Planned Growth Takes Your Online Security Seriously

A padlock on top fo a keyboard symbolizing Online Security

There are good reasons for why the Cybersecurity Market Report, published by Cybersecurity Ventures, predicted that worldwide spending on cybersecurity products and services would surpass $1 trillion before the end of this year. It’s the same reason why the Ponemon Institute projected the annual cost of cyberattacks worldwide to be approximately $9.5 million. Maintaining the security of information online is a growing problem, and multimedia partners need to stand diligent against attempts at theft now more than ever before. Which is exactly why Planned Growth makes customer information security a top priority throughout the organization, and will continue to for as long as we’re online (which is to say for as long as we and our clients are both in business).

Of course, the customer service component to what we do has a variety of what can be considered “top” priorities, such as maintaining viable turnaround times, keeping constant communication with clients, assuring the quality of our work, and more. However, every associate working for Planned Growth is trained and consistently reminded that the #1 priority to keep top of mind throughout every step of our process is maintaining 100% security of ALL of our client’s information (websites, login credentials, financials, etc.).

Planned Growth provides assurance to our customers in a multitude of ways. This ranges from encrypting sensitive information in apps and various software that have encryption features, ensuring the passing of a client’s login credentials are being done in a secure way, and making sure their Zoho accounts have proper settings for security, sharing, permissions, et al (which prevents other users in the client’s CRM from being able to export or delete records).

Why Zoho?

Zoho is a multinational company that has specialized in software development, cloud computing and web-based business tools since the company was founded in 1996, and is best known for the Zoho Office suite.

All new Monthly and Block accounts get a Client Portal access on the Planned Growth website. Within that Client Portal is Zoho Vault, where clients can edit or add new credentials with their Vault Folder. An Account Manager trains clients on the usage of Client Portal and Zoho Vault and continually monitors their activity to ensure they have access while remaining secure.

There are times when clients don’t find Zoho intuitive or simply prefer the old method of emailing us login credentials. That sort of method is not remotely secure, so we take the time to provide additional 1:1 training until there an increased level of comfort and familiarity with both our Client Portal and Zoho.

Planned Growth practices what we preach. Every member of our organization knows to make the security of our clients our very top priority. We are reminded to ask ourselves, “Is this information the client would want to be made public if this was somehow hacked, or should I find a more secure way of passing this information along?” And then we find the most secure solution for exchanging said information.If information security is a priority for your business, in addition to the benefits of creative marketing solutions, call Planned Growth at 1-800-625-GROW or Contact Us here and let us get started marketing your business in the most secure way possible!

Introducing Remote Work: Easy Marketing strategies Bring your office into Cliq

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Ever wondered what it’d be like to experience working from an office space while also working remotely? With Remote Work on Cliq, you can get the best of both worlds. For Marketing strategies.

Dive in to see how Remote Work gives you an office inside Cliq!

Check in to work and see your team

You can now directly check-in and check out to work from Cliq. It’s as simple as swiping your ID when you walk into the office every day. The department view shows you how many from your team are already at work, who’s away, and who’s currently in a meeting. Just like you walk into the office, walk past your teammates and their workspaces, and know with a glance who’s available or busy in a discussion.

Let your team know your availability

When you’re working remotely, you’re more likely to make your own schedule. You can easily let your team know your availability by updating your status on Cliq. The Remote Work view comes with four statuses for you to choose when you’re available for collaboration, engaged with work, having lunch, or taking a short break.

For example, say you’re working on something important. Change your status to “Engaged with work,” so your co-workers know your schedule and don’t expect your immediate attention to anything that’s not an emergency.

Auto-timed status updates: sync your status based on your activity across Zoho Apps

Cliq will also update your status based on your current activity across different Zoho Apps, making collaboration even easier. Whether you’re in a remote session in Zoho Assist or hosting a meeting in Zoho Meeting, Cliq syncs with these apps to auto-update your status! The lunch and short break statuses are also timed, so you don’t have to worry about changing your status once you’re back from the break.

Note: Cliq status sync based on activity across Zoho Apps will be available by June 3, 2020.

