Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Best Blog Software for Both Beginners & Developers to Use

To select the best blog software for our readers, we have reviewed dozens of blog applications mainly from feature and support. As a result, we found that the ones introduced below are the best, coming with a large number of highlights to enable bloggers to get started easily and manage their blogs effortlessly.

The most common and efficient way to set up a blog is to utilize blogging software. Doing this way, normal bloggers, especially beginners, can either save the time and energy of working on building a blog manually or save the budget spent in hiring a web developer to handle the code-related process. There are dozens of choices, and we only select the best ones to introduce here. All of them are backed by a large community of developers and contributors, and come with great ease of use.

In below, we have worked out a comprehensive review to list the main information of them to explain why they are the best. Move on to the details.

WordPress

Website: http://wordpress.org/

WordPress, which is both free and priceless at the same time, is PHP open source software that can be used to create a beautiful blog. It is easy to install and upgrade this software. If you want to use an FTP program, you are able to create a database, upload WordPress using FTP and run the installer. If you are not familiar with FTP, you need to choose a web host offering 1-click script installer to help you install this application with a few clicks.

WordPress is the most widely-used blogging platform as well as CMS around the world that has over 60 million loyal fans including some large and well brands like eBay, Metro UK, Variety and BBC America. Starting as simply a personal blogging tool, now WordPress is adopted for all kinds of mainstream purposes, such as education, technology, e-commerce, etc.

WordPress is backed by a huge community consisting of millions of users in all levels of knowledge on this software – from beginners with nearly no technical skills to web developers having been devoted to the online development for years. With the contributions of so many people, WordPress comes with excellent customizability, with which users can make any changes they like to give a new look or add new functionality to their blogs.

Reliability is the most important factor to evaluate software. According to our experience, most software complaints come from mass of bugs and problems, and meanwhile, most happy experience come from reliability. In this case, WordPress has been proven to be a reliable software for many years so far.

More highlights of this blog software are listed in below.

  • Simplicity & flexibility.
  • Available in more than 70 languages.
  • Built-in comments & search engine optimization.
  • Thousands of free elegant-designed themes & plugins.
  • Textpattern

    Website: http://textpattern.com/

    As a reputed blogging tool, Textpattern has great flexibility and extensibility which are loved much by web designers, developers, publisher, and bloggers (the largest part of its customer base). The powerful and sophisticated engine makes this CMS a suitable choice for whatever types of blog and other website that you can imagine.

    Textpattern is a flexible, elegant and easy-to-use, with numerous built-in tags and reusable code partials that enable you to fully control the presentations of the content of your blog. With a browser-based interface in more than 40 languages, excellent support and full range of features, this software is suitable for publishers, designers and developers to establish a blog.

    The admin interface of Textpattern is minimalist, efficient and clearly labeled, with which bloggers can easily get on with publishing and managing content. Built-in tags and textile are also coming with the software, which enables users to have complete control over the content and presentation, as well as get the ability to transform plain text into fully-formatted web content in seconds.

    What’s more, if you want to go beyond the software’ default capabilities, you are allowed to quickly install any of hundreds of available plugins or create your own in PHP. Moreover, In the Textpattern’s wiki, technicians and engineers have worked out a pile of in-depth articles with a lot of information about software installation, administration, themes and plugins. If you can’t find the answers you need in the wiki, you can check the official forum or contact the company’s community.

    b2evolution

    Website: http://www.b2evolution.net/

    b2evolution is a popular CCMS (Content + Community Management System) that is mostly used to set up and manage multiple blogs. Being free and open source under GNU GPL, you can freely download and install this software to fully power your own blogs.

    b2evolution can run on any web hosting platforms supporting the recent versions of PHP and MySQL, and it is another state-of-the-art publishing system besides WordPress, with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and ease of use. Besides, b2evolution comes with many features including an extensive plugin and skin system.

    Nucleus CMS

    Website: http://www.nucleuscms.org/

    Nucleus CMS is a self-hosted fully featured content management system that comes with the largest advantages in blog management. Now in version 3.65, it is one of the lightest, most flexible and secure options for maintaining one or multiple weblogs with a team of authors.

    Nucleus CMS has a large number of helpful blogging-related features which can be used to schedule works, boost search engine rankings, managing comments and categories, and so on. Also, there is a built-in backup system which allows users to create a backup version of the database contents with a simple one click to significantly reduce the risk of unexpected data loss.

