Increase Your Support Levels With Cloud Services

Without a doubt, from a Service Provider’s perspective, managing clients from the Cloud is a god send.

Cloud based management of services not only allows for faster response times, but also for a higher quality of support to the end user. However, from the Service Provider’s angle, it allows for highly efficient operations and for one support Representative to manage and complete a much higher work load per shift compared to site work.

Take the average day of a road based IT Tech. There’s all sorts of issues to contend with, traffic, weather, road works, lazy workers taking the long way from job to job, and other unforseen issues on site such as slow computers, failing hardware and clients who are less than prepared for their IT site call. All of these issues and more are faced every day by thousands of road based IT workers, meaning blown out budgets and quotes on jobs, and lengthy delays for the customers, and increased costs for the IT Services company.

Compare this to an environment where all of the clients’ systems are Hosted, either SaaS or IaaS, the IT Contractor can access the files from anywhere, be it on an iPad with a system as simple as Teamviewer, or a SaaS system like Reckon’s Quickbooks Hosted or Xero; it allows for multiple jobs to be undertaken at once and for an instant response time.

There are many systems available too. Whether we look at Zen Desk, Asana or a full Cloud based Services suite such as Connect2Field; the choices are many, the quality is great and the costs are in some cases even Free!

Cloud Support minimises down time, increases response time and increases profits for not just the End User, but the IT Contractor or Service worker aswell.

3 Reasons To Use Cloud Accounting

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At this time of year, all eyes are on end of year. It’s Tax Time. But how organised are you and your systems for year end?

Do you have the latest software patches loaded, is your system tax compliant, and is all of your data entry up to scratch?

How much is it going to cost you to have a Bookkeeper come and sit with you for a week to enter in all of your data, for the Consultant to bring your system up to scratch and for your Accountant to sort through it all?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easier way? A World where your systems talked to each other, where transactions took care of themselves and your Bookkeeper and Accountant became Advisors rather than Compliance Monitors?

Take a look at our 3 Reason To Use Cloud Accounting to find out how.

1. ACCESS

The primary reason for using a Cloud Accounting system would be access. No longer confined to the Desktop computer in your office, you are now free to manage your business from the car, home or away on holidays!

Best of all, you can share your access with most systems, providing your Advisors instant access to your business information allowing for up to the minute advice.

Larger business can also benefit from having remote workers or offices connecting with ease, without the burden of ageing infrastructure to get in the way.

2. PEACE OF MIND

When was the last time you backed up your system, or had to restore it, only to find out that your backups don’t work, or the system database didn’t backup?

The feeling is gut wrenching, particularly at this time of year.

With a Cloud Accounting system, your software, assets and business data are always backed up, and always accessible, 24 hours a day.

You should also look for a system that allows you to backup your own data and store it locally, just for extra piece of mind.

3. COST

Systems with 24/7, multilocation access were once just a figment of  small business owner’s imagination, often left to the larger ERP competitors.

Not anymore.

Systems with online Inventory, Payroll, Time Keeping and Financials, such as Reckon’s Quickbooks Hosted platform, can be had for as little as $25 per month.

We are able to advise on a wide range of Cloud Accounting and Hosted business packages to suit your needs.

We would love to also hear any feedback from businesses out there already operating in the Cloud.

Let us know your thoughts, feedback or questions in the Comments field below.

Saas, VaaS, Paas Or IaaS – What’s Right For You?

When it comes to Cloud Computing, there are several different platforms available for use. Some of the terminology is old and some is new. Together, it is all The Cloud.

But what does it all mean and which is right for you? Let’s take a closer look.

SaaS

Starting with the most obvious use of The Cloud, is SaaS, or Software as a Service. The SaaS movement has been around for some time and in many ways is the forefather or the very definition of Cloud Computing.

Another term for SaaS might be Public Cloud. SaaS is for the single or perhaps small business user where they don’t want to lease infrastructure or have hosted space, they just want access to their individual apps from anywhere they may be. Access and cost are usually the largest drivers behind SaaS takeup.

Think of Internet Banking and Gmail as two of the most common forms of SaaS today.

VaaS

So you’re using a few SaaS services and think it would be great if you could combine them, or take your desktop with you everywhere you go, like on your iPad or Android. This is where you may look at a VaaS, or Virtualization as a Service provider.

This market is still quite young in the Cloud market, perhaps due to licencing issues or other restrictions. But think of it as unlimited VM Ware, or as a rented Desktop with fixed applications.

Hence, you may sign up to a VaaS service, for a Ubuntu desktop with Open Source Apps (Open Office, Firefox and Thunderbird) for a very small fee, or for a little more, a Microsoft platform where you are served your stable Win 7 desktop complete with its Microsoft repetoir of Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office. Or a combination of Microsoft desktop with Open Source apps to save on licencing a little.

In any case, the term “rented desktop” pretty much settles the VaaS criteria. A stable virtual desktop you can take anywhere, along with all your files, settings and bookmarks.

