#1 2020-09-13 19:51:44

ZackBurns
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Computer  Application s, Technology, Web/Tech             January 18, 2019January 18, 2019          The Office 365 Outlook “Coming Soon” Switch.
Change is coming, but you don’t have to rush things.
Microsoft has announced a new interface for the Office 365 applications which is simpler and has fewer icons on the ribbons.  While the current “ribbon” interface has been in place since roughly 2007 (for perspective, Adobe Acrobat has had at least two major UI updates during the same period (Acrobat X in 2010 and Acrobat DC in 2015).  The mouse-click masters at Microsoft have decided that we need a change in how we use Outlook.  Unfortunately, this update is just now being noticed by many practitioners during the time of the year when we need to be the most productive.
The “Coming Soon” button in Outlook for Office 365 gives you an opportunity to “evaluate”….
er, test, new features in Outlook, and give Microsoft feedback on the new features.  Unfortunately, this switch is getting turned on sometimes by accident, resulting in some confusion, like this e-mail I received yesterday from one of the gentle readers of this blog: Yesterday when I booted-up my Outlook365 I noticed a significant change in the “look”.
My main complaint is the double line-spacing.
I can now only see a portion of the emails in my inbox (as well as the other boxes).
Even the From/To/Cc/Subject lines are now double spaced.
Heck, everything, including the Ribbon, is double-line spaced.
When composing a new email Microsoft has inverted the To/From lines.
What’s that about.
I know I’m sending it out.
This makes working in Outlook365 much less productive.
Fear not, gentle reader.  Nobody moved your cheese.  The old interface is still alive and well – you just have to know how to “re-enable” it.  In the upper right corner of the screen is a on/off switch that is labeled “coming soon” (shown in the picture above).  Flip it to the off position, restart Outlook, and you probably will be back to what it was before.
For my friends who wish to block this tool from being implemented in their organizations, there’s a link at the bottom of this blog post which  allows you to update your group policy templates to allow you to disable this feature for your users.  (If the last sentence you read sounds like gibberish, or Charlie Brown’s parents speaking, then forward it to your friendly neighborhood network administrator, and they will help you take care of this issue).
Have a great year end/tax season/first quarter, and I look forward to seeing many of you in my travels for K2 Enterprises later in 2019.
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Filed under: Office 365, Tips, Updates                                           Computer Applications, Current Affairs, Web/Tech, Writing             November 30, 2018January 17, 2019          Announcing the Launch of the 6th Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey.
The accounting profession’s first and only national, independent premier benchmark survey for practicing accounting, tax and bookkeeping professionals.
Participate in the survey through January 31, 2019, and receive a free e-book of the results when they are published in May, 2019.
November 30, 2018, Hutchinson, Kansas and Knoxville, Tennessee – Randy Johnston, CEO, Network Management Group, Inc.
and Brian Tankersley, Principal of Tankersley Consulting, announce the launch of the 6th Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology (AFOT) Survey.  The AFOT Survey will remain open through January 31, 2019.  The survey results eBook, to be released in May 2019, will continue to remain a free resource delivered to practicing accounting, tax and bookkeeping professionals who complete the survey.
“We are always pleased to understand the technology in use by CPA firms across the United States.
The survey provides operational information to CPA Firm Leading or Managing Partners while revealing new trends,” said Johnston.  The AFOT Survey continues to lead the profession as the nation’s most valid and complete, professional and insightful presentation of data impacting decisions being made centered on technology budget spend, software adoption and practice management.
“I’ve learned something of note every year of the survey,” continued Johnston.
*** Take the survey now: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6thAnnualAFOT *** The 6th Annual Survey eBook will feature a fresh new design, trend lines and consultative commentary from Johnston and Tankersley.  “The survey’s validity is hugely important to us; we take this aspect seriously due to critical operational and technology decisions being made by practitioners based on the trend lines our survey reveals,” said Tankersley.
“This survey is the premier benchmarking tool for practitioners nationally.” Facts about the 6th Annual AFOT Survey  Take the survey, get the $495 Survey results eBook, FREE OF CHARGE.
