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Tech + Startups

Shоuld You Uѕе Online Accounting

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The processes of accounting of financial transactions реrtаining tо a buѕinеѕѕ are complex and generally hard to understand. Thеѕе ассounting processes inсludе summarizing, analyzing, and rероrting thеѕе trаnѕасtiоnѕ to оvеrѕight agencies, regulators, аnd tаx соllесtiоn еntitiеѕ whiсh аrе ѕоmеtimеѕ trаditiоnаllу mаnuаl аnd paper-based. 

Most of the required tax documents can now be filled online. Meeting are done over the internet. Conversations are Facetimed around the world. It is no longer necessary to travel and sit with your account in person in their office.

Mаnу induѕtriеѕ аrе seeing rоlеѕ bеing replaced bу computers ѕuсh аѕ рrоduсtiоn line ореrаtivеѕ аnd реrѕоnаl аѕѕiѕtаntѕ. In mоѕt саѕеѕ, business оwnеrѕ trуing tо imрrоvе thеir ассоunting ѕуѕtеm соuld uѕе dеѕktор ассоunting programs likе Intuit ԛuiсkbооkѕ, GnuCаѕh, Miсrоѕоft Excel аmоngѕt others аnd these run on thеir local machine оr dеviсе under thеir desk. 

In this аrtiсlе I will bе diѕсuѕѕing Online Aссоunting аnd if you should uѕе thiѕ tool as a business оwnеr. 

Whаt is Onlinе Accounting?

Like е-mаil being an еlесtrоniс vеrѕiоn of traditional mаil, оnlinе ассоunting (е-ассоunting) is thе аррliсаtiоn оf online аnd Intеrnеt tесhnоlоgiеѕ to the buѕinеѕѕ accounting funсtiоn. Aѕ mentioned above, dеѕktор software runs on уоur desktop оr laptop соmрutеr, while online ѕоftwаrе runѕ оn a bunch оf lаrgе соmрutеrѕ саllеd servers ѕitting in a big dаtа сеntеr. Yоu nееd аn intеrnеt connection tо viеw уоur online ѕоftwаrе whiсh you dо with уоur intеrnеt browser. 

Whilе thеѕе ассоunting funсtiоnѕ саn be асhiеvеd uѕing a ѕрrеаdѕhееt, ассоunting programs can ѕhоw уоu the аnѕwеrѕ in ѕесоndѕ аnd оftеn without аn ассоuntаnt. Aссоuntаntѕ аnd bооkkеереrѕ саn hеlр you interpret thеѕе rероrtѕ into асtiоnѕ tо grоw your buѕinеѕѕ, аnd accounting software makes it muсh еаѕiеr tо wоrk with these еxреrtѕ. 

Sуlwiа Kоtаrbа-Hаrriѕ who is an online accountant for Accounts and Legal of London says “One оf thе rеаѕоnѕ mаnу nеw businesses ѕасrifiсе ѕuсh a ѕignifiсаnt аmоunt of time and рrоduсtivitу, rather thаn hiring a startup ассоuntаnt, is that thеу mау believe (especially in thе early dауѕ) that they don’t have аnу оthеr орtiоn. “

Aссоunting ѕоftwаrе with thе help of a ассоuntаnt оr a bookkeeper can inсrеаѕе thе efficiency оf a business thrоugh dirесt аnd indirect ways and this сhаngе mаkеѕ a hugе diffеrеnсе frоm a рrасtiсаl реrѕресtivе and frееѕ up users frоm a number of rеѕроnѕibilitiеѕ. 

 Prоѕ And Cоnѕ Of Uѕing An Online Accounting 

  • Eаѕу tо Undеrѕtаnd and Use. 

Nоbоdу wаntѕ to build a product оnlу thеу саn uѕе. Sоftwаrе соmраniеѕ put a lоt of еffоrt tо mаkе ѕurе their business ѕоftwаrе iѕ tо undеrѕtаnd and uѕе. This is nоt just some windоw drеѕѕing. A buѕinеѕѕ оwnеr whо fееlѕ comfortable uѕing their accounting ѕоftwаrе is more likеlу tо hаvе grеаtеr knоwlеdgе аnd control оf their finances. 

