Why Choose Online Accounting Software?

The main reason why some businesses are hesitant to implement online accounting software is because they believe it isn’t safe. They believe that storing sensitive financial information on the cloud means that anyone with a bit of hacker know-how can access it. They believe they should store sensitive financial information on the hard drive of their computer where they’re sure it’s safe.

The truth is that your hard drive isn’t that safe and it doesn’t take any serious hacker-skills to access it. Also, online accounting service providers generally have better security measures in place than anything your company can implement. Some online accounting solutions have very restricted access to their online data centres; firewalls, intrusion detection systems and security measures which are constantly under review, meaning possible weaknesses and new vulnerabilities are quickly identified and prevention methods are put in place long before a possible threat becomes a reality. Can your company do all this? ¹

So, now that we’ve established that online accounting is the safer option, let us look at the other benefits of going this route:

1. It’s a lot easier to use. Online accounting software is easy to use because of its intuitive interface. Everything is expressed in clear-cut terms and there is no accounting jargon that needs to be deciphered. There are dashboards, graphs and drill-downs that give you a clear overview of all transactions made and because all your information is being stored online, you can access it anytime, anywhere.

2. It makes managing customers, suppliers and inventory easier. This type of software makes keeping track of sales per customer and per item a breeze. The same goes for purchases you made from suppliers. You can also use it to keep track of your inventory and you can create different categories, like customer, supplier and inventory categories, which makes analysing your sales easier.

3. It makes creating invoices easier. You can convert quotes to invoices in seconds and if you have repeat customers you can quickly extract details from a previous invoice to generate a new one.

4. It makes managing your financial affairs easier. With this software you can process payments and make bank transfers and it’ll keep track of every transaction and automatically incorporate the information into your ledgers. You can also reconcile your bank accounts, get bank statements and display the last two months’ activity in graph form. ²

The advantages of online accounting software are many but essentially it all comes down to this: It’ll make managing your financial affairs a lot easier. Now that you know it’s safe don’t you think it’s time to make the change?

Source : http://snip.ly/wadnz

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Easy Secure And Faster Accounting Software in The Cloud

The tasks of accounting operations have been managed by accountants, bookkeepers and CPAs. The practice of managing finance and business was complicated and time consuming. These complex management tasks were done by an accountant that has moved to software applications. A business needs good software tool to run the company. It is important for company owners choose robust application software to make their business successful and productive. For businesses operating in any domain, accounting is the one thing that businesses need for growth and development of the enterprise. Getting the right accounting application software solution for the firm is the important strategy for a company owner. There are many software that run in the industry that operates like QuickBooks and Sage solutions which are most commonly used accounting software’s. These are real time accounting software that allows multiple users of the firm to collaborate at once. The application on the real time system means users have access to share the graphical user interface system. Accounting software’s are automated products which have simplified the methods of operating and running a company.

Accounting software has huge features that make it a popular and attractive product in the market. Accounting software app on mobile keeps users updated on all the latest updates on the trade and can easily integrate with any application of Microsoft, MAC, UNIX and Linux. The application integration makes users free from manual data processing because manual data entry is slow and does not make the system vast. The data source is defined by the end users and accounting application integrates seamlessly to process the data for the commerce. Users who have low knowledge on the application can install the 30 day free trial software’s on any device. All devices are now compatible with software accounting products so installation becomes easier on any system and there are no system setups to do so. Webinars and portal videos are other methods that explain its functionalities and processes. Accounting software can be hosted on cloud and desktop based on company needs while accounting software in the cloud is the web hosting of the application. The accounting software on desktop is the traditional approach for organizations which is secure and reliable as data and files are managed on local servers.

Accounting software in the cloud is accessible anytime anywhere on any device. Online hosting of this software is just the same as accessing Google and Hotmail services. Users need a device and a web browser to access the web hosted application. The application runs on web servers which are accessible by the professionals on secure login to the application. Accounting software in the cloud hosting is managed by hosting providers on cloud servers. They manage the businesses with bank level security and backups. Data backup is managed on schedules and they are saved properly on web servers by the hosting providers. Cloud hosting is cost effective solution for SMEs that offers easy ways to manage with finances which they can pay on subscriptions and access the cloud services for accounting needs until required.

