Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 09:19

Natasha Dolginsky, Sr. Marketing Manager,

We recently launched the Insider hub for our customers. This VIP community is designed to make it easier for you to:

  • Network and engage with other users
  • Provide product feedback, suggest new features, and be among the first to try them out
  • Share best practices and learn from others
  • Get a chance to gain recognition in case studies, blog posts, and webinars

We’ve had hundreds of customers join Insiders in the last month. Here are just some of our members:


To join this exclusive community, go to the Insiders Welcome Page. Insiders is designed to help you network with other users, exchange best practices and tips, and learn more about the product. You’ll have the opportunity to complete challenges, earn points, and compete with your peers.

Here are just some examples of Insider challenges:

  • Ask a question of a executive
  • Be featured in a case study
  • Watch an online product demonstration of how accounting software sync works with
  • Read a blog post on new features
  • Join the LinkedIn Group

If you have any questions, please contact us at

We look forward to seeing you in our community!



Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 11:37

Tanya Roberts, Vice President, Corporate Marketing


On Wednesday, July 23rd, hosted the monthly meeting for the National Advisor Network, California chapter.

Jami Blackburn of and Pete Bornstein of BizPro Consulting Solutions, LLC / NAN chapter leader presented.  The meeting focused on essentials and Bay State Consulting’s Transaction Pro Importer 5.0.

This was the first meeting we hosted at our new office in Palo Alto at 1810 Embarcadero Road.

The National Advisor Network (NAN) group helps to advance the careers and business practices of QuickBooks ProAdvisors. is thankful to work with NAN because many accountants and bookkeepers use with QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks for Windows.  These people find that the integration between QuickBooks and eliminates double-entry paperwork and is so easy to use together that some people don’t even have to open QuickBooks.  

More information on the San Francisco Bay Area National Advisor Network can be found at the organization's site. 

We look forward to working with more groups of accounting and bookkeeping professionals that enjoy networking face to face.   

In addition to networking events at our office and other locations, customers can strengthen business connections with other other accounting professionals and business owners online through the Network of 500,000 business people or the Insiders group.

Monday, July 28, 2014 - 13:57

Geraldine Cruz, Senior Director, Product Marketing

Moving business applications to the cloud can save you significant time and expenses related to installing, maintaining, and upgrading software.  But if you need to keep their data upgraded with other applications you use without data re-entry, you’ll need a solution that integrates them.

Life would be simpler if business applications integrated the way Apple devices sync music and videos with Apple iCloud. And the good news is … with cloud applications, you may be able to get close. The integration may not be a one-click-sync, but you can find an integration that fits your workflow and isn’t daunting.

But deciphering the technical jargon and determining what makes sense for your business can be a hurdle. This blog post is targeted at beginners who want to know the fundamentals about integrations. The discussions are organized around common questions asked about integrations, syncs, and import/export: 

  • What does it really mean when an application “integrates” with other applications?
  • What’s the difference between import/export and sync?
  • What are the top things I should be aware of as I evaluate integration options?
  • How difficult is it to use import/export?
  • Is sync plug-and-play?


1. What does it mean when an application “integrates” with other applications?

When an application is said to “integrate” with other applications, that means that data may be updated across them. As a result, users get to use and work with a consistent set of data across the applications. 

The integration may be accomplished in a number of different ways, which can impact the work that the user must do to keep the data consistent. Two common methods used by cloud-based applications are import/export and sync. These two methods can also integrate cloud-based applications with non-cloud applications. Details of the methods are discussed in more detail below.

The integration may be built as a feature of the application, such as:

  • Ability to create or import comma-separated values (.csv) files
  • Syncs that has for QuickBooks® Online, QuickBooks® Windows, Xero®, NetSuite®, and Intacct® 

Alternatively, the integration may be a solution available outside of the apps, such as application connectors from third-party integrators like itDuzzit.


2. What’s the difference between sync and import/export?

Import/export is the transfer of data between applications that is accomplished by:

  1. Creating a file (such as a .csv file) with the first application
  2. Exporting the file from the first application
  3. Importing or uploading the file into the second application

For this to work, the first application must be able to create and format a file that the second application can recognize and use.

The term “sync” can have a number of different definitions. At a very broad level, this term is the shortened form of “data synchronization” and refers to the process of keeping data across two or more applications consistent.

