Painless on the Web
Look, we're not going to say this again: You need a Web site. They're essential to proving that you're a real business, and with all the site-building services available, the excuse that they're difficult to set up no longer holds. Universal Accounting's new AccountWeb service, for instance, requires no knowledge of HTML, walks you through the entire site-creation process, and can have you up on the Web is less than three days. They offer three levels of site, and though the Ultimate Site may frighten the Web-wary with confusing things like blogging, their Basic site is gentle enough for even the most timid Internet newbie. Plus, they've offering a free six-month trial, so you really have no excuse.
You can't beat them
Outright.com offers free, simple online bookkeeping for self-employed professionals. If those are your clients, that makes it the competition - but even if it takes your clients away, there's still an upside, as Outright is also building a whole online community around back-office services like bookkeeping, including business pages and a bookkeeper directory to help its users connect with CPAs, tax professionals and bookkeepers. So when they grow too big to do their own bookkeeping (or just get tired of it), your clients will know where to find you.
One of the hallmarks of the auditor is the willingness to take all the pains necessary to determine the truth. Unnecessary pains, on the other hand, are to be avoided, and Confirmation.com aims to render the audit confirmation process less painful. It replaces the old paper-based system with the Internet to request confirmations from banks and other responding institutions on assets, liabilities, securities held, lines of credit and more, and claims to reduce the average turnaround time by as much as 96 percent. It also lets auditors roll data forward from year to year, and offers a secure collaboration tool for sharing documents among the audit team.
Phones of the future
Smart Business Phone System, M5 Networks
OfficeServ SMT-iSeries and Communicator, Samsung Business Communication Systems
Remember VoIP, the Voice over Internet Protocol that was going to revolutionize phone service by routing calls over the Net? If you don't, there's no shame, as it's been an extremely slow, very quiet revolution - but it's still ongoing, and the services are getting better, as attested by two new developments.
First, there's M5 Networks' new Smart Business Phone System, a VoIP service that offers customizable call routing, simple administration tools for both users and administrators, disaster recovery capabilities, plug-and-play capabilities for remote workers, voicemail-to-e-mail transcription, real-time business intelligence reports, and even integration with CRM solutions.
Samsung, meanwhile, has released its latest line of VoIP phones, the Samsung Multimedia Telephone i-Series, which include features like video calling and visual phone books. It has also released OfficeServ Communicator, an integrated communications application that expands the capabilities of Samsung VoIP phones, with the Basic version letting users control their calls right from their desktop, and, with i-Series phones, upload and download contacts from Microsoft Outlook, while the Professional version adds all sorts of collaboration features like instant messaging, whiteboarding, and file transfer.
Online computer support vendor PlumChoice has added an expansion of its Safelink technology care platform with the addition of Safelink Discovery, a downloadable application that performs a full checkup on a user's computer, including checking for anti-virus and anti-spyware software and malware; evaluating CPU usage and running processes; assessing critical issues and overall disk health; and more. It's available through PlumChoice's service provider partners, who can also customize it to add their own parameters.
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