Spark Business: Auto industry trends, changing technology and other insights from SEMA 2016

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR | December 28, 2016 | 170 views

Last month, the best-of-all-things auto descended on Las Vegas for the 50th SEMA Show — the annual conference of the Specialty Equipment Market Association. Surrounded by world-class exhibits featuring leading edge tools, equipment and service offerings, automotive celebrities, new model reveals and an impressive array of cars on display, business owners in the auto and collision repair sector convened to discuss auto industry trends and the multitude of changes affecting them.The Society of Collision Repair Specialists offered a series of educational panels and classes during their Repairer Driven Education series at the SEMA Show. Auto shop owners were able to come together to learn how to handle challenges they’re facing — like the wider variety of cars coming through the doors each year because of advances in auto design. Perhaps not surprising, technology proved to be the biggest challenge among shop owners nationwide. Changing and emerging technology affects the necessary operations shop owners face on a daily basis — especially as safety requirements increase and automaker look to further reduce vehicle weight — in many cases causing a hard hit to their bottom line as a result of increased expenses in training, equipment, facility and skill set and workforce development.

Spotlight

BuySeasons, Inc.

Since then, we have grown into being the leading online retailer of costumes, accessories, party supplies, and party décor. Our goal is to make sure that our customers have as much fun as we do. We are always dedicated to offering the largest selection at the lowest prices, so you can spend less time planning and more time partying!

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TECHNOLOGY

How to Choose the Right Small Business Accounting Software?

Article | September 30, 2022

Introduction With increasing complexities in financial management and migration towards digital technologies for accounting operations, advanced accounting solutions are gaining massive traction across the small business sector. Accounting software assists small businesses in enhancing their financial performance by providing higher accuracy, optimized payroll, automated transaction tracking, centralizing financial records, and others. However, it is crucial for small businesses to integrate the right accounting software as per their requirements to get the most out of the solutions. Since the market is full of numerous accounting solutions with different capabilities, selecting the one that is most suitable for your business can be overwhelming. So what are the factors that a small business owner should consider before looking for an accounting solution? Let’s see below. Select the Right Accounting Software: The Top 5 Primary Factors to Consider for Small Businesses Types of Software With multiple types of accounting software available, such as system software, application software, cloud-based software, and others, small business owners can opt for solutions that suit their operations and working style. If the owners operate in an on-the-go style, cloud-based software is best for them. But if the owners prefer to work from a single location, then the system software is appropriate for them. Learning Curve Until and unless small business owners are aware of the ins and outs of accounting software, using the software may seem complicated. As the high complexity of the solutions can result in costly errors, these owners should make sure that the learning curve for operating the software is not too steep. Features List Before small business owners start reviewing various types of accounting software platforms, they should take the time to brush up on the basics. It is crucial for the owners to make sure that the accounting solution has all the functionalities and features they need, such as inventory management, multi-currency support, payment processing, expense tracking, and others. They should also consider the add-on features that the solution provider can offer. Software Cost Accounting software varies in cost, depending on the number of users it supports, its tools and features, and other factors. The more specialized the software is, the more expensive it gets. Small business owners should compare prices between various accounting software providers and understand the exact amount and the process by which they will be charged. For instance, some of the companies charge standard monthly fees, while others have a single upfront cost with additional charges for add-on services. They should also find out if there are any hidden charges associated with the setup, customer support, and cloud storage. Customer Support A huge part of a reliable accounting solution is customer service. This is because small business owners need quick solutions and answers if they get stuck or have any questions related to the software. They do not want to be bounced around from representative to representative when reaching out for support. Thus, the owners should look for accounting software that offers excellent customer support and service. While selecting the solution, they should research and read customer testimonials about the software’s customer support. Begin Your Accounting the Right Way Efficient accounting is a crucial part of financial management, which involves tracking critical business activities such as accounts receivable and payable, invoicing and billing, bank reconciliation, reporting, and tax compliance, among others. It can be difficult for small businesses to get everything right, yet good accounting is fundamental for the company's growth and success. Choosing the correct accounting software is a crucial first step when getting started with the discipline. To get the most out of your accounting software, it is essential for small businesses to carefully consider their requirements, check the availability of features as per the requirements, and then select the accounting software that provides the capabilities they require for the greatest accounting experience.

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SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE, INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

How Are Small Business Accounting Software Meeting the Industry Needs Today?