In the context of cloud-based applications (and this blog post), syncs are pre-built features that keep data updated simply and easily — usually with the click of one or a few buttons, like the Apple iCloud sync, or using a time-based system that updates data in  specific intervals automatically.  A sync requires no file creation, manipulation, and upload by the user. The sync feature may be available in the app, or through web-based connectors available from a third party.


3. What are the top things I should be aware of?

Keep in mind a few things as you assess integration solutions:

  • Don’t assume that when you add, delete, or change the data with one application that the updates will be made available to the other applications automatically. Instead, when and how the updates are triggered will depend on how the integrations were built and/or configured.
  • Data updates may only flow “one-way” — meaning, from one specific application to the other, but not in the reverse direction. Alternatively, the data updates may be “two-way” — meaning that data from one application will flow to the other, and vice versa. Make sure you know the direction of the data flow, and validate that it aligns with your workflow. For example, if you typically work in one application and want the data to be updated to a second application, but the integration is one-way in the opposite direction, then the solution won’t work for you. You’ll need to change your workflow or find another solution.
  • The integration may be built to share some — but not all — data fields used by the applications. Before you implement an integration solution, confirm that the data you need to update across applications is, indeed, passed back-and-forth across them. 
  • Integration does not imply a one-click sync in the style of the Apple iCloud sync. Unless you’re told that an integration happens via sync, you should assume that it happens via import/export.
  • Import/export will require a few more steps than a sync would, though the application developer may have created standard process steps to make it easier for you to do. For some systems, such as Sage® Software, Microsoft Dynamics® and other non-cloud applications, import/export is the standard way to integrate data with them; so their processes have been documented in detail. You may have the option to purchase a connector from a third-party integrator that streamlines the process even further. And if you really need an automated import/export process and there are no available connectors, you can get a developer to write an integration script for you. However, when an update for any of your applications is released, you will need to evaluate whether the script still works.
  • Integrations may result in unexpected behavior, such as:
    • The process stops abruptly when an application does not recognize an unusual character (such as “!” or “?”)
    • The application may not eliminate duplicates (ie, “de-dupe” records) that were synced, though the vendor claims it does
  • When the integration results in unexpected behavior, you’ve encountered an “edge case,” a situation that the application was not designed to address. The best syncs provide robust error-handling capabilities that can help you address those edge cases in a straight-forward, systematic manner. Ask your vendors what the edge cases are, and how the integration will behave in those cases. Try out the solution on a subset of your data (or a sandbox that does not interfere with your actual data) so you can witness the behavior yourself before you implement.


4. How difficult is it to use import/export?

Don’t sweat if your only option for integrating two applications is import/export. It may take a few extra steps than sync a would. But if an application can create the file type whose format conforms with the requirements of the second application, then your integration will work.

The first time you do an import/export, you may spend time working out kinks and resolving edge cases. But once you complete the first one, future import/exports should run more smoothly.  In fact, some import/export systems, such as the one available in, allows you to save a template for your imports, making subsequent imports much easier and quicker.


5. Is sync plug-and-play?

Never assume any integration — including any sync — is plug-and-play. Even Apple devices must be configured or “prepared” for the very first sync. Likewise, in order to sync cloud-based applications, you will typically need to configure your applications to perform the first sync. It may not be difficult, and many companies, such as, offer documentation and customer support services to walk you through the sync. After that first sync, all future syncs are usually quick and simple.


Key Takeaways

Using cloud applications does not eliminate the need to integrate applications. The good news is that integrations in the cloud may be simple and relatively pain-free. Arm yourself with as much information about integrations as you evaluate potential solutions. Table 1 highlights the key takeaways from the discussion above.

Table 1. Key Takeaways





Friday, July 18, 2014 - 12:56

Geraldine Cruz, Senior Director, Product Marketing

Replacing your in-house check runs with reduces costs and security risks significantly. But if you’re using checks to pay vendors, you’re still vulnerable to mail delays, loss, or theft. As if that weren’t bad enough, you or your staff must endure phone calls from irate vendors demanding payment, and spend time voiding and reissuing checks and adjusting journal entries to correct your books.

Getting vendors to adopt electronic payments (ACH) eliminates these issues. The new features releasing the evening of July 18, 2014 are designed to make it easier for you to invite them to accept ACH.

In addition, we are releasing a new capability that allows you as a vendor to connect with your customers, who in turn, can pay you electronically.

