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Within minutes of learning of an oil refinery fire on the West Coast, a salesperson from Equilon Enterprises LLC in Houston can turn to his company’s corporate portal, find out which customers are affected, and make sure he sells them the gas they need at current market prices. Five months ago that salesperson would have had to make a bunch of telephone calls and cruise various Internet sites to find that information.

AT A GLANCE: Equilon Enterprises LLC

The company: Houston-based Equilon Enterprises handles pipeline operations and gasoline distributions to all Texaco and Shell retail stations in the western United States. The company has 500 employees.

The problem: Need to increase the bottom line by bringing together disjointed technology and making information more Internet-centric.

The solution: Develop a corporate knowledge management portal that integrates all Equilon information into one central location on the desktop.

The technology: The portal runs on Windows NT servers from Compaq Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. servers that run UNIX and Oracle 8i database.

But since Equilon, a joint venture of Shell Oil Co. and Texaco Inc., launched its corporate portal in June 2000, its salesforce and some account managers and pipeline schedulers now have access to much of the company’s internal data from one Web-enabled starting point. The portal integrates Equilon’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, suite of office software, and collaboration and document management tools, along with selected content, onto a single screen.

“It’s not so much that the information hasn’t been available, it’s the timeliness that the portal brings to us,” says Robert Stephens, an Equilon business information manager who helped implement the portal before leaving in September 2000 for another job. “We can get that information in real-time and make decisions quicker based on the information. It’s getting the right information to the right people at the right time.”

Equilon is among the growing number of firms launching corporate portals to help employees gather, manage, share, and utilize information that in the past had been stored in disparate databases throughout the company. These knowledge management portals not only bring the information to the employees’ fingertips through a corporate intranet site, or in some cases the Internet, but also help them interact with it, mine the data, and share information between one application and another.

Carl Frappaolo, executive vice president and cofounder of Delphi Group in Boston

The Evolving State of Corporate Portals

Dephi Group, which specializes in knowledge management research, estimates the corporate portal market by 2001 will grow to $740 million, from $178 million in 1999. By the beginning of next year, Delphi estimates nearly 90% of large organizations will be developing portals, with 80% in production mode. Similarly, Gartner Group Inc. of Stamford, Conn., estimates that by 2003, 50% of Fortune 1000 companies will have a knowledge management system in place. Both firms say there is a growing trend toward achieving knowledge management solutions through a portal interface.

“Knowledge management is a business process, not a technology,” says Jim Jacobs, Gartner Group knowledge management research director. “Portals are valuable technology that can assist with the business process.”

The idea is not just to gather information, but to present it so employees can interact with it and contribute back so others can learn from it, too. Software vendors began offering portal tools two years ago. Now more than 100 vendors have emerged, offering everything from niche tools to full, out-of-the-box solutions. However, there are no true leaders in this diversified space.

Lotus Development Corp. and Microsoft Corp. in October 2000 picked up the pace by announcing new knowledge management portal tools. Lotus’ K-station will work with collaborative tools such as Sametime, QuickPlace, and Domino to give users a single point of access to information. Microsoft announced a server application, code-named Tahoe, which will combine with its Digital Dashboard tools that are available for businesses that want to build their own portals.

Because there are so many portal vendors and the companies are so new, Gartner Group estimates there will be a shakeout in the industry by the middle of next year. “This is going to be a best-of-breed market,” says Jacobs. “We do not see a single vendor like Lotus dominating this space.”

While Delphi estimates the majority of large companies will be developing portals by next year, the types of portals will vary. A true knowledge management portal is one that brings together various data and technology systems from within a company and makes it easier for workers to gather and share information through a corporate intranet and online. The portal will allow workers to extract data that otherwise is hidden inside systems and oftentimes only available to the information technology staff.

“Knowledge resides between applications, not in applications itself,” says Delphi’s Frappaolo. “For example, give me a list of customers who have goals we’re not going to meet this week. When you start asking these complex questions, you don’t have a single place to answer the questions.”

