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Software programs as outsourcing alternatives

The Internet makes outsourcing of business functions, especially back office type functions like accounting and word processing, especially attractive for companies in high-wage regions like the USA and western Europe, to outsource to low-wage countries where trained professionals can do a competent job.

Outsourcing may be a great idea for individual companies, but on a national level this kind of activity may cost jobs in America and other high-wage countries. Some business owners, large and small alike, are seeing the harm this trend may cause in their home country and as a result, have begun taking actions that lower their back office costs, but helps to keep jobs in America.

The key to saving a lot of US jobs isn’t people, but rather software. Three important pieces of software, all created in America, play an outsize role in keeping some jobs from being shipped overseas.

The Microsoft Office Collection
Arguably one of the most popular pieces of software to ever be invented, the Microsoft Office collection has found a comfortable home in the American business community. Even better, the collection was completely created by the all-American company—Microsoft—Bill Gates’s iconic, multi-billion dollar corporation.

Featuring well-known programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the Microsoft Office collection is widely being in a variety of diverse business applications. For instance, a company memo can easily be created in Microsoft Word, while important monthly budget figures can be collected, sorted, and analyzed in Excel.

QuickBooks
The brainchild of Intuit, an American-based company headquartered in Mountain View, California, QuickBooks has proven itself to be an asset in the business world, allowing business owners to track their sales and expenses, take the hassle out of taxes, and act as an overall organizational tool for finances.

Aside from organizing finances, QuickBooks has also gained a reputation for being superior in managing payroll and inventory. As most business owners know, running a business is filled with financial pitfalls and loopholes, all of which must be tracked and managed accordingly. Enter QuickBooks! Moreover, this essential piece of American-made payroll software is great for fending off the tax man at the end of the year.

TurboTax
Taking after its name, TurboTax is a tax program that has made end-of-the-year taxes much easier for everyone ranging from the small business owner to the individual consumer. Just like QuickBooks, TurboTax is also the creation of Intuit, meaning it is as American as they come.

Business owners know all too well the logistics involved at the end of the year when tax season arrives in full swing. However, tax time can be made much less stressful by using TurboTax, especially when you consider the fact that the financial info recorded in QuickBooks can easily be integrated into the TurboTax program. TurboTax is quickly becoming a staple amongst freelancers, small-business owners, and even CEOs.

The point here is that an American-owned business doesn’t have to look overseas for a low-cost alternative to completing necessary back office functions. In many cases, software that is made and maintained by American companies offer a viable alternative to sending money outside the country. Before deciding to outsource, a manager or business owner may first want to do a little research to see if a domestic software option is better and cheaper than sending work to a foreign country.

Making a smartphone app isn’t as easy is it seems

In the last few months, the level of excitement in the software side of the high tech industry has reached a fever pitch at the IPO end with companies like Facebook and Groupon, and enterprise software companies like ERP software, but it has also gotten a bit crazy when it comes to much smaller scale software projects such as smartphone apps.

Whether an entrepreneur trying to make a decision about creating an app for the Android market, the iPhone market, or a web-only app, many of the problems are similar, among them are the following:

  1. It is tempting to fire first and aim later: While it may be a bit daunting to make a sophisticated app, anyone who is familiar with the basic programming to make a web site work can take on the technical challenge of writing the code for an app. The problem is that just because a programmer can create an app doesn’t mean that they know about all the things that go into creating something that people will find useful.
  2. It isn’t just a smaller screen, it is a whole new world: A smartphone screen isn’t a smaller version of desktop or laptop screen, and it is not an iPad. The average person uses a smartphone in ways that are very different from how other devices are used. The behavior of someone who graduated to a smartphone from older online access technologies. Anyone who doesn’t take the tine to really thing through what they are doing may end up with a product that works well but doesn’t work for the user because it wasn’t built to around how the user want to use it.
  3. If you don’t make a move you may get left behind: Smartphone use has taken off like a rocket, and shows no sign of slowing down. While it may encourage an entrepreneur to do something now, it may be much better in the long term to understand the overall process of creating something useful for the consumer instead of just getting something to market.