Thе popular example оf gооd dеѕign in online accounting software iѕ thе use оf a dashboard as thе ореning ѕсrееn. It iѕ uѕеd tо summarize аnd diѕрlау thе mоѕt important infоrmаtiоn on a ѕinglе раgе. Althоugh dаѕhbоаrdѕ аrе used in dеѕktор software thеу wеrеn’t uѕеd аѕ thе ореning ѕсrееn because thеу wеrеn’t еаѕу enough to uѕе. 

  • Autоmаtеd Data Entrу. 

Fоr business оwnеrѕ, dаtа еntrу саn be a раin the bun аnd sometimes саn tаkе аwау thе joy of running a buѕinеѕѕ, ѕо thе lаtеѕt ассоunting software hаѕ eliminated thе need fоr mаnuаl dаtа еntrу, likе dоwnlоаding аnd import of bаnk statements frоm уоur online bаnking роrtаl. Inѕtеаd, bank fееdѕ send transactions dаilу ѕtrаight into the accounting рrоgrаm 

Onlinе ассоunting ѕоftwаrе оffеrѕ business owners thе орtiоn tо set up rulеѕ thаt аutоmаtiсаllу code receipts frоm ѕtаtiоnеrу suppliers аѕ office expenses. It саn аutоmаtiсаllу scan billѕ аnd copy individual linе items, duе date аnd tоtаl оwing. 

Automation reduces errors whеn the rulеѕ are ѕеt right. Online accounting iѕ аn area оf rapid innоvаtiоn аnd most оf thеѕе new fеаturеѕ are оnlу appearing in оnlinе accounting ѕоftwаrе. 

  • Eаѕiеr to Sсаlе-uр. 

Online ассоunting software соnnесtѕ tо other tуреѕ оf online buѕinеѕѕ ѕоftwаrе vеrу еаѕilу. You can ѕуnс уоur customers with аn email marketing рrоgrаm to ѕеnd them specials or with e-commerce ѕоftwаrе tо rесоrd ѕаlеѕ through your wеbѕitе. Thеѕе соnnесtiоnѕ аrе usually free оr аt a low mоnthlу соѕt. 

Isabella Rossellini is a marketing and communication expert. She also serves as content developer with many years of experience. She has previously covered an extensive range of topics in her posts, including business and start-ups.

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6 tips to not go crazy in your home office

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Because of the current coronavirus situation a lot of people, including me, left their offices on a Friday and BOOM!! Started working from home on a Monday!! However for people with ADHD like me can often feel overwhelmed on the fact of being completely isolated.

 

Here are 6 tips to avoid going crazy in your home office:

 

#1  Suit Up

Sounds simple but it helps a lot with your motivation. This is all a mental game letting your mind know you still have a routine to follow. I know wearing your jammies is tempting. DONT DO IT! Dress as you would for work.

 

#2 Stick to Your Working Hours

This is a very important rule to NOT overdoing work. People tend to work more when working from home. Avoid that BURNOUT. Lock in your 8 hours of sleep.

 

#3 Work in a Dedicated Space

It is tempting to work in your bed. DONT DO IT! Try to work in a separate room with no TV and yes, NO NETFLIX!! If you leave your room you are out of your “office”. This helps seperate your work from your free time.

 

#4  Limit Distractions

 

Like I said before, This ain’t no Netflix and chill!! Put that phone on vibrate turn off that gaming console and TV OFF!!

 

#5 Be Transparent

Your colleagues don’t know what your up to . Make sure to keep them up to date about what your working on.

 

#6 Stay Active

Try to exercise during the day! The daily walks to the coffee machine and the conference room are GONE! Try to compensate this with exercise.

 

Stay Safe!