91 multiple choice survey questions.
30 minutes is the average amount of time required to complete the survey.
Only one survey respondent per firm is required; the survey respondent will receive the AFOT Survey eBook via email on or before May 1st, 2018.
Who is the best person to take the survey in your firm.
The person most familiar with operations, practice management and technology and how decisions in the firm are made.
Survey areas include:  Demographics.
Practice Management.
Technology Management.
Operating Systems.
Computer Hardware.
Application Software.
File and Data Storage/Management.
Remote Access/Internet/Telecommunications.
Technology Spending, Decision-making.
Annoyances and Trends.
About the Principals.

Randy Johnston is CEO of Network Management Group

Inc.
(NMGI), a company he helped to create in 1983.
Johnston is renowned throughout North America for consultation he provides on CPA Firm on their operations and technology, while also serving hundreds of CPA firms by proactively managing their technology.  Johnston provides insight and guidance for firms of all sizes interested in growth, profitability, mergers and acquisition.
Dr.
Leslie Garrett is the CEO and Founder of Insight Research Group (IRG).
IRG is a research firm founded on the principle of providing valid, unbiased and actionable data.
Research conducted by IRG entails carefully selected survey methodology to bolster confidence and ensure valid results for a population being measured.
Brian Tankersley, CPA,CITP, CGMA is a consultant, author, and speaker who specializes in accounting technology issues.  Tankersley has spoken in 47 US states, and three Canadian provinces, and writes for major accounting press outlets including CPA Practice Advisor and AccountingWeb.  He is also a faculty member for Yaeger CPA Review.
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Filed under: Accounting Firm Technology, AFOT Survey                                           Accounting Software, Cloud Computing, Computer Applications, Web/Tech             September 25, 2018September 25, 2018          Cloud Accounting Adoption Grows, But Desktop Solutions Still Pay the Bills.
Intuit continues to lead in cloud accounting adoption among small businesses and microbusinesses in North America, with almost 1.9 MM companies on QBO in the US.  QBO continues to make strides outside the US, with 800,000 companies in their latest user statistics.  Xero continues to grow in the US, with 132,000 North America users as of the end of March, but we expect that those numbers will grow more quickly due to possible synergies from the Hubdoc acquisition in August.

QuickBooks Online Self-Employed

a product which is designed to track the cash receipts and disbursements of independent contractors, grew to 750,000 subscribers this period.  Although the number of subscribers bundling this solution with Intuit’s TurboTax income tax preparation software was not disclosed this quarter, last quarter approximately half of QBOSE subscribers also purchased TurboTax.
Intuit has quietly launched a new product targeted at companies with 10+ users called QuickBooks Online Advanced, with premium support, and priced at $150/month.  Industry observers I speak with tell me that they expect this product to go upmarket top serve larger businesses over a period of years.  A strategy for involving accounting professionals and software consultants in QBO Advanced has not been launched yet, as the product is not available on wholesale billing for ProAdvisors at this time (9/2018), and we have not heard of a QBES-style “Intuit Solution Provider” VAR program for QBO Advanced at this time.
Despite these improvements, desktop accounting continues to be the dominant platform for small business.  Intuit’s most recent revenue statistics (under the old GAAP standards, not the new ASC 606 rules) show that revenue for the QuickBooks desktop ecosystem continues to lead the QuickBooks Online ecosystem by a significant margin.  While this will evolve over time, the ratio of QBD ecosystem revenue to QBO ecosystem revenue for Intuit’s quarter ended 7/31/2018 is 1.36:1.
(source: Intuit)  While we don’t have a method of providing a true “apples to apples” comparison of QuickBooks desktop user counts as compared to QBO user counts for a number of reasons, it’s clear that desktop has a larger share of revenue.  The online ecosystem continues to grow, and it’s hard to quantify the impact of the recent QuickBooks Enterprise price hikes on that desktop revenue.  Sage and Xero continue to be a worthy competitor to QuickBooks in many segments, new products like BQE Core and AccountantsWorld Power CAS continue to show promise.  Ultimately, if artificial intelligence and machine learning can even partially live up to the hype surrounding them right now, the whole game could change – but for now, the desktops are paying the bills.
