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UK Self employed Accounting Software and Self Assessment Tax Returns

In the UK anyone receiving earned income which is not taxed under the employers PAYE system is technically self employed. Anyone who is self employed and running a business in the UK must register that business with HM Revenue and Customs within 3 months of starting that self employed business and failure to do so can lead to penalty fines.

All self employed businesses must keep records of the financial transactions and submit these accounts annually to HM Revenue and Customs in the format of the self assessment tax return which are supplementary pages included in the self employed annual tax return.

Different standards for accounting by self employed business are applicable compared to the accounting requirements of a limited liability company and consequently much simpler Accounting Software can be applied. Accounting Software for a limited company invariably requires a double entry system of accounting that produces not just a profit and loss account but also a balance sheet. The Accounting Software has to deal with business bank accounts, debtors and creditors and produce reconcilable results.

While advisable for self employed businesses to maintain a separate bank account it is not an essential requirement. The Accounting Software used by anyone self employed should keep accurate records of fixed assets although it is not essential that this Accounting Software also produces a balance sheet. With these factors in mind Accounting Software for the self employed can be much simpler and greatly advantageous if that Accounting Software also produces the numerous and sometimes onerous burden of HM Revenue and Customs tax returns and working papers.

Self Employed Accounting Software Requirements

Accounting Software for anyone Self Employed does not have to be double entry. The Accounting Software can be a single entry system which makes the value of using Accounting Software based upon excel spreadsheets feasible and due to the simplicity highly desirable. Such Accounting Software being excel based is fast and easy to use, utilising all the benefits and advantages excel offers. Accounting Software that is also highly visible at the click of a button. Accounting Software on a database hides the financial transactions that the Accounting Software has to query to retrieve the required information. It is this element of an Accounting Software database that often requires some technical accounting knowledge to operate efficiently. Accounting Software written on excel spreadsheets is, due to its visibility, much easier to use and understand and requires little or no accounting experience.

Accounting Software written on excel spreadsheets makes an ideal solution for the self employed businessman. Good financial records are the key to the success of any self employed business and especially to the value of Accounting Software. A quality Accounting Software package is an essential component of your business to identify potential problem areas and capitalise on success to drive the business forward.

Accounting Software and HM Revenue and Customs Returns

Different types of Accounting Software are available for the Self Employed and some of this software has been specifically designed to cater for the precise size and requirements of the self employed business. There are basic Accounting Software packages available for the self employed business that is not vat registered and have no employees. Standard Accounting Software packages for the self employed business that is vat registered. The vat threshold limit at which businesses are liable for vat is £61,000 up to April 2007 and subject to possible changes after that date. Advanced and more sophisticated Accounting Software for the self employed who also employ staff are available with integrated payroll software included in the Accounting Software packages.

The best Accounting Software will not only produce your self employed financial accounts but also produce the HM Revenue and Customs returns. Accounting Software that has automated the vat returns each quarter, Payroll Software that completes the time consuming P11 employee deductions working papers and simplifies the P60 year end certificates and P35 employers’ annual paye return.

And most crucially Accounting Software that automates the Self Assessment tax return.

Accounting Software and Self Assessment Tax Returns

The Self Assessment tax return is a complex document for the initiated. It doesn’t have to be, for a small business with turnover under £15,000 the self assessment tax return can be completed by entering totals of self employed sales, expenses and net profit on page one. For larger self employed businesses more complex calculations are required. Capital Allowances, balancing charges, base periods and expense analysis are beyond many self employed. Self employed businessmen are experts in their field of operations and often require help with these accounting based elements that an accountant or Accounting Software can provide.

The best Accounting Software can take the simple lists of financial transactions and by clever use of formulae built into excel spreadsheets transform the year end experience by automating the production of the self assessment tax return. It isn’t impossible, if a calculation can be made mathematically then a quality Accounting Software package can automate the process using formulae within excel to produce the calculations and offer the Self Employed businessman an automated Self Assessment Tax Return.

A function that Accounting Software can do at a fraction of the price an accountant might charge for this service. Accounting Software for the Self Employed should produce the Self Assessment tax return as the end product. The Self Assessment tax return is the Self Employed end product of his financial endeavours and therefore the Self Assessment tax return has to be the end product of any quality Accounting Software.

