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QUICKBOOKS ALTERNATIVES FOR ACCOUNT PROFESSIONALS

Account professionals are currently in high demand in the modern economy. They help keep companies on track and within legal compliance. But these men and women need help in the 21st century. The world of accounting has fully transitioned to the digital realm. Accountants need software in order to adequately do their jobs.

While it’s considered the industry standard and is usually the go-to program for account professionals, there are a number of alternatives to quickbooks that may be just as effective at helping these people complete their work tasks. But the question remains, is there a free alternative that is as good as the real thing?

 

Open source

There are a number of accounting models that are free to use for account professionals. These pieces of software are free to download, use, and even share with other individuals. They help facilitate the most basic account transactions. Individuals can do basic functions, log data, and create reports. The open source accounting software currently available on the internet can help small companies handle their accounting needs. But their functions are limited due to their free nature. Many of these companies do not allow multiple computers to access accounting information. They have a simple user interface and impose limitations on the amounts that a company can store and download. Open source software is definitely limited by its free nature.

 

Freemium model

Quickbooks is an expensive piece of software for the vast majority of companies. Companies that require more than open source software should look at the large number of freemium accounting interfaces that are currently available. This term refers to software that is free to use for many factors but requires a subscription past a certain point.

The free aspects of the software will show many of the most important concepts needed to decide if a particular piece of software is right for a company. They can use a free trial of several weeks with limited capabilities before spending a considerable amount of money on the paid version. In the paid version, many pieces of accounting software have the same or more capabilities than even Quickbooks.

 

Outside accountant

Outside accountants are often brought in along with an in-house accounting system. They may also replace accounting functions at a company. Outside accountants are helpful because they often have the tools and expertise that a particular company lacks. These men and women are often skilled at their task at hand. They may have decades of experience writing reports and fulfilling government functions. An outside accountant can be helpful in areas such as health care and affordable housing where companies have to navigate a web of regulations simply to exist. They may be required at some point under the terms of a government grant. Outside accountants are brought in both for reviews of information and to perform legally mandated audits on parts of a company.

These companies may simply assist an in-house accountant who may not have all of the certifications and qualifications that are required in a particular field. There are a handful of downsides to outside accountants. They are not always responsive within a company. Many outside accountants charge whenever they are called and contacted by a company. These accountants are also quite expensive in many cases. They are exceptionally more expensive per hour than the in-house accountant at a large number of companies.

 

What to do

Any business owner who is unsure about their accounting functions needs to look at their budget and their accounting needs. They should analyze the size of their company and how they need to access their accounting system. Any company that has multiple individuals access and updating the accounting system most likely needs to embrace a paid model. Companies should also look at the quality of their accounting staff.

In many companies, there are CPA certifications that are required for a company to meet all of its regulatory needs. If a company does not currently have individuals with those qualifications, it may be helpful to pay for an outside review from an accountant on a regular basis. This outside review would be essential for a company to figure out their needs and whether or not they should be regularly paying an outside accountant.

 

Conclusion

Account professionals need all the help they can get from their companies. Their jobs are demanding, time-consuming, and often stressful. These men and women need the right software and the right potential outside help in order to dutifully perform their jobs. Investing in Quickbooks alternatives can help account professionals meet their goals and potentially save their companies millions of dollars.

 

Finance

ENLISTING TECHNOLOGY TO HELP FIGHT FINANCIAL CRIME

By Rachel Woolley, Director of Financial Crime Fenergo

 

Million-dollar properties, private jets and parties on luxury yachts with celebrity friends. Although it might sound like the plot for a new reality series, this is what corruption, illicit funds and political connections can buy at the expense of ordinary citizens.

Following an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)[1], thousands of leaked documents, known as the Luanda Leaks, suggest that the daughter of Angola’s former president, Isabel Dos Santos, acquired her enormous wealth through favourable access to lucrative deals. These activities were often to the detriment of Angola’s poorest citizens.

We’ve also started to see the application of unexplained wealth orders (UWO) in the UK, with the first UWO issued in 2018. The latest UWOs relate to the grandson of Kazakhstan’s former president, Nurali Aliyev[2], is currently being investigated by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to explain where he got the money to buy a £80 million house in one of London’s most expensive neighbourhoods. It is thought that the funds used to buy the property have criminal origins.

But these aren’t isolated stories. There have been countless examples in recent years of how corruption, fraud and political connections has resulted in billions of dollars being stolen worldwide in countries such as Brazil, Malaysia, Gabon, Russia and many more.

A recent report by Fenergo found that regulators have issued over $36 billion in AML/KYC and sanctions-related fines (and rising) since the financial crisis. This staggering number shows that related financial institutions had inadequate policy, processes, procedures and systems, in addition to poor governance and oversight in many cases.  Interestingly, a similar report found that the vast majority of these regulatory costs were associated with an AML/KYC-specific labour force.

Not surprisingly, the methods used to hide the illicit wealth are pretty similar; invoice fraud, suspicious transfers, offshore companies and complex ownership structures to disguise beneficial ownership of assets and property. Another commonality is the detrimental impact this has on some of the poorest citizens in these countries and the global economy.

But what can we learn from these scandals? And perhaps more importantly, what can be done?

For financial institutions, the importance of leveraging technology to unwrap complex hierarchies, related parties and identifying individuals with political connections cannot be understated. Understanding the ownership and control structure when onboarding entities is critical, along with robust screening practices to enable sufficient oversight of the relationship, accounts and transaction activity. Enhanced due diligence measures must be applied to politically exposed persons (PEPs), their immediate family members and known close associates. Relationship patterns are also significant, as the same service providers are often used, as was the case with Mossack Fonseca in the Panama Papers scandal.