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Filed under: Cloud Accounting, Hubdoc, QuickBooks, Xero                                       Accounting Software, Cloud Computing, Computer Applications, Web/Tech             May 28, 2018June 6, 2018          CPATechBlog.com Cloud Accounting Dashboard as of 5/24/2018.
I’ve updated the CPATechBlog Cloud Accounting Dashboard for the latest statistics on cloud accounting adoption for the most recent earnings and public company disclosures from Sage, Intuit, and Xero.
Highlights from the most recent updates include the following:  Intuit continued to dominate the cloud accounting space, with 1.82 million companies on QBO as of 4/30/2018, as compared to 132,000 in North America for Xero.  The other competitors in this space do not break out North American adoption stats or are private and do not have to disclose adoption stats to the public.
In addition to the 1.82 million companies on QBO in the US.

Intuit reported another 720K QBO companies outside the US

as well as 680K users of QBO Self Employed.  The 720K QBO companies outside the US compares unfavorably to the 1.25 million companies on Xero at 3/31/2018, but both performed favorably against the 431,000 reported on Sage Business Cloud Accounting (the product formerly known as Sage One) at 3/31/2018.
Intuit disclosed that 330,000 of the 680,000 total QBOSE users bundled the product with TurboTax, which may make some of you practitioners nervous about recommending that product – don’t forget that there’s a way to connect QBO for Accountants to your client’s QBOSE, and Intuit says that they won’t try to sell TurboTax to your QBO self-employed clients – if you need details, drop me a line – Brian at bftcpa dot com.
I still estimate that the ratio of QB Desktop users to QBO companies is 1.30:1 as of the most recent earnings release.  What’s more important for you, the gentle reader of this blog to know is two things:  While the ratio of QBD users/QBO companies is 1.18:1, the ratio of the desktop QB ecosystem revenues to the QBO ecosystem revenues was 1.42:1 – so desktop versions of QuickBooks are still essential to the QuickBooks business for Intuit.
The really bad news for users of desktop versions of QuickBooks is the forward looking information about desktop versions of QuickBooks – and I’m quoting directly from their Q3 Earnings Call Script here.  “Desktop Ecosystem revenue grew 3 percent in the quarter and is up 7 percent year-todate.
For fiscal 2018, we expect QuickBooks desktop units to decline mid to high teens and Desktop Ecosystem revenue to be up mid-single digits.”  While we’ve known for some time that Intuit passed on a price increase to QuickBooks desktop users, it tells me that we should probably expect prices on desktop software to continue to climb as Intuit continues to try to make it financially advantageous for users to switch to QBO, where they have more control over the ecosystem, as opposed to QB Pro/Premier/Enterprise.
While Intuit has a lead in US cloud accounting, if the much vaunted machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities which the cloud brings us in the next few years ever actually happen, accounting software may become something that people used to use – like buggy whips.  Truthfully, if the technology winds shift quickly – it’s still anybody’s race.

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Filed under: Cloud Accounting, FreshBooks, QBO, Sage Business Cloud Accounting, Sage Intacct, Xero                                           Accounting Software, Computer Applications, Technology, Web/Tech             May 24, 2018May 24, 2018          Dear Brian: Clearing Out Old Vendors, Customers, Items, and Accounts in Desktop QuickBooks.
Dear Brian: My client has been using QuickBooks Pro for well over 10 years.  They upgrade every few years however the file size is getting very large.  They do not want to switch to another program and do not want to switch to QuickBooks Online.
I was under the impression that the newest versions of QuickBooks allows you to purge old data or allows you to reduce the file size.
What should I do.
Sincerely, Carl in Philadelphia  Dear Carl, You may want to consider using the Condense Data feature in QuickBooks (File, Utilities, Condense Data from the menu)- it will let you remove the old data as well as the old list items – vendors, customers, accounts, etc.
which you haven’t touched in years.
You can download a PDF file with directions on how to do this by filling out the form below:  Share this:.
