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13 Important Questions to Ask Before You Sign Up With a SaaS Provider

Every business owner should go into a vendor partnership with a clear understanding of the details. When considering a potential software as a service (SaaS) vendor, what’s one security question that should always be asked? Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co. 1. Where Is Our Credit Card Data Stored? Get a guarantee that your provider won’t store your credit card details on its own server. In a best-case scenario, a provider will use a payment gateway or vendor’s server for processing and maintaining all of your information. Though no measure is cyberattack proof, most of these third-party vendors have the appropriate security and infrastructure in place to handle your sensitive data. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker 2. Do You Use Two-Factor Authentication? By now, most mission-critical systems offer two-step verification. In addition to logging in with a password, a code will be sent to your mobile phone, which you‘ll also need to enter to confirm that you are really you. This additional layer prevents someone who may have access to your password from also logging into vital technical systems and causing damage. – David Ciccarelli, Voices.com 3. What’s Your Action Plan for a Worst-Case Scenario? When evaluating a SaaS partner, ask them what the worst-case scenario is that they can foresee. It might be a data breach, a service outage or something else, depending on the software. Then, ask how they would deal with that worst case. Ask detailed questions, and make sure you‘re comfortable with the action plan laid out. – Brittany Hodak, The Superfan Company 4. Is Data Encrypted at Rest? Data should be encrypted in transit and at rest. Secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption for data in transit is nearly ubiquitous, but many vendors don’t encrypt data at rest on storage devices. If their network is breached, that data is vulnerable. Ask potential vendors if the data is encrypted, how it is encrypted and who has access to the keys. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting 5. Are You GDPR Compliant? The recent EU General Data Protection Regulation sowed much confusion among online businesses worldwide, but one positive side effect is that it forced reputable SaaS vendors…

Helping Small Businesses and Advisors Do More With Data

Advances in technology are increasingly making data the most important resource a business has at its disposal. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning features are increasingly leveling the playing field by giving small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers the ability to leverage data in ways that were previously available only to larger companies. We believe that giving our customers control over their data is one of our most important responsibilities. One of the key ways we deliver on this is through secure, direct bank feeds, which automatically import transactions from a customers bank or financial institution directly into a Xero organization. Direct feeds eliminate the need for manual data entry, and even more importantly, make it easy for a business to see a complete picture of their business’s finances within Xero. By accessing and presenting this data in a seamless way, customers and their advisors can more easily answer essential questions such as, ‘is the business making a profit?’ or ‘what’s the current cash flow situation?’ Enhancing security, innovation and consumer control At Xero, we believe that every organization in this industry — technology providers, banks and other financial institutions, and data aggregators — have a responsibility to work together to deliver the best possible experience for our shared customers. That’s why we’re proud to announce we’re joining forces with the Financial Data Exchange (FDX) to bring the US closer to an ‘Open Banking’ system by unifying the financial industry around the secure exchange of financial data. The launch of the FDX marks the first time the full ecosystem of industry partners has come together to address the common challenges of consumer-permissioned data sharing. The FDX will allow us to work together to give consumers greater control of their data, enhance security, and accelerate innovation in financial services. The FDX will implement and oversee a new standard for data sharing between companies,  called the Durable Data API or DDA. The FDX will also work to create new operating frameworks to further enhance existing security practices. The Xero Bank Feeds API Our involvement with the FDX is just one way Xero is working…

HR software: looking beyond processing payroll

Processing payroll is even easier now with options such as excel and batch payments using Internet Banking. So why should you pay to use a HR software? As one of our integrated HR software HReasily, a Singapore born-and-bred HR SaaS solutions platform, says, ‘if focusing on your core business is your top priority, than you need a HR software’. The remit of HR function has evolved significantly today, venturing into compliance, employee satisfaction and even local employment regulations during business expansion strategizing, which makes it essential for a results-oriented business leader to tap on HR softwares to automate and digitise as much of the workload as possible. Payroll is often one of the biggest expenses for most small businesses but it is crucial in business management and employee satisfaction. Whether you are an accountant acting on behalf of your client, or a small business owner managing the payroll yourself, here are 3 ways HR software can transform your business. Maximise employee satisfaction 90% of employees surveyed through Payboy, an easy-to-use compliant HR management software for any business size, were more satisfied due to the accuracy and timeliness of their payroll. Everyone knows that paying your staff the correct amount and on time is critical. Depending on your business pay cycle, calculating how much your employees should be paid each pay period can be a painful exercise. Also, let’s not forget the extra complexities of calculating overtime, holiday pay and benefits, to name a few. With the right HR software, all the calculations are done automatically for you. HR softwares like PayDay!, a cloud payroll & leave solution for small businesses (1-50) employees, also offers web and mobile solutions to enable employees to manage their leave on-the-go. You can now say goodbye to discrepancies, errors and understaffing that often results in payroll delays and headaches! Compliance, compliance, compliance Staying on top of statutory changes and contributions, calculating monthly CPF and declaring taxable income can be an administrative nightmare. Why don’t you let the Payroll Experts do that for you? With HR software, you don’t need to be an expert in payroll…

