FreshBooks Cloud Accounting Solution Gets Revamped.

Cloud accounting

FreshBooks, the small business accounting software designed for service-based small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, today announced the launch of an entirely rebuilt user interface (UI) designed to make managing invoices, clients and expenses faster and easier. The platform is also expanding its ecosystem of integrations and adding companies such as Google, GoDaddy and Apple.

“The new FreshBooks is designed to be the most ridiculously easy to use accounting software ever built — yet still packed with powerful features for self-employed professionals,” says Mike McDerment, CEO and co-founder of FreshBooks, in the announcement. “This isn’t innovation for innovation’s sake. This is about making it easier for self-employed professionals to succeed because it’s hard enough being out on your own serving your clients.”

According to McDerment, who spoke with Small Business Trends via Skype, a year and a half ago the company took a hard look at the future and determined that if there was one thing that it could do differently, it would be to make the UI much easier for customers to use. The new design reflects that mindset.

“We determined that the only way to get there was to go from the bottom up,” he said. “You can’t iterate your way to a design change like that. It demands a completely different user experience from top to bottom.”

A Look at the FreshBooks Redesign

New FreshBooks Interface Features

FreshBooks’ new interface includes the following features:

Redesigned Dashboard. The new dashboard is designed to help self-employed professionals see at a glance how their business is doing. First, it shows a graphical representation of outstanding revenue, followed by a picture of profit, a review of expenses and other commonly-used reports (P&L, account aging, expense reporting, etc.).



Notifications Center. A feature unique to this version is a notifications center, which acts like an assistant that keeps a record of any activity taking place on the platform since the last time a user logged in. Click the bell icon to see the latest activity.

Reimagined Invoices. “Creating a FreshBooks invoice is now simpler than typing in Word and packed full of new benefits,” says the announcement. That includes options for customization (layout, color, logo, etc.), due dates and the ability to communicate with clients directly on an invoice.

Project Management. A new simple to use project management tool allows teams to share files and communicate inside a single interface.

Time Tracking. The time tracking component was completely redesigned to reflect a time of day orientation and show the hourly utilization rate more clearly.

Multiple Business Management. Many self-employed people own more than one business. The new UI lets users switch from one to the other seamlessly, without having to log out and back in, something the older version did not accommodate.

Redesigned Mobile Apps. The new version also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android, to enable business owners to run things at anytime from anywhere.

Older Features Made More Visible.  The old interface prevented users from seeing all the available features, such as the ability to accept credit cards, send payment reminders and charge late fees. In fact, many customers did not know these features even existed, he said. The new interface makes such features more conspicuous.

Expanded Integrations Ecosystem

FreshBooks is also expanding its ecosystem of integrations to include major players such as Google, GoDaddy and Apple.

“We’re expanding our network of partner integrations, launching with 14 partners today, and will be rapidly adding more as we continue to invest in our platform,” McDerment said in the announcement. “When your accounting data flows effortlessly between the apps you use every day … you end up spending less time on administrative tasks and more time serving your clients.”

The new interface was beta tested with 1,000 of Freshbooks customers. The company is conducting a gradual rollout so not everyone will have immediate access. Users will also have the option to switch back to the older version if desired.

Managing Risk With Software An Introduction To ERM

This is a fully integrated system that is applicable to credit risk, market risk, operational risk, liquidity and interest rate risk, hedge accounting risk, portfolio modeling, fund transfer pricing, etc. While costs are past expenses that can be easily determined, risks are future costs which organizations are potentially exposed to but there occurrence and resultant cost cannot be determined with certainty. Occurrence of risks can result in untold costs to the firm. This therefore necessitates the use of this software to look out for risks.
The risk management system is tasked with identifying and assessing the prevailing risk situation with an enterprise-wide view. Together with a risk register that shows the risks drivers of an organization, their impact and probability of occurrence, this software provides a lasting solution to risk management.

