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App Watch Tech News Roundup 12-11

Dec 11th 2015
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Welcome to another installment of App Watch, our weekly news roundup from the accounting-related application and service provider world. This week, we are going to feature news from Xero, Commercial Logic, Exact, and Payable.

Just to review, this is a weekly column whereby we're not out to break news in the technology world – as it relates to you – but rather keep you informed and, where applicable, offer our take.

Xero Beefs Up Security and Search

Xero is in the news again this week as it updated its core engine to include a security feature on par with that used by corporate users of Google Apps. Xero now requires a user ID, a password, and a second unique ID code sent by SMS to a smartphone. Other new features in this week's update include a search facility similar to that found in desktop and enterprise accounting systems. Clicking the search icon or entering a slash (/) in any Xero screen will give the user the ability to search for names, transaction references, or invoice numbers. As you type in a string of text, the program will offer a menu of items that match.

The Views

Well, in this digital age of ours convenience does come with a price, and while nothing is 100 percent secure in the mobile and cloud world, companies need to do what they can to provide appropriate levels of security. As a corporate user of Google Apps, I can say that while the dual-authentication process can be a bit clunky, and seemingly inconvenient at times, this is probably something Xero should have had for some time. I say this given the fact that they are 100 percent cloud and increasingly offering more mobile capabilities. For those unfamiliar with dual authentication, the application essentially makes sure you are you, so if for any reason someone tries to enter this application with potentially sensitive financial information on the other end, you enter things like an issued code, phone number, email, etc. so that it provides a couple of layers rather than just one log-in. As for the search feature, again another level of convenience that should please its users.

Commercial Logic Rolls Out Several Practice Mangement Updates

Practice management solution provider Commercial Logic announced several additions to its eponymous hosted practice management system PowerPM Hosted Solution. The first was the release of PowerPM 7, which includes new capability to distribute bills and statements by email to those clients of the firm that chose that option. Then, there's TrakTime Mobile, essentially a smartphone/tablet companion to TrakTime Web for desktops and laptops. TrakTime Mobile is not an app that must be downloaded, but rather a website that works with both Apple and Android devices. The company also added more reports for its Automated Reporting function, which allows unattended generation and email distribution of segmented reports to management.

And finally, PowerPM has new reports based on timesheet information prior to posting to billing. These enable two major new features: Online Timesheet Approval and Online PTO Management through the timesheet.

The Views

Not being intimately familiar with this particular practice management solution, I can say that these additions seem fairly essential for a practice management system to have. Aside from it not being a true cloud or mobile product, it appears the company is doing its best to offer the system in such a way that it can be accessed outside the office and address basic practice management needs of the firm. It may not be the most forward-leaning system on the market, but these updates should be welcome by its user base.

Exact Online Enters Wearables Race

Online accounting application maker Exact Online recently released Exact Online for Android Wear, an application that enables real-time entry through the use of smartwatches. The app uses GPS coordinates and a simple notification to accurately identify and record when users visit specific locations. This is Exact's first addition into the wearable market, and the company anticipates more market penetration in the future.

The Views

As I mentioned last week during Xero's announcement of its foray into the wearables market, with its release of an Apple Watch app, the days of business applications on devices like Android Wear and Apple Watch are only few. Still, better to be prepared for the next wave in mobility, I suppose, despite not being able to do a whole lot on wearable devices just yet.

Payable Links With Stripe to Ease 1099 Filing

Payable, which offers automated work-tracking and payments for independent contractors and companies they work with, this week inked a partnership with Stripe. Through the deal, Payable will help Stripe's marketplace customers automatically generate, deliver, and e-file 1099 forms for all contractors and vendors. Essentially, Payable ingests Stripe Connect data to automatically generate 1099 forms. From there, companies can deliver forms to recipients and e-file those to the IRS with the click of a button.

The Views

Given the time of year, it's little surprise to see any application that's aimed at easing the pain of 1099 processing, particularly if you have clients that have hundreds or even thousands of independent contractors working for them. Stripe has gained a lot of ground in the payments world, and partnerships like this are only going to help them and those affiliated with them.

Final Thoughts

We hope you are enjoying this weekly column and find it useful. It is not designed to give complete coverage of everything in the accounting-related technology world, but a decent snapshot of the past week's news about companies and products that may be of interest to your firm or your clients. Until next week!


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