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Archive for October, 2008

27
Oct

You can get a chance to meet IncorTech President and Founder, Steve Birdwell at the CCH User Conference today through Wednesday, 10/29/2008 at the Mariott in Palm Desert.

Steve told me he really enjoyed speaking with other CPA’s at the show about Sage Software and the eProcess Manager solution for compliance tracking. Apparently, many firms have yet to get their audit systems compliant with regulations and need an appropriate solution.

So, if you’re in Southern California attending the conference, be sure to drop by the Sage booth and shake hands with Steve.  I promise he won’t bite!

Category : IncorTech News | Sage Software | Blog
23
Oct

First thing’s first.  If we start with the assumption that time is our most precious resource, then those new to blog reading may not know that there is a way to read more in less time.  As my father always says, “laziness breeds efficiency, son.”  So, if you don’t know what RSS is – you should know that any blog worth its salt syndicates its content so that you can aggregate the “news feed” that each blog produces so that it can be read efficiently without surfing to scores of separate web pages.  Being a Google fan, I use the Google Reader to aggregate the 50+ blogs I track to stay up on my industry and interests.  There are scores of other options – just google “feed reader” and you’ll see what I mean.

And now, on to the blogs!

1) Trust Matters – blog of Charles H. Green, author of The Trusted Advisor and Trust-Based Selling.  Green’s analysis of social media phenomena and the difference between linking to someone and connecting with someone is vital and very relevant.  There is no greater expert on the importance of trust in business that I have found.

2) 43 Folders – speaking of time being a valuable resource, David Allan, author of the landmark book on time and task management for the 21st century workplace has spawned dozens of blogs and communities online but 43 Folders leads the pack.  I’ve linked to the “getting started with getting things done” post that gives a great overview of the “GTD” method.

3) On Startups – despite its moniker, I believe even businesses that have been around for more than 20 years can benefit from the advice on offer here. This blog covers all sorts of issues affecting businesses today – to partner with larger firms or not, for example. Another offers analysis of a badly-written article that perpetrates myths about the value of Software as a Service (SAAS).

I know that only three gems (at least in the eye of this beholder) on business is just the tip of the iceberg. What business blogs that are off the beaten path of the big publishers do you read? Please leave us a comment – I’d love to see what I’ve been missing.

Category : Small Business IT | Blog
18
Oct

Join the Professional Services Automation LinkedIn Group, Sponsored by IncorTech.

We’ll be networking, sharing ideas and best practices for improving the efficiency of Professional Services firms through process and technology improvement.

From Project Accounting and resource management to mobile time and expense tracking, discuss and share successful methods of automating your professional services firm.  For consultants to architects & engineers, construction management firms and other project-based businesses.

I hope to see you on the group and share some great ideas with one another.  Please feel free to pass this along to other friends and colleagues in professional services firms.

Category : Professional Services Automation Tools | Blog
17
Oct

I had a very powerful meeting yesterday. It was one of those rare instances where the people I was speaking with were focused on building a relationship first and doing the “business thing” second. It was a real exercise in understanding who we were and how we would be with great clarity. It enabled trust to happen. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my years of professional selling, trust is everything. In fact, if we are able to trust one another, we get more business taken care of faster and more profitably than could otherwise be possible. (Trust-Based Selling is a great book on this subject.)

It is a rare thing that you meet an individual who is focused and present when you are speaking to them. That is because it is so easy to be mentally busy. We all have a lot of concerns on our mind about how the global economy is doing, how our own 401k’s are looking. It’s at times like these when it is challenging to put others first – to be really fully focused on whether we’re making a difference by our actions or just making a living.

Perhaps that is why my meeting yesterday was so refreshing. We spent time talking about a passion for helping disadvantaged children through the Crenshaw YMCA. Did we get business accomplished? You bet we did. But we also talked about how business can be a vehicle for making a difference: transforming the lives of children in poor areas of Los Angeles and transforming ones industry by holding a higher standard of integrity.

In his recent article, “Can You Make a Living and Make a Difference?” Dawud Miracle touches on this subject as well.

It’s an interesting thing to contemplate. Am I just running my business to make money or am I running my business to make other people’s lives better.

It’s a question, actually, I ask myself often. As a business advisor and web developer, I have plenty of opportunity to make money. That’s never an issue. Prospective clients contact me constantly asking how I can help them.

And there lies the purpose – helping the coaches, consultants, therapists, healers and other small business owners who contact me. That’s where my business makes a difference.

So, how about you? Are you making a living? Or are you making a difference?

Category : Opinion | economy | Blog
15
Oct

The American Institute of Architects has created an information-packed section of their website
aimed at helping Design and Construction Management firms to make good choices to manage their finances in today’s economy.

