App integration problems? Maybe you’ve got the wrong app!

Do you think integrating third-party applications with your applications (like QuickBooks) is a problem? If so, perhaps, you are selecting the wrong applications…

According to AccountingWeb Contributor Seth Fineberg when it comes to integrating essential third-party applications with core platforms and software, “most users do not know what true integration is supposed to look like and are often disappointed…”

Choose the right applications

Seth interviewed Stacy Kildal, founder of Kildal Services, a bookkeeping, payroll, and technology consulting company who urges accounting firms and their clients to pay attention to the following:

– Does the application really sync? Or is it simply pulling information from your accounting software, or only updating select data?

– Is it solving a real problem and how does the data it delivers into the software or platform you are using?

– Is it taking advantage of the features available in your current accounting package?

– Can you access the tools you need to analyze the data entered into the app?

– Does it give you the tools and data to create the reports you need?

AppIntegration App integration problems? Maybe you've got the wrong app!

Take a test drive or demo

While Kildal recommends signing up for the app via the developer website and testing it without syncing, we’ve got a better recommendation. Check to see whether you can try the application before you buy it. Or ask the developer demo it for you.

“It’s not hard to test an app on live data,” she told Accounting Web. She advised accountants to “start a trial, test it with your data or your clients’. If you don’t like the app, just disconnect it and cancel the subscription. Do a few test transactions so you don’t have to edit or delete a bunch.” At Knowify, we recommend contractors to do the same.

Get it all right; not half right

Stop wasting time creating workarounds to get accounting software to work better. If you are an accounting firm recommending QuickBooks Pro or equivalent to your clients; or a QuickBooks Pro Advisor helping clients get the most of this application, simply recommend the right software.

If you’re a contractor using accounting software to help you run your business, make sure it’s designed for your business…not a manufacturer, or medical office, or…

Invest in the right technology

Really. Because technology (the right technology), can help you institute best practices and deliver complete transparency into hours, job assignments, client management, and productivity to ensure your projects stay on schedule and on budget? Imagine, running your business (or having clients running their businesses) efficiently, cost-effectively, and profitably. Win. Win. Win!

So how do you get there? Do your research. Knowify, for one, can help. We’re already helping accounting firms, advisors, and contractors integrate their business management needs with their accounting systems from an easy-to-use interface accessible from any device — in the field and in the office. If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at support@knowify.com.

Knowify. Built for the real world.

How’s your Market doing?

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has released its Multifamily Production Index (MPI) for 2015. The good news is that this study turned in its 16th consecutive reading of 50 or above. The so-so news is that this 0 to 100 measure of builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium did decline 4 points to 52 in fourth quarter 2015.

According to the NAHB, this index and all of its components are scaled so that a number above 50 indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse. Whew!

In releasing the MPI, which provides a composite measure of three key, multifamily housing market elements: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and “for-sale” units, or condominiums, NAHB Chief Economist David Crow said. “Demand for multifamily housing remains strong, which is reflected in the fourth quarter Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI). And while demand is strong, it’s natural that the MPI would move closer to the break-even point of 50 now that new multifamily housing has largely recovered from the downturn and reached a long-run sustainable rate of production.”

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Are you a tech wimp?

In the February issue of Contractor Magazine, Matthew Cowan, co-founder and CEO of Breezeworks, chided contractors who are tracking customers on index cards and notebooks. Come into the 21st Century, he says, because, “given the low cost of some of the business management software available now, you don’t have to be a large conglomerate with an IT team to go digital.” Rather, he says, tap into your smartphone or tablet. There are plenty of systems to manage your business — your estimates, jobs, teams, purchase orders and invoices from your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone — wherever you are (the beach?), whenever you want.

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Knowify and QuickBooks Online – Today’s ideal contractor business solution!