It’s critical that financial institutions are vigilant in the detection and prevention of financial crime before it’s too late.  By automating KYC/AML compliance and leveraging rules-based technology, financial institutions can ensure that internal policies are fully in-line with constantly changing regulations across multiple jurisdictions.  However, human input will still be necessary when red flags are identified by the system.

 

Biography:

Rachel Woolley, Global AML Manager at Fenergo, has over 10 years’ experience in the Financial Services industry having worked primarily in the funds industry and retail banking. She has a strong background in regulatory compliance, particularly in the areas of anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF).

Rachel holds a BSc (Hons) Degree in Applied Accounting from the Oxford Brookes University and is an ACCA Affiliate. She currently holds three professional designations; Licentiate of the Association of Compliance: Officers in Ireland (LCOI), Certified Financial Crime Prevention Practitioner (CFCPP) and Certified Data Protection Officer (CDPO).

[1]https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-51218501

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/mar/10/uk-issues-unexplained-wealth-order-over-kazakhstan-familys-house

 

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Business

CONSUMERS ARE READY FOR BIOMETRIC PAYMENT CARDS

Lina Andolf-Orup, Head of Marketing at Fingerprints

 

We’ve come a long way in the evolution of digital payments. Magnetic stripe cards, chip & PIN and contactless technology have all played a role in dethroning cash as ‘king of payments’, with many countries well on their way to becoming cashless economies. As with all tech innovation, though, consumer readiness is always the deciding factor in the crowning of new payments royalty.

Now there’s a new technology on the block, ready to help contactless offer even more value: the biometric payment card. In recent years, biometric payment cards have been steadily gathering momentum, currently being trialled by over 20 banks across the world, with the first commercial launch announced last year. A mass-market roll-out is imminent.

But with all the noise from the payments world, it’s important to answer the de facto question that’s key to any technology’s success: are consumers ready?

 

Lina Andolf-Orup

Contactless is (almost) king

Contactless has achieved great success globally, and are now seeing a steep increase across the world.

In addition to consumers being frustrated with having to remember a plethora of PINs and passwords, the current pandemic has also brought to light the unhygienic nature of cash and PIN-enabled payments. Now more than ever, consumers are eager to use a secure, convenient, and hygienic payment method. And contactless almost fits the bill.

Although consumers want to use their contactless card more often, security worries, payment experience frustrations, and the limiting payment cap are all preventing the card from reaching its full potential usage.

The missing link

This is where biometrics comes into play: the missing element that can take contactless into the era of worriless and limitless payments, and provide consumers an experience they expect in the 21st century. With consumers clear about what they want, let’s take a look at what’s top of their checklist and how biometrics can fill in the gaps to realize their ideal payment experience.

 

  1. Smarter, safer contactless. Just for you.

Security is a primary concern for consumers when it comes to contactless, with 38% of consumers citing security as the main reason they are hesitant to use the payment method. For older generations, this number rises to almost 50%.Yet with hygiene concerns at an all-time high, many consumers aren’t eager to use PIN-pads to secure their payments either. By moving the authentication onto the card itself, biometrics secure payments in a way that allows consumers to never touch a PIN pad again.

With the rise of data privacy concerns, consumers can rest assured that their biometric data never leaves the card and won’t be shared with third parties or cloud-based databases. Everything remains securely stored on the payment card itself.

 

  1. Let’s talk about UX

Although every generation is keen to use contactless more, millennials are especially eager to take greater advantage of this convenient payment method. 87% of millennials that own a contactless card use it regularly and three quarters are set to use it more often.

Biometrics bring additional trust to contactless payments, while keeping the same level of convenience, allowing consumers to make a secure payment in less than a second. And with a unified experience so you know what to expect every time you pay; not PIN code sometime, contactless another time, it always works the same no matter where you are in the world.

Because a biometric payment card does not need to be charged – it’s powered from the payment terminal in the same way traditional contactless is – there is nothing standing in the way of efficiency-loving consumers embracing this technology.

 

  1. Contactless made limitless

To offset the lack of PIN security, traditional contactless payments are capped. In light of the current hygiene concerns, countries around the world have already raised contactless payment caps in a bid to reduce PIN entry and cash use. But without any additional strong authentication, the limit has not been lifted completely anywhere to date. This is not only frustrating consumers, but our recent research found this was the primary frustration banks felt regarding contactless.

With the touch of a finger, biometrics brings the robust security needed to remove contactless payment limits altogether. Across contactless cards, mobile, wearables – and even future payment options – biometrics can provide a strong and seamless authentication solution to however we choose to pay or whatever contactless form or shape. Limitless payments with a harmonized UX, wherever consumers are, however much they spend, and wherever they pay: the perfect companion in the age of convenience.

 

  1. Tech nation

A less pressing, although by no means trivial matter, is that consumers are simply ready for something new. Over a third of consumers want to use more modern and personal payment cards, and biometrics sits alongside metal cards, tailored designs and other innovations to do just that. Not to mention that the standard contactless card, the last great innovation in card payments, is now over a decade old!

Featuring the latest fingerprint sensors and an advanced algorithm with AI, biometric payment cards not only meet the criteria for a modern and next-generation payment card but offer the most personal touch imaginable. Your fingerprint.

 

  1. Ready to roll…

We’ve arrived at a crucial point in the evolution of payments. With the technology tested and accredited in line with the rigorous standards of the payments ecosystem, the mass market adoption of this technology is just around the corner. But most importantly, consumers have never been more ready to embrace limitless and worriless contactless.

 

 

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