important announcement for all ProOnGo customers

ProOnGo Blog

Posts are primarily about QuickBooks, Xero, expense reports, and other topics useful to small business owners, CPAs, and ProAdvisors.

 


Posts by Category:
Other

Top 5 Reasons We Love Chrome Web Store

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Although we’re still relatively new on the Chrome Web Store, we’ve been on it long enough to really see the appeal of why it’s catching on so fast. Here’s our top five on why Chrome Web Store is love at first sight for us.

1. It’s pleasant to shop:

The graphic-heavy tile layout for shopping for apps really appeals to us. You know, rather than reading a 10 paragraph keyword-rich description that seems to be designed more for search engine marketing, than for you the reader. Developers marketing on chrome web store take pride in their tile, and it shows when you scroll up-and-down through the list of top apps.

Chrome Web Store's Application Tiles
Chrome Web Store’s Application Tiles


2. Single Sign On is Easy

Are you excited about creating yet another username and password for each and every web app that you use? Neither are we. Apparently, neither is Google. That’s why the majority (maybe all?) apps on Chrome Web Store use single sign on to allow you to gracefully transition from browsing the Chrome Web Store to being signed into their app without manually filling out some kind of registration form.

Chrome Web Store - Single Sign-On
Chrome Web Store – Single Sign-On


3. Near Instant App Updates

Some of the app stores that we’re on, are a little slugglish about publishing updates, fresh screenshots, new version information, etc. Not true at Chrome Web Store — almost anything we publish on our end goes live to you just about immediately.

Chrome Web Store - Publishing Changes
Publishing Changes


4. Chrome Launcher Icons

How often do you look at your browser’s bookmarks? Probably almost never. We bookmark things because we’re afraid we won’t be able to find them again. We bookmark sites, for example, that have some rare piece of information relavent to our business that we might need to refer to several months down the road. That’s fine, but that’s why bookmarks become stale quickly. In comparison, for your favorite apps what you really need is a launchpad of app icons — like, well, what you see when you open a new tab in Google Chrome:

Chrome Web Store - Launcher Icons
Chrome – Launcher Icons


5. Fast Growing

TechCrunch says that Chrome is now the world’s most popular web browser, and we believe it. Our analytics for our site certainly show it. That means that unlike some browsers with smaller market share, Google Chrome can really support an ecosystem of applications that uniquely integrate via single-sign-on and potentially via other unique features of Google Chrome.

Chrome - Most Popular Browser for ProOnGo.com
Chrome – Most Popular Browser for ProOnGo.com


Check it Out!

So, check us out on Chrome Web Store — one of the easiest ways to try out ProOnGo Expense!



Standing Desks – Should Your Workplace Have Them?

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle, which includes sitting for long hours, is actually just as detrimental to the longevity of life as opposed to smoking and drinking. And for those of us who put in a lot of time at the office, it would be unthinkable to do so without a sitting desk. They’re everywhere, and just as necessary as computers these days.

However, a new trend is taking over in the offices of cutting edge companies like Apple, Chevron, Intel, Allstate, Boeing and Google; introducing standing desks into their office place. While these standing desks may look funny, and at first blush seem uncomfortable, standing desks have proven to be a healthy solution to the growing problem of obesity.

The Facts on Sitting

We’ve all been sitting at our desks for the majority of our working life, but did we know it was so bad for us? Pennington Biomedical Researcher, Marc Hamilton, found that calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. He also found insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, which limits our cells’ ability to allow glucose to be turned into glucogen. This means that we end up storing fat instead of burning it.

An American Cancer Society study found that men who spent six hours or more per day of their leisure time sitting had an overall death rate that was about 20 percent higher than the men who sat for three hours or less. The death rate for women who sat for more than six hours a day was about 40 percent higher.

Standing Desk – Should Your Workplace Have Them?

With the benefits of a standing desk at work apparent to many, it’s no surprise that there are several companies that offer numerous  models for the workplace. While some of these models include the ability to adjust the desk’s height, there are others that even have a treadmill attached to the standing desk. Popular companies that sell variants of the standing desk include TrekDesk, ErgoDesktop and SteelCase and so on and so forth.

If you don’t want to buy these desks which can range between $1600 to $4000, there are also DIY methods by which you can make one yourself.

But the verdict is out: Yes, a standing desk is the obvious cure to the sedentary lifestyle problem, and it’s probably a good idea for your workplace to consider using these desks. Even if you are unable to incorporate a standing desk, using little tricks like getting up and walking around for 2 minutes every hour have dramatic effects on your long-term health. The improvement in your health might not be life-changing upfront, but small investments have been shown to pay off big dividends in the end.