Improving the Bottom Line

Companies are using knowledge management portals for different parts of their business. Office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller Inc. in 1995 embarked on a quest to use technology to improve its bottom line by reducing manufacturing lead time and increasing reliability for its customers. At the time, the Zeeland, Mich., company dealt with suppliers mainly by telephone and fax. An attempt to go through a third-party electronic data interchange had largely failed. So Herman Miller looked at portal software to bring all of its supply-chain data onto a single screen and make it accessible over the Internet to its suppliers.

Lessons Learned about Corporate Portals

1. Figure out what business problem you’re trying to solve, then go after a knowledge management solution that addresses that problem.

2. Check out portal providers carefully. There are more than 100, and the market is new. Many won’t be here two or three years from now.

3. Implement your knowledge management solution slowly to make sure it addresses the needs of users and to test how employees will use it.

4. A true knowledge management portal includes the ability to gather and feed data back into it, not just the ability of users to extract data. Make sure the system is able to accept and integrate new data back in.

After looking at different options through consultant Deloitte & Touche, Herman Miller chose to work with TopTier Software Inc., which offered a portal tool that allowed officials to integrate the company’s Baan enterprise resource planning (ERP) package with its browser. The portal includes payment information, invoices, demand, delivery, and quality control information about items ordered from Herman Miller. News and other Web information have also been integrated into the portal.

Brunsting says timely shipments to customers have improved because of the immediate cross communication between the suppliers and Herman Miller. “Five years ago we were averaging 75% [on-time shipments]; today we are consistently hitting 95% and above. We see the portal helping as one of the key enablers of getting that last 5%,” he says.

Delphi Group’s Frappaolo points to some Delphi clients that have implemented knowledge management portals to improve their businesses. AT&T uses its knowledge management portal for its international salesforce, reducing the time necessary to close deals. Scientists at Lawrence Livermore Labs in California use their portal to organize and access scientific information. And J.D. Edwards & Co. built a knowledge garden, which it uses to organize and disseminate business process and product information.

“[J.D. Edwards] achieved 1,080% return on investment in their ability to respond to complex [request for proposals] in a shorter period of time because the information was readily available,” Frappaolo says.

Insurance Companies Put Portals to Work

While some companies like Equilon and Herman Miller are well into their portal implementations, others like St. Paul Reinsurance, are just beginning. A member of insurance provider St. Paul Companies Inc., it is one of the first firms to beta test Lotus’s portal solution. By the end of the year the firm expects to begin rolling out its corporate portal, which will integrate corporate information, department information, and individual information into a series of screens. St. Paul Reinsurance uses Windows NT servers running on Compaq hardware.

“The vision is to provide collaboration capabilities and to allow people to organize their content and be able to control it in terms of how it gets authored, edited, approved, and published to the portal,” says Andrew Cole, senior vice president and chief information officer at St. Paul Reinsurance.

The portal will bring together Lotus Notes, Domino, chúng tôi Raven Enterprise Server, Microsoft Office applications, and anything from the Internet or St. Paul’s intranet. “If we have a merger and acquisition and are doing due diligence, people all over the world can meet in a knowledge window and feed in information,” says Cole. “It will be a repository of content on a given issue that lots of people can easily see. The knowledge worker doesn’t have to figure out where the content is located, or what format it is in, or what version it is. They just open up the knowledge window for that topic and there is the latest and greatest information at their fingertips.”

Equilon, meanwhile, by the end of the year expects to have more than 500 employees using the company’s portal. It integrates the firm’s CRM system from Siebel Systems Inc., collaboration software from OpenText Corp., and Microsoft’s suite of office products, including Outlook and Office. The system runs on Windows NT servers from Compaq Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. servers that run UNIX and Oracle 8i database. By April 1, 2001, the portal will serve 2,500 employees and include Equilon’s SAP applications and the company’s geographical information system from Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc.

learn from it, too.“

Choosing the Best Portal Product

While no portal vendor has emerged as the leader, Gartner Group points to several that have promising software and vision (see “Portal Options” below). Among them are Corechange Inc., Datachannel Inc., Hummingbird Ltd., InfoImage Inc., Plumtree Software Inc., Sequoia Software Corp., SilverStream Software, Sybase Inc., TopTier Software, and Viador Inc. Companies offering niche products include Autonomy Inc., Brio Technology Inc., Epicentric Inc., Hyperwave Information Management Inc., Intraspect Software Inc., KnowledgeTrack Corp., Oracle Corp., Sagemaker Inc., and Verity Inc.