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Buyers Guide to Parental Control Software

The Internet is now part of our everyday live and people are learning more about both good and bad sides of the internet. Everyday almost we hear stories about predators looking for children on the internet in chat rooms on social communities as MySpace. Parents are more aware that there are lots of information, pictures and people on the net that can be harmful for children out there on the on hate site, pornographic site and etc. Then there is the problem of kids overusing the internet and developing internet addiction and therefore not showing up for school, getting bad grades and quitting their sports and hobbies.

Parents want to guide and watch their children but at the same time know they cannot be there all the time sitting with them when they are online. So even though parents are aware of the danger of the internet, talk to their kids and monitor them at home, parents know it is not possible to be the one that keep them safe all the time on the internet. They also know even if they trust them well, there are accidental search that can lead to harmful and material even they are not looking for it. So deciding on buying parental control software is considered a logical and responsible step more parents are taking.

Buying parental control software could be something you just take few minutes in doing. You sit down in front of the computer, “Google” some right words for it, press a link and buy a product. At the same time there is not certain that best software’s are those that will appear in top ten of Google search and you might be want to consider thinking what do I want my parental control software be able to do for me?

You could start buy asking other parents what they are using and asking for their experience. You could also try to browse around test look at their sites and read about that software; even send email to the sales apartment. You should check if the software has a 15 days trial period so you can test the software. Check for things like is the software being updated, which is very important in this day by day changing online world were dangers of the internet is always changing and software that the parental control software needs to work with is also updating and changing.

The biggest question you need to ask yourself when deciding on buying parental control software is the function of it. What do you want the parental software to do for you? Parental control software do not all have the same features and possibilities and you should therefore spend some time on thinking “what kind of parental control software do I need” Most of them will do different things for you and you may need different things for best safe surfing in your family. The possibilities are enormous. Let’s go over few things parental control software may have in their toolbox, so for you to use it in your buying guide you can look for those things you want to have when browsing through parental control website doing your own parental control software review.

Filtering: Does the software have filtering option? Most software will filter (pornographic filter, hate site filters, making bomb filter, violence filter etc. sites for you, but you may want to think how and how much control you have over the filtering system. 1. Does the parental control software have a database of blocked and family friendly sites? 2. Does the software allow you to create additional filtering list of sites you want to block? 3. Does the software have ability for you to only allow certain sites you choose and filter all other sites? 4. Does the software have a allow list have the ability to allow sites permanently and therefore overriding all other filtering system. 5. Does the software have dynamic content filter that block sites based on the content on each site you open?

Blocking software: You may also want to know if the parental control software is also blocking software, allowing you to block software’s you may think is harmful.

1. Does the software Block p2P file sharing like e.g. torrent software that are often used to download illegal software, music, movies, games and adult material?

2. Does it block chat programs?

3. Does the software block games that are considered more addictive e.g. MMORPG games?

4. Does the software allow you to choose additional software from the computer and block it?

Monitoring Software: You may want to check if the parental control software allows you to monitor the overall use of the computer and give you a good report on what has been happening. Does the software monitor all keystrokes that will enable you to read what has been written on the computer based on the software the words were written in? You may also want to have a screen shots recording in the software to able you to see how what has been happening in a form of picture of the screen. The screen shots recording is also good as a proof if something bad happens, e.g. Predator harassing the child, or some other child bullying the child on chat application. With screen shots you have a proof of what has happened after these incidents. Some software also has email monitoring of incoming and outgoing emails. Last option you may want to check for if the software monitors all cut and paste-ing on the computer both picture and text.

Time control software: This is a feature that can be extremely important in avoiding the computer will take too much time from school work, friends, sports and possibly preventing internet addiction. You may want to look closely into if the software allows you to specify how many hours a month, week and per day. You may want to control differently at what time of day and different between weekdays and weekends. At last the possibility of controlling some specific behavior such as applications or watching movies could be an option you want to check for

Protecting Privacy: The internet is a dangerous place for kids with predators lurking in chat rooms the importance of protecting privacy is important factor in buying a safe surfing tool as parental control software. Therefore a software that allow you to block user for sending out private information as address or phone number and/or take screen shots and notify you when private information are being sent from the home computer.

