Technology & Productivity Weekly

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May 16, 2014 Headlines

The Potentially Super Creepy Future of Wearable Tech in the Workplace
Smartphones, Mobile Search Drive SMB Call Volume
Three Steps to Creating Strong Passwords
2014 Review of Practice Management Systems for Accounting Firms
A Guide to Remote Access PC Control
10 Ways Blogs Can Generate Business
Five Tips for Using Technology as a Strategic Asset
How to Choose the Right Technology for Your Small Business

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The Potentially Super Creepy Future of Wearable Tech in the Workplace

Inc.com (05/06/14); Montini, Laura

According to a British-based study, wearable technology could improve employees' productivity. University of London researchers said these devices, which track data, led to nearly a 10 percent increase in productivity, as well as increased levels of job satisfaction. The study, part of a project titled The Human Cloud at Work, is a joint venture between Goldsmiths and cloud provider Rackspace. Participants wore devices measuring movement, brain activity, and posture. Researchers said the findings indicate potential for widely rolling out such devices at companies could be promising for the future of the workplace. The study also indicates potential for advanced scientific research focused on optimizing employees, through futuristic biometric CVs which would be matched toward a work environment. Read More


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Smartphones, Mobile Search Drive SMB Call Volume

Small Business Computing (04/29/14); Hernandez, Pedro

According to a report released by BIA/Kelsey and Bandwidth, smartphone adoption will skyrocket to over 90 percent by 2017. In the report titled "Phone Calls Are the New Click," researchers indicate smartphone technology will present significant marketing opportunities for small businesses. The rapid growth of smartphone usage, coupled with geolocation technology, indicates potential for mobile searches to directly drive the small business call volume. Potential clients will access businesses at the click of their phones, resulting in more immediacy for business patronage. The report noted "on-the-go consumers have a naturally higher degree of immediate commercial intent than at-home 'lean-back' desktop searchers." BIA/Kelsey predicts that SMBs failing to adopt targeted mobile strategies will lose customers and consequently revenue in the near future. Read More


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Three Steps to Creating Strong Passwords

Accounting Today (04/28/2014); Anderson, Joe; Warren, Mark

Firms should follow three rules for creating strong passwords. The first step is creating a unique phrase that can be remembered easily. Examples include using the first letter of each word and substituting letters with symbols or special characters. Another useful tip is using a letter combination in a password that corresponds to the Web site. For example, logging into Gmail might entail adding the last letters of Gmail or "ail" to a password. Finally, a password should include unique characters or symbols that are meaningful to an individual, like dates or ages. Read More


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2014 Review of Practice Management Systems for Accounting Firms

CPA Practice Advisor (04/22/14); Tankersley, Brian

CPA Practice Advisor has reviewed a series of practice management systems for tax and accounting firms. Reviews for APS, CCH Axcess Practice, and Practice CS were among the practice management systems reviewed on select criteria. CPA Practice Advisor separated applications into two categories: time and billing solutions and practice management applications. The most critical features of practice management solutions include integrated client portals, which exchange data between clients and practitioners. Workflow management tools allow accountants to track tasks and streamline communications. Timers are another useful feature that allows practitioners to assign timers to specific clients, service code, or billing engagement. Contact management and customer relationship management tools are additional features enhancing practice management applications, with integration capabilities for software like Microsoft Outlook. Read More


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A Guide to Remote Access PC Control

In the era of remote computing, there are three remote control options that businesses should consider for increasing the ease of computing. The first tool, Windows Remote Desktop, is available for PCs, iOS, and Android devices. Using Remote Desktop with Pertino, a VPN cloud-based solution, eases the setup process and allows users to connect remotely to devices without configuring extensive firewall and IP address protocols. TeamViewer, another free remote option, works across platforms. The app can be installed in one device and used by one device to control another remotely. The last remote option, Chrome Remote Desktop, is a free app offered by Google. However, Chrome Remote Desktop does not support smartphone and tablets, and does not support file transfers or remote printing. Read More


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10 Ways Blogs Can Generate Business

AccountingWEB (04/22/14); Cytron, Scott

There are 10 ways blogs can generate more business. Committing to writing a blog is the first step, and committing to posts is the key to sustaining momentum. Using the right tools to promote a blog is the next step; using Wordpress is user-friendly, although businesses should be patient about the time necessary to drive interest. Businesses should also blast the blog to their networks to generate more exposure about the business' new position as an industry expert in blogging. Creating an appealing name is the key to engaging with new clients and blog surfers, as is writing creative headlines. Businesses should always include the blog URL in official email signatures and on business cards, and link other social media sites to the blog. Inserting links in a blog will solidify a business' place in a particular industry while increasing the SEO potential of the blog for search engines. Finally, linking pieces from other blogs and asking other bloggers to reciprocate will build a community that grows through collaborating and strengthening the reputation of a brand. Read More


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Five Tips for Using Technology as a Strategic Asset

CPA Practice Advisor (04/21/14); Boomer, Jim

Firms can leverage technology as a critical asset to their businesses. According to the American Institute of CPAs, IT governance is a framework that ensures technology supports business goals and objectives. However, many firms still lack comprehensive technology plans. Collaborating with IT staff is the first step in creating a successful business plan that also works to drive a business' goals and needs. Collaborating should include talks about budgets, separating maintenance from innovation, and speaking in terms that will be accessible for all staff. Creating technology committees is also useful for prioritizing tasks and ensuring balanced representation exists from all levels of a firm. Read More


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How to Choose the Right Technology for Your Small Business

Business News Daily (04/21/14); Angeles, Sara

According to Brother International, the more than 60 percent of small businesses are overwhelmed by options for adopting new technology. John Wandishin, Vice-President of Marketing at Brother International, says SMBs struggle with choosing the right products and selecting a timeframe for adopting these products. The Brother Small Business survey noted that SMBs are ambivalent about adopting new technology rapidly and whether the return on investment (ROI) will be worth the adoption. Wandishin says SMBs can mitigate feeling overwhelmed by identifying specific technologies that would improve conducting business. Wandishin notes that the survey reveals new technology has the potential to generate a greater ROI than hiring, although investing in employees is still a necessary part of growing a successful business. Wandishin recommends viewing technology adoption as an opportunity for improving productivity and evaluating emerging technologies that will specifically drive ROI. Read More


LAST UPDATED 5/16/2014