“Darn. I need that document, but I’m not at the office.”

That’s a phrase that is slowly phasing out.

cloud-based accounting

Over the years, the cloud has been on the rise with many people, as well as companies, making the transition to store physical content digitally. In addition to efforts of going paperless, the main appeal of cloud-based software is accessibility any- and everywhere.

Continue Reading Get Ahead in the Cloud

Russ:  This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.  I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with R.T. Dukes, Research Director with Wood Mackenzie, and Prajit Ghosh, Global Strategy Lead also with Wood Mackenzie.  Guys, welcome to the Playbook.

Prajit:  Thank you

R.T.:  Thanks for having us.

Russ:  You bet.  Give us an overview of Wood Mackenzie.

R.T.:  Wood Mack – we’re part of a larger corporation called Verisk Analytics.  It’s a data analytics company focused in the insurance, energy and financial services sectors.  We’re part of the energy vertical.  So Wood Mack we describe as part of the energy metals and mining, really the natural resources value chain.  I’m focused in oil and gas; Prajit’s more focused on the power and renewable side, and we’ve expanded quite a bit there over the last few years.

Russ:  I remember hearing and seeing that about a year ago, too; I thought it was interesting.  To me it was more of an indication that the renewables were gaining ground these days.  So before we get to renewables, why don’t you give us an overview, R.T., of where oil and gas is today and in the immediate future?

Continue Reading Fossil Fuels and Renewable Power – What’s in the Future?

Cloud computing promises lower technology costs and greater efficiency and productivity. Yet many nonprofits have yet to move to the cloud, possibly because their staffs are smaller and their IT expertise is limited. Fortunately, cloud computing is a simple concept that’s easy to adopt.

Remote control

Cloud computing, also known as “software as a service,” uses a network of remote third-party servers made available online. Rather than relying on your organization’s own computers or server, you remotely share software and storage to process, manage and share information.

For many nonprofits, the greatest advantage of using cloud services is lower costs. The technology generally eliminates pricey contracts and per-user licensing fees. Instead, cloud customers pay a monthly subscription fee or are billed based on actual usage. What’s more, service providers update their offerings and provide security patches on an ongoing basis.

Another benefit is the scalability of cloud services. You can scale up when you need more storage or data capacity and scale back when you need less. Also, because cloud services aren’t limited to a physical location and can be accessed from anywhere, they make it easy for colleagues, board members and volunteers to collaborate on projects. Finally, cloud services can make it easier to track and report funds over multiple time periods and to analyze budgets, expenses and cash flows. They can also produce specialized data reports.

Rest assured

Most reputable services boast stronger security, including firewalls, authorization restrictions and data encryption, than your own nonprofit could afford to put in place on its own. And cloud services typically offer continuous data backup and disaster recovery capabilities.

That said, your nonprofit can’t possibly have as much control over a cloud system as it would of its own infrastructure. So if control is a priority, you need to weigh it against the benefits of cloud computing.

Vendor options

You’ll want to look for a service that:

  • Frequently updates features,
  • Immediately responds to security threats,
  • Protects the privacy of your data, and
  • Backs up data in multiple locations.

Cost is another major consideration when selecting a vendor. But your nonprofit may qualify for discounts or even gratis services.

Get satisfaction

Before leaping into the cloud, be sure to research your options and get recommendations from other nonprofits and from IT experts.

Jen:  This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.  I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with Ann Tanabe, the Chief Executive Officer for BioHouston.  Welcome back to the Playbook Ann.

Ann:  Thanks for having me, Jen.

Jen:  So last time we talked about there’s a lot going on in the life science world coming here to Houston, are there programs that are attracting companies to come here to Texas and Houston?

Ann:  Yes, we here in Texas have a really innovative program to look for talent, not just companies but actually talent, and this is through our CPRIT program – the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.  It’s a $3 billion fund which deploys $300 million a year towards cancer and cancer prevention.

Jen:  Wow, so do they work with institutions in the Med Center and how do you guys get involved with that?

Ann:  Academic institutions in the Med Center do apply for grants and individual research grants.  We at BioHouston get involved because there’s a portion of the program that deploys funds for companies.  So companies that are actually in the clinic or close to being in the clinic to develop their products and that’s where we get involved.  We help companies learn, both here in Texas and outside of Texas, learn about the opportunity and go through the process of applying for the CPRIT grants.

Jen:  That’s really cool.  Well, we’ll get you back to talk about some more ways that we’re innovating here in the life science sector, does that sound good?

Ann:  Sure, happy to do so.

Jen:  Perfect.  This has been another Thought Leader production brought to you by PKF Texas the Entrepreneur’s Playbook.  Tune in next week for another chapter.

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host and I’m back again with Carl Lewis, Olympic Medalist, University of Houston alum and entrepreneur. Welcome back to the Playbook Carl.

Carl: Great to be with you Jen.

Jen: Thanks. Now we’ve talked a little bit – you’ve touched a little bit on Winning Dimensions Sports and you guys are technology with athletes and that kind of thing, how does that all play in to developing an athlete of the future?

Carl: Well it’s really interesting; people ask me all the time what’s different now? And I tell them the tablets. You know, everyone says he have all these machines and everything but in reality it’s just a cell phone and tablet because you have access to high speed video and training tools and models and that’s why with Winning Dimensions we’re really excited to have that opportunity. But it’s no different than anything in business; either you have to find ways to integrate new media, new business, what’s going on with you or you’re going to be left behind. See, a lot of the young kids say gosh, you don’t know about that stuff or anything and I’m like dude, what’s a Commodore 64? And they’re like what are you talking about? End of discussion; I was a guinea pig for cell phones okay, so I understand how important it is.