Rena Klein FAIA weighs in on how to best weather the storms looking at the pros and cons of personnel changes in this podcast.

Rena’s insights are sobering and valuable. A key concept: carefully consider company morale and the talent that could be walking out the door if you follow an urge to use layoffs to control costs.

What steps are you taking to ensure your firm not only survives but perhaps gains competitive ground in the present economic climate? Many firms have successfully capitalized on downturns by marketing more aggressively while competitors scale back their marketing efforts. What are you planning? Will you advertise more, less or the same?

Technorati Profile

Category : economy | Blog
14
Oct

For those who have never heard of OpenOffice, I have to say – I’m sorry to hear that.

OpenOffice is a full-featured office suite that is of the Sun Microsystems StarOffice lineage. It is in fact the open source development version of StarOffice.

OpenOffice has just released its 3.0 version with significant new features and improvements. It can open the new Office 2007 for PC /Office 2008 for Mac file formats and supports VB Script in those files (unlike Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac). This is a multi-platform product, available on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. The native file format for OpenOffice is supported by numerous other office suites used in the open source world, such as KOffice.

While file format support for Microsoft office docs is not 100%, it has come forward leaps and bounds and should prove a strong enough replacement for those outside of the finance office (Excel power users) that your company could try it out and see if you can save big on an expensive upgrade to Microsoft’s flagship suite.

OpenOffice is available for the low low price of free. Get OpenOffice (or for those in the know, get it even faster via legal bittorrent).

Category : Small Business IT | Blog
14
Oct

I’ll cut right to the chase: Google Apps for your domain.

Google Apps

No, I’m not talking about Google Docs or Google Spreadsheets by themselves. I’m talking about the near-complete IT replacement available at no cost right now. All you need to have is a domain name to use it.

Google Apps’ main draw is its ability to serve a replacement for a Microsoft Exchange server, and for many, as a replacement for a costly BlackBerry Exchange server as well. Further, it incorporates web-based document storage and sharing (a lot like having a web-accessible intranet) and even includes some web hosting capabilities to boot. You can even build an iGoogle-like custom company start page where employees who are logged in can preview their emails, calendar and documents.

But how does it achieve this? What is so special about it?

Google allows free use of the service with minor limitations (most wouldn’t affect the small businesses I work with). It’s their text ads that are displayed in a very unobtrusive manner that pay the bills. Believe me, I’m not a fan of flashy animated web ads, but Google’s text ads are the least annoying kind of ad I’ve seen on the Internet.

We’ll explore some more specific functionality of Google Apps for your Domain in Part 2.

Are you using Google Apps for your Domain?  Why or why not?  Please write a comment and tells us what you think.

Category : Small Business IT | Blog
11
Oct

As a guy who holds a Bachelor’s degreen in Economics & Finance, I find the banking system particularly

Engineering News-Record

interesting. In fact, my favorite professor taught a really dynamic class called “Money & Banking” that had us explore the Federal Reserve Banking System’s non-government / non-private monopoly on inter-bank lending and other interesting powers held by that monolithic institution.

Being a proponent of free markets, I am fond of policies that are not socialist in their leanings. That said, the current situation does at first appear to need a “government bailout” (read – taxpayers will eat it). However, William Angelo of the Engineering News Record proposes the following idea in his blog post entitled “A No-Cost RX for Our Economy“:

the answer to the Wall Street Ponzi scheme is simple – instead of a securities auction to buy so-called toxic paper from the banks, why not require that all suspect mortgages be renegotiated – free of charge – to prime plus 1/4 % over 30 years. That will cut usurious rates and stabilize payments and keep people in their houses. It’s called blowback. End of crisis and no taxpayer dollars involved. The banks that scammed the system eat the costs. Next time use fiscal prudence. As for the mortgagees, they should be required to make a one-time payment to the U.S. Treasury amounting to one percent of the loan. No scam goes unpunished and the taxpayers win.

Why didn’t our congress at least try to think out of the box instead of throwing free money at losers who mismanaged the money they had to lend? Why should any badly managed business be able to get a handout from the government? In a free market, bad business ideas (and sub-prime lending is one of them) should fail. That’s how we get more efficient and desirable outcomes for the consumer.

Category : Opinion | economy | Blog
7
Oct

Welcome to the all-new incorTech.com!  After weeks of work, we’re finally live.  Its been great to give the company’s logo and site a fresh, new look.  I think we were cramming way too much information into every page and that the new site is a lot more user-friendly. 

But that’s just my opinion!   Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments for this post.  We’d especially love to get some customer feedback on things you’d like to see from us online.  

I should be clear that this is phase one for the new site.  We’ll be gradually introducing more content and ways for you to engage with us online. Any ideas?  Please share with us – we’d love a comment or your email.

Category : IncorTech News | Blog
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