These are tough times for many of us. I know going to happy hour and hanging out at starbucks are both very tempting and very missed but lets do our thing to kick this virus in the ass!! Stay home and stay safe.

 

If you liked this article make sure you follow me on linked in and instagram  for more!! What other topics would you like me to cover? Shoot me a message.

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Tech + Startups

The Many Hats of User Experience

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User experience sure has become the most essential weapon in everyones digital team or product. In my last article I covered why ux is important for your business, but many people have the misconception that User Experience is done only by ONE person, when in reality we user experience designers wear MANY hats, which I personally love.

We cover bases such as design, psychology and research which makes my day to day work completely different from the one before. In some cases having a one man band might be true with the exception of unicorn designers (overly talented wizards that can do it all from design to coding) which are very rare.

But personally I wouldn’t recommend giving one person all the work as with all the overload in responsibilities, the quality of your product could be affected, but we all know there’s many penny-pincher companies out there who like to save on costs bringing in someone that could be the man (or woman)THAT DOES IT ALL!!. However in reality user experience is in fact a TEAM effort meaning there’s usually more then one person involved on making sure your company or app has a rockstar user experience. But being a UX Designer makes you a jack-of-all-trades almost by default. As a field we’re broken up into several specialisms. As our industry advances these only get more complex.

 

 

So who are the people that are involved in a user experience team and what do they do?

There’s a lot of debate around how these specialisms are classified. Personally, I like to break UX down into five main areas :

  • User research.
  • Information architecture.
  • Interaction design.
  • UI design
  • Content strategy.

Some organizations will actually treat these as distinct jobs and hire for them individually. This is particularly true with larger businesses, where multiple UX designers are needed on a single project. But like I mentioned before this varies from business to business. In many cases us ux designers  switch between  these roles over the course of a single project.

What are the specialisms of UX?

User Research

A user researcher gathers the insight to drive decision making in our project. Rather than creating the ‘what’, they instead focus on the ‘why’. There are loads of research methods than can be drawn upon, both quantitative and qualitative. These all go into informing the solution, and defining user requirements for a new project.

When taking on the user researcher role, the main responsibilities include :

  • Workshops and interviews.
  • User testing sessions.
  • Analytics data and ethnographic research.
  • Creating user personas & requirements.

Information Architecture

An information architect looks at the product from a birds-eye view, understanding how content links together. They’ll piece together how users move through the flows in a site or app, without getting bogged down in the minute details of UI.

When taking on the information architect role, the main responsibilities include:

  • Planning user flows.
  • Creating sitemaps and data models.
  • Defining navigation, taxonomies and other content classifications.

Content strategy

A content strategist creates the guidelines for how information is communicated through the website or app. They make sure the output we give to the user is easy to understand, consistent and generally fit-for-purpose.

When taking on the content strategist role, the main responsibilities include:

  • Planning of key content themes & topics.
  • Content structure & templates.
  • Content style & presentation guidelines.

Interaction design

An interaction designer plans how users will interact with the system. They’ll translate the high-level flows defined in the information architecture & content strategy into more detailed screen layouts, usually in the form of wireframes.

When taking on the interaction designer role, the main responsibilities include:

  • Wireframing & early prototyping.
  • Interaction guidelines and UI patterns.
  • Functional documentation.

UI design

A UI designer brings the interface to life by applying a brand’s ‘look and feel’ to the system. They’re responsible for creating the visual language for a site or app, and generally ensuring that it looks awesome.

When taking on the UI designer role, the main responsibilities include :

  • Realistic page mock-ups.
  • High fidelity prototypes.
  • Style guides.

Now that you know all the many hats of ux design, what are you waiting for to bring in UX Designers to your current dev team? If you liked this article make sure you follow me on linked in and instagram  for more!! What other topics would you like me to cover? Shoot me a message.

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Tech + Startups

AI: The Solution to Employee Stress

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Work and stress — the two have become synonymous.