Expense Receipts – Top Vendors By Quarter

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Expense receipts are our business. We work day-in and day-out to make it incredibly easy for you to have an expense report generated based on your forwarded-in, mobile-captured, or desktop-scanned receipts. Over the years you’ve rewarded our focus on your expense receipts by staying loyal to our solution and steadily sending us more and more receipts. Thank you!

At some point the volume got high enough that we realized it might be intriguing to run some aggregate statistics that, in some small way, help to paint a picture of how small businesses are using their carefully managed expense accounts.

Top Expense Vendors By Quarter
 

In that spirit, here is your latest installment of top expense vendors by quarter. We realized just recently that we never published the year-end data at the end of Q4 2012, so this blog post is a “catch-up”, and we’ll promise to be more timely in getting the Q1 2013 numbers out when the quarter closes.

Expense Receipts – Observations for Q4

Lets start by emphasizing, as usual, that you should in no way treat our analysis as scientific. Our real business is your expense reports, and any aggregate data that we talk about here is “just for fun”. However, with that said — did you notice that in Q4, there was scarcely any difference in the vendors that appeared on the list, relative to the ones that appeared in the prior three quarters? Specifically, the only vendor that landed in the Q4 list that was not present anytime earlier in the year, was U.S. Airways. Welcome “aboard”!

Secondly, you might have caught the fact that Amazon, McDonalds, Shell, Starbucks, The Home Depot, and Wal-Mart all made the top-10 every quarter in 2012. Reiterating, that means that wholly 60% of the top 10 expense vendors in our sample set were in the top-10 every quarter for four quarters running. You sure love (or at least rely on) those particular merchants. (and of course, we love processing those expense receipts!)

What Else?

If you’ve got a need or interest in some additional highly aggregated and anonymized data about the small business expense reporting space, we’d be interested in talking. Or, if you are an economist and have an interest in working with us to develop more detailed or interesting analysis, we’d be interested in that, too!


Expense Reports & Your Balance Sheet – Time to Act?

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

At ProOnGo, we tend to be “Income Statement” people — we’re constantly working on ways to help you get your expense reports to flow into your Income Statement with as little work on your end as possible.


When it comes to your monthly income statement, we’d much rather you see a bunch of black text rather than red. However, either way, we hope our Receipt Reader, GPS-enabled mileage tracking, and other features are getting you the data you need in your income statement faster and easier than ever before. The truth is that we hope your expenses are smaller than ever – after all, Intuit’s Small Business Index says small business revenue has declined for six consecutive months, so we know times are tight. So what if your last couple Income Statements lead you to some soul searching regarding your balance sheet?

Meet our Balance Sheet Friends

The bad news is, it can be difficult to navigate the process of small business lending. Finding the right bank that understands your business, filling out the increasingly cumbersome loan application, and ensuring you’re getting the best possible loan terms.

The good news is, our friends at plura Financial are here to help. pluraFinancial.com is a free online matchmaker between banks and small businesses seeking debt. Businesses seeking debt fill out one comprehensive electronic loan application (the “ELA”), which is sent to many appropriate lenders. The interested lenders submit their proposals, and the business chooses the proposal they like best! This creates an efficient way to find a competitive loan from the most appropriate bank for your business. For free!

plura Financial
plura Financial

The folks at plura are QuickBooks savvy, too — they’ll speak your language when it comes to the way you’ve set up Items, Classes, Chart of Accounts, etc. We think the truest test of whether a firm is small business friendly, is whether they speak your language, and for the world of small business owners discussing their financial status, that language is QuickBooks.

Small Business Optimism

The best news is that lenders are lending again, and there are more financial tools than ever to help small businesses succeed. Whereas the economic conditions were a headwind for most businesses, the winds finally appears to be shifting with a bit of momentum at our back; on 11/1/2012 Reuters reported that “data from ADP showed U.S. companies added 158,000 workers in October – the fastest pace in eight months. Further, U.S. consumer confidence jumped in October to its highest in more than four years.”

The economy is getting stronger, and by leveraging financial technology and constantly monitoring your financial statements, you can ensure you’re business is getting stronger too!




Small Business Expenses: Where are you spending?

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

One of the benefits of having millions of expenses flowing through our system is that we have a unique vantage point with regard to how small business spending trends are evolving over time. Over the years we’ve occasionally been asked for our take on the strength of small business spending, and although such analysis tends to fall off the bottom of our to-do list (we’re busy making expense reports easy), we do want to give you a peak into our world of small business expenses at an aggregate level.

Shall we begin with the caveats? Before you proceed, be advised that this is not a scientific or statistically thorough analysis, you shouldn’t base any business decisions off of the data we show below, and we’re only able to show this information in this highly aggregated form. OK?