    Weebly

    Website: http://www.weebly.com/

    Starting a blog with Weebly is very simple, because you have the ability to use flexible drag and drop interface to build your blog content quickly and easily. Moreover, the powerful design and publishing elements enables you to focus on your content while the Weebly services pull all the weight in the background. In addition, there are a plethora of widgets and media options in your blog dashboard, so that you can make it all work with ease, no matter you blog is about photo journal, video diary or literary review.

    More highlights of this software are :

    • Full control over layout and post structure allows you to create exceptional blog sites.
    • Complete category, tag and sidebar customization provide the key navigation and interaction elements modern blog visitors crave.
    • Free blog templates are able to work as standalone sites or pieces of a larger website.
    • RSS and social sharing feature are built into every blog to help amplify your message across the channels that matter.

    Typepad

    Website: http://www.typepad.com/

    Typepad is one of the most famous blog software, with which you are able to publish quickly and easily from your computer, mobile or even via email. In addition, this application allows you to tweak a theme with custom CSS. You just need to use the Theme Builder to easily build your own design or design your own template from the ground up. Moreover, you are able to use your blog built with Typepad to sell your products or services, run ads and join their effective affiliate program.

    In addition, you have the ability to see what is going on with your blog since the smart stats of audience integrated with Google analytics is on your blog. Furthermore, you are capable of using the beautiful templates and user-friendly design tools to handcraft you own special blog. If you had any problem about blogging, you are allowed to contact the professional Typepad team for help anytime.

    Drupal

    Website: http://drupal.org/

    Some people might be surprised at the selection of Drupal for blogging, as it is not commonly used for this purpose. But in fact, according to our review and experience, Drupal is a quite good CMS for building and maintaining fully featured blogs due to its user-friendly user interface and built-in blogging features.

    The functionality and customization possibilities are unlimited with Drupal because there are over 24,000 modules and themes available at Drupal.org, let alone the numerous ones at other marketplaces. The active community is still working on the development and extension of Drupal core.

    Wix

    Website: http://www.wix.com/

    Being a beginner, if you have sufficient ideas about PowerPoint presentation, then Wix is an appropriate tool for you. It is ranked as one of the best website building software available presently because of its versatility in the operations and simplification of tasks.

    Wix appreciates the fact that you are a beginner in the field of website building and provides you with a simple user interface. The drag and drop feature is one of the most attractive features of Wix because it allows you to upload content or images within minutes.

    One of the highlights of this website building tool is a series of templates facilitating the design and appearance of the website. However, the templates once applied cannot be changed after the project has initialized. To make it possible, the user has to start all over again.

    Wix offers a manageable storage and bandwidth limit of 500MB each.

    SquareSpace

    Website: https://www.squarespace.com/

    It is one of the most versatile website building software with some premium features for the prospective website makers. It offers a sleek design to the website that is full of attractive features and functions. Being premium website building software, it has several plans for its clients that help the clients choose the most appropriate one for their websites.

    When it comes to the technical specification, SquareSpace provides its remarkable service in various packages starting at $8 per month. Under the cheapest offering, SquareSpace allows 500GB of bandwidth, a mobile-compatible website with up to 20 pages and 2 GB storage. Adding to it, the client gets a custom domain and an all-time support. In its best plan, SquareSpace allows you to enjoy unlimited bandwidth in addition to other premium features.

    The best part of SquareSpace is that it allows the website to transform into WordPress in the long run to enjoy its highly customizable features.

    uCoz

    Website: https://www.ucoz.com/

    uCoz is a website building software having the simplest user interface. It is the software that builds websites for free. It offers many features to the users who choose to make a website using this software.

    Being a template-based website building tool for beginners, uCoz consists of about 250 default templates and 22 modules. Adding to it, it is compatible with tons of widgets and gadgets that can be customized into the website. It supports data backup and allows unlimited disk space to all its clients.

    Jimdo

    Website: https://www.jimdo.com/

    If you are looking forward to having a remarkable user interface on your website, there is no better solution than Jimdo. It is a website building software that consists of Dropbox integration and many attractive features. The Dropbox integration allows you to share or use the photos easily, thanks to the Dropbox account!

    Being a paid website building software, Jimdo has some very attractive features to offer. It has the ability of produce coupon codes which are required in multiple fields. Apart from it, Jimdo has an automated system of email where purchase confirmation emails are generated automatically.

