(This column originally appeared in Accounting Today)
1. QBO Advanced aims to empower accountants
Intuit last month launched QuickBooks Online Advanced. New features include better analytics, automatic backups, custom roles based on an employee’s job, and more automation to “Set reminders for transactions with a due date, like invoices, payments, or deposits with the Workflows feature.” The new product will also allow users to “notify customers when they receive their payment, plus send bills and invoices through pre-set approval flows.” (Source: Yahoo Finance)
Why this is important for your firm and your clients: And yet, my clients still complain that QuickBooks Online still doesn’t provide the full capabilities offered by the company’s on-premise applications and are underwhelmed by its lack of inventory and order management features. I’m a fan of Intuit but the company needs to bring this online offering up to the level of some of its more advanced competitors if it really wants to be taken seriously as a platform for companies that have grown beyond the very small.
2. Small biz underestimates impact of cyber attacks
A new Nationwide Agency Forward survey revealed that 40% of small-business owners believe a cyberattack costs less than $1,000, and that 60% expect it to take less than 90 days to recover from an attack. Data from Nationwide, however, confirms that attacks can cost businesses between $15,000-$25,000 and take an average of 279 days to recover. (Source: Insurance Journal)
Why this is important for your firm and your clients: That’s why your employees need to be upgrading their operating systems.
3. A new reason to switch to Google Workspace
Google Workspace users will be able to benefit even more from their subscriptions due to significant expansions being made to the platform. Google announced that those who subscribe to the office software suite will now enjoy 1TB of secure cloud storage, compared to the previous 15GB. The update also includes smarter emails with mail merge tags and other personalization options. (Source: Tech Radar)
Why this is important for your firm and your clients: This is definitely an intriguing new offer, considering the vast amount of file space your business probably needs. But it’s pretty much bringing Google into line with what its biggest competitor Office 365 offers.
4. Square adds niche commerce tools
Square is releasing two new commerce features on Square Terminal, for retail and appointments. The company says that the new features will help simplify the process for online merchants to sell their services and products all over the world. The new features — known as Square Appointments and Square for Retail — will enable businesses to process customer purchases nearly anywhere, allowing sellers to navigate customer demand from more locations. (Source: Pymnts)
Why this is important for your firm and your clients: “Square for Retail on Square Terminal has helped me streamline and condense everything so I can use all the features I need on one device,” the owner of an Alabama gift shop told Pymnts. “I can use Square Terminal as an extra checkout to ensure I’m offering my customers a great experience anywhere, whether I’m selling at my brick-and-mortar store or at local markets on-the-go.”
5. Sift updates Microsoft Teams app
People directory provider Sift has announced significant updates to its Microsoft Teams app. The update — known as Sift for Teams V2.1 — will now enable those present in meetings to get to know more about attendee work location, name pronunciation, interests, project teams, and more. Users can now download the updated Sift Teams app through online marketplace Microsoft AppSource. (Source: PRNewsWire)
Why this is important for your firm and your clients: This is a valuable and affordable tool for enhancing your Teams meetings and one of many good apps for Teams and other Microsoft products to be found on AppSource that will help increase your people’s productivity.
6. ‘Thermal attack’ can read your password from the heat your fingertips leave behind
Researchers in the computer security space recently shared that they’ve created a system powered by artificial intelligence that is able to guess smartphone and computer passwords in mere seconds. The system works by simply analyzing the heat signatures left by fingerprints on screens and keyboards after punching in passwords and other data. (Source: ZDNet)
Why this is important for your firm and your clients: The researchers built this application to illustrate how the fall in the price of thermal-imaging technology and the rise in AI and machine-learning algorithms open up new avenues to thermal attacks. So what to do? “Longer passphrases take longer to type, which also makes it more difficult to get an accurate reading on a thermal camera, particularly if the user is a touch typist,” one of the researchers told ZDNet. The researcher also suggested that biometric verification also adds protection.
7. Jotform Sign launches in the e-signature space
Leading online forms SaaS solution Jotform recently launched a new e-signature product powered by automation features. The new product — called Jotform Sign — enables businesses to easily send out documents with less setup time than traditional options. Jotform Sign uses automation features such as helpful integrations, limitless customization options, and advanced field detection. (Source: PRNewsWire)
Why this is important for your firm and your clients: There are many players in the document signing space, but I like what Jotform’s offering for a few reasons. For starters, it’s more affordable, given the features it provides compared to its competitors. I like Jotform’s ease of use. I like how simple it is to set up custom forms with automation and integration to existing applications. There’s a reason why so many of my clients already use Jotform to capture data from their websites: It’s a very user-friendly platform that makes sense for many small businesses.
8. 19 advanced Google search operators you need to know
Digital marketing and advertising technology website Search Engine Land recently highlighted 19 advanced Google Search operators that will help business owners gain powerful insights to help inform marketing efforts. Some of the operators include site, cache, related, “inanchor,” and “allinanchor.” You can see the full list and descriptions here. (Source: Search Engine Land)
Why this is important for your firm and your clients: This is one of those articles that will come in handy when you need to do a targeted search on Google and you’re not getting the results you require. Bookmark it and share it with your employees. I did.
9. Weave adds to its online scheduling tool
Weave recently announced new features for its Online Scheduling tool. The all-in-one customer engagement and communication platform for small business will now have the added compatibility integration with top management systems in the optometry and dental fields. When an appointment is confirmed, Weave will immediately create the appointment on the calendar of the integrated system and send users a text notification. (Source: MarTech Series)
Why this is important for your firm and your clients: If you have clients in the dental, medical, optometry or veterinary service industries, they’ll be interested in this very powerful platform for not only scheduling but also forms, phone integration, payments, insurance verification and many of the other functions that can be automated in their practice. Weave has been a popular product among many businesses in these fields.
10. Buildots named Construction Software of the Year
Construction software platform Buildots was recently named Construction Software of the Year at the highly regarded London Construction Awards. Buildots uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to drastically improve efficiency in construction. (Source: PRNewsWire)
Why this is important for your firm and your clients: Some of the cool features include a 360-degree camera mounted on hardhats to collect data that helps teams make critical decisions, a consolidated dashboard of critical information as well as scheduling and automation tools. It’s a nice platform that deserves consideration if you have clients in the construction business.