The system works by outlining clearly significant risks facing the firm and the most appropriate treatment measures aimed at mitigating the likelihood of materialization of those risks and their respective repercussion. This can be presented on graphs using charts or as a management report.
The software integrates risk management tasks from various departments of the organization into an enterprise-wide view. For instance, the software may be integrated with control self-assessment that scrutinizes and ratifies controls to find out whether they are operating as per the set standards for optimal results. It could also be consolidated with issue manager that seeks to iron out differences that create a divergence between the organization’s actual performance and the stakeholders’ expectations. This allows for an enterprise view on risks which can be exhibited on several charts to show their correlation and appropriate mitigation measures.

Uncertainties are properly managed by ensuring that unforeseen risks are kept under control at all times. This could be achieved by avoidance of the risk or transferring the impact of the risk to a third party or maybe an insurance firm. This way the optimal organization goals are adequately protected. This would not have been possible without the risk assessment and risk treatment capabilities of the credible risk management system. However, this is not the end. It is of paramount importance that the risk management efforts are constantly monitored and reviewed.
This way, pending treatments are executed on time while past assessments and treatments are surveyed to ensure their continued viability. The risk management system is able to communicate with the end users through alerts regarding assessments, treatments and reminders for expected treatments. The same information is relayed via email too. This is a unique characteristic of this system. Besides, enterprise risk management is a corporate regulatory requirement.

There is no questioning; this software gives you a chance to make responsible, informed and justifiable decisions with regard to risk management. Luckily, this works for firms of all sizes and from all industries. For instance, proactive operational risk management procedures facilitate positive events and duly mitigate deplorable events. Thus, the enterprise risk management system identifies, analyzes, monitors, responds to and mitigates risks in an enterprise wide view. This entails taking up risk management with the day to day operations of the organization for the desired results and hence unrivaled growth.

Enterprise Risk Management Courses

In a competitive world like ours, based on greedy capitalism and money, a manager can’t ever say that his or hers job is safe. Being a manager is a continuous process of learning, and at the end, when a comparison is made, you might be left aside, not because you have bad financial results, but because you are not prepared for the new economy created after the Financial Crash in 2008. For this reason, you should take any opportunity to study something new, and the enterprise risk management training courses might be the next step in your career.

Why are those courses needed?

Your business seems to work perfectly: you have a large number of clients, the competition is at a significant distance behind you, and the profit of the company grows from one year to the next. Are you sure you won’t have troubles; if you identify the risks of your business in time, you can avoid the negative results, and you could use risk in your advantage.

Risk management refers to transposing a business scenario in any way possible. It is about preventive attitude, and about faith in the possibility of speculating a risk. Having with this attitude, the manager will have the strength to take risky but smart decisions. Moreover, the eventual damages and material loses could be minimized.

The enterprise risk management training courses show you how to do this. Risk management becomes a process of identification, analysis and answers to the potential risks connected with the activity of an organization. For example, when the accent is put on information, the risks are connected with the security of the computer network. When the domain is developing new products, the risk is for those products not to be successful on the market.

The companies that allot resources in the area of risk management and control are those in the field of banking, IT, but also the local authorities. Any manager that has an important position within one of those companies has to think about enterprise risk management training courses.

The general purpose of risk management is to help the managers and other interested persons to understand the risks connected with the activity of an organization, so the risks could be administrated. Considering the moment when the risks are analyzed, there are pre-event measurements that must be taken, measurements that could prevent or minimize the risks, but also the post-event measurements, when the damage was already done, and those actions are needed to limit those damages.

The main advantage of such a course is the increased economic efficiency: the managers are aware of the possible risks, and they are able to administrate them accordingly. Risk management is mandatory for the entire managerial team of a company, and for the employees that work in key jobs. The risk can be assumed, rejected or ignored. Each one of those actions could have positive or negative effects for the activity. A manager that knows what decision to take is considered as a gold mine for a company.