James Kobielus, collaboration and messaging analyst with The Burton Group in Midvale, Utah, says companies should look to their groupware vendors for knowledge management tools. “[Ask] how you can take that information and leverage it further, provide the information on your users, and give them the tools, applications, and data they need for knowledge management.”

Gartner’s Jacobs recommends that IT managers look at their business strategy and their current technology first. “The goal of the IT manager is not to implement exciting new technology, it’s to support the business process of your organization,” he says. “Be aware of the impact of technologies and the utility for them. Don’t wait for the magic bullet of technology to come along or look at the existing products as an automatic solution to their problems. There’s no easy answer, no quick fix.”

Portal Options


Plumtree Software Inc./Plumtree Corporate Portal 4.0, San Francisco

Lotus Development Corp./IBM Corp./K-Station, Boston

InfoImage Inc./Freedom, Phoenix

Viador Inc./e-Portal Framework, Mountain View, Calif.

Hummingbird Ltd./Enterprise Portal Suite, Toronto, Ontario

Sequoia Software Corp./XPS, Columbia, Md.

Sybase Inc. /Enterprise Portal, Emeryville, Calif.

TopTier Software/eBusiness Integration Portal, San Jose, Calif.

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Erp Knowledge Management In ’23: 6 Use Cases & Case Studies

Today, 53% of business leaders consider ERP as a priority investment. Yet, 40% of executives struggle to access, analyze and use enterprise enterprise and customer data due to the complexity of ERP systems.

Knowledge management can help overcome this challenge by providing a guideline to manage and use information in your ERP systems easily.

Therefore, in this article, we will cover what ERP knowledge management is, its use cases, case studies and benefits. 

What is ERP knowledge management?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) knowledge management refers to effectively managing and utilizing the knowledge and information generated through an organization’s ERP system.

An ERP system is a software platform that integrates various business processes and functions, such as: 



Human resources

Inventory management

Customer relationship management. 

ERP knowledge management involves capturing, organizing, storing, and sharing the knowledge and information generated through these processes.

What are the benefits of ERP knowledge management?

There are several benefits of ERP knowledge management, including:

Improved decision-making: ERP knowledge management provides access to timely, accurate information to help decision-makers make more informed and strategic decisions.

Increased efficiency: ERP knowledge management can help streamline business processes and reduce redundant efforts by ensuring employees have access to the information needed to perform their tasks efficiently.

Enhanced collaboration: ERP knowledge management can foster collaboration among employees and departments, improving teamwork and productivity by providing a central location for knowledge sharing.

Higher quality output: ERP knowledge management can help ensure employees use the system correctly and efficiently, resulting in higher quality output and improved customer satisfaction.

Cost savings: By reducing the need for redundant efforts and improving overall efficiency, ERP knowledge management can lead to cost savings for the organization.

Improved employee satisfaction:  ERP knowledge management can increase job satisfaction and employee retention by providing employees with the knowledge and tools they need to perform their jobs effectively.

6 Use cases & Case Studies of ERP knowledge management

Here are 6 ways to use knowledge management for ERP:

1. Create a centralized knowledge repository

All relevant knowledge related to your ERP system can be stored in a knowledge repository.  These central knowledge locations can include user manuals, training materials, policies and procedures, best practices, FAQs, and troubleshooting guides. A central knowledge repository provides easy access ERP related information. 

For example, Siemens AG, a global technology company, created a repository while implementing an ERP system to improve its financial management processes.

2. Encourage knowledge sharing 

92% of ERP-users in a survey complained about the difficulty of data sharing.

Discussion forums



Training sessions 

Collaborative platforms

These efforts enable employees to raise questions, share their best practices and tips, and offer feedback to others. Such knowledge sharing provides a regular check on knowledge management best practices and improves how employees interact with ERP systems. 

3. Implement a continuous improvement process

Another common use case of ERP knowledge management is developing a continuous improvement cycle based on employee feedback and insights. Organizations can run regular surveys and organize user feedback sessions. 