Join Knowify and QB Pro Consulting for a free webinar demonstrating the most cost effective, complete management solution for general and specialty contractors. Knowify, teamed with QuickBooks Online, provides its constructions clients with a best of breed solution for estimating, planning, managing, workflow collaboration and meeting profit goals.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

Thursday, February 18th from 2-3 pm PST

QBOandKnowify Knowify and QuickBooks Online - Today's ideal contractor business solution!

Free QB Pro + Knowify Contractor Webinar

Thursday, February 18th from 2-3 pm PST. Click here to sign up!

Want to run your business faster, smarter and more profitably? What’s stopping you?

You use a computer. You’ve got a smartphone, laptop, and maybe a tablet. You’re even using an accounting package like QuickBooks to help track payables, receivables, and estimate taxes. So it’s clear you’re not entirely afraid of technology…you’re just not using it to run the rest of your business. Big mistake!

Whiteboards? Spreadsheets? Really?

You’re a contractor. You run a business. How you run your business matters. Whether you do commercial construction, residential contracting, sub or service work, you juggle a lot of moving parts just to keep the doors open and your teams running smoothly. You’ve got to find the work, estimate spot-on to win the work, do the work, bill the work, and still make money.

Spreadsheets Free QB Pro + Knowify Contractor Webinar

How’s that going?

No one likes to leave money on the table. It’s stressful. You’ve got to plan every job carefully, itemize material budgets, schedule crews and then take all that data and create a bid attractive to that customer. Win the bid and you’ve got even more “paperwork.” You’ve got to generate contracts, get them to the customer for signature, create service orders, schedule teams and materials, and so on. Every job. Every day.

Are you running your business like it’s still the ’80s?

Maybe. Or maybe you’ve thrown out your paper ledgers and stepped up to an accounting software package like QuickBooks, which is great when it’s used to its fullest. But even QuickBooks can’t manage your day to day operations. It can do payroll. It can help you invoice. It can even remind you to pay your taxes. But…it cannot help you automate your company’s estimating/bidding process. It can’t help you manage projects, people, and workflow in the field or at your desk. Neither can Excel spreadsheets!

Click here to learn what can!

QBPro Consulting is partnering with Knowify for Contractors, the most cost-effective, complete business management solution for contractors to help you meet your profit goals. Join us on Thursday, February 18th at 2 pm for a FREE webinar just for general contractors, specialty contractors, and subs. Join Dan de Roulet, Knowify’s founder and CPA Rick Armstrong, a QuickBooks Advanced Certified ProAdvisor for a deep dive into how to use technology better to maximize the ROI of your business efforts. Learn how this one-two combo knockout of Knowify + QuickBooks helps contractors like you master and manage your business.

Take action now. Sign up for the FREE QBPro Consulting + Knowify webinar!

Knowify and QuickBooks Online – Today’s Ideal Contractor Business Solution!

QBOandKnowify Free QB Pro + Knowify Contractor Webinar

Build Client Loyalty by Delivering What Matters

If you’re an accountant, independent bookkeeper, and a QuickBooks Pro Advisor, you know that your profession is facing massive change — driven primarily by the explosive growth of digital technology. How you operate and how you deliver service matters. It’s not just about anticipating changes that will occur in the market — those already have and are happening. What’s more important, writes M. Darren Root , a CPA, CITP, CGMA and CEO of RootWorks, in a recent QuickBooks Pro Advisor Newsletter, is that “these technologies are changing client behavior and expectations. We’ve officially entered the Age of Disruption,” he says, “where changes in consumer behavior are converging with the advancement of technological tools, creating uncharted territory for businesses around the globe.”

Are you a Blackberry, a Galaxy, or an Apple?

Root cites the rapid rise and fall of Research In Motion (RIM) – the company that created the BlackBerry, as a cautionary tale of a company’s error in evolving its platform to keep up with competitive technologies. “In 2006,” he says, “10 million people couldn’t live without a ‘Crackberry.'” But five years later, they were eclipsed by newer, consumer-responsive technologies.”Now,” he urges, “is the time to make changes to meet the current and future needs (and wants) of your ideal clients.”