This blog post highlights the new Network capabilities of our July Release:

  • Expanded Invitation Capabilities and Easier Process to Accept Invitations: With this release, anyone with a account can invite any other business to connect on to pay or get paid. In addition, we’ve simplified the process to accept invitations so your invitees can be more easily connect with you.
  • New Network Tab for Managing Connections: Our new Network tab helps you keep track of your connections and pending invitations.
  • Connected Businesses can Optimize Shared Processes with our eBilling/eInvoicing Solution: Making it easier to connect is just the beginning of the rich capabilities offers. What’s truly significant is what two connected businesses can do; the shared processes they can optimize; and the manual activities they can eliminate (like rekeying invoice data!).

 At the end of this post, we include additional resources to help you learn more.


Expanded Invitation Capabilities and Easier Process to Accept Invitations

The July Release enables anyone with a account to invite any other business to connect on our Network. If you subscribe to our Receivables solution, you too can now invite your own customers to connect and pay you on You’ll need your customer’s payment network ID on to initiate the connection. But in the future, you’ll be able to search and find them with just the business name. We are excited about the expansion of our invitation process, and we believe this is a great way for you to migrate your customers to ACH, which in turn, accelerates the delivery of payments directly to your bank account. 

So with the July release, all our customers — both Payables and Receivables customers  —  can invite their business partners to our Network and migrate their transactions to ACH.

To boost acceptance of those invitations, we’ve simplified the process to accept the invitations, removing the steps that prevent invitees from completing the process.



New Network Tab for Managing Connections

Now that you have more and better capabilities for inviting other businesses to connect on our Network, we’ve built a new Network tab to help you manage your connections. You can keep track of all your connections on, including invitations you’ve sent that are awaiting a response. You can also quickly see and respond to invitations that you’ve received from your customers and vendors.


Your business’ profile on the Network will also be accessible under the Network tab. As of the July 2014 release, only you and the businesses you invite will be able to see your profile. In the coming months, you will be able to customize the information in your profile. You will also have the option to publish it as a public profile searchable by other businesses that want to find and connect with you.


Connected Businesses can Optimize Shared Processes with Our eBilling/eInvoicing Solution

When two paying subscribers of connect on our Network, they can take advantage of our full Network capabilities. Their invoice and payment processes are jointly optimized, and data is exchanged between them without any data loss.

What does this mean in practice? Both the vendor and the customer to a transaction are alerted when invoices are sent and when payments are made. And the invoices and payments are sent in a format that the receiver can use immediately — with no manual data scrubbing or re-entry. To be specific, when a vendor sends an invoice, the customer receives the full invoice data — including any attachments — and does not need to rekey it. In return, when the customer sends the payment, the vendor receives all the remittance information  — and any attachments — and will not need to rekey it into

A eInvoice, eBilling, and ePayment process would involve the following four steps:

  • The vendor sends an eInvoice to the customer
  • directs the eInvoice to the customer’s inbox, where it becomes an eBill
  • The customer routes the eBill for approval in an automated process; when the eBill is approved, the customer issues an ePayment
  • The ePayment goes to the vendor’s account, and the invoice is automatically closed

At the end of this process, both the vendor and the customer reconcile the payments with their respective accounting systems with a one-click sync or through import/export.

How does the Network transform the vendor’s business performance?

  • Accelerated payments improve its liquidity and cash management
  • Fewer staff and time are needed to manage the receivables process
  • Reconciling payments against customer invoices and accounts is faster and more accurate 

How does the Network transform the customer’s business performance?

  • The streamlined process eliminates manual tasks that delay payments, increasing the ability to take advantage of early payment discounts
  • Elimination of the manual transcription of invoice data reduces the staff needed to manage the payables and reconciliation processes
  • The use of ePayments as a replacement to checks, credit cards, and other payment methods reduces transaction costs


Want to Learn More?

Our new Network enhancements will help you to more easily build your Network and enjoy all the benefits of being connected. To learn more:

And stay tuned as we roll out our new Network features in the coming months. We are excited about the new tools that will help extend your ability to find, connect, transact, and collaborate with other businesses on our Network.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 11:33

By René Lacerte, Founder & CEO,

Recently, was honored by CNBC as one of their top 50 Disruptor companies. Disruptors were chosen based on their ability to innovate and re-create industries for the better. There were 500 private companies nominated by leading venture capital firms.  50 disruptors were selected based on both qualitative and quantitative analysis, innovation and the potential to turn traditional markets upside down (for the better, of course!) CNBC Disruptor

This recognition is an honor for our team but what is even more exciting for us  is that ten of these top 50 disruptors are using to simplify and automate their financial processes.

