(This column originally appeared in Accounting Today)
1. Best small-biz accounting software of 2023
According to a review of the most popular small-business accounting applications, the best overall accounting software for 2023 is QuickBooks. Wave makes the list for its accessibility to basic accounting tasks at no cost. Freshbooks is tagged as the best software for freelancers. For the rest of the list, visit the link. (Source: U.S. News)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: This is a good list to consider if you have clients looking to purchase or replace their accounting software. Also look for an application with a wide community of support and add-on products and, if you think your client’s business is going to significantly grow, one that is scalable.
2. Small businesses suffer record cyber-attacks
Writer Phil Muncaster shared important data from the Identity Theft Resource Center, based on a study done of 551 business owners. Nearly three-quarters (73%) said they were hit with a cyberattack last year. Curiously, as Muncaster points out, less than 30% follow best practices such as multifactor authentication. (Source: Infosecurity Magazine)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: The majority of these breaches involve employee or customer data — which can be catastrophic not just financially, as it also impacts customer trust as the respondents also shared. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency offers guidelines for small businesses on implementing cybersecurity protocols.
3. Google wants you to ditch passwords
Logging in with a password is coming to an end on the Google network. The company is switching over to passkeys — a technology that utilizes biometrics (facial/print recognition) and PIN numbers — to simplify and speed up the sign-in process. (Source: TechRadar)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Passkeys are phishing-proof and more secure in that they use cryptographics (coded information) that makes the hacker’s job much more difficult. Google has started the process with a brief overview of why they will eventually replace password sign-ins with passkeys. They also noted that passkeys are a welcome alternative and “spare people the headache of remembering all those numbers and special characters in passwords.” Microsoft and other tech companies are doing the same. Which means we’ll all be doing the same very soon.
4. Study: Blogs appear most often in Google top positions
Website Bright Edge Data found that blogs appear “23% of the time” in the top five Google search results. Their results were based on 10,000 keywords relevant to 10 industries — (such as banking, real estate, and marketing) — excluding homepages, blogs appeared 20% of the time in top searches. (Source: Search Engine Land)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: It’s worth noting that video content only appeared 7% of the time based on their data. The takeaway is that the blog format is a valuable tool for maintaining a virtual presence or growing an audience. “To be successful in this new world of generative AI content creation, you will need a deep understanding of your audience,” said BrightEdge founder Jim Yu.
5. Get ready for a deluge of AI-written emails
Your email drafts folder will soon be populated by AI. Dina Bass of Bloomberg reported on Microsoft’s AI component “CoPilot” which has been trained to write emails. Per Microsoft, it will help “you stay on top of your inbox and create impactful communication in a fraction of the time.” (Source: Bloomberg)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Not merely a time-saving tool, Microsoft promises that CoPilot can be trained to replicate a person’s tone and unique phrasing in email messages. According to Microsoft, the feature is still in its test phase and is “one of the most” requested features from business customers. My question: Will users pay for this new feature?
6. Dropbox unveils video app, updates AI tools
File storage platform Dropbox is making some major upgrades as it continues to support the “new era of work.” (Source: Computerworld)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: According to Computerworld, Dropbox Studio is a new video collaboration tool designed to centralize the process of video creation, sharing, editing and publishing. The editing feature now allows users to trim and remove filler words. Finished video clips can be posted directly to Facebook and Instagram. An enhanced web interface will give users the ease of working while keeping Dropbox open to retrieve files, share and edit documents, and other team collaboration tasks — rather than having to sign-in again.
7. SurveyMonkey announces MaxDiff analysis
Online survey platform SurveyMonkey is now adding MaxDiff to its catalog of research tools. (Source: MarTech Cube)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: What the heck is “MaxDiff” you may ask? Good question. It’s a methodology used in survey analysis. It presents the respondent with a list of items that they rank as “Best” or “Worst.” For example — based on the type of survey — each item is measured on the scale of most important or least important. The results offer qualitative information about customer preferences when given a set of options. SurveyMonkey is making this “go-to tool” available to users who are registered on any of their three plans.
8. Zoho ramps up communication platform Cliq
Tech company Zoho announced several updates to its communication app Zoho Cliq that “centralizes the workspace” for teams that work remotely. Features include a collaboration dashboard, productivity tools, and instant messaging. The new features will be available in November. (Source: Moneycontrol)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Full disclosure: My company is a Zoho partner. I include this news because it not only impacts Zoho users — most are small/midsized businesses — but users of other CRM products like it because Zoho is not the only platform introducing new communication and collaboration tools to rival Slack and Zoom. Be sure to ask your vendor what their response is to this news.
9. The best webcams for 2023
Valentina Palladino of Engadget reported on the best webcams for 2023. Her pick for best overall is the Logitech Brio 500 for its wide field of vision, auto-light correction and mic array, to name just a few features. It’s available on Amazon for $130. With the proliferation of YouTube channels and work-from-home set-ups, Palladino details a comprehensive list of things to consider before choosing the best webcam. Click the source link to see the others that made her list. (Source: Engadget)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Quality and affordable webcams are growing in importance for businesses because leaders that care about their brands don’t want their employees talking to clients using technology that makes them look like Wayne’s World.
10. GoDaddy Conversations integrates with Google’s Business Messages
GoDaddy just announced “GoDaddy Conversations” — an “all-in-one” communications solution. (Source: GoDaddy)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: It’s an interesting attempt to bring everything into one place. The company says that Conversations will integrate Google’s Business Messages to give entrepreneurs the ability to “track messages across multiple communications channels” and give them a virtual line to customers who use Google searchers and Google Maps. Additionally, customers who connect with business owners/entrepreneurs via social media or other web spaces will be gathered and sorted into one location. If you’re hosting your site on GoDaddy, my recommendation is to ask for a demo of these features.