IaaS

Next up we find IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service. Here we may find an organisation who wants some control over their software and data, but do not want to maintain any hardware.

Here a medium sized enterprise may want control over choosing their IaaS provider, but don’t want control over maintaining expensive hardware, building a climate controlled room and employing a MCSE/CCNA to look after it. Usually with most IaaS providers, you can still choose the size and amount of CPU’s, amount of disk space, RAM and other items to suit your needs and the IaaS provider will discuss maintaining your hardware and software for you.

Best of all with a IaaS platform, it’s highly scalable, so you should only ever be paying for exactly what you need.

PaaS

Finally we may find an organisation who has custom ERP and CRM requirements, maybe an SAP or Great Plains platform requiring constant development and unlimited scalability options but don’t necessarily want the hardware and network overheads that come with a system of such size.

Here, the organisation will seek Platform as a Service such as Amazon, Microsoft or Google AppEngine, where the hardware and platform are provided for, but the platform is very open source and includes a ton of tools for writing one’s own Cloud venture or internal ERP system.

Microsoft Azure is perhaps the latest PaaS on the block.

 

 

 

2012: The Year Of The Cloud

2012. This is the year of The Cloud. This is the year that business is realising it needs The Cloud. But why?

Efficiencies is the answer.

If surviving the GFC taught us one thing, it’s how to be lean. If business, and especially small business is to survive and even thrive post-GFC, it must learn to operate on a strict diet.

To be lean and mean. This means not just micro-managing your Managers and Staff to greater productivity, but looking at your business systems and how they can serve you, not the other way around.

By choosing wisely with Public cloud services, business can selectively tailor a Cloud based system to their needs (and Budget) without the expensive implementation and overheads previously seen with proprietary systems.

For example, a small business (in a remote Country location) we are currently co-consulting with, was looking to decentralise their accounting work. They wanted access to big city Advisors but without the hefty fees of travelling or paying the Advisors to travel. Another hurdle was sending the accounting data in for adjustments, only to wait months for the data to return for adjusting. Then there were issues with quality Bookkeepers in their remote location, etc..

The solution was, as they were already using Reckon’s QuickBooks, was to move them on to a Public cloud solution, QuickBooks Hosted, by Reckon Online.

The business’ software costs were reduced, and the Advisors and Bookkeepers now had real time access to the data.

Momentum is another key factor.

Through our Consulting partners, Axis IT Consulting, we are seeing a massive push to Cloud based services recently.

Once a movement gains significant momentum in business, that movement becomes the key discussion topic amongst business owners and through Referrals and Word Of Mouth. The movement gains significant momentum that a switch in the way things are done occurs.

We are now seeing that switch taking place on a daily basis.

Whether the enquiries are for setting up free services like Dropbox, Google Drive or Mail Chimp, assisting with Social Media integration or Consulting for an Online Accounting System that integrates with Field Service Software, such as Connect2Field and QuickBooks Hosted, the enquiries are there.

Business wants and needs change, and it needs efficiency. Sitting down with a Cloud Consultant and discussing how your business can gain from The Cloud is the smartest thing you can do this year.

Use the feedback form below, we’d love to have a chat about your Cloud!

 

 

More Of The Cloud For Free: Google Drive

 

One of the great drivers for cloud use, is economy. There is no better product economically than when it’s free. And we just love free Cloud!

And we love Google.

So what do you get when you combine a free 5GB Cloud based storage service with PC Sync and Google? Google Drive of course!

Google have had several attempts in the past at making an impact on the Cloud Storage market and have attempted various aspects in this space before, however now they may have just got it right.

The installation and setup are very easy, and anyone who has used Dropbox will be able to set it up quickly and easily.

Like all other Google applications, Google Drive is linked to your Gmail or Google account and login, meaning you can easily take all your information , be it documents, music, work files or other information with you where ever you go, just by signing into Google on any PC.

Optionally, you can install the free PC Sync component and start sharing local drives with users, very akin to Dropbox. You then have complete access to your Google Drive from your PC, or really any PC you wish to physically synchronise your information to.

The files are also very easily accessed and integrated into, especially, your Android mobile phone, as are all Google Suite apps. Just download the app from the Play Store, install, and instantly you can access all of your files anywhere. Also you will find all of your Google Groups saved files in your Google Drive, and sharing files is as easy as a right click, then email from your Gmail contacts! There is no mistaking this is a Google product, it is very well integrated for a startup product.

The Google Drive service starts with an impressive 5GB for free, and you can bet your bottom dollar that will be incrementally increased over time as we have seen with Gmail over the years.

 

 

Cloud Accounting Saves Dollars and Makes Sense

One of the biggest winners from the current frenzied move to the Cloud, is the world of Accounting Software, and in particular Small Business users.

No longer bound by the typical ageing model of the sales staff getting out on the road, only to come back to the office with an armful of orders for the Data Entry clerk to spend days data entering into an antiquated old version of Quickbooks or MYOB. No Sir, welcome to the age of Cloud Accounting.