Article | July 29, 2022

Introduction Every business owner wishes to become financially independent when starting a business. To achieve that, it is crucial for the owners to manage their finances in an efficient manner. When done wrong, financial management, which is supposed to make a company's budgeting processes more efficient, has led to the loss of funds in many cases. Without sound financial management, small businesses may struggle to meet their objectives and might even suffer losses that could push them into insolvency. Financial management assists businesses in maximizing their market share, minimizing capital expenditures, maintaining proper cash flow, and improving profits. Accounting software plays a significant role in proper financial management and has become a vital need for all businesses today. With a better understanding of the inefficiencies of manual bookkeeping and the increased chances of error in finance tracking, business owners are increasingly shifting from managing finances manually to leveraging innovative solutions, such as accounting software, to improve their financial management. Why Is Small Business Accounting Software a Need for the Industry Today? In the course of a typical day, there are numerous tasks and responsibilities that must be managed and accomplished by small businesses by the end of the day. From planning to managing finances and accounting, a small business owner's back is full of a plethora of day-to-day tasks. As a result, keeping track of every last detail is nearly impossible for them, especially in accounting, where keeping track of every transaction is critical for managing business operations. Accurate and reliable accounting management is critical for small businesses and start-ups to ensure stable cash flow. As accounting software helps small business owners keep track of every single transaction along with other benefits, such as managing business finances, understanding profitability, and preparing tax statements, among others, it is becoming a necessity for small business financial management. Here are some of the other reasons why small business accounting software is becoming a necessity in the industry. Overcoming Manual Records With the growing number of transactions in the small business sector, it is becoming increasingly difficult for business owners to track and record income and expense data. As accounting software assists these owners to overcome manual work by recording the data directly into the page in real time and keeping a daily update of all the transactions, it is increasingly being sought by small businesses. Ease in Maintaining Transaction Due to the increasing customer inclination towards the adoption of digital payment solutions, small businesses are encountering numerous obstacles in maintaining all transactions from different online portals. Accounting software helps businesses leverage the bank feed feature to connect credit card accounts and the business bank, thereby centralizing and maintaining all transactional data in one place. Preparation of Reports and Financial Statements Keeping track of all small and large transactions and preparing financial statements, such as profit and loss statements and balance sheets, of these transactions manually is a tedious task and prone to errors. Accounting software automates the preparation of these financial statements and allows comparing transaction activity from prior months and years. As a result, it is increasingly gaining acceptance among small business owners. Increases Efficiency Accounting software allows small businesses to manage invoices and expenses, prepare for taxation, and keep tabs on all the financials, including payments, bad debts, upcoming dues, employee salaries, and others. Delegating all these financial management responsibilities to accounting software enables small business owners to focus on tasks that require their undivided attention, thereby boosting business efficiency. Bottom Line Regardless of the size of the business, every company strives to optimize its financial management, improve efficiencies, minimize costs, and simplify complex and tedious tasks. Accounting software can help small business owners achieve these objectives, along with eliminating time-consuming manual processes and redundancies, by automating accounting practices. Following this, the growing introduction of advanced cloud-based accounting software capable of providing real-time data access to business owners from anywhere at any time and on any device is expected to change the ways accounting is done in the small business industry in the coming years.

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FINANCE

5 Tax-Related Resolutions for Smarter Small Business Accounting in 2020

Article | November 25, 2022

Accountants working with small businesses often play the role of business advisors, especially when it comes to educating their clients about tax regulations and reducing their tax bill by taking all legitimate factors into account. We’ve gathered four tips that accounting professionals can use as a check-list to give to their small and mid-size business owner clients looking to make better financial decisions this year.

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7 BIGGEST ENTREPRENEURIAL MISTAKES

Article | February 11, 2020

This is the first post in a seven-part-series detailing the biggest entrepreneurial mistakes business owners make. The series will run over the next few weeks so check back to learn more. These are the 7 Biggest Mistakes I have seen entrepreneurs and companies make that can devalue their Intellectual Property (“IP”) portfolio, damage their brand, or sink a deal. If you are considering turning your idea into a business, read this carefully first. There are other mistakes you can make, but these are the deal-breakers. Any one of these can cost you big bucks, credibility in the eyes of investors and potential partners, and ultimately lead to evaporation of the value of your idea.