    When it comes to the specification, you get about 20 custom email addresses which you can use for different legal purposes. Adding to it, Jimdo allows you to get unlimited storage.

    Conclusion

    Based on our review on the blogging tools’ features and users’ votes, WordPress is the deserved winner of the best blogging software that can be used to build a rich-featured, easy-to-use, and search engine friendly blog. However, as WordPress needs a server to reside on, we recommend the following 3 best web hosts for WordPress companies for their ability to well serve WordPress blogs with excellent reliability and high performance.

Titan Graph Database Integration with DynamoDB: World-class Performance, Availability, and Scale for New Workloads

Today, we are releasing a plugin that allows customers to use the Titan graph engine with Amazon DynamoDB as the backend storage layer. It opens up the possibility to enjoy the value that graph databases bring to relationship-centric use cases, without worrying about managing the underlying storage.

The importance of relationships

Relationships are a fundamental aspect of both the physical and virtual worlds. Modern applications need to quickly navigate connections in the physical world of people, cities, and public transit stations as well as the virtual world of search terms, social posts, and genetic code, for example. Developers need efficient methods to store, traverse, and query these relationships. Social media apps navigate relationships between friends, photos, videos, pages, and followers. In supply chain management, connections between airports, warehouses, and retail aisles are critical for cost and time optimization. Similarly, relationships are essential in many other use cases such as financial modeling, risk analysis, genome research, search, gaming, and others. Traditionally, these connections have been stored in relational databases, with each object type requiring its own table. When using relational databases, traversing relationships requires expensive table JOIN operations, causing significantly increased latency as table size and query complexity grow.

Enter graph databases

Graph databases belong to the NoSQL family, and are optimized for storing and traversing relationships. A graph consists of vertices, edges, and associated properties. Each vertex contains a list of properties and edges, which represent the relationships to other vertices. This structure is optimized for fast relationship query and traversal, without requiring expensive table JOIN operations.

In this way, graphs can scale to billions of vertices and edges, while allowing efficient queries and traversal of any subset of the graph with consistent low latency that doesn’t grow proportionally to the overall graph size. This is an important benefit for many use cases that involve accessing and traversing small subsets of a large graph. A concrete example is generating a product recommendation based on purchase interests of a user’s friends, where the relevant social connections are a small subset of the total network. Another example is for tracking inventory in a vast logistics system, where only a subset of its locations is relevant for a specific item. For us at Amazon, the challenge of tracking inventory at massive scale is not just theoretical, but very real.

Graph databases at Amazon

Like many AWS innovations, the desire to build a solution for a scalable graph database came from Amazon’s retail business. Amazon runs one of the largest fulfillment networks in the world, and we need to optimize our systems to quickly and accurately track the movement of vast amounts of inventory. This requires a database that can quickly traverse the logistics history for a given item or order. Graph databases are ideal for the task, since they make it easy to store and retrieve each item’s logistics history.

Our criteria for choosing the right graph engine were:

  1. The ability to support a graph containing billions of vertices and edges.
  2. The ability to scale with the accelerating pace of new items added to the catalog, and new objects and locations in the company’s expanding fulfillment network.

After evaluating different technologies, we decided to use Titan, a distributed graph database engine optimized for creating and querying large graphs. Titan has a pluggable storage architecture, using existing NoSQL databases as underlying storage for the graph data. While the Titan-based solution worked well for our needs, the team quickly found itself having to devote an increasing amount of time to provisioning, managing, and scaling the database cluster behind Titan, instead of focusing on their original task of optimizing the fulfillment inventory tracking.

Thus, the idea was born for a robust, highly available, and scalable backend solution that wouldn’t require the burden of managing a massive storage layer. As I wrote in the past, I believe DynamoDB is a natural choice for such needs, providing developers flexibility and minimal operational overhead without compromising scale, availability, durability, or performance. Making use of Titan’s flexible architecture, we created a plugin that uses DynamoDB as the storage backend for Titan. The combination of Titan with DynamoDB is now powering Amazon’s fulfillment network, with a multi-terabyte dataset.

Sharing it with you

Today, we are happy to bring the result of this effort to customers by releasing the DynamoDB Storage Backend for Titan plugin on GitHub. The plugin provides a flexible data model for each Titan backend table, allowing developers to optimize for simplicity (single-item model) or scalability (multi-item model).