Use live feed to see what your co-worker is up to

Live video feed helps you mark your telepresence. Imagine how you’d look at your co-worker’s desk to see if they’re free before heading over for a quick discussion? Cliq’s Live Feed is just the virtual equivalent! You can see what your co-worker is doing, so you know when it’s the right time to connect.

Hop onto an instant group call

There are many situations where talking face-to-face might be better than a message. Use the group call button to pull in stakeholders and get the conversation going. With Cliq and Zoho Notebook’s native integration, you can easily take notes during a call and share it directly in chat.

Add scheduled calls with groups and team members alike

With the department view, giving a perspective of who’s at work, available and busy – you can easily schedule a group call. Scheduled calls on Cliq are completely managed by Zia, the meeting orchestrator. Once a call is scheduled, Zia instantly creates a group chat with all the participants and posts a meeting invite card. You can also easily set up a call with your teammate directly from the chat actions!

Reports help you understand your team’s work hours

Reports give you a comprehensive idea of individual, departmental, and organizational work hours. You can also get a summary of a user or the whole department’s work hours, both for each day and over a period of time.

Remote Work in Cliq is also tightly integrated with Zoho People, so if you’re using Zoho People as your HRMS, check-in and check-out are reflected in Zoho People’s attendance management.

Contextual native integrations across all Zoho Apps

Contextual native integrations help break down information silos. Cliq’s integration across different Zoho Apps makes it all the more easier to take action on URLs and work items right from the chat window.

  • Easy document management
    Cliq’s integration with Zoho Writer lets you preview, share, or export documents from the document URL shared on chat.
  • Effective project collaboration
    How frequently do you have to switch between your project management and collaboration software to keep track of your progress? Wouldn’t it be easier if all your project updates were synced in your project channel on Cliq, where all your project discussions live? With Zoho Cliq-Projects integration, you can easily trigger auto-project updates in any chat to keep all stakeholders informed, as well as take action on messages and turn them into project work items.
  • Instant leave approvals
    Workplace collaboration should also integrate with simple workflows like leave requests, asset management, and more. With the Zoho Cliq – People integration, you can view employee profile, navigate across different departments, and easily leave requests become actionable making it simple for you to approve right from your chat window.
  • Guest Chat: Bring guests into Cliq
    It is important to have avenues that allow you to collaborate with external users with ease while also keeping security in mind. Guest access in Cliq lets you invite an external user or a group of external users to be a part of a group conversation. Guest users will be able to send messages, share files, and get on group calls with an invite, without having to sign up!
  • Permission-based guest management
    Role-based access permissions allow only users tied down to specific roles to create and engage with guest users. Users who have permission to create guest chats and invite guest users also have full permission to manage guests. You can lock a guest chat once its purpose is served or block and remove a guest if necessary. Guest users will not be a part of your Cliq organization and will be able to access only the chat they’re invited to be a part of.

Join our live webinar

We’ll be talking about how Remote Work can give you an office inside Cliq. Join our live webinar to get a walkthrough of all the new updates!

As more businesses become accustomed to this new normal of remote work, it’s important that the tools you use are up-to-date. Remote Work in Cliq is here to make a difference for teams working remotely. If you haven’t tried it out, go ahead and take Cliq for a spin today. Zoho Cliq’s unlimited version will be available for all businesses for free until August 31st, 2020. We wish this is of help to all teams.


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How to stay PRODUCTIVE Amidst COVID-19

working remote

Hosting Remote Meetings via Webinar in COVID-19 

Webinars are becoming a more efficient way to hold meetings in business today. They can be used for business meetings with colleagues and staff members, training sessions with employees & even client interactions! 

Benefits of Virtual Meetings:

  • No longer need a physical meeting time that requires time and money to travel. During COVID-19
  • Virtual meetings via webinar and video conferencing can save your organization a lot of money. This applies especially to COVID-19
  • With the click of a specific URL, your participants can share information, whether it’s text, video, or audio.
  • It’s not always possible to attend every meeting you invite for. But with the help of virtual meetings, gives people or clients the opportunity to attend from their own workspace.
  • Easily upload PowerPoint files for onscreen viewing make the flow of information and ease of communications can increase productivity and efficiency.

Video Conferencing:

  • Video meetings help maintain human connections, enabling the digital workforce.
  • Bringing remote workers face-to-face can boost productivity on both ends.
  • move faster to your own goals when you can see and interact with the people you’re working with. 