My goal when I created was to alleviate the headaches I felt personally as an entrepreneur and to dramatically simplify financial management for businesses. By eliminating stacks of bills and paper checks, allows companies across multiple industries to gain financial efficiency and visibility not possible before. And just look at the amazing things these disruptors are creating when they are able to put their effort in the right place.

It’s not just these innovators that are embracing moving finance to the cloud—it’s businesses all over the country.  Our momentum continues to accelerate, and we now have more than 500,000 members paying and getting paid over $12B per year via the Business Payments Network. With more than 100 percent growth year over year, we have also seen electronic payments rocket to 60 percent of overall payments. These are some amazing numbers that we are extremely proud of. They speak not just to our leadership but to the fact that companies are ready for a change. 

Business and finance leaders understand the power of the cloud, and they are embracing automation as the solution to many of their problems. They are creating sleek, virtual companies that can run without ever cutting checks or buying a postage stamp. Every single customer we have—from sole proprietorships to accounting firms to non-profits to SMBs—is in fact a disruptor who is making business work better than ever before. They have embraced a paperless business; have made a stand for financial freedom and speed. So congratulations to all members of the family for this award—you have shared in our vision and you are sharing in our success. From my perspective, you are all top disruptors worth honoring.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 11:31

Geraldine Cruz, Senior Director, Product Marketing

Whether you’re a small, midsize, or large business, replacing check payments with electronic payments (ACH) will save you significant labor, operating, and transaction costs. But convincing your vendors to accept electronic payments can be challenging. Comfort with the tried-and-true and/or fear of change can make them cling to checks.

Vendors may be more willing to change if you explain how ACH will help them with their business needs and payment concerns. This blog post is the first in a two-part series that helps you influence your vendors to migrate to ACH. It provides sample dialogue to help you:

  • Communicate how ACH tackles the top concerns vendors have with customer payments — and the additional benefits of getting ACH payments from 
  • Respond to typical vendor objections to ACH 

Regardless of whether you are a customer or not, this blog will help you draft dialogue to use with vendors. 

Once you finalize the key points you want to convey, you can approach vendors. But the process to engage and convert vendors to ACH can be daunting and time-consuming. Part II of this blog series will show you how to automate and simplify this process with tools available in 

Note: Many major vendors, such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, already accept electronic payments through So the tips presented in these two blog posts are relevant for influencing vendors that are not in the existing vendor directory.

How Electronic Payments Tackle Vendor Payment Concerns

To effectively influence anyone or any business to accept change, it helps to understand how the change could help them solve some of their major problems or concerns. Table 1 below highlights the top concerns vendors have with their receivables process and with customer payments. 


Find the key issue(s) your vendor has expressed and use the benefits presented to start a dialogue or email communication with them about ACH. If you use to pay bills, consider the additional benefits delivered by our service to further boost your recommendation. 

How Electronic Payments Resolves Critical Vendor Payment Concerns

Table 1. How Electronic Payments Resolves Critical Vendor Payment Concerns

It is always best to tailor the benefits of ACH to what is most important to your vendors. But not all your vendor relationships are close enough to know exactly what concerns them. In those cases, you can summarize the key benefits of ACH with the following: 

“Electronic payments help you get paid faster, eliminate trips to the bank to deposit checks, and prevent check theft.”

The service I use will also notify you when I’ve paid you, what invoices I am paying, and the exact date the funds will be available in your bank account.”


How to Address Typical Vendor Objections to Electronic Payments

Despite learning about the benefits of ACH, vendors may have lingering doubts. Table 2 presents some of the objections you may hear and a suggested response. 


Addressing Typical Vendor Objections to Electronic Payments

Table 2. Addressing Typical Vendor Objections to Electronic Payments

If your vendors have further general or technical questions about ACH or the service, you can direct them to reach out to Our contact information is available in their check stubs.

Next Steps

With this blog post, you have practical talking or email points you can use with vendors to influence them to accept electronic payments. In the next blog post in this series, we will show you how to use the tools in to automate communication with vendors. The tips provided will be useful if you have one or many vendors to influence.