By analyzing employee experience, businesses can upgrade, update, and enhance their ERP system. 

4. Use analytics and metrics 

Organizations develop metrics and analytics to enable data-driven decision-making in their business. The same approach can be implemented to measure the effectiveness of ERP knowledge management. Some of these metrics include:

User adoption rate tracking

User satisfaction measures

System performance monitoring (For more, see Figure 1). 

These KPIs allow businesses to identify pain points and optimize ERP systems.   

Figure 1: An example of KPIs for ERP management systems.

5. Provide training programs

Figure 2 shows that lack of knowledge and skill training is the top reason ERP usage and performance have failed. 

Figure 2: Survey results on ERP challenges

Organizations must develop training programs to ensure employees have the knowledge and skills to use their ERP systems effectively. These training programs may include: 

Formal training sessions

Online courses


Certification programs

Informal coaching and mentoring 

6. Help desk and support services 

Organizations can create a system to provide constant services to assist users with their ERP system issues. Such support services can be in the form of:

Phone support

Chat support

Email support.

For instance, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is the world’s largest bottler of Coca-Cola products, operating in 13 countries.

Further reading

Learn more on knowledge management systems and tools:

Hazal Şimşek

Hazal is an industry analyst in AIMultiple. She is experienced in market research, quantitative research and data analytics. She received her master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Carlos III of Madrid and her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Bilkent University.





Aol Unwraps Its New Portal

AOL Unwraps Its New Portal

We were briefed by AOL last week and spent two hours talking about all the new initiatives. By the end of the meeting, my brain was about to break. But there’s a great deal to discuss and a tremendous amount that they’re doing.

The two themes that I took away from the meeting were content and integration. AOL has a powerful collection of brands (e.g., AIM, Moviefone, MapQuest) and a huge user base (second only to Yahoo! and with longer sessions). The new portal will better integrate and cross-pollinate those features and services where appropriate. Local is also a big piece of the picture, with the “Around Your Town” and “Find It Center” modules/boxes containing local and directional information.

Even as AOL is “managing subscriber churn” according to Jim Riesenbach, AOL’s SVP of Search & Directional Media, its new portal seeks to leverage broadband adoption with wide-ranging video and audio content (some of it produced exclusively for the portal) that would otherwise be frustratingly inaccessible to dial-up users.

Early reaction among marketers to the new strategy appears to be positive. Indeed, AOL has content assets that are hard to match. The new site should create a great deal of high-value ad inventory (esp. rich media) for brand marketers who don’t have lots of good options today. There aren’t many sites out there that have the reach of AOL.

There’s a perception that AOL has faltered over the past couple years and is not as “hip” as Google or Yahoo! Some accordingly wonder whether the AOL brand can thus regain lost luster (especially among the “MySpace Generation”).

Yet I believe that if the company can deliver something in practice that is as compelling as it looked in PowerPoint, AOL will succeed.

Tracking The Evolution Of The Project Management

A project manager plays an important role in managing human resources and handling all aspects of a project efficiently. They are mainly associated with the construction and engineering industry, but with the increasing popularity of effective project management, the demand for a manager has been growing exponentially across various industries.

A project manager is known for their ability to complete and deliver all types and complexities of projects in a timely manner. They provide leadership and direction to their teams, helping them navigate the tricky parts of projects efficiently. For the past three decades, the PMP exam has been considered the main qualification for a project manager.

These technologies work with an extensive range of software applications to help managers achieve their project goals while staying within budget and timeline and without wasting resources. Today, the goals of a manager go beyond the basic management process. It’s more about achieving stakeholder satisfaction and ensuring that each process is executed according to the client’s instructions with minimal risk of errors.

Evolution of PMBOK Guide

PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) is a guide for aspiring project managers that are planning to appear for the PMP exam. Although the content in the guide has changed over the past few years, the primary goal remains the same. PMBOK is one of the most crucial elements of project management. It helps you learn the basics of project management, the emerging trends in this industry, and the latest technological changes and the impact they have on your projects.