Zoho Remotely:

  • Work Remotely. Your office is where you are.
  • Zoho Remotely will enable you to take your work remotely by offering a complete suite of web and mobile apps that will help you communicate, collaborate, and be productive.
  • Multiple apps for stay at home workers FREE until July 1st.


Enhancing Customer Service with Support Desks

Man with watch monitoring the support desk on a lap top

Support desk software makes it possible for companies of all shapes and sizes to deliver great customer service. But with so many options out there, including different types of ticketing systems and different types of help desk software, it’s hard to know where to start.

Zoho Desk is the first context-aware customer support software of its kind — that presents customer issues against the broader context of their prior activities and interactions. One of the biggest lessons we learned serving customers is the need to provide contextual information to every customer interaction. This means customer history, their activities, their prior issues — anything that helps the service agent grasp the issue better and drive its speedy resolution.

According to Forrester, 42% of service agents are unable to resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems and multiple applications that hold relevant customer data. Customers report that service agents fail to answer relevant questions 50% of the time. It’s not just about training. Insufficient information that misses the customer’s problem context is often at fault. This is exactly what Zoho Desk is fixing by bringing context and information into the calls.

One of our goals at Planned Growth is to provide quality support in a timely manner. Our online support desk helps us accomplish this goal for our customers by creating tickets and assigning Service Level Agreements (SLA’s). Our 4 service levels are Low, Medium, High and Urgent.

  • Low: We will respond within 3 days and the Ticket will be resolved within 30 days.
  • Medium: We will respond within 2 days and the Ticket will be resolved within 7 days.
  • High: We will respond within 24 Hours and the Ticket will be resolved within 3 days.
  • Urgent: We will respond within 4 Hours and the Ticket will be resolved within 24 hours.

We’d love to show you how Zoho Desk works and how it can help transform your organization! Schedule a FREE Demo of Zoho Desk with one of our Zoho Specialists today!


Accounting trends to look forward to in 2020

Accounting Trends

The new year is upon us! It’s already a few weeks into 2020, and it’s time to focus on the challenges ahead. New trends are emerging in almost every branch of business, and accounting is no exception. Keeping track of your finances is a driving factor to your organization’s success. Staying current with the latest technological advancements in the accounting world will help your business keep up with competitors and thrive long into the future.

Here’s a look at some of the most important advancements to be aware of in 2020.

The growth of automation and AI

Automation is making its mark in many fields, and it has already made its way into the accounting realm. It’s one of the biggest advancements that accounting has seen since the introduction of double-entry bookkeeping. You can automate mundane tasks that take you away from other important accounting activities. Workflow rules, bank transactions, payment reminders, and recurring invoices and billing are just some areas where automation has proven its worth. Another kind of technology that is shaping the future is AI or artificial intelligence. While automation is based on programming rules and makes software run without human intervention, AI is data-driven and is more concerned with making software smarter. AI is achieved through machine learning (ML) algorithms. The main advantage of adopting AI into your accounting system is to reduce errors and achieve near-perfect accuracy. Businesses that use AI in their accounting will be able to provide real-time data insights and more accurate financial reports than those that do not commit to AI.

However, since automation is relatively new, and machine learning algorithms take time to perfect, there is no accounting system that has achieved 100% automation and accuracy. With better algorithms, we can expect automation and AI to play an increasingly important role in accounting in the years to come.

A more efficient O2C cycle through automation

Order to cash, or O2C, is the sales process from the creation of a sales order to receiving payment. Businesses must manage their O2C cycle efficiently to stay ahead of their competition, and this is one of the areas where automation can help. Employ automation at any or all levels in the O2C cycle to cut down your expenditure on resources and reduce manual intervention. Automation can help you sort and process sales orders, send them for approval, and convert approved documents into invoices. Once confirmed invoices are received and paid for by the customer, the payment and status of the corresponding invoice will be automatically updated in your accounting software.

Although many businesses have already adopted automation to take care of their O2C process, some are still apprehensive. With automation technology becoming more reliable every day, we will see a steady rise in the number of businesses trusting it to handle their O2C tasks.