There are many prominent systems available to the savvy Small Business operator, from simple browser based systems such as Reckon’s Cashbook Online or Xero, through to your fully fledged Hosted solutions, such as Reckon’s QuickBooks Hosted.

A business should do its own due diligence in deciding what is right for its purpose and budget, however thorough investigation will reveal that all online systems are not alike. View our guide to some factors to consider in this decision making process here and further information comparing cloud products here.

Special consideration should be made to looking at where the data is hosted, and if you can access or actually even own your own data.

From only $15 per month for Cashbook Online to around $25 per month for QuickBooks Hosted to $49 or $64 a month for Xero, Small Businesses really should be looking at these systems and making the move for The Cloud.

For example, from all products tested, Reckon’s QuickBooks Hosted was our favourite for Pricing, Features and Security. Aimed at SMB’s rather than micro businesses like the previous two products mentioned, QuickBooks Hosted is the great all-rounder.

Deploy a team of Sales Reps around the Country, toting nothing more than an iPad or Android tablet, to access their customer accounts, perform inventory and order lookups, view the status of back orders and deliveries and enter orders directly with their customers on site.

Prior to the availability of these systems in The Cloud, most SMB’s simply wouldn’t have been able to compete with their larger Netsuite or SAP doting competitors, with their expensive VPN’s and custom written PDA software.

We can only expect to see further growth in this area, with Reckon looking to bring Point of Sale to The Cloud in the near future as well as open up the SDK to allow for third party products such as Fishbowl Inventory and Ostendo to co-exist on the Hosted platform.

Also let’s not forget Reckon’s recent investment in Cloud Field Services startup Connect2Field as a sign of the sheer commitment typical software vendors are making to the Cloud Accounting field.

Seek out a Cloud Accounting Specialist today to see how you could not only save your business dollars, but make sense of your business goals at the same time.

Top 10 Reasons To Use Reckon’s QuickBooks Hosted

There are many things to consider when choosing a computer system for your business, especially your Accounting Package.

With the Cloud becoming more and more relevant to all small businesses, Australia included, we thought we’d list our Top 10 features of Reckon’s QuickBooks Hosted product.

Our Top 10 Features are:

1. Availability. QuickBooks Hosted is available on Android, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows PC’s and Mac

2. Replication of the desktop product. This minimises re-training and allows for backups from the cloud to be opened on the desktop to alleviate downtime.

3. Full inventory module with Purchase Orders and Sales Orders entry. This allows for mobile staff on the road, or remote warehouses to easily access live data and interact with it.

4. Updates are done for you. You can save money on paying a Consultant to come and load up your software upgrades, as Reckon will load them for you.

5. Bookkeeper and Accountant shared access. You can allow access from other people not within your business. This is something you allow and control through Provisioning. It saves you and your aiders time and money.

6. Classes. Through the use of classes and given the ease of access to the system, you no longer require different ledgers. Have your whole business in one ledger and split your Profit and Cost Centres out with Classes. Simple reporting means you will easily have your finger on any branch P&L or Sales report you need to view.

7. Company Snapshot. In a hurry and need to quickly check a few KPI’s? No worries, simply configure your QuickBooks to open the Company Snapshot first. Then grab your iPad or Android tablet out, quickly fire up QuickBooks Hosted and in under a couple of minutes you can view all your top KPI’s on one screen, in one hand.

8. Save money on PC’s. With QuickBooks Hosted, all the processing is done at the data centre. All you need is a simple terminal or tablet to access the system from.

9. Multi-User. Have your whole business connected and working at once, no matter where they are.

10. Data is hosted in Australia. Feel safe in the knowledge that your data is stored in a Tier 1 Data Centre in Australia and is compliant with all current Privacy and Data Laws. Always check where your data is stored!

QuickBooks Hosted by Reckon Online 2012/13 will soon  be released with many upgrades and new features.

You can read our review of the current product here or find our more about the product on at Reckon Online.

View a quick demonstration of how simple it is to install QuickBooks Hosted on your Android device.

Reckon Enters The Mobile Workforce With Investment In Connect2Field

Reckon Ltd, an Australian ASX listed software provider, today announced a strategic 30%, or $660,000 investment in Connect2Field, a cloud based Job Management software provider for small to medium business.

Connect2Field is a secure web-based application built on the latest technologies, that allows a job to be entered into the system back at base, then sent out the the field workers’ mobile phones or tablet devices. Fieldworkers receive their jobs via Internet-enabled mobile devices including iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, Nokia, Android and BlackBerry.

Customers also have the ability to view the status of jobs, create jobs, view invoice history and even view the upcoming worker’s schedule!

Job management, job notification, invoicing and quoting are key features of the software. Transactions will be sent back to the finance package so no double entry is required.

Reckon will be implementing Connect2Field into their Cashbook Online and Quickbooks Hosted products, giving true flexibility and functionality to their SMB customer base. Reckon’s customers will soon be able to compete on a level playing field, with competitors many times their size.