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Sage to ‘revolutionise accounting’

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The UK holding company of South Africa’s accounting software leaders has announced a range of apps and partnerships that it says will revolutionise the way accountants operate around the world.

At the Sage Summit in New Orleans this week, Sage continued its quest to use technology to reinvent accounting. Sage is the UK-headquartered enterprise software company that acquired South African market leader Softline and its Pastel Accounting system in 2003.

Among its announcements, it unveiled a major new mobile app for customers of its Sage View business intelligence dashboard in the United States. The launch represents the first in a rolling programme of innovations and partnerships announced by Sage as, it says, “it works with accountants to revolutionise the way they operate around the world”.

The Sage View mobile app enables accountants to harness mobility to serve their customers anytime, anywhere by providing access to predefined alerts and an easy-to-view recap of client key performance indicators (KPIs). This empowers accountants to deepen client relationships, regardless of their location, by providing actionable business advice based on real-time financial data. It is available now to U.S. customers of Sage View in the Google Play and the Apple App Stores.

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Sage announced the launch of the app at its global Sage Summit in New Orleans today along with two significant new technology partnerships with eFileCabinet and ICB Global. These are a few of the many installments included in the Sage roadmap of forthcoming technology innovations, driven by customer demand and rapidly cocreated with accountants. Additional launches slated for this summer include two new apps on Sage Impact, a fully customizable online hub that brings together everything accountants need to run their business.

Speaking from the Sage Summit stage, Jennifer Warawa, global vice president of product marketing for accountants at Sage, explained: “When we launched Sage Impact in May, we set out to review and rethink the changing role of accounting professionals, and we haven’t rested for a moment since.”

“We’re absolutely committed to putting customers first and helping our accountants put their customers first as well. This summer’s partnership and product announcements show that we’re constantly working with our customers to find the best products that suit their needs,” added Warawa. “We know every customer is different, and if a product doesn’t exist that best suits them, we’ll either cocreate one with them or partner with the best in the business to provide a solution. It’s that simple.”

Sage highlighted three major new innovations for accountants to watch out for:

* Sage Match will be a new app on Sage Impact that allows accountants to market their practice online, be matched with new clients and expand their business in a streamlined, easy-to-use format. Sage Match will help accountants improve their market reach and connect with new clients in a targeted way, matching them with small businesses looking for accountants with their specific skills and expertise.

* Sage Value, another new app on Sage Impact, will help accountants to combat the commoditization of their services. It includes a powerful pricing tool to support value-based billing, more productive cost discussions with clients and the ability to measure the profitability of clients to optimize practice performance and revenue.

* Sage Small Firm Payroll is a solution for accountants and bookkeepers in the United States to provide payroll services to their clients using a single, scalable platform, allowing them to grow their practices and be more efficient. Accounting professionals will be able to configure in the solution what parts of the payroll process their clients can access based on the services they provide.

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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