Alerts and Reports: Parental control software is not as useful if it never tell you what is happening. Good report system is important to go over the computer use and good alert system that notify you in an email or SMS can be extremely important to be able to get alert as soon as something bad things happen.

There are many other factors to look for, how easy to use the software is, is it doing what it is supposed to do, what kind of support can I a get and does the website provide me with some other useful tools or information’s. There are of course other things as well to look for as does the software provides me with specific tool for specific things I am aiming to avoid or control. These specific things could be related to e.g. all the emerging internet addiction, that is gaming addiction prevention, gambling addiction prevention, pornographic and cybersex addiction prevention. Are there some helpful tools for younger children or older children .

You may also want to look at how sure am I of being able to control the computer and my kid’s not just get around the software. You want to choose a software that is password protected, can be set in stealth mode and stop others from changing anything in the computer control panel.

Most important thing is to take your time searching, reading, asking, testing and in the end when you are happy choosing the right parental control software.

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PC Satellite TV Software Download for Free

1. How to download an online TV software for PC or laptop

There are hundreds of internet TV software being sold online. Some of these software offer anywhere between 1000 to 10,000 TV channels from around the world. It’s however a big gamble to select a good one. Most of these softwares don’t have good quality picture and sound and are simply not worth your money.

Once you have identified a good software, you can visit their checkout page for payment details. Most of these programs are retailed at low cost. On the payment page, they will request your card details and once done you are directed to a download page.

The actual download of the PCTV software takes anywhere between 2 -5 minutes. Since this is a digital product, downloading it is just like any other operating software or anti-virus that you have done before.

On downloading the online PC software, you can then save it in your computer and it will automatically create a short cut on your desktop. You will be using the shortcut to open the TV software once you need to watch internet TV.

2. What your Computer Needs before you get PC satellite TV software installed

Most of the computer online softwares will work seamlessly with your computer. Chances are that your PC or laptop is ready to receive and broadcast world TV over the internet. One of the softwares that I have used for some time now operates with all versions of Windows operating software from Win 2000.

Your computer RAM (Random Access Memory) needs to be at least 520mb to enable your computer to have enough virtual memory to run the video files. Anything less will make your computer drag and give you a ‘not enough virtual memory’ error every time you try to run the satellite software.

A speed of 300Mhz is required for your PC or laptop to run the satellite software. This speed is necessary as it needs to be a match to your recommended internet connection. A better speed on your computer will ensure you have no problems accessing the internet channels.

You can view TV on flat screen LCD or tube-type monitor. Both will give you desired results although the flat screen tends to make things a little fly. Most people enjoy watching online TV on flat screen LCD monitors. The normal type computer monitor will however do fine and you need not strain yourself buying a flat screen. I don’t use one personally.

Your computer CPU (Central Processing Unit) should be at least Pentium III and above although Pentium II would also be fine. This need not get you worried as most computers bought in the last three years should be three and above.

The software is compatible with most Windows operating system from WIN 2000. All the newer Windows i.e Windows 2003, XP and Vista provide you with easier to use toolbars.

The software will play with the default media player which comes together with your original software. However you might want to download the newer versions of other media players like VLC, NERO, Power DVD or Windows media player version 11. The windows media player version 11 will give you better sound and picture control. All the above media players are free to download from the internet whichever one you choose.

You will also need a high speed internet connection to download good quality service on to your PC. The best is broadband internet service. Cable connection seems to work best with online TV streaming although the wireless broadband also does the job fine.

Finally, you will need to get a good software like PC 2007 Elite Edition. This particular one is retailed online at around $49.95 for a one time life time membership.

Ways to Watch Free Satellite TV on your PC or Laptop

There are several ways out there that you can use to be able to watch satellite TV online without the monthly charges. Some of these ways range from the completely free ones to others where you have to pay a little amount as a start up fee. Of course each of them have their own advantages and disadvantages.

1. Free TV online websites: this is the most popular and absolutely free way to watch online service. There are many websites out there that offer online service. All one needs to do is have a high speed internet connection and you are good to go. These internet websites are designed in such a way that they list languages and counties from which they have TV stations.