Fostering Wellness in the Workplace

At Xero, we strive to create a positive environment where everyone feels they belong and that they can do the best work of our lives. We believe that supporting the mental wellness of our people is an essential component to running a compassionate, successful business. That’s why we’re proud to announce that we’re marking World Mental Health Day by making changes to our Wellness Leave policy. The new policy means that Xero staff can now take time off for their own personal wellbeing, in addition to time off for physical or mental illness and when a partner or dependent requires care. To learn more about the importance of fostering wellness in the workplace, the team at Xero Denver office had the opportunity to speak with Alexandra Yannacone from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She shared insights about how all of us can work to manage stress in the workplace and support our colleagues. According to Yannacone, one in five Americans have a mental health condition, and 40 percent of American workers describe their jobs as “very stressful.” In addition to the human toll, there is also a very real economic impact — a World Health Organization-led study estimates that depression and anxiety costs the global economy $1 trillion annually in lost productivity. Yannacone explained that it’s important to understand that employees can experience workplace stress due to a variety of factors, including work-related or home-related issues. The good news, according to Yannacone, is that these stressors are something that we can do something about. For example: Be proactive and preventative: “We know there are more stressful periods at work or in our personal lives, like the holidays,” Yannacone said. “It’s about being prepared and thoughtful ahead of time. Each year we fall into these same routines and start panicking, but often we know some of these things are coming. Same with work, most jobs we know when our more stressful times are. We need to learn how to declutter and destress ahead of time so when we’re in the midst of it we can really pay attention to…

Pause for a mental health check

What does mental health mean to you? For me, as a Director of People and Performance, it’s about remembering each and every one of us is human. We all feel stress. We all carry burdens that have kept us awake at night. And we all deserve support when times get tough. (But the support I need will be different to yours.) At Xero, we strive to create a positive environment where everyone feels they belong and can do their best work. Encouraging and supporting the mental wellness of our people is important to us, and this extends across our Xero small business community. Because running a small business isn’t easy. While it can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do, it also demands a great deal of time and energy. Long days may become frequent and the number of ‘hats’ you wear may seem endless. But when we forget to find ways to switch off – to make time to manage our stress levels – we risk impacting our wellbeing and mental health. As a time that’s dedicated toward education, awareness and advocacy, World Mental Health Day is a timely opportunity for us to reflect on ourselves  – and our teammates – and seek and offer any support. Mental illness is more common than you think Statistics show that one in five Australians say they’ve taken time off work due to feeling mentally unwell in the past 12 months, with anxiety and depression being the most common. But despite so many people finding themselves in the same boat, less than half call out for help.   For many small business owners, stress tends to stem from financial pressures, sustainability of the business and cash flow. According to Xero Small Business Insights, only 52% of small businesses in Australia are cash flow positive. Tom Larkin, the Director of accounting firm IEC Advisory, supports more than 100 agricultural businesses across central and western NSW and has seen the negative impact that financial strain can have on a business owner. “In anticipation of the impending drought, farmers have done a…