Be a Scout. Be prepared!

According to Root, to be ready for tomorrow, and the day after QuickBooks Pro Advisors must:

  • – Understand the wants, needs and purchase motivations of a new kind of client; and
  • – Remain ahead of the curve, as the market continues to experience perpetual change and disruption.

Technology matters. And the technology that matters most is the ones your clients already use, plan to use, or may only have heard about…

“It is imperative,” he says, “to pay attention to what is happening, both inside your firm and outside, in the environment where your clients live. While this may seem pretty obvious, it’s also easy to lose sight of developing trends when you are busy getting the day-to-day stuff done.” Root underscores the need to plan how to respond to client demand for services clients want, but which you may not currently offer, and to lead clients “toward solutions that you develop to completely satisfy their financial needs.”

To better serve clients, Root cites the results of a recent Accenture survey as key to your business’ health. These include:

  • – Analytical skills – Make a point of anticipating trends in the market and changes customer behavior. If your residential contracting client, for example, is giving his team leaders smart devices/pads, think about what financial and/or business management solutions you can offer to help them run their businesses smarter.
  • – An adaptive mindset – Be flexible. See change in your markets and adapt your go-to-market and client service strategy accordingly. According to Root, this often involved lateral thinking about how they could leverage change to grow outside of their traditional core businesses.
  • – Agility – Be responsive. See what’s happening and make the right acquisitions and investment in your organization or practice to take advantage of “ripening” market opportunities.

Most importantly, Root adds, “develop a business model that addresses clients’ desire to have easily accessible services that are connected within a larger ecosystem by integrative technologies and tools such as micro-apps (small apps that do a single function, yet can be connected together to create a completely customized solution)…to create a cohesive and connected experience for our clients at all of our organization’s touch points. Ideally,” he adds, “we should be delivering service solutions that are simple, seamless and salient for our clients, while also providing the exceptional service that builds loyal relationships and an affinity for our brand. It may not be easy, but it is critical to success in the Age of Disruption.”

Knowify is one such solution that can help QuickBooks Pro Advisers keep the playing field level. We’re already helping accountants and QuickBooks Pro Advisors bring powerful project management and automation tools to their construction contractor clients. This not only brings big value to their clients, but also big value to the advisor – client relationship. If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at support@knowify.com.

Knowify. Built for the real world.

 

May the new release be with you next week

may-the-release-be-with-you May the new release be with you next week

CPA firms look to new services in 2016

Adding new client services will be many accounting firm’s top innovation priority this year, according to the newly-published CPA.com Innovation in Public Accounting Survey. Nearly all firms responding say they want stickier relationships with clients and prospects and hope to do so by adding new services. Moreover, those firms, which already have moved to cloud-based technology (many with 100 staffers or more), report feeling great urgency to keep moving the innovation/value-add needle forward.

The 409 firms responding to the survey divided neatly into the following two categories:

– Early Majority (or early adopters) — representing 178 firms; and

– General responders — representing 231 firms.

CPA.com defines Early Majority firms as those which either have launched a cloud-based accounting practice or made advancements in adding client advisory services. Many Early Majority firms skewed larger (20% were firms with 100 or more staffers), while only 10% of the General category respondents were at firms with 100+ staff.

Adding new service is 2016’s BIG deal

Firms in both categories listed “developing new services” as their top priority in 2016. “The good news,” says Amy Radin, a strategic marketing consultant who designed the survey and presented it at the AICPA’s January 2016 Digital CPA Conference, “is that a solid majority of CPA firms realize they have to change to stay relevant.”

However, she notes, those respondents tend to be from the Early Majority category. A sizeable minority of General category CPA firms say they think they can postpone making changes or adding services for up to five years, if they do it at all. That’s a mistake, Radin predicts. “Beware,” she says, “clients aren’t likely to be that patient.”