Enterprise Risk Management Training Courses

ERP and risk

Enterprise risk management training courses are growing in popularity each day. This is a result of increased awareness on the importance of risk management. Following the recent global economic crisis, organizations, individuals, businesses and even entire economies can no longer afford to ignore the significance of risk management. These training courses equip professionals with the requisite skills to help them deal with risk in their professional settings.

Enterprise risk management includes the processes and methods applied by organizations in the management and mitigation of risks. It also includes the process of identification of events that are of relevance to an organization’s objectives and their assessment in terms magnitude and likelihood. It goes further and determines the response strategy to be taken and the progress monitoring process. By identifying and addressing both risks and opportunities, organizations create and protect value for all the stakeholders who include the shareholders, customers, employees and the societies. These training courses equip the trainees with the required skills to achieve these goals.

The training is suitable for risk professionals and all decision makers in an organization. The hands-on training courses are taught in a setting resembling a normal class. The aim is to help these professionals be better risk managers and also advance new practices in the enterprise risk management field. The training is up to date and is based on the most recent findings in the risk management field which is making strides each day as professionals explore and test new risk management strategies.

Professionals are taught how to execute enterprise risk management in their organizations. This includes its execution at both the strategic level so as to run the business and to use it to drive decision making processes in the organization. They are also taught how to integrate enterprise risk management with strategic planning. This normally poses a challenge to less experienced professionals and the training helps them get over these challenges.

Enterprise risk management training courses also sees the participants participate in mock risk committee meetings. This is like a simulation of the real setting in their workplace and it provides them with a chance to execute what they are learning and learn from each other. Case study groups are constituted in which the trainees practice all the steps of the risk control process. They also draft dummy enterprise risk management frameworks and risk appetite statements. Finally, they come up with a blueprint for implementation of a best practices enterprise risk management framework. The training is practical and not just theoretical. It is done in groups for effectiveness.

The enterprise risk management training courses are mainly organized for; chief risk officers, actuaries regulators, rating agency analysts, board directors and senior executives. They train them on sophisticated techniques for quantification and management of both financial and non financial risks faced by their organizations. They are equipped with skills that make them more effective in running their organizations, meeting the set goals and dealing with unforeseen events. These courses are advertised online and in business magazines as well as other media platforms. They are mainly carried out in the major cities all over the world by qualifies risk management experts.

Enterprise Risk Management Programs 2016-17

Over time, there has been a surge in demand for risk managers due to increasing complications of financial and other functional undertakings. These are professionals who identify and analyze risks facing the firm and come up with mitigation measures against such risks. This demand has increased with standards-setting examinations which in turn have led to many organizations in the risk management industry competing to furnish interested candidates with a standard certification.

For instance, the Global Association of Risk Professionals and the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association offer Financial Risk Manager (FRM) exam and the Professional Risk Manager certification (PRM). These tests take not less than 500 hours of study but unfortunately only 50% or less of those who attempt them actually succeed. The GARP exam is a two part task that costs $1250 and the four part PRMs’ test goes for $ 500.

The Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) and the Society of Actuaries also provide risk management certifications. However, these are less bent towards financial risk compared to FRM and PRM. They are inclined towards risk management with an enterprise wide view. For instance, the RIMS Fellow, the Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst (CERA), the Certified Risk Manager and the Associate in Risk Management. These mainly span all the risk issues relating to companies.

An individual who has been previously exposed to risk management can take a few months of study to earn some of these titles as opposed to beginners who are at it for more than a year. This requires one to be adept in financial markets, mathematical principles relating to risk management, up-to date risks like market and credit risks and risk management measures, behavioral ethics and organizational governance.

This certification is not a compulsory prerequisite to practice risk management but people take up the exams because they come with a host of benefits. Certification equips with invaluable concepts and skills that enable you to effectively perform a better job. It’s also a living proof to dubious potential clients and new businesses. In the event that you are looking for employment, this certification gives you a competitive edge over other interviewees.