Source : http://snip.ly/49wmk

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Tips for Searching the Best Accounting Software Program

Technological advancements in accounting software programs today are taking place very fast, but while that can be a benefit for business owners looking for a solution to accomplish their ever-changing business requirements, selecting the best software from the various options available can be demanding.

 Getting the best accounting software that fulfills your requirements will be based on various things. The size of your business, the number of individuals who will be using the system at one time, the type of accounting your business will be doing, and the reports you require producing.

To reduce that stress, a business owner should find out their biggest priorities and use that detail to select the accounting programs that can hold them. The key reason to buy an accounting solution is to make your accounting process easier. But, the wrong decision can make the method more complicated.

Today, more than two hundred software programs are available, so getting one to put up your business requirements accurately could be a long and dreadful task.

You can start by looking for the best accounting program online, or by any other method that will provide you with significant information.

Your search for the facts should involve the attributes and names of the accounting software programs presently available; get suggestions from friends and family members, as well. By keeping that in mind, ask yourself these questions as you look for the best accounting software provider.

Is the software program developed by a reputed company? Is that company going to be in business in the prospect? What are other options for support and training after making the purchase? What does the software program cost? Does the software product come with daily updates? How often do these take place? Do the accounting software programs fulfill all of your business needs? You can find out that in advance if you took the time to verify the factors that your accounting solution requires to address. Does the software program meet state and centralized tax rules? In other words, a good software program should at least involve whatever reports are significant for you to create the monthly activity reports for the business.

After you find out the accounting software programs, which can fulfill your business demands, find a local software provider and ask for a demo of those products before you buy it.

Source : http://snip.ly/nv9bb

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All you Need to Know About Invoicing Software

The world has commendably made its way online. There’s an online presence of almost everything. While we have been noticing the tremendous growth in the online business sectors, managing these businesses has also found a space in the web world. Once such member is the accounts invoicing, which has ditched the traditional methods.
While there are series of service providers claiming to deliver free online accounts invoicing software, Inv24 has commendably proved its worth.

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Top 5 best presentation software of 2017

Make a real impression with these top presentation tools

If there’s one type of software that’s been around for decades, it’s presentation packages. Systems for creating and displaying professional-grade slides have been available since the 1980s, and they’ve become a standard in the business world.

Of course, presentation software has come a long way since then, and modern apps give users the ability to create, edit, format and present some pretty stunning slideshows capable of really wowing an audience.

A good presentation program will provide you with all the tools you need to generate and manipulate graphics, and the main aim is that users are able to present their ideas effectively to other people – and do so with pizzazz.

There’s nothing worse than having to sit through a mundane, or possibly even boring presentation. Fortunately, these apps generally include stock themes and easy ways of personalising slides to make them interesting and attractive.

Microsoft PowerPoint is the most notable presentation software, of course, but it’s been covered to the nth degree (if you want to read up on it, check out our Office 365 review). You will, naturally, do fine with PowerPoint, but there are plenty of other great options out there – and here are five of the best.

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1. CustomShow

Presentations that put branding first

Platforms: Desktop | Features: Slide library, analytics, import/export | Integrations: SalesForce | Free trial: Demo available

+Handy analytics
+Can import PowerPoint files
-Purely a brand platform
-Demo, but no free trial

Branding says a lot about a business, and it’s something firms need to get right from day one – from a good logo to a suitable font. CustomShow is business presentation software that puts all these elements of branding first.

Using the system, you can design and present customised, branded presentations that reflect your company and the products you offer, featuring the aforementioned logo and custom fonts. As well as this, you get a slide library and analytics to ensure your presentations are a success.

What’s more, you can import presentations into the software, and use it to tweak them further. There’s also integration with SalesForce, and because the platform is cloud-based, you can access your presentations on computers, tablets and smartphones. Considering the focus on branding, this offering could be good for marketing and sales teams.

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2. ClearSlide

A marketing and sales dream

Platforms: Desktop | Features: Online meetings, analytics, import/export | Integrations: SalesForce | Free trial: Yes

+Personalised tools for sales teams
+Tons of features (beyond presentations, as well)
-It may be too broad for some 

Just like CustomShow, ClearSlide has a niche focus for companies. The platform is targeted at firms looking to generate successful marketing campaigns, pushing sales via presentations (and more).