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Filed under: FreshBooks, QuickBooks Online, Sage Business Cloud Accounting, Sage Intacct, Xero                                       Computer Applications, Technology, Web/Tech             April 10, 2018April 11, 2018          The World Continues to Evolve.
Will You?.
I’ve been part of the CPA profession since I graduated from the University of Tennessee and joined one of the “Big Six” accounting firms in 1992.  I started during the waning days of working papers which were made of paper, and had the privilege of carrying a 40 pound Compaq “luggable” transportable PC as my first work computer shortly thereafter – so I’ve been around a while.  During the last 25 years, we’ve transitioned from paper to computer-based documentation, and have also seen the rise of the internet.  The changes we’ve seen – the rise and fall of Yahoo, Amazon’s domination and disruption of everything, and the rise of smart phones – are nothing short of breathtaking.  When viewed in the context of how we worked 40 years ago, it’s important to remember they didn’t change overnight – it took decades for things to shift to the new paradigm.
The late Roy Amara, a respected researcher, scientist, and futurist who led The Institute for the Future during the 1970’s and 1980’s, is credited with creating “Amara’s Law”.  His maxim states, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” If you think about the tools we use in our offices every day, almost none of the tools we used forty years ago are used today.  Gone are the paper rolodex cards, typewriters, 10-key adding machines, workpaper binders, 5-column paper, phone books, and colored pencils from the past, replaced by multiple monitors, printers, e-mail, and software like ProSystem fx Engagement.  An accountant from 1978 who visited a cloud-based accounting firm without a physical office wouldn’t recognize what he or she saw.  They would be shocked how simple tasks like payroll have been automated and centralized into computer data centers operated by ADP, Paychex, and Intuit which are accessed using the internet– they would be completely lost in today’s world.
We are all learning about emerging technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and process automation.  While most of these technologies are platforms for software developers instead of applications you can use to solve a specific business problem.  As I write this in the spring of 2018, there aren’t many ways I can utilize these technologies today – but I believe that they will impact how we work in the future in ways we can’t imagine.
It’s important to stay current on technology, but that doesn’t mean that you have to know everything about it – or as my friend Gary Boomer often says, “you don’t have to know how the movement mechanism in a wristwatch works in order to tell what time it is.”  The time to change your work processes is when it makes financial and operational sense to do so, not when “the cool kids” say it’s OK.  Keep up with your competitors and don’t get behind on technology– because there are a lot of dinosaurs with dusty offices full of paper who upon retirement will realize smaller gains when selling their practice because they didn’t keep up.
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Filed under: emerging technology, technology change                                           Accounting Software, Computer Applications, Web/Tech, Writing             April 5, 2018April 6, 2018          5th Annual Accounting Firm Ops and Tech Survey Awards Announced.
April 05, 2018, Hutchinson KS and Minneapolis, MN – Randy Johnston, CEO, Network Management Group, Inc.
and Dr.
Leslie Garrett, CEO of Insight Research Group are pleased to announce the winners of the 5th Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology (AFOT) Survey Awards.
Survey respondents identify the software used in their accounting firm that has the greatest impact on their firm in three separate categories: Profitability, Risk Mitigation and Productivity.  The 5th Annual AFOT Survey results book will be released in May 2018.  Respondents selected award-winners in each category from a list of 87 accounting firm software products.
Continue reading “5th Annual Accounting Firm Ops and Tech Survey Awards Announced”  →  Share this:.
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Filed under: AFOT Survey, Awards                                           Computer Applications, Current Affairs, Web/Tech             March 13, 2016March 30, 2018          News Roundup- March 13th.
Some of the current events I’ve been following include the following stories:  HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE  Sometime in 2017, Microsoft will bring MS SQL to Linux – via @Wired.
KPMG Recruits IBM Watson for Cognitive Tech Audits, Insights  via @ATechCom.
There is a ‘game changer’ technology on Wall Street – Blockchain – and people keep confusing it with bitcoin.
Microsoft’s Project Rigel Brings Surface Hub Capabilities To New Devices.
Seagate’s blistering new 10GBps NVMe drive is the world’s fastest-ever SSD=> Interesting claim for fastest SSD, but we don’t see the stat you should be looking at when you expand your storage – IOPS, or I/O operations per second.