With that aside, here are the top ten Vendors by transaction count (shown alphabetically), for new expenses entered into our system by quarter for the past three quarters:

Top Expense Vendors by Quarter

We’re not surprised to see the online spending trend remaining strong (see Amazon’s presence in all three quarters), nor are we surprised that you make a habit of swinging by Wal-Mart and Starbucks on a regular basis. We’re a little surprised by just how few airlines made the list: stretching back a little further than this data there have been fewer hotels and airlines on the list over time. Perhaps a sign of small businesses spending more time “close to home” and being a little tighter with the checkbook when it comes to taking business trips?

I also think it’s insightful that there is some real consistency quarter over quarter – six of the top ten have remained in the top ten throughout the three quarters shown above (Amazon, McDonalds, Shell, Starbucks, The Home Depot, Wal-Mart). Two others have appeared in two quarters each (Lowes, Menards). Essentially, of the ten spots, only four have been in play over the past several quarters, and even amongst those four there is some consistency.

So, for now, there’s your peak into small business spending. Perhaps some economist or statistician will reach out to us and strike up a conversation about what other ways we should show highly aggregated trends that we’re observing. We’d be open to that.

Small businesses – we’re here for you when it comes time to track your expenses in QuickBooks, Excel, or simply using our web and mobile apps as standalone solutions.

How to Create Expense Reports from your Credit Card Register in QuickBooks

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Since you’ve started recording your credit card expenses in QuickBooks the right way with your ProOnGo Expense, you might be wondering how you can make informed decisions with your newly acquired data.  In this blog post, we’ll show you how to create some reports with data from your Credit Card register so you can make more informed decisions.

You need to keep track of what you spend on your company card. Syncing it to QuickBooks is one step; you can easily access all your credit card transactions from the credit card register. What if you want to create a report of those expenses? There’s no ‘Expense Reports’ in the reports list.

Once you know where to look, generating an expense report is easy.

First, go to the Reports tab, then the Report List. Scroll down until you see “General Ledger” – that’s what you need.

Open that up, and click the ‘Customize’ button. Then, from the ‘Lists’ drop down, select the credit card register you want to create the report from.

You can chose to just check out and print the report (Run Report), get the report as an Excel file, or email the report. You’ll see all your transactions and totals.

Now that you know how to customize the reports, you can access a vast amount of information. Say you have a sales man who is assigned to a specific client, and you want to see how much they’ve been spending on their company card. Just run their expense reports!

Go back to the reports page, and scroll all the way down to “Transaction List by Client.” Click the ‘Customize’ button, just like you did for the general ledger report. Like that report, scroll down until you see the Lists section, and then open the Accounts dropdown menu. Just like you did before, scroll down until you see the correct credit card account. Then, select which Client you want to view. Run and print the report, or access it via excel download or email.

Note: Jobs are listed in the ‘Client’ drop down, so to get a list of credit card transactions by job, follow the aforementioned steps, selecting the correct job from the Clients drop down.

Intuit And Deloitte Team Up for Mobile Payment Information

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Today, Intuit put out a new infographic about the trend of the mobile payment industry. In it, they have some very interesting findings about the habits of consumers using mobile payments.

A few things we found:

  • Millenials represent approx 40 percent of all mobile payment users. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as Millenials have proven themselves to be willing and able to try out any and all new technology.
  • Mass Transit companies are the most focused group of merchants focusing on mobile payments
  • Oddly enough, vending machines are the least focused on mobile payments. Do people still use vending machines?
  • Mobile Application providers (those that create and/or distribute the app) are the quickest group to adopt mobile payments, compared to mobile carriers, financial institutions, payment service providers, handset manufacturers and merchants.
  • The most popular mobile payment protocol in the future is slated to be NFC – Near Field Communication – built into mobile devices.

Most of this information isn’t entirely surprising, although it is nice to have confirmation of some hunches.  To add credence to application developers being the first to adopt mobile payments, ProOnGo does accept mobile payments and we have found that more and more users are willing to pay for subscriptions using their mobile device. However, by and large, the majority of our users pay for subscriptions using a credit card.

We fully expect mobile payments to take off, that’s why we made sure to include BlackBerry carrier payments in our latest BlackBerry build, meaning ProOnGo subscriptions show up on the phone bill instead of a charge to a credit card. Whether that is more convenient or not remains to be unknown, but we fully expect this trend to continue.

Guest Blog: The Power of Innovative Thinking

Monday, May 14th, 2012

What is the best way to build a successful business? There are many possible answers to this question, such as forming strong relationships with your customers, offering the right products and/or services for the right prices, or keeping a close eye on your finances.