The firm bought SlideRocket a few years ago and has integrated its presentation might into a wider sales engagement platform. With the product, you can upload a range of files, including PowerPoint, Keynote, PDF and Excel.

This system is pretty complex and may offer too many irrelevant features for some businesses, but you can create customised content that reflects your company and the message you’re trying to get out to customers. There are also some good metrics and analysis features, and you can sign up for a free trial before making any decisions.

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3. Haiku Deck

Offers a ton of customisable themes

Platforms: Web, iPhone, iPad | Features: Theme gallery, image bank | Integrations: No | Free trial: Yes

+Access to millions of stock images
+Tons of smart themes
-Not as well-featured as some rivals

Any presentation app will allow you to personalise your slides to at least some extent, but Haiku Deck goes one step further than the competition. It comes with a wide range of themes suited to different needs, and you also get access to 40 million free images from the Creative Commons.

When it comes to creating a presentation, you have the option to do so on the web, iPad or iPhone. Regardless of the device used, you’re able to select from a variety of different fonts, layouts and filters to make the perfect presentation.

The great thing about these various customisation options is that they’re categorised into different industries and use-cases. For instance, you’ll find themes for teaching, cooking, real-estate and startups. Most of the features require you to be online, but hopefully you’ll have a sturdy net connection wherever you go.

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4. SlideDog

Media-rich presentation maker

Platforms: Web, tablet, smartphone | Features: Playlists | Integrations: No | Free trial: No

+Works with a huge range of media
+Drag-and-drop simplicity
-Will be too basic for some

It’s all too easy to end up creating a presentation that’s unappealing, and the last thing you want to do is make the audience fall asleep. SlideDog lets you combine almost any type of media to create a rich presentation that’s sure to keep the viewers’ peepers open.

Marketed as a web-based multimedia presentation tool, it gives you the ability to combine PowerPoint presentations, graphics, PDF files, Prezi presentations, web pages, pictures, videos and movie clips. You can drag these into custom playlists and display them to your audience with ease.

You’re able to remotely control your presentations and playlists from your smartphone, the web or a secondary computer, and there’s also the option to share slides in real-time. Audience members can even view your slide from their own devices by clicking a link. That’s a handy feature if you’re looking to create an immersive presentation experience.

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5. Prezi Business

A unique presentation experience

Platforms: Windows, Mac | Features: Live HD presentations | Integrations: No | Free trial: Demo available

+Create interactive presentations
+Highly visual, HD experience
-Some people will prefer slide formats

Prezi is one of the more unique presentation tools. Instead of presenting your graphics and text in a slide-to-slide format, you can create highly visual and interactive presentation canvases.

For business users, there are a variety of handy tools available. By downloading Prezi Business, you can build and edit presentations with your colleagues in real-time, which is perfect for companies with teams based around the globe.

When you have created a presentation you’re happy with, you can present it live (in HD) and send a direct link to viewers. There are some analysis tools here, too – you can see who’s accessed your presentation, which parts of it, and for how long. The app is available for Mac and Windows devices.

Source: http://snip.ly/w79ss

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The best open source software 2017

The best open source software

The term ‘open source’ refers to software whose source code is freely available to download, edit, use and share. There are different types of open source license, which give users different degrees of freedom, but the main aim of open source is to encourage collaboration.

Open source software has lots of advantages over other ‘free’ options you’ll come across – even if you’re not a developer yourself. It’s usually maintained by a community and updated frequently to patch vulnerabilities or squish bugs as soon as they’re identified; there are no restrictions on commercial use, so you can happily use it for your home business; and the ability to edit the source means there’s often a wealth of user-created plugins available to download.

Here’s our pick of the best open source software. Got another recommendation? Let us know in the comments below.

The best open source office software: LibreOffice

LibreOffice is a full suite of office software, including excellent apps for text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and databases. These are all fully compatible with the latest Microsoft file formats, so you’ll have no trouble sharing files work users of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access.

Documents look just as sharp and professional as those created using paid-for software, and there are hundreds of templates available to download, use and edit.

LibreOffice’s huge community of contributors have compiled a brilliant collection of support materials, including a forum and even live chat if you need a hand.