This is the first information you get on the websites home page. You will have stations listed either by language or region say, Arabic online, English online, online French or by regions for example north American, African, Asia or Europe web TV.

After selecting the region or the language you wish to watch TV in, you will get a list of world stations available in that language or region. The rest is just clicking and watching your choice online station.

The only problem with this form of watching internet TV is that it is usually too busy to get through to watch even five minutes of television broadcasting. The demand for really free online TV is so high world wide that the requests that come to these websites servers are too high for them to cope. The result, these websites are perennially out of reach.

2. Watching TV from Computer PC TV Cards: This is another way of converting your computer pc or laptop to a TV. This method of watching TV on pc uses a computer hardware card called a TV card. These are small gizmos fixed at the rear of your pc slots and have ports for the speakers’ outlet, the aerial, the remote control and a radio aerial.

The computer TV card also comes with installation software and usually uses its own drivers to play TV or radio channels.

The pc TV cards are designed such that they can work anywhere in the world. All one needs to do after installation is to scan the TV stations found locally in the country you live in and the software captures them automatically. This means it will mostly broadcast in your computer, the normal TV stations available in your region and not those from outside the country.

PC TV cards require external aerial fixed and mounted on rooftops for easy reception of TV and radio waves. Once installed all you will need to do is scan the TV channel and save them to the memory with respective numbers like channel 1, 2, 3. Later you will only need to come back and click on the channel numbers that you personally saved.

Watching TV on pc using this method is good for people who don’t want to buy extra TV sets for themselves but wouldn’t mind having a cheaper option. The PC TV cards cost anywhere between $20-$50.

3. Installation of pc TV softwares: This is possibly the latest way of watching online TV which involves downloading a pc TV software online. The software is basically a collection of thousands on international online TV channels in as many languages. Some softwares offer 1000 plus channels while there are others which offer 10,000 online TV channels.

The online TV softwares are designed such that the user tool bar is an easy interface to use. Same as the online TV websites, the country TV stations are listed in their respected areas and all one needs to do is choose the country and TV station desired. I have later in this article described this method of watching satellite online free TV in detail.

The biggest advantage with this method of watching TV online is that you can virtually watch TV from any country and from any where in the world. All one needs is high a speed internet connection to watch local TV stations even in far away places. It has basically made TV become mobile and accessible everywhere.

Download online pc satellite TV software-Who needs it?

Well, there are many people right now searching to download the internet TV software. The reasons for downloading the software will definitely depend on what need one has. While others download a pc TV software for music videos, others will download it to watch news channels while still others might just need to watch old TV shows and movies online.

Other people are staying in a third country besides their own and would like to watch local TV stations and radio and in their own language. I have listed the categories of people that mostly download the net TV software below. Basically you will know you need a web TV software for pc if you fall in any of the below categories.

1. If you are a sports fanatic and can’t get a chance to watch your favorite sport at home or at the office. The convenience of satellite online TV on your computer is such that you can watch TV while you work. Or rather work while you are still watching TV or listening to music from the online free radio stations.

2. If you are locked up in a foreign country for work or leisure and would want to get home news and TV shows right wherever you are in the bundus of the world. Ask the missionaries and charity aid workers. They too download the pc TV 2007 elite edition software for their computers.

3. If you want to avoid fighting for the only family TV that you bought, well, a couple of years ago and have been thinking ‘replacement’ for more than six months now. It will serve you good to have one more TV without really going to buy a set. You save quite some money here given the low cost of downloading online TV software on your computer or laptop.

4. If you frequently travel away from home to other far away places but that have an internet connection. You might want to try downloading the pct v software into your laptop. Traveling for work, mission or leisure needs not be a black-out phase from your home country news.

5. If you are living in a foreign country where the TV stations are in a different language. Online TV softwares are also suitable for people that have immigrated to other countries like the USA, UK, France, Germany and others. With the use of a pc TV software, you will be able to watch your own country’s TV stations and in your own language including Arabic online TV, French, Russian, Germany TV and others.