All of these are good answers, but I submit to you that the single best way to make your business a success is to always be willing and able to innovate. Try to think outside the box, consider challenges from a different angle, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Flexibility is a must-have in today’s environment of constantly changing technology.
Too often, business leaders struggle to keep up with the latest innovations in marketing, production, and other aspects of their business. But some of the most profitable companies in the world, like Apple and Nokia, have become what they are today in part by increasing their efficiency and eliminating unnecessary spending.

One innovation that can save your business a lot of time and money is inventory management software. Here are some of the benefits of using inventory management software:
• Speed up the processes of receiving, picking, packing, and shipping inventory
• Reduce warehouse staff needs
• Set automatic reorder points to avoid product stockouts and overstock
• Optimize inventory levels
• Manage multiple warehouses in one place
Tools like inventory management software give your company the edge you need to beat the competition and overcome other obstacles that stand in the way of long-term success.

About Robert Lockard
Robert Lockard is a copywriter with Fishbowl. He writes for several blogs about inventory management, manufacturing, QuickBooks and small business. Fishbowl Inventory is the #1-requested inventory program for QuickBooks. Robert enjoys running, reading, writing, spending time with his wife and children, and watching movies.

Why Intuit Buying Demandforce is Good For Your Business

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Small businesses using Intuit products should be really excited about the recent acquisition of Demandforce by Intuit for nearly a half a billion dollars. Demandforce specializes in automating marketing and customer communications for small businesses with their SaaS product D3, and since the acquisition was led by Intuit’s small business group, you can bet that this technology will be applied as another tool in the arsenal of small businesses.

Intuit is positioning itself to become a one-stop shop for small busisness. Marketing is a HUGE challenge for small businesses, I would argue more so than accepting credit cards, so an acquisition of a company that will allow small businesses to efficiently manage their marketing and customer communications will be a valuable tool in the belt of QuickBooks customers.

The customers have to walk in your door before they give you money. They have to visit your site before they become a subscriber. If your company is compromising on the quality of its communications and not utilizing all of the available avenues your potential customers use find your product, you are leaving some serious money on the table.

If you’re a business owner, I’m sure you realize this is a big problem, and you’re not alone. According to a semi-recent survey by Deluxe:

“49% of small business owners claim that effectively reaching customers with limited resources is their biggest challenge. This is more than twice other key challenges cited: managing the costs of doing business (19%) and securing credit (12%). Their biggest frustration about marketing: They don’t know if what they are doing is effective.”

That definitely seems like an area worth addressing if you’re Intuit.

Now, if your eyes didn’t pop when you saw the deal is for $424 million dollars, go back to math class because that’s a lot of money. To put that figure in perspective, Cisco bought Linksys for about the same price in 2005. Granted, a half a billion doesn’t go as far as it used to, but with this acquisition, Intuit is claiming Demandforce is worth about the same amount of money than the company that manufactures a product which nearly every internet-wired household contains; a Linksys router.

So what does this mean? It means Intuit expects to provide some serious value to small businesses with this purchase. D3 could be a very valuable tool for small businesses using QuickBooks that are finding themselves compromising on their marketing and support communications. The deal is expected to close in May so we can probably expect the next Demandforce iteration to be integrated into Intuit’s Small Business Lineup by late 2012, early 2013, but that’s just a complete WAG.

Intuit Adds LinkedIn CEO to Board of Directors: A More Social Intuit?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

News just broke that Intuit has added Jeff Weiner, chief executive officer of LinkedIn, to its board of directors.  At ProOnGo, we’re big fans of both LinkedIn and Intuit, so the news naturally led us to think of the ways in which this change could be beneficial to both companies.  We have no inside information, and we don’t know Jeff personally, but our creative juices are flowing about ways that we’d love to see Intuit and LinkedIn work better together:

  1. In QuickBooks Customer Center, how about a way to import customers from their LinkedIn profiles, rather than manually typing in their company info?
  2. In Intuit’s Community Forums, how about showing some LinkedIn profile info, next to posts from ProAdvisors.  When we’re taking advice from ProAdvisors on the forums, it helps to know more about their level of expertise, and professional experience.
  3. In the setup steps for a LinkedIn Company Page, if you fill out a company profile but fail to list a website, how about suggesting Intuit Websites (www.Intuit.com/websites) as a way to get up-and-running with a company website tout de suite.
  4. How about some real “Data for Delight” – let QuickBooks users add their open positions in QuickBooks Customer Center, and add an easy way to automagically create a LinkedIn Job Posting?
  5. Put that cool, recognizable, “in” logo (you know, the square-ish one), next to any name of a customer or vendor, in QuickBooks Online Edition.

We know that adding Jeff to the board of Intuit probably has nothing to do with these kind of product-level changes, but hey, we couldn’t resist sharing our ideas of how LinkedIn and Intuit could work “better together”.  What ideas do you have?