Download here: LibreOffice

 The best open source photo editor: GIMP

Powerful and flexible, open source image editor GIMP is as close to Adobe Photoshop as you can get without opening your wallet. It supports layers, and is packed with advanced tools for enhancing your pictures or creating new ones from scratch.

You can adjust every aspect of your pictures’ appearance manually, or use the dozens of customizable filters and effects to achieve amazing results with just a few clicks. GIMP comes with a huge array of user-created plugins pre-installed, and adding more is a piece of cake.

If you don’t need the power of GIMP and prefer a simpler interface, check out Paint.NET – another superb open source photo editor that’s a little lighter on features, but easier to pick up.

Download here: GIMP

The best open source media player: VLC

VLC is one of the world’s most popular free media players, and for good reason – it can handle just about any audio file, video file, or media stream you can throw at it, without the need to mess around installing additional codecs. VLC Media Player gives you an amazing degree of control over playback, letting you optimize video and audio for your specific hardware configuration.

VLC Media Player is ideal for streaming podcasts, as well as internet radio stations like Last.fm and TuneIn Radio. There’s also a superb archive of extensions and skins, and the WYSIWYG Skin Editor lets you create your own custom designs.

The latest addition to VLC is 360-degree playback, which lets you enjoy immersive videos with a VR headset, and more exciting developments are on the horizon to keep pace with new video technology.

Download here: VLC Media Player

The best open source video editor: Shotcut

If you’re looking for a great open source video editor, give Shotcut a whirl. It might look a little stark at first, but add some of the optional toolbars and you’ll soon have its most powerful and useful features your your fingertips.

Some of its best tools include quick filters for audio and video (which are non-destructive and can be layered to achieve different effects), advanced white balancing, wipes and other transitions, color grading, click-and-drag import, and straightforward trimming and compositing of clips.

Lightworks (our favorite free-as-in-beer video editor) isn’t open source. Its developer says the source code will be released at some point, but no date has been given.

Download here: Shotcut

The best open source audio editor: Audacity

Even if you have the ready cash for an audio editor, you might choose to stick with open source alternative Audacity. It has almost all the tools you need for recording and refining sound files, and any features it lacks can be plugged with its extensive catalog of extensions.

Audacity is the tool of choice for many podcasters, musicians and audiobook narrators thanks to its professional quality results. You can use it to combine clips, copy and paste sections of audio, remove noise and other unwanted noises, strip vocals from songs, alter frequencies, and apply effects like echo and reverb.

Download here: Audacity

The best open source web browser: Firefox

The browser wars show no sign of ending, but Firefox‘s open source heritage makes it incredibly flexible. Its main appeal is its collection of extensions. With thousands of plug-ins available at the click of a mouse, it’s easy to transform Firefox into your perfect browser.

Firefox is updated every five to eight weeks, and you can get an early taste of the latest features by installing the beta version or taking part in Firefox Test Pilot – a way to sample experimental tools that might be incorporated into future releases.

Firefox’s source code forms the basis of many specialist projects, including the security-focused Tor Browser and speed-centric Waterfox, which is designed with power users in mind.

Download here: Firefox

The best open source email client: Thunderbird

If you have multiple email accounts – even if they’re with the same provider – open source email client Thunderbird will save you time and hassle flicking between browser tabs and logins. Like Firefox, Thunderbird is an open source project published by the Mozilla Foundation, and is almost infinitely adaptable.

Thunderbird’s standard features include an RSS reader and the ability to link to files too large to send as attachments, and its optional extras include weather forecasts and Google app tabs.

Download here: Thunderbird

The best open source password manager: KeePass

There’s no shortage of free password managers, but KeePass is our favorite open source option. It’s not flashy, but it’s packed with all the tools and features you could want, including AES encryption of your entire database of login details (not just the passwords themselves), two-factor authentication via both a master password and key file, and secure random password generation.

KeePass is tiny, and because it’s a portable program you can carry it on a USB stick, and thanks to an extensive library of plug-ins, it’s easy to integrate with your preferred browser and cloud storage provider.

Download here: KeePass

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Future of the iPhone? Apple could start using these flexible displays

Japan Display’s latest work may make its way to Apple’s smartphones

Screen manufacturer Japan Display, Inc. has announced a new type of bendable screen that might have already caught the interest of one of its biggest supply partners: Apple.