The single-item model uses a single DynamoDB item to store edges and properties of a vertex. In DynamoDB, the vertex ID is stored as the hash key of an item, vertex property and edge identifiers are attribute names, and the vertex property values and edge property values are stored in the respective attribute values. While the single-item data model is simpler, due to DynamoDB’s 400 KB item size limit, you should only use it for graphs with fairly low vertex degree and small number properties per vertex.

For graphs with higher vertex degrees, the multi-item model uses multiple DynamoDB items to store properties and edges of a single vertex. In the multiple-item data model, the vertex ID remains the DynamoDB hash key, but unlike the single-item model, each column becomes the range key in its own item. Each column value is stored in its own attribute. While requiring more writes to initially load the graph, the multiple-item model allows you to store large graphs without limiting vertex degree.

Amazon’s need for a hassle-free, scalable Titan solution is not unique. Many of our customers told us they have used Titan as a scalable graph solution, but setting up and managing the underlying storage are time-consuming chores. Several of them participated in a preview program for the plugin and are excited to offload their graph storage management to AWS. Brian Sweatt, Technical Advisor at AdAgility, explained:

“At AdAgility, we store data pertaining to advertisers and publishers, as well as transactional data about customers who view and interact with our offers. The relationships between these stakeholders lend themselves naturally to a graph database, and we plan to leverage our experience with Titan and Groovy for our next-generation ad targeting platform. Amazon’s integration between Titan and DynamoDB will allow us to do that without spending time on setting up and managing the storage cluster, a no brainer for an agile, fast-growing startup.”

Another customer says that AWS makes it easier to analyze large graphs of data and relationships within the data. According to Tom Soderstrom, Chief Technology Officer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

“We have begun to leverage graph databases extensively at JPL and running deep machine learning on these. The open sourced plugin for Titan over DynamoDB will help us expand our use cases to larger data sets, while enjoying the power of cloud computing in a fully managed NoSQL database. It is exciting to see AWS integrate DynamoDB with open sourced projects like Elasticsearch and Titan, while open sourcing the integrations.”

Bringing it all together

When building applications that are centered on relationships (such as social networks or master data management) or auxiliary relationship-focused use cases for existing applications (such as a recommendation engine for matching players in a game or fraud detection for a payment system), a graph database is an intuitive and effective way to achieve fast performance at scale, and should be on your database options shortlist. With this launch of the DynamoDB storage backend for Titan, you no longer need to worry about managing the storage layer for your Titan graphs, making it easy to manage even very large graphs like the ones we have here at Amazon. I am excited to hear how you are leveraging graph databases for your applications. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

For more information about the DynamoDB storage backend plug-in for Titan, see Jeff Barr’s blog and the Amazon DynamoDB Storage Backend for Titan topic in the Amazon DynamoDB Developer Guide

Greater Revenue Through Systems of Engagement

Geoffrey Moore coined the term “systems of engagement” to describe IT systems that support multiway communication and collaboration between businesses and customers. These are distinct from “systems of record,” or those IT systems (e.g., databases and management information systems) designed primarily for one-way, read access of structured data. In today’s highly competitive global markets, digital systems of engagement are an absolute necessity for enhanced employee productivity, partnership success, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty ̶ all of which result in revenue growth. In fact, a Deloitte Digital survey found that by the end of the year, digital interactions would influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores.

In its global survey for IBM, “Systems Of Engagement Demand New Integration Solutions — And A New IT,” Forrester Research reports how customer expectations of their business interactions are changing dramatically. What customers want most are easier interactions, the ability to deal with them via their smartphones and consistent treatment across all channels. And as any successful business knows, the customer is always right.

Companies that embrace SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) will be best positioned to deliver systems of engagement that meet these users’ expectations. For example, users want to engage with retailers, banks, and any other personal or business services via any device and any channel, from mobile apps on their smartphones, to tablets, social media and cloud-based e-commerce websites. Wearables are also increasing in popularity, with the Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. reporting that 73% of online adults see “safety and wellness” as one potential wearable-workplace benefit.

Perhaps most important, users expect customized interactions, in which big data and analytics deliver the intelligence required to enhance user experiences and drive new revenue. For example, by targeting customers with personalized offers and suggesting relevant purchases, retailers leverage valuable customer data to encourage new sales. And the multiway interaction continues after the purchase. Customers are engaged in providing retailers with product feedback and chatter on social media about product quality, which the retailer then analyzes to gain insights for encouraging return business. Add the Internet of Things (IoT), and soon organizations will be engaging with cars, appliances and other purchased items, spurring new sources of service revenue that have the potential to last for years.

