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Tech tools enhance accounting

No matter the industry, size or location of a business, they all have essential financial management requirements. From start-ups that need basic accounting solutions and guidance on compliance, to multinational corporates with fully-fledged financial departments delving into the viability of every expense and how to optimise every profit. At the crux of these vital processes are accountants.

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This is according to QuickBooks Director of Marketing: Global Expansion, Brandon Wilson, who adds that, with the fourth industrial revolution in full swing, business and accountancy leaders should be investigating how new technologies can enhance the productivity and efficiency of these professionals even further.

“Accountants hold the key to your financial breakthrough. They save businesses time; keep cash-flow in check; offer advice on auditing, tax and legal matters; and ensure financial reporting deadlines are fulfilled. With greater support, it’s safe to say that the possibilities for business are endless,” he says.

Wilson highlights that accountants today should be drawn on for their specialist insights and advice that inform strategic and operational decisions rather than just for basic, yet time-consuming, financial and bookkeeping needs.

He says, “This is where accounting software tools have added a lot of value in recent years, increasing productivity and accuracy relating to the more mundane accounting tasks while freeing up the professionals to tackle critical thinking exercises.” Wilson shares how accountants can leverage today’s technology to do so whilst driving business success:

Accounting software basics

With invoicing, reporting and inventory management capabilities, simple online accounting software solutions such as those developed by QuickBooks provide start-ups, SMEs and smaller financial teams working with tighter budgets with the option to streamline and fast-track traditional bookkeeping processes.

The artificial intelligence (AI) behind these solutions – such as the QuickBooks Online Accountant – also detect errors immediately, ensuring that a company’s books are always accurate.

Access, apps and automation

For businesses looking to optimise their financial processes even further, accounting software support applications such as those provided by QuickBooks partners, Draftworx and AutoEntry, integrate with QuickBooks’ localised online solutions.

Draftworx, an automated drafting and working paper financial software application, ensures that accountants are only ever a click away from financial statements and working papers, to audit methodologies, collaboration tools and digital signatures.

AutoEntry – an automated data entry software application – captures, analyses and posts invoices, receipts and statements directly to QuickBooks online accounting solutions.

Not only do these solutions save accountants on time and ensure greater accuracy and accessibility, they also tap into the power of cloud technology.

The cloud for big data

Cloud accounting is the use of accounting software where both the software and the data is stored online. The benefits of this kind of solution include improved security, seamless software updates, easy access, opportunity for remote collaboration, and significantly greater scalability to meet big data demand.

QuickBooks’ cloud-based software, for example, can perform large-scale accounting tasks that would be virtually impossible for humans to complete in a timely manner. Utilising cloud storage also allows business and accounting colleagues to log in simultaneously and work directly with real time data online.

Wilson says, “Technology that makes our lives easier is becoming ever more advanced across all aspects of our lives. AI is definitely setting the tone in this regard, especially for the future of accountancy.”

“Rather than replacing accountants, these innovative technologies are able to support industry professionals in providing businesses with greater value and a competitive advantage. With this in mind, and with affordable solutions on the market, accountants should be encouraged to embrace the evolution of their role,” he concludes.

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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