Called the Full Active Flex, Japan Display’s newest tech may be on Apple’s radar, as the company is reportedly looking into the potential of flexible displays, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Beginning production in 2018, the 5.5-inch HD LCD screen substitutes glass layering for plastic. This not only gives it its pliability, but also makes it resistant to cracking when dropped, AKA the everyday bane of the average phone user.

Japan Display is far from the only one working on flexible screens. Samsung’s Galaxy Edge series gets it name from its curved screen design, while LG invested about $1.75 billion (about £1.33 billion, AU$2.3 billion) recently into making its own flexible OLED displays.

While smartphones are the most probable application for flexible screen technology, Japan Display remarks that the Full Active Flex screen could also be useful in other various products, such as laptops to cars.

Source: http://snip.ly/twjrw

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The best free blogging sites 2017

The best free blogging site

Free blogging sites have come a long way in recent years, and it’s now easier than ever to create a professional-looking blog to share a hobby with likeminded people, express your opinions, and establish an online presence.

These free blogging sites are aimed at hobbyist bloggers – blogs are created and managed online, and hosted on the blogging platform’s own servers. If you want to create a self-hosted blog, the downloadable version of WordPress is an excellent option, with total flexibility, support for third-party plugins, and as much storage space as your hosting plan allows.

Have we missed your preferred blogging site? Let us know in the comments below.

1. WordPress

With advanced features and generous storage, WordPress is the best free blogging site

Powerful and highly customizable, WordPress is a brilliant platform for blogs of any size, and bloggers of any level of experience.

Creating your first blog is very straightforward, with a simple wizard that guides you through the process of choosing a name and suitable theme. You can leave it there and begin writing posts immediately, but the real fun lies in the more advanced editor, which lets you customize virtually every aspect of your blog’s appearance.

Unlike some blogging sites, WordPress isn’t a drag-and-drop affair, and you’ll have to familiarize yourself with its system of menus. It’s well worth the effort, though, and enables you to create something truly personal. The editor also lets you create static pages – like a writer’s biography, for example.

The post-writing interface is much like an ordinary desktop word processor (though some options are presented in a toolbar at the top, while others are in a menu at the side, which can be a little confusing at first). Again, time spent getting to know the interface is rewarded with advanced features like customizable social media sharing buttons, geotagging, and the ability to pick a custom style for individual posts. Sometimes you might want to create a photo gallery, for example, and other times a more text-focused style would be more appropriate. You can also view and edit the HTML source.

As your blog grows, WordPress lets you track its stats, including page views, visitors, likes and comments over time. You can also see how readers reach your site, which content they viewed, and where are were in the world, so you can tailor your content accordingly.

Your site is hosted on WordPress’s servers, with an address in the format yoursite.wordpress.com. Users of the free service don’t get email or live chart support, but the WordPress community forums are very active and questions are usually answered within a few minutes.

WordPress displays ads on free blogs, but provided you can live with that, it’s undoubtedly the best free blogging site around.

Try it online: WordPress

2. Blogger

A free web platform with mobile-friendly features and Google app integration

Blogger is another superb blogging platform. It’s not quite as powerful as WordPress, but more accessible for new users, which comes as no surprise when you learn that it’s owned by Google.

Blogger offers an excellent selection of templates, all of which include mobile versions optimized for smaller screens – a very sensible addition with so many people accessing online content through smartphones.

Blogger’s post-editing tool is much like WordPress’s, but offers fewer options. As a result, its toolbars are less confusing – a trade-off between power and usability.

One of Blogger’s best features is its integration with other Google apps and services. For example, it uses your Google Drive account to store images and other files for your blog. Google Drive gives you 15GB of space free, so Blogger is a good choice if you’re planning to share a lot of high-res photos.

Spam comments are a big problem on blogs, so Blogger’s automatic spam filter can help save your sanity. You can monitor comments via Blogger’s dashboard, which also lets you see visitor stats. There are some handy visualizations here, including a world map to show the global distribution of your readers.

Your blog will have an address in the format yoursite.blogger.com, and, like all Google services, will include ads. Support is available through the Blogger user forum, which is very active but has a strange layout that can be a little off-putting.

In all other respects, Blogger is brilliant – one of the best free blogging sites if you prioritize ease of use over flexibility and are a fan of the Google ecosystem.