From the Center to the Edge

Moving to systems of engagement requires an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ that can deliver a satisfying, real-time experience for any user, anywhere, on any device, via any engagement channel.

In an age of digital images, voice and video, more than fat pipes are required ̶ low latency is vital. Low latency comes from proximity, not only to the user, but also among the applications, data repositories, cloud services and other elements that drive the engagement experience.

That’s why successful enterprises are moving from a centralized interconnection architecture, with multiple long-distance MPLS, Internet virtual private networks (VPNs), and other connections emanating from one or two corporate data centers, to a more distributed interconnection architecture that harnesses existing, globally dispersed interconnection/colocation data centers (such as Equinix) that house multiple cloud services, network providers and partner ecosystems.

An interconnected enterprise leverages proximate, direct, high-speed interconnections among clouds, partners and other IT delivery systems for fast, low-latency interactions, bringing all of these services closer to dispersed global users. Rather than building multiple connections one by one, organizations can simply extend their network to the nearest interconnection access point.

With systems of engagement and data pushed to the edge, close to mobile users, the entire user experience on any device is transformed. Countless organizations have benefited from this transformative architecture, including these Equinix customers:

  • A major multinational banking and financial services firm reduced latency by 45% by strategically deploying its banking applications in multiple global interconnection centers.
  • A health care Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider achieved real-time customer service interactions by leveraging a globally dispersed interconnection architecture to securely deliver on-demand software updates.

The future is engagement, which means you need to get up close and interconnect.

WinWeb focusses on cloud industry solutions

Winweb’s cloud-based business management solutions have a new focus on industry-specific requirements, with special applications for retail, wholesale, services, manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, non-profit organizations, membership businesses, and franchises.

WinWeb industry solutions offer basic business functions, such as accounting, invoicing and business planning as well as industry-specific functionality, for example multi-location and multi-channel sales for retail.

Read more about Winweb industry solutions at WinWeb.com.

An Alternative to Netsuite?

Is there currently a SaaS offering that is an alternative to Netsuite? Yes! The answer is WinWeb. WinWeb gives you transformational enterprise level cloud computing for your growing business. One unified business management suite, combining traditional back-office, social media, web services, customer care, online & offline multi-channel sales and fulfilment activities. WinWeb CLOUD supports you and your team through the whole business cycle with all the tools you need in one simple, customised cloud interface. Giving your business a limitless, scalable business development platform, for profit and growth.

The pricing structure of WinWeb’s CLOUD offering compares very favourably with that of Netsuite.
The all-in-one customisable and flexible WinWeb Cloud from £599 per month/3 users included, billed annually.

Or why not try WinWeb APPS Industry Solutions for any size business. Whether you are a retail, wholesale, services, manufacturing, health care, financial, non-profit, membership, or franchise. Work from anywhere, updates included. Nothing to install and no long contract.

Everyone should have Business Software this Advanced – Now you can with WinWeb APPS.

Your business software not only needs to grow with your needs, it also needs to be able to change with your needs. Only truly integrated cloud software can deliver these objectives. WinWeb APPS will work for any Micro Business as it will for any Enterprise.

WinWeb CLOUD is a fully integrated and customisable solution dedicated to helping businesses become financially sustainable by providing them with access to the tools they will need at an affordable price. It is a system that is agile and flexible enough to provide custom app offerings to every industry and unlike other similar companies, those custom options won’t break the bank and they are very easy and quick to implement.

Let’s take a quick look at what a business can get from WinWeb Cloud:

  • Enterprise and Manufacturing Resource Planning (ERP/MRP)

    Including Financial Management, Supply Chain, Inventory, Order Management, Billing & Invoicing, Shipping & Fulfilment, Human Resources, Manufacturing, Production Scheduling, Bill of Materials, Purchase Management, Material Requirement Planning, Capacity Requirement Planning, Warehousing, Subscription and Time Billing and more …

  • Production Data Acquisition (PDA)

    Real-time process and production monitoring/reporting for manufacturing businesses – via Industrial Ethernet and/or industrial PDQ units.

  • Projects & Tasks Management (PTM)

    Project setup, project history, project team management, project pipelines and charts.