6. People who have no time to sit around in the family TV room while work piles away in their study or home office. With the pc 2007 elite edition software, you are able to watch your favorite TV shows online as you work on the computer. You can actually minimize the TV window on your computer monitor and place it at the corner of the screen for that 2-5 minute glance of an important news items, show or movies.

7. For people that may want to watch some adult TV online shows and movies, the TV software offers total privacy to do so. Since the software is downloaded to your own personal computer, no one can access it without your permissions. In addition you will be able to watch it behind closed doors in your home office since it will not interfere with everybody else’s TV viewing on the family set.

8. If you sometimes get bored with your work at the office by doing the monotonous grind everyday from 9 to five. Satellite TV on pc provides you with a good escape to sneak-in a few minutes off work. What’s more is that you can also listen to your favorite music online without necessarily opening the TV portal. The choice of music you can listen to while working is so vast with over 1000 radio channel and music stations dedicated to rock, gospel, country, jam, R & B, Rap, Hip Hop and others.

9. If you want to watch uncensored TV programs and news channels from around the world. Most Americans know that, what they watch on television is usually heavily controlled by Uncle Sam. This amounts to brainwash folks. There is nothing that puts you in the real picture than hearing news items from the horse’s mouths i.e. the local TV stations where it is actually happening.

10.If you want to watch TV shows online that are never shown in any normal TV stations. For reasons of ethics, society morals and standards, there are so many TV shows, movies and films that will never see the light of day in your normal TV network like FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN. However with international online TV, you can rest assured that you will be able to watch a lot of other interesting TV programs like hunting TV, adult porn TV, car racing, extreme sports, traditional martial arts online, karate, kick boxing Thailand TV etc.

11.If you are just different and want to things your own way and try out new things. I mean why watch TV in the sitting room while you can download an online TV software right in your laptop or computer.

I need to warn you here that there are many fake online TV software scams out the in the internet. There are even fewer others that actually deliver internet TV on your pc or laptop. The trick is to know which one will and which won’t give you good on line TV viewership. I would recommend a software that I’m currently using called pc 2007 elite edition. This service is offered by a reputable online TV company “Satellite TV to PC’.

The company retails the software at a one time start up cost of $49.95 which gives you a lifetime membership. Once you download this online TV package for computers, you will be able to browse and watch over 3000 TV channels and also listen to over 1000 online radio stations. Its well worth your money.

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How CRM Software Works — Creating Customer Satisfaction with a Click

When people ask, “What is CRM?” the literal answer is, “Customer Relationship Management,” but that doesn’t really convey much in terms of what all CRM does for a business. This CRM definition is too narrow to really explain everything the system does if it is working to its fullest potential and is user-friendly enough to expand and grow as a customer-client relationship changes and grows.

CRM in the broader sense encompasses not only customer relationship management itself but how customer relationship management is handled and the most important elements of a CRM program that are essential to its being successful. The range of CRM software options vary from those that provide simple customer tracking and live chat capabilities to the more complex CRM solutions that can integrate all of the customer relationship data an enterprise has on each client past, present and future in a dynamic information data network.

What should I look for in a CRM software package?

If there’s an ideal CRM software package that works for every company and every situation, it hasn’t been discovered yet, simply because every company has slightly different needs for their customer relationship management needs as well as software implementation.

In general, however, when you are looking for a strong CRM software package there are a few things to keep in mind. If you are shopping for a CRM package, try to forget about the initial price tag at first (as difficult as this may be) and focus on the adaptability, usability and integrity of each system you evaluate as it relates to your particular needs. A few things to consider:

o What are the most important facets of customer relations are we looking to address, and does this CRM software support tracking and updating all aspects of this? For example, if your company wants to customer service to have ready access to changes in customer spending habits and an opportunity to offer new product options based on these records, make sure this capability is built into the software. Customization down the line will be time-consuming and expensive — if you have a primary goal, make sure it is standard in your CRM software package.

o Will the CRM software package integrate smoothly with all platforms currently in use at your company? If you will have to re-enter all databases such as client names, addresses and phone numbers, this will significantly increase the amount of money you’ll spend in the long run. Make sure that you can either integrate smoothly or import all information needed flawlessly.

o Is the product more than you need? An enterprise solution that offers fifteen functions you don’t need and never will isn’t a bargain if you will never expand into that market niche. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean you have to have it. Selling custom-sewn hats? You won’t need a CRM software package for tracking million-dollar overseas accounts.

o Has this CRM software package been used for a company of your size before? If it has been used for companies up to 10,000 and you have 150,000, the system may simply not be able to sustain the volume of data and crash or develop glitches. Look for something more powerful with a support system capable of understanding the size of your company.