Try it online: Blogger

3. Wix

A great free blogging site for completely new users, with two easy editors and free stock photos

Wix is our favorite general-purpose free website builder, and is great for creating stylish blogs too. Its chief drawback is storage – you have just 500MB for your files and data traffic is restricted to 500MB per month, so you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan if your blog really takes off.

Once you’ve created an account, select ‘blog’ from the list of categories, then choose either Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) or Wix Editor. Wix ADI asks a series of very simple questions, then builds a site around your answers – ideal if you’ve never created a site before and find the idea intimidating. Wix Editor is very straightforward too (simpler than Blogger or WordPress), but is much more flexible than ADI and will be a better choice for most users.

One of Wix’s best features is its choice of image sources, including your hard drive, social media, free images from Wix itself, and pictures from its partner stock photography site Bigstock. If your blog posts are text-heavy, these free images are a great way to make it look more appealing.

On the downside, your custom wix.com URL will include a string of not-too-snappy letters and numbers that might make it hard to memorize.

That aside, its resources and friendly approach mean Wix just pips Weebly to third place. Free Wix sites include a tiny ad for the company in the top right and another at the bottom, but these won’t spoil the look for your blog.

Try it online: Wix

4. Weebly

Weebly’s flexible editor lets you drag and drop your way to a professional-looking blog

Weebly takes a modular approach to blog-building, with a drag-and-drop editor that lets you choose which elements to add to your site, and where.

Pick a basic template, then plonk various types of content onto the page, including social media links, text, images, maps, and sections of code. It’s a refreshingly simple way to build a blog that feels unique to you, but doesn’t require any messing about with menus. It’s worth noting, however, that certain content blocks can only be positioned in certain areas; it isn’t a total free-for-all. This makes sense – forcing you to stick within the confines of your chosen template stops the page looking messy – but you might find it limiting.

Blog posts are made in the same way – drag text boxes, picture frames, buttons and page breaks into position, then click to edit them. One particularly nice feature is the ‘secret draft link’, which lets you preview your unpublished post, and even share it with others via email before releasing it into the wild.

Weebly has some other interesting tricks up its sleeve too, including an area for pasting in Google Analytics tracking code (though it doesn’t offer analytics itself).

As with Wix, you’re only given 500MB for uploaded content, so photographers might want to look elsewhere. Weebly puts an ad in your site’s footer, but it doesn’t obscure any of your content.

Try it online: Weebly

5. Penzu

Keep it secret, keep it safe with a secure journal for your private thoughts

Whereas the other free blogging sites are designed to get as many eyeballs on your posts as possible, Penzu is the equivalent of a locked diary stashed in a safe.

Penzu is a journal platform that makes your posts private by default and locks them down with at least one password (even after you’re logged in, you need a second one to read or edit your posts). That’s because it’s designed for private thoughts and personal reflection. There are free apps for iOS and Android that enable you to update your Penzu diary anywhere, but the contents are for your eyes only.

Penzu isn’t a tool for self-promotion, so although it’s far from ugly, it understandably focuses on function rather than looks. Custom colors and backgrounds come at a price – currently US$10 (about £8, AU$13) per year.

It’s a shame that 128-bit AES encryption is also limited to the paid-for version, and there’s a fair amount of pressure to upgrade. Extra options are often dangled under your nose then yanked away, but the core offering is a good one and if you simply want a place to record your thoughts and practise writing, Penzu could be just what you need.

Try it online: Penzu

Source: http://snip.ly/d82n2
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Top 10 Accounting & ERP Software Systems

In the years and decades behind us, accounting software has become more than essential for businesses from all sizes and industries, and the more companies and employees experience its benefits, the more popular it becomes. The advantages of accounting software are numerous, the most popular among them include making accounting faster, reducing expenses, and error-free taxation.

1. Freshbooks – Score: 9.8/10

Top Accounting Software

2. Brightpearl – Score: 9.7/10

Accounting & ERP Software Systems

3. Intacct – Score: 9.6/10

Accounting & ERP Software Systems

4. Zoho Books – Score: 9.5/10

Accounting & ERP Software Systems

5. QuickBooks Enterprise – Score: 9.4/10

Accounting & ERP Software Systems

6. Xero – Score: 9.3/10

xero

7. NetSuite ERP – Score: 9.1/10

netsuite

8. FinancialForce Accounting – Score: 9.1/10

financialforce

9. Sage 50 – Score: 8.8/10

sage-50

10. AccountEdge – Score: 8.6/10

accountedge

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5 steps to help your employees adopt new software

Getting people on board with new software can be difficult. Here are some change management tips for each stage of the technology adoption curve.