What’s bottle-necking innovation?

Time and talent issues were reported as the biggest barriers to innovation. Early Majority respondents may be more likely to have a strategy in place, but struggle to work out the processes necessary to execute that strategy. General respondents report they struggle with strategy, possibly because they are not as far along in their innovation processes.

Either way, only a small number of firms worry about keeping up with their competition. Few feel pressed to respond to a “competitor who is outpacing us.” Nor do they seem concerned that tomorrow’s competitor, invisible today, might be “in their face” tomorrow. The concern is that by not paying attention to their markets and changing client expectations, these firms may become victims of surprise themselves.

Be prepared. NOT surprised.

An off-quoted reason many clients change firms is the unexpected gift of a year-end surprise, or an “oops” uncovered when they review their tax returns to discover they suddenly seem to owe the IRS a sizeable chunk.

Clients hate surprises, and so should you! Be prepared. Even when you are knee deep in tax season, think ahead. What products or services could you be introducing to your clients post March or April 15th that would improve the way they do business? Be a hero! Solidify your relationships.

That’s where value-added offerings like Knowify’s powerful project management and automation tools ensure your clients operate and manage their businesses more efficiently. And efficient clients are happy clients — happy with their business ops and happy with you. Deliver more bang for your clients’ buck. Knowify, which conveniently integrates smoothly with QuickBooks and other accounting packages, brings more value to you and to your advisor/client relationship.

If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at support@knowify.com.

Knowify. Built for the real world.

Why accountants and advisors need to do more for their clients

Writing in a recent Intuit QuickBooks Pro Advisor blog “From The Experts,” Edward Castano, vice president of marketing for the factoring company BlueVine Capital, Inc., urged accountants to look beyond their standard accounting and tax services to better serve their clients. He should be talking to QuickBook Pro Advisors too.

Quoting an L. Harris Partners survey on customer satisfaction, he reported that nearly one in three clients (32%) say they use multiple CPA services. This may be, in part, because clients often separate the services their accountants provide them into separate silos, or because the accounting firm may not do an adequate job of promoting a broader swath of service offerings, or because the multi-service firm neglects to cross-sell.

Be a one-stop-shop

Not looking at a client’s big picture is a big mistake. “There are tremendous gains to be hand for your practice and your clients,” Castano says, “by becoming a one-stop shop.

Castano has identified seven value-added services accountants could easily introduce into their lineup. These include:

  1. Bank financing
  2. Business valuation
  3. Cash flow management
  4. Strategic business planning
  5. Succession planning
  6. New business formation
  7. Part-time CFO

The need is there Castano says, and he cites some pretty compelling figures:

  1. A recent QuickBooks survey reports that only one-third of all small businesses get all the funding they need. A big mistake, Castano says, is that they apply “for a loan with insufficient preparation.” Pick up the slack. Take on the burden of producing such loan documents as a business plan, business credit report, income tax returns, and financial and bank statements; and
  2. A survey by B2B CFO reports that more than one-third of companies believe they are undervalued, while nearly one-fifth (17 percent) claim to not know their company’s worth. Pick up the slack. Provide an objective, defensible valuation opinion to clients seeking financing; planning a sale, merger, or acquisition, bankruptcy, or to settle business disputes.

Help clients manage their businesses, not just their books

If you are really doing your job, chances are, you’ve weaned your clients away from paper ledgers and spreadsheets onto a desktop or cloud-based accounting package like QuickBooks. But like tax and audit, that only addresses a portion of your clients’ business management challenges.

Missing links are tools that support client’s business management beyond a straightforward P&L statement, or accounts receivable report. If you are not helping clients run their entire business more efficiently and cost-effectively, you have to ask yourself, why not? And you better ask yourself that question and come up with an answer before your competition gets in the door and shows your clients what they are missing.