The CERA is a rigorous and highly recommended credential for people who have a keen interest in risk management. It is a development of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) credential and seeks not only a detailed understanding of risk but also implementation of proven risk management strategies with an enterprise-wide view.

An enterprise risk management qualification, e.g. CERA enables the candidates to gain a broader understanding of risk that is more extensive than the classical actuarial areas. This allows them to help companies to strategically manage risks and improve their competitive advantage. This global ERM qualification is widely recognized by 13 actuarial associations in 12 countries in the whole wide world. However, achieving this qualification is never a leisure walk in the park. It’s quite a daunting task.

This certification makes actuaries proficient to practice as chief risk officers in various spheres such as insurance, reinsurance, consulting, energy, infrastructure, transport, media, technology, healthcare and manufacturing. Besides, one can also work as a business manager, a financial professional, a risk professional, senior analyst, risk reporting manager, casualty actuary, risk leader, etc. Clearly, the possibilities are endless.

ERP Systems Software

Risk regulation within the enterprise involves the willingness to expand the business after considering and avoiding all possible negative repercussions. Enterprise risk management takes into consideration a cautions assessment of all risks that involve both research and a careful planning. No business should think of expansion without factoring in all the risks involved. This is because all business processes come along with some risk factors associated with them. It is recommended to hire professional risk managers to regulate the process of risk taking. These individuals possess excellent skills of professional risk management and can assist you to plan and realize the goals of your enterprise under regulated risk. They help you to assess the risk of all possible negative impacts of strategically planned projects and goals.

Financial risk management is an important component of enterprise risk management. It is important to have a clear understanding of what your company is capable of doing within the framework of predetermined procedures and regulations. This eliminates any compromise to the enterprise that may risk its financial condition. A well planned risk management team should provide the organization with a structured outline of procedures and regulations that not only smoothes the organizations planned growth but also makes it more easily attainable. It is not enough to only budget for what you presume to be your financial risk. You need to have a clear understanding of all factors that might impose additional financial risk thus not only affecting your planned growth but also financial success. It is a fact that you can use wise risk management methods to provide for the unforeseeable. These services can be provided by professional financial risk managers for your enterprise.

Most organizations employ individuals who are professionals in their work. An enterprise risk management team also comprises of experts in their field who have the ability of evaluating the asset holdings and collateral of your company. They use this information to provide a well structured method of organizational growth.

Growth management is an important function that ensures that your organization not only remains healthy but also reaches its goals safely. The organization should have a well designed system that enables you to plan for all your financial moves by following a well laid down path from the beginning to the end. Some organizations use software management systems that provide a total risk management program including collateral management to successfully realize business goals. This system uses insights into the approaches of managing collateral that can only be achieved through a professional appraisal and study of your organization.

Enterprise risk management involves use of various risk management software tools that can assist you to determine possible errors within your organization during risk appraisal. Such software helps managers to plan for the financial success of the organization without placing their personal integrity at stake. Enterprise risk management avails all relevant information about investment and banking that makes the future financial growth of your organization comply with all legal ramifications regarding investment. This also helps organizational managers to regulate the risk within the organization through prudent management. Enterprise risk management avails a complete method of management to enable your company to plan on attaining goals by not only planning but also avoiding organizational risks from the beginning up to the realization of those business goals.

Risk Management Definition

The Information Systems Audit And Control Association also known as  ISACA  highlight in the

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) Review Manual:

“Risk Management is the process of identifying vulnerabilities and threats to the information resources used by an organization in achieving business objectives, and deciding what countermeasures, if any, to take in reducing risk to an acceptable level, based on the value of the information resource to the organization”.

Defining Risk

Management of risk is defined as a particular risk that can occur at any specific moment in time. Unmanaged risk can have a significant effect on project management, whereas risk that is effectively managed is effectively reduced. Risk management is important to mission critical projects.