The adoption of blockchain

Blockchain, in simple terms, is a distributed ledger. It’s used to manage fund transfers and finances in a more advanced way than traditional bookkeeping. Every time a transaction is created, it’s time-stamped and linked to the previous transaction. This latest transaction becomes the next “block” in the chain, hence the term “blockchain.”

In today’s financial transactions, the bank often acts as a middleman between the sender and the receiver. Distributed ledger technology aims to remove this middle entity, allowing users to make transactions directly. Data can be updated only by participants in the system, and once added, the data cannot be erased. This brings enhanced security and accuracy to the system because every data entry becomes an auditable record. Distributed ledger technology is also transparent because transaction data is stored on thousands of servers across the globe. Anyone with access to the network will be able to see the changes in real time. This makes it almost impossible for one person to gain control over the network. Blockchain is still new, and it will be years before it’s fully adopted by businesses for accounting. However, it will be no surprise if we see localized blockchain adoption and usage in the near future.

Comprehensive fraud detection

Fraud is one of the biggest and most important threats that the accounting industry has to address in a digitally evolving world. Fraud can include banking fraud, suspicious invoices, duplicate payments and more. It can deal a severe blow to your business success and productivity even if you aren’t responsible for committing it. It also leads to revenue loss, and you could end up shelling out a lot of money to settle legal cases. The best defense against fraud is detecting it early. Today’s accounting software helps you create digital approval workflows. It also has document management tools built in so you can filter duplicate documents and weed out potential fraud.

Machine learning is another advancement in technology to counter fraud. Machine learning algorithms can save investors from painstakingly analyzing financial data to detect fraud. Machine learning techniques like neural networks and support vector machines (SVMs) allow organizations to combat financial malpractice more accurately than traditional data analysis. They can process large data sets in a relatively short time and weed out dubious documents based on previous learning. Although machine learning is more efficient and time-saving, it still has a long way to go before being completely adopted by businesses to fight fraud. Even still, it’s predicted to make a big impact on how your organization tackles accounting scams in the future.

Accounting software and mobile banking integrations

Banking services have seen rapid development in the last decade. More businesses have started using online banking, and the dependence on brick-and-mortar branches has diminished considerably. Banking services are now being offered through mobile devices, and integrated banking technology is emerging. Accounting and banking are no longer separate entities. Most modern accounting solutions offer bank integration, making account reconciliation simpler and faster. In the future, as more mobile accounting apps connect with mobile banking apps, business owners might no longer depend on their computers. They’d be able to accomplish their banking tasks right from their smartphones.

Online collaboration tools and remote work

In today’s fast-paced world, your organization’s success depends on how quickly you can get things done, and working as a team makes it easier. One of the most useful functions of modern software is remote collaboration. You can work easily with all the members of your team and coworkers in different business departments. Online collaboration tools will put an end to departmental silos and increase productivity. It will also help you organize and prioritize tasks better, complete projects faster, and save huge amounts of time and money. Involve your accountants, too. Collaboration tools will allow business owners to give accountants access to organizational data so they can handle the company’s accounting processes from wherever they are.

Better ROI and conversions using social media

In the past decade, social media has evolved to become the easiest and fastest way to know what’s happening around the globe. It has been such an influential factor that it’s practically unavoidable for today’s businesses. There are billions of people on social media at any given moment. Creating a digital presence for your company will greatly improve your chances of getting recognized and remembered by potential customers. Social media marketing is primarily used for brand awareness and sharing content. It helps segment audiences, identify leads, and reach out to them effectively. This gives potentials a greater chance to consider and evaluate your product, leading to more conversions.

Today, accountants of top accounting firms swear by social media as a marketing strategy because it’s quick and efficient. In the future, more businesses will jump on the bandwagon of social media marketing to capitalize on better conversions and increased ROI.

Decentralized accounting operations

Cloud-based accounting needs no introduction to established businesses. But if you’re just starting out, you might need some clarity. The cloud offers on-demand access to computing, data storage, and shared resources over the internet. With the cloud, you don’t have to worry about storing your data on physical drives or losing stored data. The cloud is also superior to on-site software platforms due to faster deployment, timely updates, and better security.