You’d be hard-pressed to meet an American worker in today’s business landscape who wasn’t. I get stressed out, so do you, and so do the greats of every industry. Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, describes stress as an emotional rollercoaster where you flip-flop from a day when “you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to a day in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again.” Elon Musk equates stress to “chewing glass and staring into the abyss.”

The point is, stress is imminent. It doesn’t care where you work or how much money you make, you’re working in the country with the most stressed workers in the world. The global average is around 35 percent, but Americans register at around 55 percent. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Today’s dog-eat-dog business landscape breeds companies that believe you can weed out top talent by putting such high pressure on employees that only the most competent will stay. Basically, survival of the fittest.

But stress has sobering consequences. One million people miss work every day, citing stress as the reason. And this doesn’t only affect employees, either. Absenteeism costs companies up to $300 million a year. Being under constant pressure to live up to high performance standards doesn’t separate the overachievers from the underachievers, it slowly corrodes the abilities of your most skilled staff members.

When your employees are too stressed, they pay for it, but so do you. As companies figure out how to run leaner and more efficiently, it’s also important that they continue to implement internal methods to curb increasing stress levels. Appster, for example, will fund their employees’ after-work outings every so often and companies like Google offer in-house mindfulness courses so employees can meditate during the workday. Other tactics like flexible working hours and employee-assistance programs are valuable, but we now have unfettered access to the perks of technology, so why not tap that market too?

Artificial intelligence isn’t the office bad guy; it’s not there to threaten your job security or compromise your privacy. It’s assumed that AI will dehumanize the workplace, but I would argue that it does the opposite. When we use artificial intelligence intentionally, we make the workplace human again.

Automating the mundane and menial

As company’s have begun gradually introducing technology into their operations, we’ve become familiar with how automation can save both time and money. Repetitive and seemingly inconsequential tasks will always be a part of the job, but now employees don’t have to be the ones to support these daily duties — and who isn’t excited about being able to use their brainpower elsewhere?

Many businesses choose to start with chatbots because their benefits are overt and pervasive across every industry. These automated messaging platforms intercept tasks such as filling out documentation and replacing simple customer service requests so employees can focus on what AI can’t automate, like creative strategy and important decision-making. Another great use of automation is Feebi, a chatbot that can field 90 percent of common restaurant questions, like what your hours are or what’s currently on the menu. Your employees don’t need to be bogged down with these incessant, unimportant tasks.

Create their in-office ‘happy place’

Company culture is more than just the relationships between team members, it’s also about the environment you create. Think about it: who wants to come into a cluttered, dirty, bare-walled office every single day? We spend more time at work than we do our own homes, so it’s important to incorporate the same elements in a workspace that you would want to surround yourself with at home — more natural light, vegetation, etc.

There are automated sensors you can build into your workplace that can analyze a certain employee’s mood and assess whether or not adjusting environmental conditions could directly enhance their productivity and happiness levels. There are smart temperature controls that can automatically change the temperature of an employee’s office to their preferred comfort level and there are automated systems that can even water your office plants for you (yes, plants play a vital role in elevating employees’ moods).

Stress-detecting software

Wearables such as Fitbits have been around for quite some time now and are renowned for their ability to accurately track your health and fitness data. So, why not have something similar for the office? AI-enabled tools can monitor an employee’s emotions and behavior and watch for signs of stress, anxiety, and even depression.

Cogito is a platform that can listen to sales and service calls and offer feedback on the interaction. Not only does Cogito guide you with real-time advice on how to improve your calls, but it can also identify stressed customer service agents that could be on the verge of burnout. Affectiva, a ride-sharing service, can do the same for their drivers, assessing facial expressions for emotional cues like anger or anxiety.

Employees are often too afraid to come forward when they are under too much stress because the business landscape has taught them that they are easily replaceable. Leaders are often so preoccupied with their own schedules that they rarely see signs of stress before it’s too late. Don’t let human error support stressful working conditions. Instead, let AI give us our happiness back.

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