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Spotlight

BuySeasons, Inc.

Since then, we have grown into being the leading online retailer of costumes, accessories, party supplies, and party décor. Our goal is to make sure that our customers have as much fun as we do. We are always dedicated to offering the largest selection at the lowest prices, so you can spend less time planning and more time partying!

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TECHNOLOGY

SparkCognition's Award-Winning Cybersecurity Solution Providing Zero-Day Protection Now Available in Lenovo's Small Business Store

SparkCognition | February 02, 2022

SparkCognition, a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) software solutions for business, announced its award-winning AI endpoint protection product (EPP) solution, DeepArmor, is now available in the LenovoPRO Small Business Store. "We are proud to work with Lenovo to bring our AI-enabled cyber solution to a broader range of small business users, helping them to detect and prevent even the most sophisticated zero-day cyber threats," said Vijay Doradla, President at SparkCognition. "The Deep Armor technology, based on advanced machine learning models, can help prevent never before seen cyberattacks, even while working offline, requiring less than four megabytes of space for deployment." A new cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds, putting businesses at risk of being compromised, shut down, and ransomed. SparkCognition developed DeepArmor as the first line of defense to prevent cyber threats at the edge. Built on proven AI and machine learning (ML) models, rather than rules, heuristics, and specific signatures, DeepArmor helps to prevent malware from accessing sensitive data, taking operational control, and compromising asset integrity, blocking known and new ransomware, trojans, and viruses. Its endpoint protection works both online and off, and installs and activates within minutes, without needing IT support or security skills. "Two in five small to mid-sized businesses were impacted by ransomware in 2020, with 43% lacking any type of cybersecurity defense. Extending our AI expertise and trusted and tested cyber solutions to Lenovo's small business customers is just one way we're able to work together to serve businesses in further protecting their endpoints." Marc Davis, Senior Director of Business Development at SparkCognition Lenovo is a leading OEM in cybersecurity that takes a secure-by-design approach to embed security features throughout the entire lifecycle across device components, ranging from hardware and below-the-operating-system, all the way to the cloud layers. By working with software providers like SparkCognition, Lenovo is able to offer its customers more solutions to further protect their data privacy, intellectual property, strategic investments, and customers. About SparkCognition SparkCognition's award-winning AI solutions allow organizations to predict future outcomes, optimize processes, and prevent cyberattacks. We partner with the world's industry leaders to analyze, optimize, and learn from data, augment human intelligence, drive profitable growth, and achieve operational excellence. Our patented AI, machine learning, and natural language technologies lead the industry in innovation and accelerate digital transformation. Our solutions allow organizations to solve critical challenges—prevent unexpected downtime, maximize asset performance, optimize prices, and ensure worker safety while avoiding zero-day cyberattacks on essential IT and OT infrastructure.

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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

Sparklight Business Launches Internet Backup Service to Small, Medium Sized Businesses

Sparklight Business | January 28, 2021

Sparklight® Business today announced the launch of Internet Backup Service – an answer that permits small and medium-sized organizations to keep their web access, just as crucial gadgets, for example, Visa and purpose of-procurement machines, working in case of an assistance outage. Whether it's because of a significant catastrophe, development related fiber cut or a basic blackout, network access disturbances can be exorbitant for organizations. Web Backup Service is a remote arrangement that forestalls personal time in case of an assistance outage by promptly and consistently guiding web traffic to pass along a remote organization. "With the many challenges businesses are facing during these difficult times, it's crucial for operations to continue uninterrupted and for sales and information to keep flowing," said Chris Boone, Sparklight Senior Vice President of Business Services and Emerging Markets. "Internet Backup will help avoid downtime and achieve necessary continuity of service, giving businesses peace of mind that critical devices will continue operating, 24 hours a day, seven days a week." About Sparklight Business Sparklight Business helps businesses of all sizes increase productivity by providing superior connectivity solutions at an affordable price and backing those solutions with the highest level of customer service and support. The company offers a wide range of products, including high-speed and fiber-based Internet, business phone plans including hosted voice and voice trunking, ethernet networks and video solutions. Today, the company serves more than 75,000 businesses across 21 states.

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London Sparks and TreeMe funding includes 17 neighbourhood projects

London Sparks | April 20, 2017

An outdoor ping pong table, a chalk festival, a cider press party, and several gatherings are among the neighbourhood projects the city will fund this year. London announced Thursday the successful applications for $80,000 in Sparks And TreeMe funding.

