This powerful and simple technique can save your you-know-what.
This powerful and simple technique can save your you-know-what.
When your life becomes confining and it’s time to expand and grow, take a lesson from a lobster. Use stress and discomfort to help you cast off the old and make way for the new.
Online accounting software Xero (NZE:XRO), popular with small business users, has updated the Fixed Asset depreciation feature on the platform.
The Fixed Assets depreciation feature gives small businesses the ability to track fixed asset and value depreciation for tax and book keeping purposes.
In the U.S., the Internal Revenue Service sets acceptable thresholds for business costs that qualify as fixed assets able to be depreciated versus those that must be expensed.
Recently the agency has raised this threshold allowing things like computers and certain other kinds of machinery to be expensed. However, major assets like company vehicles and bigger machinery must still be depreciated.
In a post on the company’s blog, Xero’s product marketing manager Christian Newman also wrote that the feature updates will give users a single place to store all their tools and information, so they no longer have to switch between multiple pieces of software.
And because the new Fixed Assets update is built into the platform, there is no need to transfer data from other spreadsheets or software to do the necessary calculations.
“Because Fixed Assets is built right into Xero, it makes year end even more efficient,” Newman added.
According to Newman, the Fixed Assets feature has been much-desired in the Australian Xero community. The company is based in nearby New Zealand.
And with the new update, users can now easily manage their client’s bookkeeping, depreciation and other related needs all in one place.
Prior to the introduction of the new feature, Xero customers would have to use additional accounting software to calculate depreciation of fixed assets, but that’s no longer an issue it seems.
The updated Fixed Assets feature is now fully integrated with and provided as part of the Xero platform at no extra cost.
The company also says that small businesses with 20 or less registered assets will receive the new feature in the next few weeks while those that are not already using fixed assets feature will also be able to access it immediately.
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It may come as a surprise that one of the most competitive industries in the world has a technology problem. But the truth is that not all law firms have corporate clients with deep pockets. Many work in smaller leagues where money is tight. Without piles of cash lying around to invest in the business, mid-sized firms can struggle to pay for good technology.
Money is tight for a lot of reasons. One of them is that while technology is still incredibly expensive in legal circles, consumers have an array of legal technologies they can use instead of paying actual lawyers. Judicata, Rocket Lawyer, and Clio are a few of the services that consumers are opting for.
Compound that problem with a spike in state-sponsored hacking groups that target law firms and you have a near perfect storm of problems for smaller firms that are unable to spend money on expensive solutions. However, where there is a problem there is also an opportunity, and entrepreneurs have taken notice. The problem is, solving the technology crisis in the legal industry takes a special breed of entrepreneur.
“We spent 10, maybe 15, years trying to move the legal profession from WordPerfect. Bankers moved to Excel faster,” explains Steven Sinofsky, formerly a Microsoft executive. “Part of the reason is that the legal profession is a very people-based process. It’s also one where the tools you use are also encoded in law. You can’t just show up in a courtroom and change how everything works.”
In other words, the necessary technology must be developed by people who thoroughly understand the demands of the legal industry. Law firms require specialized document management systems, e-Discovery that meets regulatory standards, robust cyber security, and more.
John Sweeney, President of LogicForce and one of the entrepreneurs stepping up to solve this problem, says the issue is an enormous one. “Many law firms do not know how much money they are spending on their technology,” says Sweeney. “It can be tens of thousands of dollars more than they think and much of it is unnecessary. The problem is that firms are forced to buy software one piece at a time, creating a tangle of different products that do not work well together and that quickly age out of relevance.”
Because developing the technology requires a legal pedigree and because of the enormity of the problem, solutions have been slow to develop. But midsize law firms are increasingly reaching out to find modern solutions.
Some of the technology that needs to be replaced is remarkably archaic. In a blog post by a Houston-based IT company called Citoc, fax machines made a short list of technologies that law firms needed to replace. This is a definite example of how badly the legal industry needs to upgrade its technology. After all, when was the last time you used a fax machine?
Entrepreneurs are beginning to release legal technology solutions that are comparable to what has been available in other industries and even to consumers for years.
“Cloud-based services are a crucial leap forward for midsize firms that cannot afford the capital expenditures of constantly buying new software when their old software becomes obsolete,” explains Sweeney. “By offering all of the same technology as a service, we help midsize firms scale and remain current with the most modern technology.”
However desirable the new solutions may be, the legal industry is slow to innovate. It is bound by rigid standards created by the American Bar Association and it does not have a culture of rapid technology adoption. If law firms want to grow their practice, these issues need to be resolved.
Gavel Photo via Shutterstock
This article, “The Legal Industry Is Finally Fixing Its Technology Problem” was first published on Small Business Trends