“Like your clients,” Castano says, “you can benefit substantially from evaluating and pursuing new sources of revenue for your business. Diversifying and expanding your services is a win-win for you and your clients.” The products and services are out there and vendors looking to support you…you just have to open your eyes.

Help clients manage their businesses, not just their books

If you are really doing your job, chances are, you’ve weaned your clients away from paper ledgers and spreadsheets onto a desktop or cloud-based accounting package like QuickBooks. But like tax and audit, that only addresses a portion of your clients’ business management challenges. Missing links are tools that support client’s business management beyond a straightforward P&L statement, or accounts receivable report. If you are not helping clients run their entire business more efficiently and cost-effectively, you have to ask yourself, why not? And you better ask yourself that question and come up with an answer before your competition gets in the door and shows your clients what they are missing.

“Like your clients,” Castano says, “you can benefit substantially from evaluating and pursuing new sources of revenue for your business. Diversifying and expanding your services is a win-win for you and your clients.” The products and services are out there and vendors looking to support you…you just have to open your eyes.

Do your research. Knowify, for one, can help. We’re already helping accountants and QuickBooks Pro Advisors bring powerful project management and automation tools to their construction contractor clients. This not only brings big value to their clients, but also big value to the advisor – client relationship.If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at support@knowify.com.

Knowify. Built for the real world.

The biggest challenge to delivering projects on time and on budget is…

The key to efficient project management in construction is people. So wrote Philip Greer, a product manager at Trimble Buildings in a recent article in Construction Business Owner. Good project managers tend to run good teams which produce good results.

With many, long-tenured professionals retiring, the measure of a good project manager has changed — not so much in the ability to get work done, but in the way the work gets done. Today, Greer says, its more about real-time transparency. So talent shortages notwithstanding, technology — the ability to track projects/time/materials/people increasingly is key. But, according to the 2015 Global Construction Project Owner’s Survey released by the accounting firm KPMG, only half of the owners surveyed are using project management information systems, and nearly one-third of those say their systems do not integrate “with their accounting and procurement software.”

What’s that about?

Knowledge is power and profitability

Imagine you could access every aspect of every project’s lifecycle — from bid, costing, and estimate to execution, oversight, and invoice. As a business owner or advisor, the ability to have transparency and visibility of what is going on at a job site (or company-wide) at any given time can be very powerful information.

Are you making money and are your teams and material where they should be when they should be? Imagine, says Greer, that you could have real-time access to data so that you and your managers would know whether:

  • The workers assigned to each site showed up? And if they did, how long did they work?
  • Did they have the materials they needed?
  • – Is the project on schedule?

Teams working with clipboard headcounts and calculators are insufficiently efficient. Running an estimating or purchasing function on spreadsheets is no better. With so many contractors and subcontractors already running their bookkeeping functions on QuickBooks or other software or cloud-based packages, selecting the right business management and project management technology would seem to be a logical extension of good business practices.

Not any technology; the right technology

Although he was speaking specifically about project management technology, the issues Greer raises transcend all business management technology. Too often, he says, companies buy a specific technology to resolve a specific problem, “without considering other value the system may have for your business operations.”

The acquisition of different systems for different purposes can create information silos. Does your accounting package integrate with your bidding system, or purchasing system, or project management needs? “The goal,” Greer says, “is for the technologies to be compatible with one another…[systems] should support other software applications while still providing timely and detailed data on deliverables and personnel” and materials and…

Greer believes that technology…”offers a gateway for instituting best practices…[delivering] complete transparency into hours, job assignments, credentials and productivity to…ensure the project stays on schedule and on budget.”

ProjectManagement The biggest challenge to delivering projects on time and on budget is...

So how do you get there? Do your research. Knowify, for one, can help. We’re already helping contractors integrate their business management needs with their accounting systems from an easy-to-use interface accessible from any device — in the field and in the office. If you have any questions or wish to share your feedback, you can find us at support@knowify.com.

Knowify. Built for the real world.