Don't miss out on part II of this post. Sign up for email updates today. 

Monday, June 23, 2014 - 11:37

Geraldine Cruz, Senior Director, Product Marketing

Sending invoices and following up with customers are critical — though labor intensive — activities that B2B companies must do to get paid for their products and services. To boost the speed of payments, many small and midsize businesses have adopted “eInvoicing” solutions. Typically these solutions send invoices through email, reducing time-to-delivery and loss of mailed invoices. 

Yet these solutions simply convert paper invoices into digital format. They do not deliver invoice data in a format that eliminates the need to input the data manually into the customers’ payables and accounting systems. An optimal eInvoice solution would send customer-usable invoice data securely, with no data loss. Moreover, it would address other key sources of payment delays in the customers’ payables process. This blog post:

  1. Summarizes the key sources of customer payment delays not addressed by traditional eInvoice solutions
  2. Explains how’s integrated eInvoice, eBilling, and ePayment solution provides an unmatched capability in addressing these payment delays to accelerate customer payments
  3. Highlights the benefits of the eInvoice, eBilling, and ePayment solution for vendors and customers
  4. Provides additional sources to learn more about the solution

Sources of Customer Payment Delays in the Traditional eInvoice Process

Some customers delay or miss payments to manage cash. Others simply forget to pay their bills. But even when a customer intends to pay all valid bills on time and in full, there are many sources of potential delays, which are depicted in Figure 1:

  • An eInvoice may languish in a person’s inbox or to-do list before it is entered into the customer’s accounting system as a bill to be paid.
  • Customers must transcribe data from the eInvoice into the accounting system.  
  • The invoice (or bill) may be routed to several individuals for review and approval. The process may be delayed, restarted, or terminated if someone in the approval queue misses or ignores the approval request, asks for further documentation, or denies approval.
  • Once the bill is approved for payment, the payment may not be issued until the next payment or check run. 
  • If the payment is made via a check mailed to the vendor, the payment can take days to reach the vendor. If the payment is lost in the mail, the eInvoice process must restart.
  • Once the vendor receives the payment (whether electronically or via check), the payment must be reconciled against the customer’s accounts and open invoices.
  • Finally, the payments are sent or delivered to the vendor’s bank, which moves funds into the vendor’s account if the customer’s bank account has sufficient funds.  

The Traditional eInvoice Process

Figure 1. The Traditional eInvoice Process 

Thus, the traditional eInvoice solution streamlines only one step of the overall invoice and payment process. It does nothing for the customer’s payable process and the vendor’s reconciliation process. 

The Integrated eInvoice, eBill, and ePayment Process

In the ideal, fully-streamlined scenario:

  • The vendor’s eInvoice process is integrated with the customer’s bill approval and payment process.
  • All manual tasks from the vendor’s receivables process and the customer’s payables process are replaced with automation. This includes the delivery of invoice data that the customer can use immediately — without additional data entry.
  • Payments are made with electronic payments (ePayments), the fastest and most reliable payment method.
  • Payments are reconciled with the customer’s and the vendor’s accounting systems seamlessly.

This perspective guided as we developed our integrated eInvoicing, eBilling, and ePayment solution (depicted in Figure 2).  


The Integrated eInvoicing, eBilling & ePayment Solution

Figure 2. The Integrated eInvoicing, eBilling, and ePayment Solution

When two businesses subscribe to and are connected on our Business Payments Network, their payables and receivables processes are optimized individually, and with each other’s processes. 

A eInvoice, eBilling, and ePayment process would involve the following four steps:

  • The vendor sends an eInvoice to its customer
  • directs the eInvoice to the customer’s inbox, where it become an eBill 
  • The customer routes the eBill for approval in an automated process; when the eBill is approved, the customer issues an ePayment 
  • The ePayment goes to the vendor’s account, and the invoice is automatically closed

At the conclusion of this process, both the vendor and the customer reconcile the payments with their respective accounting systems with a one-click sync or through import/export. 

Benefits of the Solution for Vendors and Customers

The integrated eInvoice, eBilling, and ePayment solution surmounts the manual workflows internal to vendor and customer organizations. Most importantly, it reduces the friction between the business processes of the two parties to a transaction. 