  • Multi Location

    Real-time integration of every fixed and mobile location, like multiple stores, multiple offices, delivery vans and trucks, will greatly enhance business efficiencies, save time and money.

  • Business Reporting & Analytics

    Hundreds of standard reports, including financial performance, client, sales, reporting and customised reporting.

  • Customer Service & Helpdesk

    Delight your customers by streamlining your support and deliver faster customer care.

  • Big Data

    Correlating internal business data with large scale external data sources to provide new insights into your business and open your business to new business opportunities.

  • eCommerce & ePOS

    Complete eCommerce solutions, from shop floor to online fully integrated into all aspects of WinWeb Business Cloud.

  • Private Business Cloud (PBC)

    Instead of hosting your cloud applications in the public cloud you can choose to have your cloud applications in your own data centre.

  • Website & Blog Integration

    Promote your business via social media. Interact with your clients.

  • Client Relationship Management (CRM)

    360 degree client view including client history, client file store, social media, transaction & financial overview and many more customisation options for a complete client picture.

  • Business Planning

    Business plan, cashflow forecast, SWOT analysis, business model canvas.

  • Digital Marketing

    Using our proprietary DITE technology (Discovery-Interaction- Transaction-Endorsement) to promote your products and services online, fully integrated into your back-office.

  • Cloud Chat & Message Board

    Real time collaboration tools to keep your team on track and communicating locally, nationally and world-wide.

  • Email, SMS & Newsletter

    Client communication via every channel possible, totally integrated.

  • Social Media Integration

    Communicating with clients on all relevant social media platforms in an integrated way is essential for any sustainable business – and creates lasting brand awareness.

  • Online Disk & Data Backup

    Keep all your data securely and online backed-up 24/7 with as much storage space as you need, fully encrypted.

  • Desktops. Tablets. Mobile

    Access your WinWeb Business Cloud on any device of your choice at no extra cost.

So if you’re looking for an alternative to Netsuite look no further you’ve found one it’s WinWeb.

Now that’s an alternative. The way you like I.T …
To find out more about Winweb CLOUD or WinWeb APPS contact us

Accounting and Bookkeeping Software for Independent Contractors

As an independent contractor, it is important to make sure your books are in order. One of the main reasons for this is to make your tax reporting a lot easier and get you back to work as quickly as possible. As an independent contractor, you are responsible for paying quarterly income taxes–which can be an arduous process if you don’t know what you’re doing. Knowing how much you are paying out and bringing in will assist in getting your taxes paid in a timely and accurate manner and reduce the amount of time spent with your bookkeeper or accountant. Having an accounting system in place will increase productivity and help your business run efficiently. By keeping track of bills, receipts, your net profit and gross profit, and by maintaining a clean balance sheet, you can keep an eye on your money without taking too much time from your day job.

To help get your accounting system up and running, check out a few accounting industry software providers we like to use with our clients:

Quickbooks Online

QuickBooks is now available in the cloud for on-the-go accounting and allows you to import your monthly bank statements directly into the program for ease of use. There are a variety of functions you can use based on your niche for well-documented recording and its easy-to-use interface can help you get up and going whether you manage your books entirely on your own or use an outsourced bookkeeping service. Plus, if you take payments through different online shopping sites, it includes the ability to keep track of your expenses and income from PayPal, Amazon, Etsy and eBay.

Tallie

Keeping all your receipts together can be a hassle. This program lets you take a picture with your smartphone, catalog it directly with the phone app, and organize based on project, client or another categorization method as you determine. If your business is especially expense-heavy, including lots of on-the-go receipts, you likely run the risk of losing receipts or failing to keep adequate track of your expenses. And the last thing you want to do is find yourself sifting through a box of unorganized receipts every quarter. Tallie can help you manage your receipts as you create them–and syncs directly with QuickBooks Online for seamless data management.

ScanWriter

ScanWriter assists with automated data entry directly into QuickBooks, including 100s of transactions from bank and credit card statements, bills, sales orders and invoices. A lot of independent contractors find themselves spending countless hours hand-keying data–which takes up way more time than it is worth. Instead of catching up on data entry on your day off, using an automated system will help you get data entered quickly and correctly (less user error!).

