2020 has already been an active year for phishing scammers. The coronavirus pandemic caused a rise in phishing of 667% earlier this spring, and attacks have continued throughout the summer. [Read more…]
Apple released a new operating system for iPhone a few weeks back. iOS 14 represents a big step forward when it comes to productivity and usability. [Read more…]
With the end of the year approaching fast, many accountants are working with clients on year-end investments they can make to lower their tax burden for 2020.
Companies looking to use Form 4562 Section 179 deductions, will find an increased limit this year for equipment, hardware, and software purchases to $1,040,000. It also includes the 100% bonus depreciation.
As accounting firms know, there are several different areas of a business that a company could target for year-end, tax-deductible purchases. Technology upgrades are one of the most impactful.
Technology is now completely infused with how companies operate, no matter what industry they’re a part of. Platforms like Microsoft 365 can significantly improve productivity, while spending on cybersecurity can significantly reduce risk.
Technology also directly impacts a company’s bottom line, but many Treasure Valley area businesses are missing out.
A study commissioned by Google found that 80% of small businesses in the US were not taking full advantage of technology tools. And for those 20% that do, they see the following results:
While you as an accountant can help your client best position deductions and how to take them, we can help you steer clients in the best direction as to which technology purchases they may want to make for the biggest benefit.
When it comes to planning year-end technology purchases of qualifying hardware and off-the-shelf software, businesses want to consider things like:
When working with clients on their tax-deductible business purchases, here are some smart technology upgrade considerations to share.
The threat of a ransomware attack or data breach is ever present, making cybersecurity a main priority of any business.
The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. Just one incident causes many small businesses to close their doors because they never recover.
So, it’s vital to consider protections that can keep a breach from happening.
These can include things like
Businesses that try to eke out too many years from a computer end up paying more in downtime, maintenance, and data loss costs. Studies show that the total cost of ownership of a business computer rises significantly between year three and year four.
Keeping computers that are older than 4-years old in operation costs companies approximately $2,736 per year.
Companies should consider updating any computers or mobile devices that are outdated. This will not only give them a tax write-off, but can also improve productivity and security.
Cloud use keeps going up as companies move more of their processes online. But cloud waste and cost are also increasing because companies end up with an inefficient cloud infrastructure.
They can wind up paying for multiple applications that have similar features and paying for tools that aren’t integrated, costing them in productivity because data has to be manually moved from one system to another.
Businesses should look for all-in-one platforms like an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or a platform like Microsoft 365. These tools have multiple applications for one overall subscription cost, and those apps are designed to natively integrate and share data.
Moving to an all-in-one cloud platform can reduce cloud subscription costs as well as boost productivity.
We already know that 5G and IoT are going to get bigger in the coming years. Contactless customer experiences have also come on the radar due to the global pandemic.
To get a leg up on the competition, companies should think about what technology they may need over the next few years.
This could include things like:
Your wireless network is the heart of any technology environment. If it’s slow or unreliable, then everything is slowed down.
A smart year-end technology purchase that can have a wide impact on efficiency is to make network improvements.
This may mean moving from a single router to a mesh Wi-Fi that includes several nodes that blanket a larger area with a consistent signal.
Businesses may also want to take the opportunity to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 hardware, which is much more secure and improves internet speed and multi-device handling by a router.
Connect2Geek can help your accounting firm (and your clients) make the best technology upgrade decisions.
Schedule a free consultation today! Call 208-468-4323 or reach out online.
What makes up a business network has been changing for several years but took a big leap this year due to the pandemic and related stay-at-home orders requiring employees to work remotely. [Read more…]
Passwords are the only thing keeping criminals out of your most precious data and accounts. Access to your bank account, tax records, sensitive client information, and more are often behind a single user login. [Read more…]
Cybersecurity is important in any industry, but especially those dealing with finances and sensitive information, like SSNs and bank account logins, such as accounting firms do. [Read more…]
Email is one of the most time-consuming activities that people do daily, no matter what type of business they’re in. The average person spends 28% of their work week reading, writing, and replying to emails (and searching through them!).
When email isn’t handled very efficiently, people end up with all messages coming into one overloaded inbox that only seems to get bigger each week. Messages get buried and users spend hours trying to sort relevant and important information from less important.
Outlook in Microsoft 365 gives users many tools to improve the way they handle email to boost productivity, but you have to know how to use them to get their full benefit.
If you’ve been looking for ways to make email less of a drag on your time and more efficient, we’ve got several tips below to help.
Trying to sort out spam or less urgent emails from the important ones is not only time-consuming, it can also cause users to miss important messages that are sandwiched between advertisements and spam.
Using focused inbox in Outlook allows you to separate your inbox into two separate tabs – Focused and Other.
You can turn it on by going to the View tab in Outlook and clicking “Show Focused Inbox”.
You then move your important messages to Focused, so the system understands which are most important to you.
This can save you tons of time trying to identify your most important messages, since Outlook will separate them for you.
When all messages are sitting in a single folder, it makes it much harder to find one “that came in last week” that you need urgently. Taking the time to set up folders or categories can allow you to put mail sorting automations in using rules and make it easy to spot a certain type of message immediately.
Folders: You can right-click on any folder in your mail panel and then click to add a new folder. These folders can then be used to store different types of mail (i.e. by department, client, colleague, etc.).
Categories: Categories allow you to color code different types of mail (i.e. by department, purpose, client, etc.). This allows you to instantly recognize a particular type of message because it will be highlighted with the designated color.
Mail rules can make Outlook into an automated mail assistant for you. You can have mail automatically moved to a specific folder when it comes in, setup automatic forwards or autoresponders, and much more.
Rules can save you from multiple manual tasks and keep you from having to watch your email inbox all day for an important message. Here are a few common rules you can set up:
Microsoft suggests making mail handling more efficient by using the Four D’s of mail handling whenever you read a message.
This keeps you from having a box of mail that keeps getting larger, and helps you become more efficient and productive in Outlook.
When you read messages, take one of these four actions:
One thing that users tend to do which leads to frustration later, is to keep all those “need to do later” emails sitting in their inbox. They don’t want to delete something that has information they need later for a particular project.
One way you can clear out those messages is to move them out of “email” into a “tasks” workflow. You can do this by moving the email to either Tasks in Outlook or OneNote.
Tasks: To make an email into a task on your Outlook tasks list, all you have to do is drag it down to the Task icon (clipboard with checkmark) in the Outlook mail window. This will automatically open a new task with the body of the email included.
OneNote: OneNote gives you a place to gather all types of project or task related data (text, images, websites, etc.) If you have an email related to a task or project, you can email it to your OneNote email address to save it in the appropriate task file.
With your email stored as a task, you can safely remove it from your inbox, helping you get closer to “inbox zero.”
There are multiple tips and tricks to setting up and using Microsoft 365 that can make your workflows more productive. Connect2Geek can help you unleash its full power at your organization.
Schedule a free Microsoft 365 consultation today! Call 208-468-4323 or reach out online.
Being prepared and putting the proper safeguards in place is the best way to avoid falling victim to ransomware.
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Microsoft 365 (formerly called Office 365) is one of the most popular cloud platforms in the world. During the pandemic, it’s become even more popular because of all the tools it has to keep teams connected, no matter where they’re working from. [Read more…]