Today's Features

IBM Has Created a Computer Smaller Than a Grain of Salt

Photo of chip on a fingertipGet ready to see – or not see – more of them.

By Rick Richardson

If there's one downside to powerful computers, it's that they're too big.

Luckily, that's about to change. At least, if IBM has anything to say about it.

Last month, IBM held its flagship conference, Think 2018, where the company unveiled what it claims is the world's smallest computer. They're not kidding: It's smaller than a grain of salt.

But don't let the size fool you: This little fella has the computing power of the x86 chip from 1990. Okay, so that's not great compared to what we have today but cut it some slack – you need a microscope to see it.

The computer will cost less than 10 cents to manufacture, and will also pack "several hundred thousand transistors," according to the company. These will allow it to "monitor, analyze, communicate and even act on data."

It even works with blockchain. Specifically, this computer will be a data source for blockchain applications. It's intended to help track the shipment of goods and detect theft, fraud and noncompliance. It can also do basic AI tasks, such as sorting the data it's given.

According to IBM, this is only the beginning. "Within the next five years, cryptographic anchors – such as ink dots or tiny computers smaller than a grain of salt – will be embedded in everyday objects and devices," says IBM head of research Arvind Krishna. If he's correct, we'll see way more of these tiny systems in objects and devices in the years to come.

It's not clear yet when this thing will be released – IBM researchers are currently testing its first prototype. But one thing's for sure: The future is here. You just might need a microscope to see it.

Monitor Real Estate: More IS Better

How many do you have? Horizontal or vertical?

By Roman H. Kepczyk
Quantum of Paperless

Talking about hardware may seem like an odd place to start a discussion on optimizing your firm production. However, without a solid framework in place to promote a stable working environment and take advantage of today’s technologies, your firm’s ability to effectively implement solutions will be severely restricted.

MORE: Roman Kepczyk: Inside The Quantum of Paperless | Two Tech Trends to Watch
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Pushing your IT infrastructure, which includes all of your file servers, cabling, applications, workstations and Internet connectivity beyond basic limits will lead to more “dinking” time by your professional staff. (“Dinking” is the technical term for the massive amounts of time wasted by your personnel when computers lock up or don’t do what is expected and when they have to “dink around” trying to figure out a solution.)

Client Centricity Leads to Profitability

Man's fist with "thumbs up" crashing through paper wall; smiley face and gold crown on thumbThis is a job for your line partners, not your marketing department.

By August J. Aquila
Price It Right

As one who has been on the inside of accounting firms as a partner and marketing director trying to implement such concepts as client centricity, I can honestly say that most marketing and management concepts are easier said than done.

MORE: Tomorrow’s Leader in 9 Bullet Points | CHECKLIST: 18 Essential Steps to Effective Billing | How to Get Partners to Accept a New Pricing Philosophy | 12 Pricing Factors Beyond Cost | How Utility and Value Affect Pricing | Understanding the Product Pricing Life Cycle | 4 Ways a Production Orientation Can Harm a Firm
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When it comes to clients, many partners think they know what their clients really want, but in reality they scarcely do. In short, most client-centric service strategies produce neither the “wow” factor nor the profits.

Is Your Business Culture Growing or Dying?

Smiling businesswoman offering a handshakeCase study: 14 core performance standards and six core values.

By Rob Nixon

What is a culture?

Think back to your high school science days. A culture is a growth. It’s a living organism.

MORE ON STRATEGY: 5 Steps to Building a High-Performing Team | ‘Great Questions’ of a Sales Meeting | How to Be a Guru in Sales | Are Your Prices Too Low? | Never Charge by a Time Unit | Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First | Wants Vs. Needs
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Just like a business culture. If your culture is not a growing-based culture then it is a dying culture.

The Role of Finance in Adaptive and Interactive Learning

Are you using everyone to their full potential?

By Jennifer Templeman

Templeman will be appearing at the Accounting & Finance Show. Click here to learn more
Portrait of Jennifer Templeman

I believe in the power of creativity, in innovative thinking, and of play as a conduit to bring forth new ideas. And yes, and I’m a CFO who leads a team of finance professionals who focus on compliance, adherence to regulations, and perfecting the process of predicting and ensuring an outcome based on historic performance and data.

Despite how at odds these two confessions may seem, they work together in a way that supports my belief that finance is a department designed to lead the culture in an organization.


Valuing an Accounting Firm for Sale

Plus: A powerful equation.

By Joel Sinkin
Transition Advisors

See Sinkin in person at the Accounting & Finance Show. Click here to learn more

When I teach a CPE class on how to value an accounting firm, the first question people ask is what is the multiple? As you likely know, an accounting firm is traditionally sold on a multiple of revenues.

The multiple is just one part of the equation and not a place to end – let alone start – the valuation process. The overall terms must include factors such as how much money if any up front, how profitable is the acquisition, how long is the retention period that impacts the seller’s balance due based on client retention and how long is the payout period? READ MORE →