Can you build me a dream CRM software package?

Hmm…let’s see. The best CRM software package would be optimally functional across all platforms and have its own customer support backing it, and …. Well, let’s take a look at our own list of what we’d really like in a CRM software package if money was no object and we could “have it all,” so to speak:

o A CRM software provider that has partnerships with other vendors for support in the event you need it for integration of platforms.

o Extensive training from certified CRM software technicians who will walk your people through the process of setting up, using and training others on the system.

o Full data migration capabilities to and from all programs in current use to the new CRM software.

o Offsite server storage backup for all information in the CRM system for added security.

o A toolbox for company programmers for customizing templates for company use — this will save huge amounts of time by eliminating the need to write custom codes from scratch.

o Either in-house consultants or a choice of contracted consultants they recommend (try not to be at the mercy of one consultant when there is a problem).

o A CRM software package designed by a company familiar with our specific industry and its structural needs.

The best CRM software packages enable customer service representatives to review the account information of each client or customer when they are talking to him or her and immediately understand something about that person’s needs, wants and spending patterns.

For banks, CRM software can indicate their banking patterns — are they investing through the bank? Have they recently looked into a money market fund? Do they have substantial funds that could be put to better use than languishing in a simple CD?

A mail order company can note your shopping tendencies and make Christmas shopping suggestions based on past purchases by seeing that you buy a lot of kids’ clothes and that you spend about $200 each holiday. Used correctly, a toy company can steer you toward some bargains and suggest alternatives, enriching your shopping experience and building customer loyalty.

Why does CRM software fail so often after it’s put into place?

You’ve heard the stories about a company buying a CRM software package and then realizing it hasn’t really changed anything. The big-wigs are disappointed, customer service is frustrated, and the clients are aggravated with the new changes that don’t seem to show any improvements in customer service or client relations. How does it happen?

Because CRM software was purchased that wasn’t appropriate, was purchased too soon, or wasn’t implemented properly. If you don’t purchase CRM software that specifically addresses what your customer concerns are, you may have software that is very detailed in an area you don’t need and somewhat lacking in exactly what you do need.

Purchasing too soon means you bought the software before you had evaluated what you really wanted. Many companies by CRM software with a goal “to improve customer relations,” which is not a clear business goal! You should have a very specific, well-defined objective that your CRM software solution can address, and you company should have developed a formal objective before you went shopping for a solution. Retaining customers? Improving the size of current customer portfolios? Penetrating a new market niche? Reduce customer complaints? Improve customer repair response? Determine what it is you want to focus on as a goal, and then choose your CRM software solution based on how it will address it.

Finally, implementation of a new CRM program requires proper management support and effective training. That means that management must be behind it one hundred percent, and not have “head in the sand” approach where they determine that “that’s for customer service, I never did understand that stuff,” and avoid learning how the CRM software works. It is an attitude that will pervade the company.

Second, training is essential and must encompass the company to ensure that all levels of personnel will embrace the new system and understand the genuine need for it and the real goal of what you are trying to achieve with your new CRM software solution.

Some CRM software options for small and medium sized businesses

For small and medium businesses, the most common customer relations management software request is for anything that enhances online communications and improves the time between a customer complaint or question and resolution of the issue for them.

