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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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.

6 Construction Technology Trends to Look out For

Hanging_gardens_of_One_Central_Park_Sydney 6 Construction Technology Trends to Look out For

The construction industry has a reputation for resisting change. OK, we admit: maybe that reputation is deserved. BUT – that doesn’t mean that change isn’t happening! In fact, it’s a very exciting time to be in construction tech: new technologies, approaches, and processes are beginning to fundamentally change the way buildings get built and maintained. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:


1. 3D Printing – Construction Scale

3D printing has emerged as a powerful tool across a wide variety of industries and applications. You might have thought that buildings were on a totally different scale though, and immune to the disruptive potential of 3D printing. Think again! Although 3D printing an entire building from start to finish may seem like science fiction, the truth is that we’re much closer than you think – thanks to Cazza, a Silicon Valley startup. Cazza is developing a 3D printing technology specifically for construction. They’ve already demonstrated proof-of-concept with low-rise buildings, and they’re currently working on enhancements that would enable high-rise construction as well. Could 3D printing dramatically reshape construction into a far less labor-intensive field? Stay-tuned!


2. Sustainable Construction

In an effort to reduce the ecological footprint of buildings – from construction materials that end up in landfills to inefficient buildings that waste electricity and water – builders have begun turning to emerging “green” technologies. Some examples include: (a) natural paints and mycelium bricks (look it up… very cool!) that decompose and do not emit toxins; (b) smart (electrochromic) glass, which uses ions to reflect UV rays during peak hours over the summer and dramatically increase the energy efficiency of a building; (c) and active solar panels that absorb UV rays during the colder months and warm the building’s interior. As construction methods change and become more efficient, we will likely see more and more companies integrate sustainable materials into standard practice.


3. Drones

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, have traditionally been used to survey areas with limited accessibility. Drones not only eliminate the need to rent expensive lifts or other such equipment but also offer efficiency and accuracy gains over human teams. Drone surveys can be compiled into 3D models to compare progress vs. the architectural plans, helping to give superintendents, project managers, and owners a better grasp of job status. No less important, drones improve job site safety. Falls make up the largest percentage of construction-related fatalities in the United States; with drones, construction firms now have the ability to look at hard-to-reach areas without risking the well being of one of their employees.


4. Wearables

With smart watches and bluetooth earbuds becoming the norm, it’s clear that wearable technology is here to stay. The construction industry could be a huge beneficiary of the emerging “Internet of Things” (IoT) movement, given the value of real-time updates and seamless communication between the field and the office. Safety appears to be leading the way: already some companies have begun deploying smart vests, which not only have an emergency button and use GPS to locate workers but also have built-in heart monitors to help PMs and foreman track the stress levels of their team members. On the other end of the spectrum, exoskeletons being built by startups like Ekso Bionics offer construction workers the promise of superhuman strength.


5. AR & VR

In an ideal world, every member of your team, in the office and on the field, should know the project’s end goal and be able to visualize it. With augmented reality and virtual reality, this dream may yet come true. So what’s the difference between VR and AR? Virtual reality completely replaces what you can see with something else: if you put on VR goggles, your entire environment changes. Augmented reality, on the other hand, takes something virtual and transposes it to the real world. VR can be very useful in project planning from the start, while AR technology can project 3D images directly on the job site to measure building materials and ensure the design is built exactly as intended. With the potential to significantly reduce error and increase efficiency, AR and VR have a bright future ahead of them in construction.


6. Project Management Software

The first step in taking advantage of construction technology is switching to a cloud-based software so everyone is kept in the loop. The cloud isn’t new to construction tech trends, but now more than ever it is essential to any project management. The ability to share information and track profits in real time is a powerful tool that enables everyone stays updated immediately. No more worrying that your computer will crash and all your data will be lost. With cloud-based software, data is constantly backed up and always accessible no matter where you are or what happened to your computer.


Of course, with new technology, comes new rules and regulations. Before much of this can be implemented into your daily routine, there is still extensive testing to be done in order to ensure the safety of everyone on the job site. However, as we begin a long journey of technological change, it seems we’ve only scratched the surface of the future of construction.

NAHB promotes systems-built homes…got a systems-built business?

Members of National Association of Homebuilders’ (NAHBA) Building Systems Councils celebrated Building Systems Week with programs to educate members and homebuyers on the advantages of systems-built homes versus traditional stick-built homes.

Systems to build homes. Systems to build business.

For homebuilders, proponents say that systems-built housing addresses issues of cost and availability of labor. Prefabricated components ranging from modular, panelized, concrete, and log- and timber-framed houses reportedly require fewer man hours to build once they arrive on site.

Faster, cheaper, smarter?

If according to NAHB’s Building Systems Council, systems-built construction makes it possible to build new homes faster, cheaper, and greener, it can be a viable option for some residential contractors — much like drywall has replaced plaster wall construction.

The same holds true for every contractor’s business operations. Do you run your business on Excel spreadsheets (stick-built or plaster) or do you run your business faster, cheaper, smarter by availing yourself of “systems-built” technologies that help you automate virtually every aspect of your back-office operations. Whether you are a one-person shop or a multi-team/multi-location operation, accessing tools to deliver real transparency into hours, job assignments, client management, and productivity to ensure projects stay on schedule and on budget can make the difference between eking out a living and making real money. And maybe even cut down the back office cleanup you do nights and weekends.

Innovation and technology matter

There is a place for stick-built construction. There likely always will be a place for stick-built construction. But there no longer is a place for paper spreadsheets, timecards, and paper-intensive estimates, billing, or change orders. Not when everyone you work with and work for has a smartphone, a laptop or a tablet.

You do have a choice. You can be a “stick in the mud,” or you can introduce yourself to and take advantage of all the very easy to use technology available to you. Using a hammer and a nail gun? Installing laminate wood flooring and laying down hardwood boards? You can do both — be a craftsperson and efficient. The same holds true for your business — you can deliver old-school customer service while running your back office on new school technology. Why not run your business, your estimating, your purchasing, jobs progress/change orders, and labor on tools designed to make your life easier?

How do you get there? Do your research. Knowify, for one, can help. We’re already helping contractors integrate their business management needs with accounting systems like QuickBooks 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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Why Accountants Are Now the New Trusted (Technology) Advisor