Managing Risk

Any risk management plan should focus on the immediate, the future, and any potential threats that may occur in managing such risk. These risks translate into three main categories:

– Risk: where any information asset may be at a serious risk of potential damage

– Vulnerability: an imperfection or weakness that potentially could hinder or be used to cause harm to an information asset

– Threat: can be either manufactured or occur naturally through nature to damage an asset

A vulnerability may cause harm and impact a organizations information resources and data integrity, it may also harm confidentiality of such information. Managing such risk entails various protocols and audits.

Effective Risk Management

Mission critical business processes in an organization must be protected at all times, through effective risk management. Such management entails (often) the use of software systems. These systems are put in place and audited regularly so that such vulnerabilities are minimized.

Management of risk isn’t without its problems, for it can directly affect costs, and productivity, the management team must decide upon what factors determine such investment in risk management strategies.

Business Continuity Plans (BCP)

Mission critical processes must be maintained at all times, business continuity refers to the processes and systems in place that can protect and also recover such processes in case of failure, through any vulnerability. This recovery time would be at a minimum in such instances.

Business Continuity Planning (BCP):

This entails backup planning rather than simply mitigating risk or relying on avoidance tactics. It details such scenarios whereby business units will eventually fail, whether or not the risk plan’s preemptive plan is in place or not. Such systems are similar to disaster recovery plans and can restore data, systems and information.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery systems are in place in order to restore natural running of business units, which rely on mission critical systems to function properly whether through sabotage or natural occurrence. Similar systems are in place in hosting companies, and governments. Data protection may rely on off-site systems, regular backups, or powerless ready systems such as those running on generators.

Why Do ERP Systems Fail?

Do a Google search on “failed ERP implementations” and you will see lots of industry
studies that have similar (or even more frightening) statistics? And despite massive
budgets and outside and internal resources, organizations as large as Hershey’s,
Whirlpool and W.L. Gore and Associates have had notable ERP implementation
How do we define ERP implementation failure? Here are four key indicators:

  • Cost overruns. Companies have experienced cost overruns ranging from single

digit to over 200%. Often, blown budgets continue well past the implementation
phase as organizations are forced to deal with higher fees for consulting, training,
administration, etc.

  • Delayed implementations. As the figures above indicate, 57% of surveyed

companies had a delayed implementation and the average duration was 18.4

  • Expectations versus reality. This is a highly subjective category but the fact is,

what the ERP vendor promised and what the customer believes was delivered,
often turn out to be two different things.

  •  Unhappy users. While it is difficult to satisfy all users, unhappy users are often

indicative of critical software deficiencies. Unhappy users can also suggest a
possible negative impact by the implementation on business performance. This is
another area where promises and delivery are not in sync.

Another common theme we see is that monolithic process manuals and scope
documents will provide a strait jacket to the project, effectively locking in current
practices and ways of doing things without question or validation – and risks the
organization selecting a product that best fits the status quo, rather than something
which will move the business forward.

Enterprise software solutions have a massive impact on the processes and
approaches taken within an organization. They can be empowering or a strait jacket;
they can deliver effectiveness or overly complicate a scenario; they can add value or
become an expensive overhead.

The cost of an implementation running off track will be many times the list price of the
software. Likewise, the impact of getting an implementation wrong will be many times
the capital cost of the overall project, so there is much at stake in any selection and
implementation process.

How To Use ERP Systems in A Company

First, an ERP system needs to provide enough flexibility to allow the business to have
options, but not so much that the implementation becomes overly complicated and
costly to complete. Utilizing industry best practices (and by definition a product with a
solid footprint in your micro vertical) is often a good starting point; process modeling
tools and techniques can then help define the high level processes, diving deep into
task level definition only in areas where processes are complex, vital to delivery and
key to either compliance or customer service.