The first PMBOK was released in 1996 as a guide that teaches aspiring project managers the fundamentals of management, challenges a manager faces, decision−making, and so on. This guide covers the entire syllabus of the PMP exam.

Four years later, the second version of the PMBOK was released. The guide was filled with more valuable and informative content for the project manager’s growth. It also included practices and techniques which proved beneficial for managers. Then came the third version that included the latest and revised project management processes, improving the project’s lifecycle and making the management part more efficient. This version covered integration, cost, risk, time quality, procurement, and scope management.

The fourth version of PMBOK is one of the most popular editions, as it introduced stakeholders as key players in any project. The guide focuses on how to improve a project’s efficiency and ensure the successful completion of a given project while satisfying the needs of stakeholders and keeping them up−to−date with the project’s status. The PMBOK’s fifth version continued the focus on stakeholders.

Latest Editions of PMBOK

You may have heard of different project management methodologies and their role in improving management and bringing efficiency to all organizational processes. Well, to gain knowledge about project management, you need to check the 6th and 7th editions of PMBOK that introduced agile project management methodologies.

In addition to that, you can notice changes in the techniques, management processes, and other aspects of project management after going over the 6th edition of PMBOK. Among other concepts, it discusses Agile methodology applications. Agile methodology is about dividing the project into several sprints, which can be accomplished more efficiently than traditional management. The 6th edition has also highlighted the role of strategic thinking in project management and how it plays a crucial role in driving business growth.

The latest edition of PMBOK, i.e., the 7th part, was released recently in 2023. This latest version talks about the drastic change brought to the PMP format. The focus has now been shifted to reducing those lengthy guides into shorter management procedures. Now, the section is expanded to cover a wide range of project management techniques, which are efficient, manageable, and generate better results than the previous models.

The syllabus meets the demand for the changes introduced recently in the PMP exam. For example, the most common change in the 7th edition is the increased focus on principles instead of management processes. If you have read all 6 versions, you may have noticed how the focus had always been on the individual tasks. In the last few editions, managers shared techniques and tools that can help you achieve success in different tasks. The latest version, however, focuses more on the project and the final delivery.

What does Project Management Look Like Today?

Today, project management has a broader scope than in previous decades. The latest challenge that nearly all project managers have faced is shifting to a remote and hybrid work environment. As most businesses had shut down during the pandemic, people had to move work to the cloud. Businesses allowed employees to operate work from home so that the work could be continued.

Although the pandemic ended and operations returned to normal, the work−from−home trend hasn’t changed. This has presented new challenges for project management. Communication, for instance, has become the biggest challenge for project managers handling remote teams or a combination of remote and hybrid workers.

Fortunately, we have several tools, like Zoom and Skype, that makes communication easier and allows managers to conduct face−to−face interactions. The role of a project manager isn’t limited to overseeing different tasks, but it’s equally important that you know how to resolve conflicts, give and take feedback, conduct regular meetings, and divide your projects into smaller and achievable tasks. Note that finishing a project requires dedication, hard work, and the right management strategies.

This was all about the evolution of project management and how PMBOK has come a long way in making project management an effective, better, and more cost−efficient process. If you are planning to become a project manager, check the 6th and 7th editions of PMBOK to prepare for the PMP exam.

Knowledge Enhanced Machine Learning: Techniques & Types

This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.


In machine learning, the data is an esse of the training of machine learning algorithms. The amount of data a the data quality highly affect the results from the machine learning algorithms. Almost all machin rning algorithms are data dependent, and their performance can be enhanced until some thresh mount of the data. However, the traditional machine learning algorithm’s behavior tends to be constant after some data is fed to the model.

This article will discuss the knowledge-enhanced machine learning techniques that introduce hierarchical and symbolic methods with limited data. Here we will discuss these methods, their relevance, and working mechanisms, followed by other vital discussions related to them. These methods are proper when there is little data and a need to train an accurate machine-learning model. the article will help one to understand the concepts related to knowledge and enhance machine learning better, and will able to make efficient choices and decisions in case of limited data scenarios.

Knowledge Enhanced Machine Learning

As the name suggests, knowledge enhanced machine learning is a type of technique where the knowledge of machine learning algorithms is enhanced by human capabilities or human understanding. In this technique, the machine learning algorithms apply their knowledge, and human or domain knowledge is integrated.

