Well, it’s been a very busy couple of months for me, your reporter. I’ve spoken at AICPA TECH+Practitioners, Sage Summit, the Office Tools Pro Conference, and the XCM conference. I’ve also taught CPE events around the country – from PA to AZ to North Dakota and finally in Oregon. Here’s a summary of some of the interesting news which has come across the wires lately:
1. Sage to Rebrand – As will be detailed in my September CPA Practice Advisor column, Sage is rebranding most of its products to have a new, number-based naming scheme. For example, Peachtree and Simply accounting will have a name similar to “Sage 50”, and other products like MAS 90/200 and ACCPAC will have names like “Sage 100” or “Sage 200”. There has been some coverage from the press on this lately, but beyond the fact that they’re going to rename over the next 18 to 24 months, there really isn’t that much to report related to the rebranding (an article from a Canadian press source is here). There are a lot of interesting things going on with Sage lately – new online offerings, a new user certification for Simply Accounting, some interesting training initiatives to help partners transition to cloud services, and SDATA. Since the rebranding is more of a long term play, I’ll let you wait for my column to come out. No names have been announced yet, but I’ll keep you up to date on Twitter (@BFTCPA) as announcements come out. There’s also some other interesting stuff coming – more about that when the announcements come out later this year.
2. Concur Breeze implementation at K2 - We’ve been using Concur Breeze at K2 for a while, and it seems to be working out nicely. The ever-present Joe Martino and Bob Lewis have been very helpful in our transition, and other than a few hiccups, I think it’s a keeper. (BTW, they have an Advisor program for accountants with free CPE as well as a number of free accounts if you would like to learn more about their product.)
3. Field Monitor Pro Update – Despite the best efforts of both me and the TSA, my Field Monitor Pro from Mobile Monitor Technologies is holding up very nicely, and has survived a number of events which would have been career-ending injuries for other, less rigorous gear. I’m very pleased with how well it’s working out, and I’ve actually sourced a few for others who are all thrilled with the product as well. I have subjected the device to a fairly rigorous travel schedule in the last three months (If it had to buy tickets, my mobile monitor would already be Gold Medallion on Delta), and it keeps working like a charm. Good stuff, people.
4. Google+ has been informally launched, and is rumored to have over 18MM users already. Ho-hum. With the recent announcement that Google is closing down much of their engineer playground, Google Labs, I’m in “wait and see” mode – especially since I can’t put users of my Apps Domain (HINT HINT) in Google+ yet. Plus is till bleeding edge, not leading edge – but that may change in the next 60-90 days.
5. Lots of new writers coming on for projects at the CPA Practice Advisor – more on that at their site in the coming weeks. @DustinWCPA, @deductme, and @jasonmblumer will be adding some new perspectives to our reviews and our existing authors over the next few months.
6. Microsoft has released Office 365, and I think it’s going to give Google Apps a run for its money. I’m not handicapping the race between the two to the pot of gold at the end of the Yellow Brick Road, but it seems like Google is the Scarecrow here (“If I only had HIPAA/GLB”), and Microsoft is the Tin Man (“If I only had some buzz”). I think the Microsoft product is better for most business customers, but they need some “cool points” to cement this offering as better for SMB. It will be interesting to see how Google+ fits into Google’s strategy here. (Who are you backing, Dorothy Reader?)
That’s about it for right now. If you have comments, please say so in the form below, or send a message at @BFTCPA on Twitter.