It is also important to consider the stability and maturity of the product. While older
style products may provide solid and dependable availability and reliability, there may
be some trade off in terms of the flexibility and dynamism you often get from a more
leading-edge solution. The important thing here is to understand the balance you are
making and the impact of this on your internal capability to support and manage the
product going forward.

Any business case will have an identified set of tangible benefits and a return on
investment (ROI) defined. Any ERP implementation will also bring with it a number of
intangible benefits and it is these that will actually define the success (or otherwise) of
the project. These improvements in visibility, control, information and automation are
where the real value in any enterprise software project will reside, but traditional ROI
calculations tend to dismiss these in favor of hard measures (stock turn ratio’s,
reducing latency, etc.). A balanced business case will include both tangible and
intangible benefits and actually focus on value from your customers’ perspective – as
this is what will ultimately drive future growth.

Conventional wisdom states that an ERP implementation always goes over time and
over budget, and never delivers the value or benefits that were envisioned at the start.
This, to a greater or lesser extent, is true with almost every implementation. The key
to managing this issue is to understand the dynamics of driving this kind of change
program and to see the project as less about IT and more about business

Big bang implementations that seek to deliver every facet of a solutions capability into
all areas of the organization are at the very highest risk of failure. As problems and
issues are encountered the natural reaction of the team is to slim down the scope and
manage expectations downward so that, in the end, you replace one IT system with
another without really deriving the benefits the new platform could have brought to the

The solution to this is to take a top down approach – starting with the higher level
management functions and letting this access to information drive the product deeper
and more broadly into the rest of the organization. Understanding the pain points and
barriers to success within a business are a great starting point to driving
understanding where the initial focus needs to be applied. Business modeling tools
can be used to effectively define in detail where process delivers you market
advantage, while still providing management with discretion in areas that are less vital
to the service you deliver to your customers.

One important aspect of any implementation is the skill level, system understanding
and market awareness of the implementation team – including both your staff and the
vendor team. Our view is that it is vital that the vendor team understand its system
completely, and the business team understands its business. The more crossover you
can achieve with the initial knowledge transfer, the better value the two teams will
deliver with the final solution. This is a great start, but a third dimension – industry
best practices – is proving equally important in quickly delivering a workable solution.
This requires subject matter experts to not only understand all aspects of the software
design and implementation approach but also to have direct and deep micro-vertical
experience in the client’s line of business.

Implementing an end-to-end ERP solution is a little like trying to change your slice of
the world. It has an impact on every person’s role in the organization – it will change
the way you do almost everything across the organization. These changes can be
disruptive and disorientating for many people and without the right buy-in at all levels,
the project will quickly flounder. You drive adoption by delivering small “wins” along
the way.
By ensuring people understand how their lives will improve, and providing a little taste
of this future state, you ensure support to the project and support for the changes.
This will not happen by itself, through some kind of osmosis or in any kind of “viral”
sense. Getting this to work is a process in itself that needs careful planning, diligent
execution and ongoing measurement.
Key to this is the belief and continued demonstration that the end solution will meet
the needs of the business. Losing track of this balance between driving the
organization forward and supporting business as usual is a death knell for any project.
Ignoring concerns and issues here will lead to people, teams and divisions calling a
halt to the project at a later stage if their needs are not adequately addressed. Every
person that touches the project needs to have a shared belief that the system will
work for the organization and that servicing your customers is not going to be
adversely affected by the introduction of new processes and technology

ERP Power Triangles

There are two power triangles at play here. The first: people – process – technology,
defines the dependencies that underpin the project. The second: scope – time – cost,
is a relationship triangle that cannot be broken. If you are running out of time, you can
either reduce the scope or spend more money. Running out of money means you
reduce the scope and this impacts the timeframe. Increasing the scope in any way will
ALWAYS result in overspend and delay. The secret is to limit the initial scope to
something manageable, control the delivery to meet this initial scope and then launch
additional projects to drive the product deeper and more broadly into the organization.

erp diagram