We humans can be trained on limited data, meaning that humans can learn several things by seeing or practicing stuff quickly and with limited data. For example, If we see a particular device, let’s say a Laptop, we can easily classify it and say it’s a type of electronic device. Also, we can classify it as an HP, Dell, or another model.

Source – Google

Machine learning models can classify several objects and perform specific tasks very quickly and efficiently, but the only problem is the amount of data. Yes, it requires a lot more amount of data to train an accurate model. But the knowledge-enhanced machine learning approach comes into the picture; it combines majorly two fields, the first is the model’s knowledge, and the other is human knowledge or human capabilities.

Hierarchical Learning and Symbolic Methods are knowledge enhancement machine learning approaches where human knowledge can be used to train a machine learning model with limited data, and the model’s performance can be en d.

Hierarchical Learning

As discussed above, when we humans see particular objects, our human mind automatically tries to classify the object into several classes. Let’s try to understand the same thing by taking appropriate examples.

Source – Google

As discussed above, the human mind can be taken as a trained machine learning model on limited data that classifies the object as a spot into several categories. Let’s take an example to understand the same thing.

Let’s suppose you saw the dog. Looking at the dog, we can easily classify its parent category as a “pet” and classify the dog as a labrador, dalmatian, french bulldog, or poodle. Here we can see that there are several levels of hierarchy where every single layer has several categories, and based on the knowledge of hierarchy, we humans can classify objects.

To implement this approach, the machine learning model can be trained on every layer of the hierarchy, and the model can be hyper-tuned to obtain the hierarchical learning model.

Symbolic Methods

The symbolic methods are also a knowledge base machine learning approach that tries to integrate human knowledge to classify several objects and build an accurate machine learning model.

Some machine learning models are trained so that whenever they are given an unseen image or object, they can efficiently and accurately classify the particular thing. These models are trained on a large amount of data.

We implement the same thing in symbolic methods but with limited data. Here we create the description or tags for the various objects and feed the data to the model. As there is little data available, there will be few images to train the model on, but the description of many objects will still be available.

Source – Google

Once the model is trained on such data, it can efficiently classify the unseen objects without training in such an image dataset, as it will use the description or tags provided based on human knowledge. So here, human knowledge is used to create the descriptions or tags of several objects, and machine learning models are used to train on such data.

Hierarchical vs. Symbolic Methods

As both approaches use human knowledge, a gentle question might come to mind: What is the main difference between such techniques?

The hierarchical learning approach is more towards a hierarchy of an object and its classification. Here human knowledge is used to classify and create the hierarchy of an object. Then machine learning models are used to train the algorithm on every level of the hierarchy for limited data scenarios.

In Symbolic methods, human knowledge is used to create the descriptions or the tags for particular objects, where the machine learning models are trained on limited image data. This machine learning model can now perform classification tasks on unseen images using human-generated descriptions or tags.

In general, we can not say that one of the approaches is always better, it all depends on the specific scenario of the data models and problem statement. Both approaches are nowadays being used for better performance on limited data, but one could use a specific approach per the requirement and conditions associated.


This article discussed knowledge enhanced machine learning techniques and their types. The hierarchical and symbolic approaches are discussed in detail with their core intuition and the difference between such methods. These articles will help geeks to understand the limited data scenario better and in an efficient way. They will help in several interviews and examinations as it is more of an academic topic.

Some Key Takeaways from this article are:

1. Knowledge-enhanced machine learning is a technique where human knowledge is used to train a machine learning model.

2. In the hierarchical technique, the machine learning model is strained on every hierarchy level generated by human knowledge or domain experts.

3. Symbolic methods also use human knowledge to generate descriptions or tags related to several objects so that the machine learning model can also classify unseen images and objects.

4. Both of the approaches are useful for specific cases and can be implemented as per the requirement and problem statement related to machine learning.

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Follow Parth Shukla @AnalyticsVidhya, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Medium for more content.

The media shown in this article is not owned by Analytics Vidhya and is used at the Author’s discretion.


