Accounting and Payroll Software – Ten Reasons Current Software Technology is Crucial to a Business

As a business owner, it’s easy to make accounting and payroll software a low priority. After all, you are busy making sure sales are up, costs are down, profits are high, and everyone is staying productive. Unfortunately, it’s so easy to fall behind if you don’t stay abreast of technology, and when that happens you can quickly lose the benefits that the software was supposed to provide in the first place. Here are ten reasons why keeping your accounting and payroll software technology current is crucial to the successful operation of your business.

1. Hardware Compatibility: The old dot matrix printer still works fine, humming away in the corner, printing your invoices dot by dot. Hey, you can’t hear each other speak over the noise, but you’ve become accustomed to it. So, why move? This is an all-too-common scenario, whether it’s a printer, computer, or a long list of other hardware devices. For a business, hardware is an important component which allows you to print invoices, save valuable files, communicate with customers, and much more. The older your software system gets, the less likely you will be able to keep on performing those functions in a timely manner, and eventually you won’t be able to at all. The software you are using plays a huge role in the hardware you are able to operate. Compatibility with new hardware is why it’s important to keep your software up to date.

2. Safety and Security: The good news is that we are now able to communicate much more quickly within a business, and also with outside contacts such as vendors and customers. E-mail, instant messaging, and a host of other modern technologies make communication much faster! But the downside is that there are also many more security threats. Keeping your software technology current helps keep your data safe from hackers!

3. Time Savings: If you’ve been doing things the same way for many years, it’s easy to believe that your way is the fastest way available. After all, learning a new system does take time. But in the long run, things like running reports, processing invoices and keeping track of data are generally done more quickly with newer technology.

4. Company Image: How do your customers feel when they receive and view your invoice? Is it printed on nice paper with your logo and a custom message? Or is it printed on thin paper with tear marks on the sides, barely legible because of printing issues? Do not discount the fact that what your customers receive from you impacts their image of you. Having newer technology allows you to print documents and perform other functions that look much more professional than they did years ago.

5. Customer Satisfaction: What happens when your customer asks to view all of their sales from you for the past three years? Are you able to help them, or is your historical data limited? This is one example where your technology affects your customer satisfaction. By moving to newer technology, you can improve your customer service and meet the needs of your customer more quickly and easily.

6. The Green Factor: Older programs often require the printing of documents such as reports, financial statements, invoices, orders and other documents. Newer technology offers the ability to keep track of and send such communications electronically, saving many trees per year!

7. Crucial Updates: If the software technology you are using is extremely old, chances are your program is no longer being updated or enhanced by the company who developed it. You may think your program doesn’t require any more updates because it’s been around for so many years. The truth is that updates and enhancements help keep your software compatible with everything else on your computer. By not receiving updates, you will experience more and more problems as other technology moves forward. Moving to newer technology can assure you get the updates to keep your company safe and secure.

8. Support and Help: Many older programs are no longer supported, meaning there is no help available in case of questions or problems you may have with the software. While you may know the software well, there are always questions that arise with the advancement of other technology you are using. Maybe you installed a new printer or need help getting a time clock working with your software. Or perhaps a new employee started who is unfamiliar with the program and has questions. In cases like these, having support available is crucial to the function of your business.

9. Compliance: These days even the government is starting to require companies to have a certain level of technology. Certain government forms must now be submitted online, and no doubt that trend will continue. Older programs often cannot handle the newer tools necessary to stay compliant, and moving to new technology will be needed to meet those requirements.

10. The Band-Aid Factor: If you have ever had an extremely old car, you are all too familiar with the process of fixing one thing after another until you are worn down, and your pocketbook is empty. Trying to get anything old to keep working can become tiresome and can also become extremely expensive. Because you are keeping so busy trying to make the system work, you may not even be aware of how much time and money you are spending to hold everything together. Moving to newer software technology can seem challenging at first, but it is typically the best option for your business in the long-term.

How to Choose High-Yield Keywords For Software & Technology Company Lead Generation

Many software companies today are not employing best practices regarding SEO, and in my opinion, are leaving some of the most qualified and cost effective leads on the table. There are obviously many facets to SEO; I would like to cover a topic/tactic known as Keyword Selection which I have deployed successfully at two software companies. The result was that each company saw organic search traffic grow more than 45% in a short period of time, and have seen conversion rates in excess of almost 6% on that traffic (conversions in both cases meant registering for a trial product).

Companies tend to gloss over keyword selection with an, “I know the keywords for my business. I don’t need to spend a lot of time on this.”An extensive and thoroughly researched keyword list will result in Google indexing more of your keywords, better search page results, and increased traffic to your website, and should be the foundational basis for a cohesive SEO strategy. For software companies that sell technical products such as developer tools, infrastructure software, and virtualization tools, keyword selection can be of paramount importance to a productive SEO strategy.