For many companies, there are software solutions that can be purchased or downloaded to be used through their Internet website for basic services such as online customer support through live chat and customer assistance with online purchasing that is both efficient and relatively inexpensive. If your need is primarily to improve sales volume, improve response to customer questions and complaints and to make your company website more personalized, look into these solutions that are at the lower end of the price spectrum while providing solid CRM products:

o LivePerson offers two different versions, Basic and Enterprise that provide live chat, email and a variety of interactive forms customized to meet companies’ needs for customer relations. This company has developed live chat solutions and online forms for everything from universities to financial services firms. This company provides a wide range of services, including online marketing, case studies, and software designed to improve online shopping cart capabilities.

o LiveHelper offers many of the same features, and adds real time traffic monitoring and other data assessment features as well. For the price, LiveHelper is a very good CRM software value.

o GroopZ includes customer routing software so that you can transfer entire chat strings from one customer service rep to another if you need be, along with an efficient filing system for chat transcripts and customer records. For improving customer relations, the software support suggests pre- and post-service questions for all customers who contact you.

Also included are templates you can set up with specific, pre-scripted answers to frequently asked questions in online chat to save customer service representatives time and make the process clearer and more efficient. This company does a bit more customizing on the front end to fit your needs, and pricing is adjusted accordingly.

o SupportWizard gives you three CRM options that give you some flexibility — you can buy, lease or let them host your customer service/relations solutions. Interactive FAQs, live chat, standard answers to frequent questions, and Boolean search capabilities to review past interactions all make this package extremely effective. SupportWizard also has more customizable features than some, including an “escalation alert” that can be tailored to specific situations when a supervisor would be notified if a customer service situation exceeds certain parameters.

This is one of the more expensive packages available, but rather than a monthly fee you are paying for lease or outright purchase options, so factor this into the cost. You will also get spectacular customer support and constant upgrades and patches when necessary. The integration of email, live chat and telephone information into one database is also a plus with SupportWizard.

o BoldChat offers free CRM software for online customer service chat that you can use for a limited time, and offers a $9.95/month and a $39.95/month customized version of their CRM software. Both offer live customer service chat, but one adds customized windows and more options on buttons and the number of available customer service reps you can add.

o CSLive offers the most comprehensive CRM software solution available for small and medium businesses, with live chat, email, and the usual customer service features you expect from a small business CRM solution, but with plenty of extras. CSLive also offers an extensive tracking and filing system, an Internet server site where you can upload and store files of customer help articles that customers can be referred to that can by emailed directly to clients by your reps. Throw in the message center and online meetings, and this is practically an enterprise sized solution at a small business price of $29.95 a month.

CRM software, whether on a monthly user basis or purchased outright and downloaded onto your own server, will make serving and understanding your clients and customers a more productive experience, and you will all be happier for it.

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Reconciling Parental Control Software with Internet Security Principles

Parental control software remains a useful tool to monitor your child’s online activity and at the same time block inappropriate content. The fact that you are an adult does not necessarily mean you like to view offensive content, so the software can also be utilised to block offensive content on sites you often visit. Unfortunately, with the monitoring part of the software comes an inherent security risk of sensitive information that may fall into the wrong hands.

If you want to use parental control software, you need to use it responsibly, especially if you install it on a computer that is shared by several members of your household. The trustworthy members of the family need to be aware of the software and the need to have administrator privileges to disable the software before working on the computer. Parents often forget to disable the software before doing online shopping or banking, effectively allowing the key-logger component of the software to log important information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers and passwords.

Many Internet monitoring software packages take screen shots at certain intervals to capture the contents of the screen at a specific point in time. This is also dangerous if you forget to disable the monitoring part of the software, before logging into a secure area of a website. Screen shots can be taken of sensitive information that’s normally only accessible behind a secure login area. All this information (keystrokes and screen shots) is stored on your hard drive, exposing it to possible exploits from crackers or spyware.

Well-written parental control software will obviously encrypt the information it logs, but crackers often decipher the encryption code in next to no time. The last thing you need is a spyware infection or an intruder on your system that can bypass the encryption of the parental control software. You don’t want a stranger going through your logs if you accidentally forgot to disable the software before entering sensitive information on the Internet. So the most important thing to remember is to disable the monitoring software before you use the computer and remember to enable it again when you’re done, otherwise there is no point in having the software on your computer in the first place.