Simplify Financial Management With The Fiskl App

There’s a lot to love about working for yourself — the freedom and flexibility, being your own boss and having the opportunity to tap into your passions and bring your vision to life. But most people don’t love small business and freelancer financial management. Bookkeeping and invoicing can be time-consuming, and do-it-yourself accounting can get you into tax trouble if you don’t fully understand all the relevant regulations and processes.

Enter Fiskl — an intelligent finance manager that combines invoices, payments, expenses, banking, quotes and timekeeping into one easy-to-use mobile app.

“We built Fiskl for business owners and freelancers, not for accountants,” says Alina Lapusneanu, co-founder and CEO of Fiskl. “It’s very easy and intuitive to use, and business owners can see everything their teams log, in real time. If they need to issue an invoice, they’ve got all the elements they need — everything their employees are tracking — right on their phone, so they can invoice from anywhere.”

Since the app launched two years ago, Fiskl has expanded its global client base to more than 52,000 customers across 120 countries. Now the demand is even greater for mobile-first financial management solutions, due to the shift to remote work and the ever-growing gig economy. Already, 36 percent of the U.S. workforce participates in the gig economy as a primary or secondary job, according to a 2023 Gallup poll, and 29 percent have an “alternative work arrangement” for their primary job.

The Fiskl story

The seed for the app was planted back in 2023, during a conversation between Lapusneanu and Fiskl co-founder Shawn Vader, who was then a software architect consulting for a large bank.

“He was struggling with invoicing the bank and keeping track of everything,” Lapusneanu recalls. “He would have to look at his calendar, find his receipts and do the process manually. I come from a mobile background, and we realized that this was a problem for lots of people — consultants, freelancers, small business owners who needed a way to keep track of receipts and easily invoice clients, ideally without having to be in front of their laptops.”

“We tested one popular solution and took it all the way from setup to issuing the first invoice,” says Lapusneanu. “It took two hours, and he’s a software specialist and I have an MBA in finance. It shouldn’t take that long to learn how to send an invoice.”

So, they took their personal experiences and founder frustrations, along with their customer feedback and market research, and built the first version of the platform for U.K. companies. Within a year, they had over 5,000 customers and requests from all over the world to use the solution. A year later, they launched a global version of the app and watched it take off from there.

How it works

Whether you work alone or have a small team, there’s lots of information you need to keep track of in order to invoice customers, provide quotes for prospects and ensure tax compliance. Fiskl puts all that important data in one place so you can automate important tasks.

For example, Fiskl automates expense tracking by extracting data instantly from your phone so you don’t have to scan receipts. Then, the intelligent system suggests how to categorize each transaction for tax purposes and gives you a chance to approve or change that categorization. The mobile-first platform also includes time tracking, mileage tracking integrated with Google Maps, and online and mobile payment options via integrations with Paypal, Stripe, WePay and Google Pay.

Lapusneanu says the ability to get paid remotely is particularly important now, as people look for safer, more convenient ways to pay. In March 2023, the number of online payments processed through Fiskl jumped 150 percent. By late summer, it was up 300 percent.

In July 2023, Fiskl introduced banking automation (starting with 6,000 banks worldwide and expanding to 11,000 in early 2023). These integrations let you connect your bank account to the app, which then automatically brings in transaction data so you can quickly and easily reconcile invoices with payments with banking transactions. As an added bonus, because of Fiskl’s relationship with financial institutions, the platform is required to have bank-level data security. That isn’t the case for most other invoicing solutions, Lapusneanu says.

What’s next for the future of finance?

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“Come January, we will be the only truly mobile accounting app for small businesses and freelancers. And the benefits for small businesses are ease of use and intuitiveness, but also visibility into their organizations’ cash flow and the ability to speed up that cash flow by processing invoices more quickly — anytime, from anywhere — and getting paid faster.”

Getting started with Fiskl

The solution was designed to be self-serve and easy to use, but Fiskl’s team keeps the lines of communication open with customers via Zoom sessions, online tips and resources, and one-on-one customer support.

Discover more essential apps to empower your growing business — and explore exclusive business pricing, financing and trade-in options and other deals on everything from phones and tablets to monitors and memory.

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