Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Top 10 Financial Accounting Mandates

Today's guidelines for financial reporting call for the highest possible level of accuracy, speed, and competency. Here are the top ways to meet the demands of a new reporting era, and how Microsoft and i.t.works can help:

1. Guarantee corporate integrity by ensuring consistency with numbers and transparency across the organization. This includes finding ways to facilitate the gathering and reporting of accurate information.

2. Promote greater collaboration and communication among different departments, putting an end to the "silo" mentality that keeps data in separate places and prevents applications - and people - from sharing up-to-date information.

3. Increase business insight inside the company, so virtually any employee can identify a mistake or questionable activity before it becomes a major issue.

4. Provide better information management by enusuring that everyone involved in the company's governance processes is knowledgeable and informed. This includes enhancing the board's understanding of how the company reports financials (that is, what the numbers mean and what metrics are supported by the numbers).

5. Empower your employees with a heightenend responsibility for detecting and correcting financial reporting anomalies, inaccuracies, and omissions.

6. Improve relationships with investors by providing a better picture of non-financial performance in areas such as productivity levels, operational quality, overhead, customer satisfaction and loyalty, work-force loyalty, the level of innovation within the company, the value of its brand names, and more. Ideally, CFO's will gain greater business insight into what interested parties really want to know and then articulate that information to them, helping to build credibility while maintaining control over strategic information.

7. Install a tighter system of checks and balances to reduce the chance of errors. Maintain accuracy and integrity in an environment where shared responsibilty requires additional controls.

8. Empower budget-makers with technological tools that help increase their budgeting/forecasting accuracy.

9. Implement financial software to help strengthen controls within business units.

10. Improve collaboration with investors by communicating consistently and frequently.

visit us at http://www.thinkitworks.com

Friday, May 15, 2009

i.t.works would like to introduce you to Anthony Gingrich

We would like to welcome Anthony Gingrich to the staff of i.t.works. Anthony comes to us from Service Management Group where he served as a development team leader. While at SMG he was involved in a long-term business system solution catered towards restaurant equipment service industries, such as Midwest Food Equipment Service and CFESA (Commercial Food Equipment Service Association). Anthony specializes in C#, Visual Basic.Net, and MS SQL Server 05 and 08. He is also experienced in PHP (5.0+), ASP.Net, and web development using JavaScript and CSS.

Anthony majored in Computer Information Systems Technology at JCJC, and his emphasis was on software development in the .Net Framework. He is currently working towards earning his MSCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer) certification.

Anthony is a very proud husband and father of one (soon to be two), and enjoys his weekends fishing with his son.

You may reach Anthony at anthony@thinkitworks.com. Please feel free to reach out and introduce yourself and welcome him to our staff.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

iPhone and BlackBerry Engage in App-to-App Combat

iPhone maker Apple and BlackBerry vendor Research in Motion are exchanging high-caliber bursts in the form of tantalizing new mobile applications in their desperate efforts to woo new users. Recent figures show that underdog BlackBerry is not just making it a close fight, but could emerge victorious.

When Apple launched the iPhone, most observers saw it as a purely consumer device that would never get traction in the enterprise because it lacked adequate security features, didn’t have native integration with business email servers and didn’t host applications needed by executives and so-called knowledge workers to perform their functions on the go.

It seemed likewise unlikely that business users would carry two devices, so it seemed a forgone conclusion that the iPhone would be the province of stay-at-home professionals, college students and tweens lucky enough to have parents willing to spend upwards of $500 for what amounted to little more than a toy.

Fast-forward two years, and the iPhone supports Microsoft Exchange and IBM Domino, the two most dominant enterprise email servers, and business applications galore. Moreover, IT professionals underestimated the pressure they would be under from gadget-addicted c-level executives to connect their iPhones to the corporate firewall. Think Obama was obstinate about keeping his BlackBerry? That was nothing compared to the passion of business executives for the iPhone, which turns out to have appeal far beyond expectations. You have to wonder whether the same observers — Gartner in particular — who in 2007 dismissed the iPhone as an enterprise tool changed their tune in 2008 because they were truly convinced, or if they saw themselves being overtaken by the tide of history.

BlackBerry was slow to respond, but respond it has, first with an app store much like iTunes, with music to boot, and then with an increasing variety of new handsets that mimicked the iPhone pretty closely, down to the touchscreen. In fact, BlackBerry was criticized for the Storm because it ditched the familiar trackball navigation in favor of a clumsy version of the touchscreen, but promises the next version will be better. In the meantime, it is continuing to roll out the red carpet for developers to create yet more applications, including one that supports the mother of all consumer applications, Twitter.

The iPhone also has become more hospitable territory for business, as illustrated by recent support for the iPhone from database vendor FileMaker and enterprise software vendor Citrix, which makes software that allows customers to use desktop applications remotely.

In the final analysis, though, BlackBerry has an advantage that iPhone will find difficult to overcome: it doesn’t have an albatross named AT&T. Yes, you can get a BlackBerry on the AT&T network, but you can also get one on just about any network you choose in the U.S., including Verizon, which is reputed to have the most reach. BlackBerry also has a head start over iPhone in terms of integrated business applications like expense approval technology from IBM and SAP, but that advantage may be short-lived.

This is why Apple is surely planning to roll out a larger, more robust version of the iPhone that can replace many laptops. Apple COO Tim Cook may have recently disparaged netbooks as inelegant and feature-poor, but he may have simply been doing that so he could introduce a new device in the near future while saying, “see, this is how it’s done.”