Moving your accounting operations to the cloud allows for better resource sharing, easier access to financial data, and more robust security. Cloud accounting software is also scalable, making it easy for your system to seamlessly adapt to the growth of your business. The main advantage of the cloud model is that users can access their accounting data from anywhere they want and at any time. An internet connection and a compatible device are all you need. In the future, accounting operations will become decentralized as more companies start using cloud-based applications for their businesses.

The takeaway

Technology is advancing, and successful businesses adapt to these changes. With that in mind, it doesn’t pay to be in the dark about accounting trends. Technology like automation, artificial intelligence, integrated platforms, scalable and collaborative software, and digital media are big influencers for the accounting world. As we go further into 2020, it’s in the best interest of your business to learn about these advancements and leverage them to keep your accounting processes efficient and reliable.

Schedule a Free Demo!



Why you should Choose Zoho Meetings

Zoho Meeting is a tool to help make hosting your online meetings, webinars and conferences simple for everyone.

One of the great things about Zoho Meeting is that because it is web-based, online meetings and webinars can be hosted and attended in Zoho Meeting without the need to download any software.

There are many great elements to Zoho Meeting that cannot be found elsewhere. You can conduct webinars and meetings with both audio and video; in addition, hosts can share their screens in real time. Or, if it’s preferred, hosts can also record their meetings and webinars so they can be shared online or downloaded for future viewing/listening. Dial-in telephone numbers can also be utilized to join meetings via phone when needed.

There are many features that can help when It comes specifically to planning meetings. With Zoho Meeting you can:

  • Schedule a meeting for the future or meet instantly
  • Meet with up to 100 people!!!
  • Send invitations including RSVPs. (Invitation emails are sent to attendees with a tab with three response options: Yes, Maybe and No. Participants can click an option and the presenter will receive an update.)
  • Add meetings to your calendar
  • Receive meeting reminders
  • Embed links to the meeting on your website
  • Share recordings
  • Download recordings
  • Lock meetings for security purposes when desired
  • Remove or mute specific participants
  • Share keyboard and mouse control with specific participants
  • Meetings can also be easily edited, rescheduled or cancelled

When it comes to Webinars, there are also a lot of benefits to using Zoho Meeting. You can:

  • Organize webinars with ease
  • Connect up to 250 attendees
  • Deliver presentations though screen sharing
  • Answer your attendees’ questions through Q&A chat
  • Customize registration for your webinar, including adding questions, fields, etc.
  • Use “screen sharing” to deliver presentations
  • Include a co-organizer or make an attendee the presenter
  • Create and launch polls, and get instant results
  • Share and/or download webinars
  • Export your webinar’s analytical reports

To use Zoho Meeting, all you need is a computer with a compatible operating system, speakers and a microphone (or desk phone), a web camera and a supported web browser.

Are you interesting in using Zoho Meeting for your next Meeting and/or Webinar? Contact Planned Growth today! Planned Growth is a certified Zoho Partner with extensive experience helping companies just like yours successfully use Zoho Meetings. CLICK HERE to contact us and start enjoying the features of Zoho Meetings today!

Create your own Personalized Survey Form Fast, with Zoho Survey

Have you ever wanted to create a survey for your company but fear the task may be too daunting? With the help of Zoho Survey, you can create a survey in minutes! You can also reach your audience on every device, view results in real time, and view them geographically!

Zoho Survey offers more than 25 question types, in addition to other features such as piping, auto fill, white labeling, skip logic and more – all designed to help you create an efficient survey personalized to your needs. You can even liven it up with customizable themes that are best suited for your brand and style!

There are also plenty of survey categories available on Zoho Survey, including Customer Satisfaction Surveys, Human Resources, Education, Marketing, Events, Health Care Surveys, Non Profit, Government, Political, and Business Surveys.

When you are done creating your perfect survey, you can share it instantly via social media and email campaigns. And you can assure your audience that all surveys are safe and secure, thanks to features like password protection, multiple-response prevention, CAPTCHA, and SSL certification.

The features continue even after the surveys are completed. Once you have the responses, Survey’s customizable reports can help you see response trends, which can help you make more informed decisions for your brand and product!

Zoho Survey is truly all you need to help make the survey process simple, efficient and beneficial for your needs!