Here are a few essential questions and thoughts to consider during the keyword selection process:

1) Are you putting yourself in the shoes of your potential customer and the search terms they, not you, would use when searching for the goods or service you provide? You might call what your product does “Business Transaction Management,” but does your potential clients refer to it by the same name? Is that the term your users are searching on, or one that Gartner is looking to propagate?

2) Technical users frequently search on technical phrases such as error messages and terms that contain how-to and download. They also search for very specific issues, i.e., “VMware IO Problems.” To increase traffic you need to create optimized pages on your website for error messages and specific deep-dive problems your product solves.

3) Use the Google Keyword Tool and Google’s “searches related to” suggestions on the bottom of most search pages to research keywords. Google’s Keyword Tool enables you to view search volumes and competition for terms, and will help you discover research and select deep-dive search terms.

4) Dig deep & assess your competition. Get creative and think beyond the obvious broad keywords. Targeted keywords lead to more qualified prospects, and pick keywords where you can win. If IBM and HP dominate a certain keyword, you likely can not win, so think about derivatives of the broader terms that the behemoths go after.

Research your keywords before doing your on-page optimization. The results will be increased traffic and better qualified leads for your sales force!

Case Study

I did work for an Open Source Java Tools vendor whose target audience was Java developers. At first they had tried optimizing their site for the broad terms that generated massive search volumes such as Java, Java Development Tools, and Open Source Java. They quickly realized that they could not win (a win being on the first page of the Google search results) against the likes of IBM, Sun and HP, whose has deep content, well-established websites, and massive inbound links, which all were unbeatable. Deeper research and analysis illuminated three revelations:

· The broad search terms were attracting junior developers, who were looking to download free tools, get basic how-to information, or the newest version of Java.

· Senior developers searched for very specific phrases, such as actual error messages and detailed descriptions of the issues they were experiencing.

· We noticed that these error messages had commonalities and the web pages that we created were specifically optimized for these error messages and very specific problem descriptions. These new pages quickly made the first search engine results page, generating excellent traffic that was extremely qualified and converted at a very high rate.

Research your keywords before doing your on-page optimization. The results will be increased traffic and better qualified leads for your sales force!

What Is iFit Live Software Technology For Fitness Equipment?

The iFit wireless card connects your fitness equipment (which must be outfitted with an iFit port) to the Internet. The card also stores and tracks your workouts, meals, creates personalized workouts, and connects to Google Maps replicating terrain for you (and displaying the actual terrain and sights on your screen) to train on.

It’s a wireless card-like gadget that plugs into the consoles of select treadmills.

There are two components to this technology

First, the treadmill (or elliptical) console must have an iFit port. More and more treadmills are becoming available with this capability.

Second, you need the iFit wireless card which plugs into the treadmill port. The wireless card delivers the Internet to your treadmill screen. The wireless card also stores workouts and a variety of your personalized workout data (see features and benefits below).

Oh yeah, you obviously need a computer and a wireless internet connection in your home or wherever you’ll be using iFit.

What are the Features and Benefits? Why get it?

iFit Live comes with all the following features and benefits:

1. Google Maps

The coolest feature is the Google Maps feature. With this feature you can replicate any terrain that Google Maps has mapped (which is pretty much everywhere). So, for example, if you want to run the Boston marathon route on your treadmill or incline trainer, you simply upload the Boston Marathon route to your iFit wireless card and plug it in to the iFit port on your treadmill or incline trainer.
Your workout will replicate the terrain of the Boston Marathon – with the incline automatically adjusting as you run the hills on the Boston Marathon route. If you mount your laptop or iPhone on your treadmill console, you can view the terrain from Google Street Level and watch the scenery as you progress through the course.

2. Nutrition

Record and store your meals and calories. Plan meals for optimal training. iFit Live stores and plans all your nutrition information.

3. Workout Tracking

Track calories burned for pretty much any workout – swimming, weight lifting, basketball, running, etc.

4. iPhone Compatible

Track your workouts on your iPhone with the iFit iPhone app.

5. Jillian Michaels’ Workouts

Jillian Michaels is a nationally recognized trainer and wellness expert having appeared on the The Biggest Loser TV show. This software software is programmed with numerous Jillian Michaels workouts.

Is iFit Live worth buying?

If you have a treadmill with an iFit port or are buying a treadmill with this technology AND you run races, iFit is definitely worth buying. If you like running races, this software lets you train the exact terrain of pretty much any race you’ll be running. You can’t get much better training than that. As you can tell from above, I’m only keen about the Google Maps integration. It’s pretty expensive (there’s an ongoing monthly cost in addition to the upfront purchase) just to track and store workouts and meals.

That said, I suspect iFit live will add features in the future – with Internet and computer integration, the sky is the limit. What this means is if you are interested in internet and computer integration with your fitness equipment, and you’re in the market for a treadmill, then you may narrow down your choices to those with iFit.