I had one in my car in ’83 so I understand how important that is and how it gets integrated into every fabric of our lives and if you’re not able to integrate that into what you’re doing and utilize it in a great way you’re going to be left behind.

Jen: That’s perfect. So it’s really using the tools and using the technology tools to make you a better person, a better business owner, a better athlete.

Carl: Exactly, but the great thing about it is that it doesn’t change the basics. Because all of a sudden you’re not going to have a new angle to run faster, it’s just an easier way and access to see that angle and to apply that angle.

Jen: Perfect, that sounds great. Thanks so much for being here again.

Carl: Great, thank you; good seeing you again.

Jen: This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by PKF Texas, The Entrepreneur’s Playbook. Tune in next week for another chapter.

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host and I’m back again with Carl Lewis, Olympic Medalist, University of Houston alum and entrepreneur. Welcome back to the Playbook Carl.

Carl: Great to be with you Jen.

Jen: Thanks. Now we’ve talked a little bit – you’ve touched a little bit on Winning Dimensions Sports and you guys are technology with athletes and that kind of thing, how does that all play in to developing an athlete of the future?

Carl: Well it’s really interesting; people ask me all the time what’s different now? And I tell them the tablets. You know, everyone says he have all these machines and everything but in reality it’s just a cell phone and tablet because you have access to high speed video and training tools and models and that’s why with Winning Dimensions we’re really excited to have that opportunity. But it’s no different than anything in business; either you have to find ways to integrate new media, new business, what’s going on with you or you’re going to be left behind. See, a lot of the young kids say gosh, you don’t know about that stuff or anything and I’m like dude, what’s a Commodore 64? And they’re like what are you talking about? End of discussion; I was a guinea pig for cell phones okay, so I understand how important it is.

I had one in my car in ’83 so I understand how important that is and how it gets integrated into every fabric of our lives and if you’re not able to integrate that into what you’re doing and utilize it in a great way you’re going to be left behind.

Jen: That’s perfect. So it’s really using the tools and using the technology tools to make you a better person, a better business owner, a better athlete.

Carl: Exactly, but the great thing about it is that it doesn’t change the basics. Because all of a sudden you’re not going to have a new angle to run faster, it’s just an easier way and access to see that angle and to apply that angle.

Jen: Perfect, that sounds great. Thanks so much for being here again.

Carl: Great, thank you; good seeing you again.

Jen: This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by PKF Texas, The Entrepreneur’s Playbook. Tune in next week for another chapter.

Our friends and clients look to us, as accountants and business advisors, to formulate ideas and facilitate solutions for your business. With this in mind, we are supporting several upcoming events we think may be of interest to you.

  • El Centro de Corazon
  • Turnaround Management Association – February Breakfast Meeting
  • Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce
  • East End Chamber of Commerce
  • University of Houston
  • Houston Young Professionals Endeavor – Conversations with HYPE: Strategic Networking
  • Houston Business Journal
  • Turnaround Management Association – Women’s Social
  • Houston Interactive Marketing Association
If you have questions about any event details or registration information, the organization-specific contacts are below. We hope to see you at any or all of these events!

Continue Reading February Events

Our friends and clients look to us, as accountants and business advisors, to formulate ideas and facilitate solutions for your business. With this in mind, we are supporting several upcoming events we think may be of interest to you.

  • Turnaround Management Association
  • District Export Council
  • Houston Interactive Marketing Association
  • Houston Energy Breakfast
  • National Association of Corporate Directors and Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce

If you have questions about any event details or registration information, the organization-specific contacts are below. We hope to see you at any or all of these events!
Continue Reading Upcoming June Events in Houston

Our friends and clients look to us, as accountants and business advisors, to formulate ideas and facilitate solutions for your business. With this in mind, we are supporting several upcoming events we think may be of interest to you.   
  • Houston Energy Breakfast
  • Greater Houston Partnership – Coffee with the Consuls
  • Greater Houston Partnership – State of the City
  • The Women’s Fund
  • Rice Business Plan Competition
  • Houston Interactive Marketing Association
  • Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce No Limits Conference
If you have questions about any event details or registration information, the organization-specific contacts are below. We hope to see you at any or all of these events!

Continue Reading Upcoming April Events in Houston

Jen: This is the PKF Texas: Entrepreneurs Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host, and I’m here again with Kelsey Ruger, the Chief Experience Officer at CogMine and the President of the Houston Interactive Marketing Association. Welcome back to the Playbook, Kelsey.

Kelsey: Thanks, Jen.

Jen: So when we talked about your title as Chief Experience Officer, you mentioned design and design thinking. What does that mean?

Kelsey: Think about design and design thinking as a different way of solving problems. Typically when people think about design, they think about the way things look or the way they feel. But that’s just really the façade. Like there’s a lot that goes into getting to that endpoint, and the example I always like to use is how we define what users want from a system.

Typically, the way users are defined from a business perspective is what we call an inside-out perspective. So the business defines their goals and then they build software out to the user to meet those goals. When we’re thinking from a design perspective, we’re really starting from what the user is trying to accomplish and building in from there to meet those business goals.

So if you’re a user, your primary concern is, “Does this software help me get my job done?” There’s some business metrics in there; but what we want to do is make sure that we’re accomplishing what the users need so that you can actually end up with a happy medium.

Jen: So anybody who has client service responsibilities can use this design thinking to really help them think about what their client actually needs. Is that right?

Kelsey: Yeah, they can think through that. And the other thing I will tell you is try to avoid asking users what it is they want. Instead, ask them what problems they need to solve, and then you design for that.

Jen: That’s cool. That’s really cool. Well, thanks so much for sharing that with us today.

Kelsey: Thanks, no problem.

Jen: This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by the PKF Texas: Entrepreneur’s Playbook. Tune in next week for another chapter.