Some parental control software allows you to create different profiles for different members of the family. You can for instance have a “Child” profile that blocks inappropriate content and monitors your child’s activity on the web, a “Teen” profile that does not block any content, but only monitors your child’s activity and a “Parent” profile that does not monitor your activity or block any content. The “Teen” profile can be activated when your teenager wants to use the computer, or you can activate the “Parent” profile if you are present while your children surfs the Internet. The “Child” profile should be used to limit Internet access while you are not at home to keep an eye on your children’s Internet activity.

Kaspersky Lab recently integrated a parental control module into their Internet Security suite. It does not log keystrokes or take screen shots, it only monitors HTTP traffic. To know what your child is doing on his or her computer, you only need to monitor their Internet use. It is easy to see which games they are playing and which software they are using by examining certain areas of your system, like the Program Files folder and the Add and Remove Programs section of the control panel. Clever kids will know how to wipe this information, but most programs make connections to the Internet these days, so just by examining the HTTP traffic generated by these programs, you can easily tell which programs your child is using and which websites they are visiting.

The parental control module of Kaspersky Internet Security logs all the websites visited by your children, all the remote images loaded from e-mails that they read and all the servers they connect to for online gaming and software updates. If the logs contain entries from, then your child is probably using Winamp to play music or movies. Entries from, might indicate that your child is playing some games developed by Electronic Arts. Your children will also download software from certain sites, which will give you another indication of what kind of software they are using. The fact that the software monitors HTTP traffic, means that you are not only limited to the traffic generated by a web browser or e-mail client, it monitors all Internet activity from any application.

The way that Kaspersky Lab approaches parental control and monitoring software, does not compromise your online safety like your conventional child monitoring software, because there is no security holes created by keystroke logging and capturing of screen data. The logs of your HTTP traffic may still contain tracking information that you may not want to reveal to advertising companies (and their spyware programs), but the beauty of this module is that it is integrated into an Internet security suite, so you are automatically protected against unauthorised access and malicious software infections, thanks to the firewall the anti-malware shields of the software. Traffic through secure servers (HTTPS) is normally encrypted, so the monitoring software only sees the encrypted data during a secure online session like Internet banking or online shopping. I still recommend that you turn of the parental control module before transmitting sensitive information over the Internet.

Up to know I basically discussed the monitoring part of parental control software. The control part allows you to block indecent content as well. Blocking inappropriate content minimises the risk of malware infections. Porn sites are often loaded with spyware, so keeping your children away from these sites, does not only protect them from exposure to harmful content, but it also protects your computer from dangerous infections. Your child’s porn surfing may be the cause of a dangerous spyware infection, something you may not be aware of (especially if you don’t have any spyware protection installed). You could easily log into your online banking account or enter sensitive information on the web, without realising that there are spyware lurking on your computer, watching your every move. Parental control software is not designed to protect your computer against malware infections, but preventing your children from accessing inappropriate websites, helps them to stay away from potentially dangerous websites, which is the number one rule in malware prevention.

Proper parental control software should allow you to set up filters to block specific inappropriate content, giving you complete control over what you allow your child to access on the Internet. Kaspersky Internet Security allows you to do exactly this. Lets say you want to block access to sites containing the word “murder” in the URL. You simply add the filter “*murder*” to the Parental Control Blacklist and it will block all websites containing the word “murder” in the URL. You can also blacklist specific URL’s to prevent access to certain online chat rooms, web mail services or social community websites. Websites that carries your approval can be added to a white list to prevent the software from accidentally blocking it, or you may want to allow only specific pages from a site that’s currently on the blacklist. The flexibility of the software allows you to fine tune the parental control software to your own specific needs, enhancing the online safety of your children.

So what is the message I’m trying to get across here? As I said at the beginning of this article, parental control and monitoring software remains a useful tool to keep an eye on your children’s Internet activity when you are not present. As a parent you need to understand that parental control software poses certain security risks of you do not manage the software in a responsible way. I feel that developers of parental control software should move away from keystroke logging and screen capturing and focus on HTTP monitoring instead. Parental control software developed by a company who specialises in Internet security, gives you peace of mind that the software was designed with security as a top priority. The next step for Kaspersky Lab may be to make the module optional. Not everyone wants parental control software, but if I want to add this functionality to my computer, I’d rather buy it from a developer who has been in the Internet security industry for years, than buying the software from a developer who does not have a clue about Internet security.

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