SECURITY  We’re fighting an invisible war — in cyberspace http://cnet.co/1VYAbvJ via @CNET.
Apple’s Operating System Targeted by Ransomware for First Time http://on.wsj.com/1U7GnT4 via @WSJ => Just because you have a Mac doesn’t mean you get a pass on malware.
GOVERNMENT AND PRIVACY  How State Revenuers Are Going After E-Commerce (Wall Street Journal) => Great reason to learn more about @Avalara, which can handle this crazy compliance challenge.
The DOJ threatens to seize Apple’s source code and electronic signature #policestate via @FortuneMagazine.
Surprise.
US Govt has authorized NSA #surveillance data for domestic policing that has NOTHING to do w terrorism http://wpo.st/wyuK1.
More airports calling out TSA for long lines http://usat.ly/1p8l0Fv via @usatoday  Agree that @AskTSA lines have been worse in 2016.  Evidently, I’m not the only one to see this trend.
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Computer Applications, Web/Tech             February 29, 2016March 17, 2018          The Business Model Problem With Unicorns.
There is a fundamental problem with Silicon Valley – too many startups seem to have a business model of “build to flip”.
This model – which I’ve seen in the past – is a model in which the company has little, if any, interest in creating a serious, viable product, and is instead only interested in selling out to someone else.
The short term thinking reminds me of the 1960’s movie musical, “The Music Man”, where a scam artist plans to sell band instruments to locals in “River City” and skip town as soon as they pay for the horns.
One can see the signs of excess in the news – sex and shots in the stairwells at Zenefits, and magazine covers which show the hundreds of “unicorns” (a slang term for a private company valued over $1 billion) running for the exits, and most finding that there is no way out.
When MVP describes a “minimum viable product” instead of a “most valuable player”, it’s a sign that the valuations may have “jumped the shark”.  The reported “shots and sex in the stairwells” at Zenefits will be the punch line for the bursting of a modern day valuation bubble, just as a certain sock puppet was a symbol of an earlier period of excess.
This focus on market capitalization instead of net income – or even producing a viable product – is a particularly intractable problem for items in the financial technology (“FinTech”) sector, where the industry actors (accountants, financial institutions) thrive on long-term stable relationships with customers, and mistakes are remembered for decades.
Unlike other sectors of the economy, entrepreneurs are interested in dealing only with “grown ups” when it comes to their business finances.
The constant change in features and application availability makes the users hesitant to adopt any solution from these companies, whose constant product and business model iteration makes their customers feel like they’re living a very strange version of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First”.
There are opportunities out there – some such opportunities include automation of account assignment to transactions imported from banks, automated reconciliation of statements, and creating “digital plumbing” to solve the problem of digital silos in the very fragmented cloud economy.  Unfortunately, these tasks are not easy – which is why nobody is doing them successfully.  (I hope someone solves these problems soon.) It also strikes me that there is excessive focus on HOW the products are delivered (e.g.
browser/public cloud) instead of WHAT the products actually do for their users.
This is accomplished by burying prospective buyers in a blizzard of BS before they buy.
A partial list of “danger words” which indicate that this style of groupthink may exist includes cloud (all kinds), user experience, ecosystem, seamless integration, minimum viable product, iteration, market capitalization, and non-GAAP operating results.
If you hear most of these words, I’d stay away – or at a minimum, hold onto my wallet.
The unicorns are running for the exits, and I fear that some will be trampled as investors realize that they have bought into applications without a viable long term model for operating as a profitable business.
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Accounting Software, Auditing, Computer Applications, K2 Enterprises, Web/Tech             April 14, 2015March 30, 2018          Who Will Be The Profession’s Digital Plumber?.
I’ve been using, supporting, and following accounting software developments since the 1990’s, and there’s a common problem which still needs to be solved: “How will I get (my)(my client’s) data from (application one) into (specialized application two) so I can perform (task)?” There have been a wide range of people who have taken on solving this problem, and almost every family of solutions (e.g.