Key benefits for vendors include:

  • Improvement to liquidity and cash management
  • Reduced staff time and operating cost in managing the receivables process
  • Ease in reconciling payments against customer invoices and accounts
  • Benefits for both parties to a transaction make it easier for vendors to influence their customers to adopt ePayments, and vice versa 

Key benefits for customers include:

  • Increased ability to take advantage of early payment discounts
  • Elimination of manual transcription of invoice data 
  • Reduced staff, operating, and capital costs in the payables process 
  • Reduced payment processing costs with the use of ePayments as a replacement to checks, credit cards, and other payment methods

With our solution, both vendors and customers alike benefit from greater collaboration and stronger relationships with their business partners. 

To Learn More

To learn more about our solution:

Watch a demonstration of the eInvoicing, eBilling, and ePayment process. 

Sign up for a risk-free trial (ideally with your customer or vendor). Our account representatives and customer support representatives will show you how to optimize use of our solution.

Friday, June 20, 2014 - 14:09

By Ellen Gomes, Manager- Social Media,

Nowadays even a small business may have a global team, or be on different coasts. Your team members, suppliers or contractors could be offshore or across town, but as a small business you also have have a small travel budget. It’s hard to beat a face to face meeting for forming a strong bond between teammates, but having remote meetings is so much more efficient.  Distributed teams can now meet whenever there is a need. In this post, I’ll compare three different free tools that help remote teams feel less, well, remote.

Although the traditional audio conference is still the most common forum for remote meetings, they are my least favorite method.  A video conference allows us to see the expression and body language of the other people, and is more engaging than an audio conference. After all, it’s easier to avoid being distracted by an email or text message when you’re on camera!

To get started with video conferencing you will, of course, need a camera. If your laptop already has one, then you’re all set, otherwise just about any webcam would do.  Also, echoing can be an annoyance in group calls, and the best way to prevent that is to use a headset with a built in microphone.  One of the most popular is the Logitech USB Headset H390 that can be purchased for around $30.  If you have the standard Apple iPhone earbuds with built-in microphone, those work too.  Make sure the correct microphone is chosen in the application settings. 

Google Hangouts

If you use Google+, then you already have an account that can use Google Hangouts. A Hangout supports video and voice conferences for up to 10 people, and also supports additional plugins for useful features such as shared screen or whiteboard, and more cute than useful features such as video effects.  



Google’s approach to video streams during the conference is a bit unusual because only the current speaker’s video is full size, and everyone else is smaller video thumbnail. This allows Hangouts to be used over slower network connections, and they tend to work reasonably well for your international participants.  The audio quality is satisfactory. 

Skype Groups

If you are working with an international team, then there is a good chance that you are already using Skype or a similar VOIP application. (If you’re still using a phone, then you could cut your phone bills and try Skype). In addition to free person to person calls over the Internet, Skype also supports group calls with video, which until recently was for paid subscribers only. Now group video calls are free up to 100 hours per month with limits, such as no more than 10 hours per day and 4 hours per individual video call.  Once these limits have been reached, the video will switch off and the call will convert to an audio call. They recommend group video calls with up to five people, although the maximum number allowed is 10.

The group calls also support screen sharing, but when doing this, the screen sharing replaces the video feed.  Skype’s strength has always been maintaining decent audio quality across a variety of network bandwidths, and this is true for group calls as well. The video does seem to be pretty bandwidth  hungry and larger group calls tend to bog down.

Skype Screenshot

It’s worth mentioning that Skype also supports Group chat channels. This is a great feature to use to stay connected to everyone but without the complete disruption of a meeting.  It’s also great for leaving a quick message for someone that is away from their desk. 

GoToMeeting Free

GoToMeeting Free is a new application built specifically for small groups who need quick sync-ups. It has excellent support for both audio and video, and allows for screen sharing and video at the same time.  For now, GoToMeeting Free is only available exclusively on Google Chrome so everyone participating in the meeting need to use that browser to use the service.



Comparison Chart

These free tools come with some limitations, mostly around the number of participants, video/audio quality, and minimal feature sets.  The good news is if you outgrow any of the free versions, you have the option to upgrade to a paid subscription to meet your needs.I’ve featured only three of many free online meeting tools.  You might also want to check out WebEx Meetings Basic, Fuze Free, TeamViewer, AnyMeeting Free, and Uber Conference.  All of these tools come with a similar standard feature set like audio and video conferencing and screen sharing.  Because there are many to choose from, try them out and find one that your team finds easy and fun to use.

Which of these tools are you currently using?  Are there others that you would recommend to your fellow small business owners?


