What is business software and where did it come from?

Busi­ness own­ers are often con­fused by the term “busi­ness soft­ware” or “busi­ness man­age­ment soft­ware,” so here is a brief his­tory of how busi­ness soft­ware came to be, what it is today, how it can help your business.

At the core of every busi­ness has always been its gen­eral ledger. As you prob­a­bly know, entries used to be recorded by hand before 1961 when the first large-scale com­put­er­ized account­ing sys­tem was intro­duced by IBM. This sys­tem was called 9Pac, and it was one of the first sys­tems to track the sales of every sales­per­son in a company.

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Should I Include Overhead in My Job Cost?

This question (in its many flavors) is one we encounter quite frequently at Knowify. We know from experience that accountants can have pretty strong opinions about this question, but we’re also not afraid to share ours. In short: No, you should not. Here’s why:

Including overhead in job costs only tells you about the past. Focusing on project-based profitability helps you plan for your future.

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Knowify wins the Accountex User Favorite Awards

We are thrilled to receive the 2017 User Favorite Award to the best industry-specific solution!

User_Fav_Award_2017-1-151x300 Knowify wins the Accountex User Favorite Awards

Accountex USA is the leading independent conference on accounting technology and showcases companies that provide the most productive and effective technologies and meet the highest standards of design, ease-of- use, and conformance with appropriate accounting standards. Thousands of users voted during the conference and these were the other honorees along with Knowify: QuickBooks, Sageworks, Salesforce, Right Networks, Handifox, Expensify, ADP, Scanov, Karbon, Asana, Bill.com, TSheets, Fundbox, SmartVault, Oracle, Intuit Field Service Management, LedgerSync, Tax1099, Chargeover, ProSeries, CCH Wolters Kluwer, Square, QuickBooks POS, B2B Gateway, Fiscal Technologies and Zapier.

According to the Accountex committee, the award “honors the solutions that have the happiest clients. It creates a true user satisfaction award rather than a popularity contest”, and nothing makes use happy than an award voted by the users!

Congratulations to the entire Knowify family for the hard work and special thanks to our network of Advisors and Construction Company Advisor Network members for their support!

As you already know, we won’t stop here. We have many surprises in the pipeline, including a couple of integrations with new partners that will make running a contracting office even more efficient.

Get automated! Your accountant is doing it and so should you

Afraid to try new business management technologies?

HourlyWageAutomation Get automated! Your accountant is doing it and so should you

You may be putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage. According to a recent report from McKinsey & Company job automation is only going to increase. Whether you like it or not. Unless you are the kind of guy to avoid electric drills and only use a manual screwdriver, it may be time for you to look into the powerful solutions available to you to help you run your business. Automating some of your time-intensive administrative functions is a logical first step.

According to AccountingWeb Contributor Morton Brogger, CEO of Huddle, the McKinsey report finds that up to 45 percent of activities individuals are paid to do now, representing nearly $2 trillion in annual wages, can be automated, just by adapting technology that already exists. Imagine that.

What does tech automation mean for your accountant?

Your accountant will spend less time actually crunching your numbers. Many already are running the information you give them through various software systems to give you the information you need to make strategic business decisions. But how are you giving them that data?

What does tech automation mean for you?

Smarter business operations. If you’re still running your business on white boards and Post-its and spreadsheets, you’re likely losing ground and losing money. Your competitors are going digital — both in their back office and in the field. What if you could enter a customer’s job specs right from the job to your estimator? What if your estimator could call up all the necessary data and compile a client-ready bid in 24 hours…or less and send it out for client review and signature? And then a few clicks later, bam!: out go your materials POs.

Use the tools you’ve got better

Surely you’ve got a computer, or a laptop, or a tablet, and hopefully a smartphone. So you’re already operating in at least the early 21st Century. Now is the time to make all those instruments work harder for you.

Automation is not going to replace your laborers (see the McKinsey chart). It might, however, streamline the functioning of your back office (even if that back office is you!).

Someone needs to lay the tile; install the drywall, shingle the roof. But how you sell the work, bid those jobs, buy materials and assign teams to the field…that’s going to change for you if it hasn’t already. If you’re running an accounting package like QuickBooks, you are halfway there. You’re already tracking bank balances online, maybe even doing direct deposit for your teams, and writing checks. You may, at the end of the year, even be sending a copy of your financials via email to your accountant, or even giving them remote access to your computer.

Now take the next logical step

Invest in the right technology — whether you are an accountant or a contractor. You’ve already got the basics — the hardware, and likely some of the software. Technology (the right technology) can deliver enhanced cost-efficiencies — accurate AIA bids, faster standard bids, better management of estimates, jobs, worker assignments, purchasing, client management, and productivity to ensure your projects stay on schedule and on budget. Imagine, running your business efficiently, cost-effectively, and profitably. Imagine how happy your accountant will be when your business/project management system syncs so easily with your accounting package. Win. Win. Win!

So how do you get there? Do your research. Knowify, for one, can help. We’re already helping contractors and their advisors/accountants 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.

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.

Why Accountants Are Now the New Trusted (Technology) Advisor