Read More

TECHNOLOGY

SparkCognition's Award-Winning Cybersecurity Solution Providing Zero-Day Protection Now Available in Lenovo's Small Business Store

SparkCognition | February 02, 2022

SparkCognition, a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) software solutions for business, announced its award-winning AI endpoint protection product (EPP) solution, DeepArmor, is now available in the LenovoPRO Small Business Store. "We are proud to work with Lenovo to bring our AI-enabled cyber solution to a broader range of small business users, helping them to detect and prevent even the most sophisticated zero-day cyber threats," said Vijay Doradla, President at SparkCognition. "The Deep Armor technology, based on advanced machine learning models, can help prevent never before seen cyberattacks, even while working offline, requiring less than four megabytes of space for deployment." A new cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds, putting businesses at risk of being compromised, shut down, and ransomed. SparkCognition developed DeepArmor as the first line of defense to prevent cyber threats at the edge. Built on proven AI and machine learning (ML) models, rather than rules, heuristics, and specific signatures, DeepArmor helps to prevent malware from accessing sensitive data, taking operational control, and compromising asset integrity, blocking known and new ransomware, trojans, and viruses. Its endpoint protection works both online and off, and installs and activates within minutes, without needing IT support or security skills. "Two in five small to mid-sized businesses were impacted by ransomware in 2020, with 43% lacking any type of cybersecurity defense. Extending our AI expertise and trusted and tested cyber solutions to Lenovo's small business customers is just one way we're able to work together to serve businesses in further protecting their endpoints." Marc Davis, Senior Director of Business Development at SparkCognition Lenovo is a leading OEM in cybersecurity that takes a secure-by-design approach to embed security features throughout the entire lifecycle across device components, ranging from hardware and below-the-operating-system, all the way to the cloud layers. By working with software providers like SparkCognition, Lenovo is able to offer its customers more solutions to further protect their data privacy, intellectual property, strategic investments, and customers. About SparkCognition SparkCognition's award-winning AI solutions allow organizations to predict future outcomes, optimize processes, and prevent cyberattacks. We partner with the world's industry leaders to analyze, optimize, and learn from data, augment human intelligence, drive profitable growth, and achieve operational excellence. Our patented AI, machine learning, and natural language technologies lead the industry in innovation and accelerate digital transformation. Our solutions allow organizations to solve critical challenges—prevent unexpected downtime, maximize asset performance, optimize prices, and ensure worker safety while avoiding zero-day cyberattacks on essential IT and OT infrastructure.

Read More

SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

Sparklight Business Launches Internet Backup Service to Small, Medium Sized Businesses

Sparklight Business | January 28, 2021

Sparklight® Business today announced the launch of Internet Backup Service – an answer that permits small and medium-sized organizations to keep their web access, just as crucial gadgets, for example, Visa and purpose of-procurement machines, working in case of an assistance outage. Whether it's because of a significant catastrophe, development related fiber cut or a basic blackout, network access disturbances can be exorbitant for organizations. Web Backup Service is a remote arrangement that forestalls personal time in case of an assistance outage by promptly and consistently guiding web traffic to pass along a remote organization. "With the many challenges businesses are facing during these difficult times, it's crucial for operations to continue uninterrupted and for sales and information to keep flowing," said Chris Boone, Sparklight Senior Vice President of Business Services and Emerging Markets. "Internet Backup will help avoid downtime and achieve necessary continuity of service, giving businesses peace of mind that critical devices will continue operating, 24 hours a day, seven days a week." About Sparklight Business Sparklight Business helps businesses of all sizes increase productivity by providing superior connectivity solutions at an affordable price and backing those solutions with the highest level of customer service and support. The company offers a wide range of products, including high-speed and fiber-based Internet, business phone plans including hosted voice and voice trunking, ethernet networks and video solutions. Today, the company serves more than 75,000 businesses across 21 states.

Read More

London Sparks and TreeMe funding includes 17 neighbourhood projects

London Sparks | April 20, 2017

An outdoor ping pong table, a chalk festival, a cider press party, and several gatherings are among the neighbourhood projects the city will fund this year. London announced Thursday the successful applications for $80,000 in Sparks And TreeMe funding.

Read More

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