Let us know what you think by emailing us at and make sure to subscribe to our email updates to stay up to date on the spotlight series of blogs.

Friday, June 13, 2014 - 10:05

By René Lacerte, Founder & CEO,

The life of a Founder and CEO often takes me away from my business, my team and my family. While traveling this week, I had the opportunity to reflect about the upcoming holiday, Father’s Day, and the impact that my Dad and Granddad had in shaping me as an entrepreneur, and now how I’m sharing that with my boys. 

I was lucky to be surrounded by a family of entrepreneurs from which I drew important observations that shaped me into the leader I am today. My Granddad, Arcel, was a sales-oriented entrepreneur. I watched him listen. He often was the person who spoke the least at the dinner table, but would ask the most insightful questions. He was an active listener, and that helped him understand his customers and employees better.  He always wanted to understand a persons underlying motivation so that he could help them be successful. Through him, I saw how important effective listening is and how it affects people and profits immediately. 

While my Dad was also a great salesman, he was a product person at his core. He loved to create things, whether it was music or financial service products.  I watched him follow his passion, develop multiple products he thought were needed, and build them all into successful businesses.  From him, I learned how to not get distracted by critics, and how important it is to follow one’s passion. This lesson is a critical part of who I am and what I do. It is at the core of my success. It carried me through the awkward infancy stage of both PayCycle and when people would incredulously ask, “Why are you doing that?”

Lacerte Dad & Granddad

Listening and tirelessly following your passion are lasting lessons that my Dad and Granddad shared with me, maybe unintentionally. As a result of that learning, I think about my sons and how I am sharing my experience with them.  What are the most important lessons I can teach them about life and business through my experiences running a company? 

First and foremost, I share all the fun and challenging stuff I encounter every night at dinner.  I want them to feel my passion and excitement, and I want them to value that in their own careers.  In addition, I want them to see that there are challenges - things that I am unsure how to solve or that I don’t know how to do. I think it is critical that they know that every person faces hard problems that require hard work to solve.  And that sometimes you may even get it wrong. What matters most is how you address the challenges.  In fact, some of my best learning has come from my biggest challenges where I was unsure of at the beginning.  My hope is that my sons learn it is okay to be unsure as long as you move through the issue thoughtfully and authentically.

The other lesson I share with them is that when it comes to managing people, it has to come from the heart.  Whether you are hiring, motivating or coaching, authenticity is what matters.  When I am working on a speech for the company, I share my thoughts and solicit theirs.  From time to time, they even get to hear me present those speeches.  They have seen me excited, choked up and very focused in front of the company.   I hope they have learned that you cannot get people to be excited, inspired and motivated if you are not opening your heart.

It’s unavoidable that my kids see how much I work. There is no denying how much energy I put into They have front row seats to the challenges and value of hard work. I hope that sharing my experiences will have as much of an impact on them as my Dad and Granddad did on me.  

Want to share the lessons you learned from your family or how you’re helping your kids grow into tomorrow’s leaders and entrepreneurs?


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Monday, June 9, 2014 - 13:49

By Ellen Gomes, Manager- Social Media,

Jeremy Bodenhamer, like most great entrepreneurs, encountered a question and a problem and sought to reinvent the solution. The solution - ShipHawk- a platform that helps anyone ship anything anywhere quickly, simply and at the best price.

In starting  and growing his business, Bodenhamer has learned many lessons, some the hard way. So, we caught up with him and asked him about what he wished he had known from the start.

ShipHawk Founders

Here are his 3 lessons for entrepreneurs to consider:

Spend time setting up systems, protocols, and tools.

“How are you documenting your processes? Do you know where a resource is? Having those systems in place is vital. Time spent evaluating the right tool is vital to an organization - the right tool will you save you time and money and prevent the wasted time and headache of switching later.”

Always keep your customer in mind.

“Have you set up a process to ensure a seamless customer experience? Do you know their goals and feel their pain? It is directly related to what you should be working on every day. We work to fill the customer needs.”

Hire a great team.

“We have a culture of getting along, working out together and supporting each other. This translates to a team that works really well side by side at a fast pace. It’s not by coincidence, we built our team with that in mind and looked for 50% industry experts and 50% really smart people. This strategy has been vital to our success.”


Hear more about Jeremy’s story & ask him questions during our webinar event June 12. Register Now: 



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