affect your business and mine: the merging of our accounting and tax data with our banks and finance firms. More financial services firms are offering bookkeeping and tax services for small firms or are partnering with larger small business software providers like Intuit. I expect to see this trend continue throughout the next year.

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