In the past few months, people have asked me the same question about different software: “How do we get everyone to use [name of new software]?”

Most vendors offer deployment guides. If you use G Suite, Workplace by Facebook, Office 365, or Slack, you’ll find plenty of training tools and resources for administrators online. Follow the links and you’ll see step-by-step walkthroughs, tips, videos, and even a few pages designed to print and handout.

The technology adoption lifecycle model has helped me organize all of these training resources. The model groups people into five stages that describe the timing of technology adoption: Innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. I take the training resources and adapt my deployment strategy to meet the needs of people at different stages in the adoption lifecycle, as described below.

1. Introduce new software

When you first announce a switch to new software, you likely explain the reason(s), goals, and roll out schedule. That’s helpful for most people. All innovators need is a product name or link.

However, innovators will typically want more. They’ll want an account today. They’ll wonder why you didn’t select a “clearly superior” alternative that they’d already tested. They’ll ask if you will enable a relatively obscure feature. They’ll complain that you didn’t select an open source option. They can be a big problem. (I confess: I have done all of these things.)

If you can, identify your innovators and involve them in the selection process, long before a roll out. Then, ask for their help and advocacy during deployment, in an attempt to turn their proclivity to explore into a benefit instead of a barrier.

2. Enable experimentation

Before the formal launch date, let people request early access to new tools, since this will help you identify the early adopters. Ask people to try things out, identify potential problems, and suggest solutions. Make sure you at least acknowledge their ideas, even if you can’t implement every suggestion they make.

Links matter for early adopters. Share links to videos, documentation, and support communities. Your early adopters match the profile of many IT people: They’re able to figure things out by themselves, and also willing to ask questions if things aren’t working.

SEE: Report: Unused enterprise software is costing businesses a fortune

Early adopters also may be willing to share what they learn. Encourage them to help out colleagues who may be less adept at learning a new tool. In some organizations, I’ve seen early adopters formally labeled as the “go-to person” in a department for specific software when other people have questions.

3. Training, stories, and tips

Right before you formally deploy software, most organizations offer training. During these sessions, share stories: Let innovators and early adopters talk about what has worked so far. Keep the stories focused on organizational benefits, such as how the software helped achieve a business result. Try not to confuse people by describing arcane technical details. (It’s Okay to say, “That’s a bit complicated. Talk to me after the meeting.”)

Share short “how to” guides that remind people of major functions, and give people tips and tricks to help them accomplish common tasks. Cover this information during a few of your regularly-scheduled meetings. This stage is where many of the vendor-provided resources are most helpful.

4. Schedule help

Offer individual assistance to encourage adoption among the late majority. I’ve often asked a person to stay after a meeting a few minutes so that I can help them. Other times, I’ve scheduled a brief one-on-one web meeting. If your team’s time doesn’t permit this, you may be able to ask someone who is an early adopter to take on this task. After the individualized help session, I usually follow up with a brief email (with links!) that summarizes what we covered.

(Note: Most enterprise tools let an administrator monitor logins. This information may also help you identify people who aren’t actively using the system, in order to schedule time for individual help.)

5. Encourage use

In some cases, you can encourage use with news. For example, I’ve seen some organizations share significant news with Slack, instead of email. People not yet using Slack eventually do, simply to stay up to date.

Finally, as late adopters demonstrate use of a tool, acknowledge their success. A brief “thank you” or “congratulations” during a meeting may be appropriate. Kind words said during a meeting can go a long way toward encouraging people to change habits.

Recognize that not everyone learns to use new tools the same way that you or members of your team do. So, the next time you deploy software, share links, enable accounts, teach with stories, tips, and tricks, offer hands-on help, and recognize success to help everyone learn.

What about you?

What additional change management steps have you taken to help people in organizations adopt software? What’s worked for you? Tell us in the comments.

Source: http://snip.ly/fu2br

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