Bill.com

Start encouraging your accounts payable to take electronic payments–and then move your accounts payables and accounts receivables into the 21st century with Bill.com. You’d be surprised how many of your payments can be switched to ACH payments–we help our clients switch to electronic payments for as many vendors as possible to help streamline the bill review, payment and approval process. Whether you’re the only person reviewing bills or you’re working with a partner or small team, Bill.com can help automate the entire review process for you.

Staying on top of your accounting will save you a lot of time, effort and money in the long run. Finding and utilizing the programs that meet your needs will help make you a successful indepedent contractor. And if you need any help, an online bookkeeping service can help you get up and running, from managing your entire accounting department to assisting with accounting software integrations or specific bookkeeping services.

Wondering what accounting services are available for independent contractors? See whether accounting services are for you.

7 Surprising Time-Saving Accounting Automations

The never-ending debate about whether accountants and bookkeepers can be replaced is ongoing still. Of course, you’ll likely always need actual human professionals to weigh in and oversee many functions—but there is a growing list of tasks and processes that can be automated to save everyone time and money. We have compiled 7 of the top automations we encounter regularly in the hopes that we unveil at least a handful of things you may never have considered but now will not be able to live without. And if you’re automating something special that we didn’t cover, tell us in the comments!

  1. Import Bank Transactions

    Please, please, please tell us you are not manually entering any bank transactions in QuickBooks. A long time ago, we paid an Excel guru to create a really impressive workflow to automate this process for us—and it set us ahead of the game. But now, everyone can (and should) automatically import bank transactions into QuickBooks.

  2. Credit Card Statement Imports

    Bank transaction imports? Wait, that’s not all! Your credit card transactions can also automatically import to QuickBooks as well. (And other accounting platforms too of course). You may need to contact your credit card company for logon information to activate online service—but a simple phone call should get you the information you need in no time.

  3. Expense Report Submissions

    Whether you have one employee with expenses or 100, tracking down employees’ expense reports, verifying information, and managing receipts is a headache. All that paper pushing is a waste of everyone’s time—time that can be better spent on the company. Using an expense management application (like our friends at Tallie) can help you automate all of this—from taking photos of receipts in real-time to compiling and submitting expense reports from a mobile device, your employees will never have to rely on pen, paper and time again.

  4. Expense Report Sync To Accounting Software

    Did we mention that the expense management software doesn’t live in a bubble? It should integrate with your accounting software to pull your expense directly into your financial statements. And whether your reimbursements are done via ACH, live check or payroll, they can manage that too. Automation at its finest!

  5. Field Employee Time Tracking

    Nothing worse than having to collect and compile messy, difficult to read time cards from field employees. They’re busy, you’re busy, and yes, it is still way too much paper. Instead, time tracking applications with mobile interfaces (such as TSheets) allow field employees the ability to clock in from the field by either text message or mobile application. This supports real-time time tracking and funnels data directly into your general ledger system. No more delayed payroll because of missing time sheets.

  6. Generate Automatic Invoices

    If your business doesn’t get paid, nothing else matters. Therefore, any improvement you can make to generating and distributing invoices is a huge step towards improving your accounts receivable process. You can use any number of programs, from Bill.com to QuickBooks to PayPal to automatically generate new invoices, including on a recurring basis, and send directly to your clients.

  7. Invoice Approval Workflows

    There is nothing we dislike more than a pile of invoices waiting to be reviewed. It just seems so—unnecessary. Instead, you could automate the whole thing, review invoices, read back up documentation and approve payments in one interface. You can setup multiple approval workflows for different types of invoices or payments—for example, if a certain department needs to verify the expenses before the CEO will issue final approval—and you can do it all from any device with internet access. So much nicer than paper piles!

Want more information on how to improve your bookkeeping and accounting? We have you covered!

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  • America's Best Colleges
    Forbes' list of public and private colleges and universities ranks the best schools--from the students' point of view.
  • Twelve Nasty Work-From-Home Scams
    Does the offer of making a mint in your pajamas sound too good to be true? It surely is.
  • The World's Most Powerful Celebrities
    Oprah Winfrey takes back her crown while pop chart phenomenon Lady Gaga catapults to No. 4 on this year's Celebrity 100.
  • The World's Leading Companies
    This comprehensive report analyzes the world's biggest companies and the best performing of these titans.
  • The World's Billionaires
    Carlos Slim Helu takes the No. 1 spot on Forbes' annual list of the world's richest as a record 164 billionaires return to the ranking amid the global economic recovery.
NY Business