Intuit, CCH, Thomson Reuters, Sage, etc.) has solved the problem for their stack of solutions.  One can easily go from most of the major client bookkeeping products into that publishers tax application, and with a little more difficulty, one can pull data from QuickBooks desktop into the tax software.  All bets are off, however, when you step outside of your tax software’s family of solutions.
If you look at e-mail in the 1980’s, we had services like Prodigy and Compuserve, which in their early iterations had closed e-mail systems – like those run by many companies.  In fact, I have had professional jobs in my career where I didn’t have internet-based e-mail – because it was a closed system.  Once these systems opened up, I had internet e-mail from Prodigy ([email protected]).
My friend Randy Johnston has often compared the “my tools only” integration strategy as a nationalist strategy – that is, you’re picking winners and losers in a war (e.g.
NATO/Warsaw Pact).  Some of this is because of benign neglect, some due to economics, but part of this is an intentional strategy.  That’s OK – providers have no obligation to support competing solutions – but it’s still frustrating.
What we haven’t seen in the US is someone who will be the accounting data version of Switzerland for practitioners– a company which will put in tight integrations to everything.  The closest company to that strategy seems to be Caseware, which exports to most practitioner tax solutions – but their relatively small US market share diminishes their effectiveness in this role.  QuickBooks is probably as close as any app here – but that’s primarily due to its marketshare in the US.  Without good cross-platform integrations and effective/automated import/exports between the different provider cloud offerings, adopters are just trading an on-premises cloud island for a provider-hosted island.  If there’s no easy way to move traffic between islands, you’re just a castaway.
I will point out that Avalara does this successfully with hundreds of accounting/ERP solutions on the sales tax side, so it’s definitely possible, and I think their strategy will pay off in the long run.
I did a session on Digital Plumbing at the Sleeter Accounting Solutions Conference last year, and some companies are out there which do different tasks associated with this for general accounting solutions.  Leaders are ITDuzzit (now part of Intuit, no longer commercially sold), Zapier, and OneSaaS, but there are many nascent competitors in this space, and I haven’t seen anyone reach scale yet in the practitioner market.
Chris Keall of the National Business Review in New Zealand points out today (link requires subscription) in a paid article that Kiwi company Common Ledger has received a relatively small amount of funding ($1MM NZD) to develop solutions in Australia/New Zealand.  What a pity that we don’t have anyone taking on this task in the US.  VC’s seem to be throwing money like crazy at cloud products, but nobody seems to be helping the various data clouds automatically talk to each other.  What a pity.
If any of you readers are aware of anyone who is solving this problem, please let me know.  If accounting is going to become more automated, we have to move past 1980’s solutions like manual import of CSV files and transition into real solutions which are less of a pain to implement.  We’ve seen this change radically with bank feeds in the cloud accounting solutions– when will we see it with other accounting data flowing between various best in breed practitioner solutions.
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Recent Posts.
Launch of the 7th Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey.
Updated Cloud Accounting Adoption Statistics.
The Office 365 Outlook “Coming Soon” Switch.
The @CPATechBlog Cloud Accounting Dashboard December 2018 Update.
Announcing the Launch of the 6th Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey.
Phishing on the Rise: Don’t Fall for it.
Cloud Accounting Adoption Grows, But Desktop Solutions Still Pay the Bills.
Some Recent Writings.
2018 Sales Tax Holidays.
Blockchain is a Database.
Get Over It.
Really.
(Part Two).
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Categories  Select Category  Accounting Software  (19)  Auditing  (10)  Books  (1)  Cloud Computing  (7)  Computer Applications  (37)  CPA Practice Advisor  (2)  Current Affairs  (6)  Fraud  (2)  GAAP Accounting  (3)  Internal Control  (3)  K2 Enterprises  (1)  Leisure  (7)  Mobile Productivity  (21)  Privacy  (2)  Sarbanes-Oxley  (1)  Tablets  (1)  Tax  (6)  Technology  (4)  Travel  (5)  Uncategorized  (20)  Web/Tech  (68)  Weblogs  (4)  Writing  (5)       (c) 2004-2018 Brian F.
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