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SMEs stick to tech they know

A recent survey has revealed the many SMEs are using outdated software like Excel spreadsheets for financial data capturing and reporting.

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While most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) believe that their accountants are tech-savvy, many are actually using outdated technology solutions – choosing to keep expenses down by not investing in innovative new technological offerings. In fact, according to the SME Survey 2018, more than a quarter of SMEs (27%) still use Excel spreadsheets for financial data capturing and reporting.

One of the key aims of SME Survey 2018, has been to take an in-depth look at the future of the accounting function and the role the accountant plays in these businesses. It is a role that is evolving rapidly, says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx and principal researcher for the SME Survey.

“While 86% of SME decision-makers indicated that the main reason they use accountants is for bookkeeping purposes, a growing number (41%) also turn to them for financial advice or to serve as the organisation’s tax specialist (40%),” he says.

However, when asked whether they were happy with their current accounting software, a near-unanimous 93% of SME owners indicated that they were satisfied with what they had. However, this correlates closely with 87% of respondents saying that their accountants were either very tech savvy or at least somewhat savvy. Of course, Goldstuck adds, the mere fact that a quarter of SMEs still make use of Excel spreadsheets demonstrates that there is no correlation at all between the sophistication of the software being used and their satisfaction with current processes.

“The general consensus seems to be that, as long as it is doing the job it is supposed to do, owners are not going to delve too deeply into either what else their accounting package can do, or how it actually does what it does. All they are concerned with, ultimately, is that it is able to assist them with their financials and produce the numbers they need.”

This attitude, he continues, is underpinned by the fact that three quarters (74%) of SME owners indicated that they have no plans to change the accounting software they are currently using. The remaining 26% correlates very closely with the 27% who are still utilising Excel.

“This is despite the fact that there are some fantastic new accounting packages available, specifically designed with SMEs in mind – simplifying the usually complex financial aspects of business. There is also a corollary to this, namely that, as more SMEs adopt such technology, more accountants will follow suit, optimising the more advanced services like tax specialisation and the provision of financial advice.”

SME Survey is the original and largest representative survey since 2003 to measure the forces shaping SME competitiveness in South Africa.

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Notre Dame, Scoop Makhathini, GoT, top week in search

From fire disaster to social media disaster, the top Google searches this week covered a wide gamut of themes.

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Paris and the whole world looked on in shock as the 856-year-old medieval Catholic cathedral crumbled into ash. The tragic infernal destruction of this tourist attraction of historical and religious significance led South Africans to generate more than 200 000 search queries for “Notre Dame Cathedral” on Monday. Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire that razed the architectural icon.

In other top trending searches on Google this week, radio presenter Siyabonga Ngwekazi, AKA Scoop Makhathini, went viral when it appeared he had taken to Twitter to expose his girlfriend, Akhona Carpede, for cheating on him. Scoop has since come out to say that he was not responsible for the bitter rant and that his account was hacked. “Scoop Makhathini” generated more than 20 000 search queries on Wednesday.

Fans generated more than 20 000 search queries for “Sam Smith” on Tuesday ahead of the the British superstar’s Cape Town performance at the Grand West Casino. Smith ended up cutting his performance short that night due to vocal strain.

Local Game of Thrones superfans were beside themselves on Sunday, searching the internet high and low for the first episode of the American fantasy drama’s eighth season. “Game of Thrones, season 8, episode 1” generated more than 100 000 queries on Google Search on the weekend.

As the festivities kicked off in California with headliners such as Childish Gambino and Ariana Grande, South Africans generated more than 2 000 search queries for “Coachella” on Saturday.

South Africans generated more than 5 000 search queries for “Wendy Williams” on Friday  as it emerged that the American talk show host had filed for divorce from her husband Kevin Hunter after 21 years of marriage. Hunter has long been rumored to have been cheating on Williams, which reportedly finally led to the divorce.

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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5G smartphones to hit 5M sales in 2019

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According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments will reach a modest 5 million units in 2019. Early 5G smartphone models will be expensive and available in limited volumes. Samsung, LG and Huawei will be the early 5G smartphone leaders this year, followed by Apple next year.

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “We forecast global 5G smartphone shipments will reach a modest 5 million units in 2019. Less than 1 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide will be 5G-enabled this year. Global 5G smartphone shipments are tiny for now, due to expensive device pricing, component bottlenecks, and restricted availability of active 5G networks.”

Ville Petteri-Ukonaho, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, “Samsung will be the early 5G smartphone leader in the first half of 2019, due to initial launches across South Korea and the United States. We predict LG, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola and others will follow later in the year, followed by Apple iPhone with its first 5G model during the second half of 2020. The iPhone looks set to be at least a year behind Samsung in the 5G smartphone race and Apple must be careful not to fall too far behind.”

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The short-term outlook for 5G smartphones is weak, but the long-term opportunity remains huge. We forecast 1 billion 5G smartphones to ship worldwide per year by 2025. The introduction of 5G networks, by carriers like Verizon or China Mobile, opens up high-speed, ultra-low-latency services such as 8K video, streaming games, and augmented reality for business. The next big question for the mobile industry is how much extra consumers are really willing to pay, if anything, for those emerging 5G smartphones and services.”

Strategy Analytics provides a snapshot analyses for the outlook for 5G smartphone market in this Insight report: 5G Smartphones : From Zero to a Billion

Strategy Analytics provides a deep-dive into the air-interface technologies that will power phones through 2024 across 88 countries here: Global Handset Sales Forecast by 88 Countries and 19 Technologies : 2003 to 2024

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