Here is the list of exhibitors to watch out for at Xero Roadshow Asia 2018

Preparations are underway for our second series of Asia Roadshows which will take place on 20 November in Hong Kong and 23 November in Singapore. The events will be bigger and better this year and we are pleased to confirm an exciting list of exhibitors to join us at the events. Xero Roadshows give accountants and bookkeepers the perfect opportunity to get to know existing and new Xero Marketplace apps in addition to discovering the latest technologies available in the accounting industry. Here’s a sneak peek of who you can expect to see on the exhibition floor this November: A2X A2X makes accounting easy for Amazon sellers – all the sales, fees and charges reconciled perfectly for every settlement. A2X gives Amazon merchants automated accounting by posting easy-to-reconcile summary invoices to Xero. The Amazon marketplace has millions of 3rd party sellers world wide and it’s growing fast. A2X allows accounting firms to specialise in helping Amazon seller clients so they can target this fast growing market. Catch them in either Hong Kong or Singapore and chat to them about becoming an Amazon accountant! Connect Outsourcing Looking for someone to handle your compliance work for you while you spend more time advising and servicing your clients? Connect does outsourcing, but differently. Make the change with Connect and you will see growth and profitability in your business as they provide you with qualified accountants that work on a per-job basis. Interested to find out more about how you can make the best use of time with Connect? They will be at Xero Roadshow Singapore so chat to them on how their expert workforce can work best for you; scaling up and down as your firm needs to grow with no fixed contracts or seat fees. PayPal Fueled by a fundamental belief that having access to financial services creates opportunity, PayPal is committed to democratising financial services and empowering people and businesses to partake in the global economy. Available in more than 200 markets, PayPal enables consumers and merchants to receive money in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds in 56 currencies and…

The Power of Two – Capital One Contest – Win $50,000 to Grow Your Business

To small business owners, employees often feel like family. With your feet on the ground, working alongside them every day, it’s hard to not want to do right by them. It’s even harder to not have the funds to be able to provide them with everything you feel they deserve because you have a business to run with bills that need paying. It’s even harder when you lose those valued employees who believe in your company to larger corporations with more competitive salaries or benefits. Ken’s Story. If you’ve been watching TV lately, perhaps you’ve seen Capital One’s new advertising campaign, featuring Ken Jacobus, CEO of New Hampshire-based small business Good Start Packaging, who redeemed $36,000 in cash-back rewards in 2017 with his Capital One card and used that cash to pay for health insurance for his team, showing appreciation to his employees and giving his business a competitive edge in hiring. Capital One’s Spark Cash Card is a credit card specifically designed for businesses that gives 2% cash-back on everything you buy. With the Spark Cash Card, you can afford to give your hardworking employees the bonuses they deserve. You can buy them lunch once in a while to thank them. Ken Jacobus inspired Capital One to ask small business owners, how they use the cash back rewards from their Spark cards to fuel business progress, take care of employees, and ultimately seize the competitive edge offered by 2% unlimited rewards. Capital One’s Power of 2 Contest. To gather those inspirational stories, Capital One just launched The Power of 2 Contest. Share how you use your cash-back rewards, here and you get the chance to win: First prize of $50k, Second prize of $25k, and Third prize of $15k. Remember to submit before the November 3rd deadline for your chance to win – or peruse other entries for inspiration on how you can use cash back rewards to drive your business forward. There is no purchase necessary and the submission phase ends 11/3/18. The contest is open to residents, 18 years or older, in the 50 US States and DC who are…

Exploring The Future of Global Payments

The ability to seamlessly move money has always been at the core of our economy. It enables the exchange of value, makes it possible to build new businesses, and fuels long-term growth. It’s been with us, in one form or another, since the very beginning of civilization. In 9000 BC, people traded grain, cattle, and jewels. A generation ago, people relied on cash, cheques and paper invoices. Today, we have credit cards and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay. The technology underpinning money movement has changed, but the fundamental needs of business owners have remained consistent. There are four key things that all business owners want to know: How much money do I have? Who do I owe? Who owes me? Am I making a profit? At Xero, we’re always working to help our customers answer these four questions quickly and easily, so they can make informed decisions about what is right for the business. One of the most important ways we do that is by continuing to strengthen our open platform and partnering with leading companies enabling our customers to access all of their data in one place. Xero + Stripe: Helping Businesses Get Paid Faster One of our most important global partners is Stripe, an innovative technology company that provides online payments processing for internet businesses. Stripe’s mission is to grow the GDP of the internet and to help technology companies of every size build better and bigger businesses. The Stripe integration with Xero makes it easy for businesses to get paid faster because their customers can pay your invoices using their preferred credit or debit card. Find out how to add Stripe to your invoices here. Last week, Xero’s Mary Buckley, Head of Financial Partnerships for the Americas, joined Jeanne DeWitt, Head of Sales at Stripe, to talk about the future of global payments on a panel at Stripe Sessions in San Francisco. As Mary explained, “Xero’s primary focus has been to help small businesses understand how much money they have, what do they owe, what do others owe them and are they making a profit. Integrating…

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