Square Books is here — is accounting next?

We've seen a photo of Michael Mann! Also, Square released Square Books, which Blake and David suspect could one day soon power a Square Accounting product — which could easily be the biggest threat to Intuit since Xero. We've got updates from Xero, Slack, Bill.com, Gusto, Veem, and Zapier. ScaleFactor unveiled its own credit card for SMBs, and Chime, the online-only bank went down, leaving 5 million customers stranded and unable to pay.


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Show Notes 
  • 00:16 – Putting a face to fraud - Michael Mann finally appears, at least in pictorial form | Daily Mail UK
  • 01:18 – Practicing for his big act? The Daily Mail article includes a video clip from what seems to be some form of corporate roleplaying/training. Enjoy. 
  • 03:02 – Come rain, sleet, snow, or fire alarm, some Big Four firms file returns no matter what! 
  • 03:44 – More automation from Square with Square Assistant for AI-powered scheduling and messaging | Square 
  • 04:12 – Square’s hitting the Books … The GL kind | Square
  • 07:03 – Square - reinventing the accounting wheel one double entry at a time
  • 08:04 – Is this all part of Square's plan to become a bank? 
  • 11:38 – Square deals meals - Square for Restaurants brings management tools to the table | Square
  • 12:53 – Meals on wheels? Along with the management toolset, Square for Restaurants integrates with Caviar, their meal-delivery service
  • 14:55 – Outside looking in? How do accountants and bookkeepers stay relevant in the face of the ever-increasing automation and DIY accounting tools? 
  • 16:39 – Who's really in charge? With Big Tech firms  controlling the software on your PC, how much control do you have left? | Yahoo!
  • 20:13 – There is no such thing as free! Reckon cuts off customers until they buy new licenses | The Sydney Morning Herald
  • 21:36 – QB Desktop Payroll gone come 2020 | Intuit QuickBooks
  • 23:36 – Hubdoc Xeros in on better functionality with new permissions features | Xero Blog
  • 24:33 – Can a Xero change its Stripe? Xero adds several new functions to its Stripe integration 
  • 25:39 – Bill.com's moving on up to the midmarket with their latest round of features | Finextra 
  • 28:00 – Veem and Zapier have joined forces to add even more functionality to Veem's payment service | Veem
  • 31:57 – Need to learn how to use Zapier? Find a trainer, like Heather Satterly to help you out | Nerd Enterprises
  • 32:06 – Gusto adds to their FreshBooks integration | FreshBooks
  • 33:01 – No more slacking off, with new custom workflows in Slack | Slack Blog
  • 35:06 – ScaleFactor unleashes a small-biz credit card | BusinessWire
  • 36:08 – Small banks-tech company collabs aren't just a fad, but how much is too much when it comes to growth? | Bank Innovation
  • 36:45 – Chime broke the bank, literally, when their app completely shut down | CNBC
  • 38:14 – Well, actually, Galileo, the company powering Chime, was the true source of the outage 
  • 38:49 – Galileo didn't seem to have time to worry about the Chime outage. They were too busy touting their latest $77 million raise
  • 41:16 – Leave your hubris at the door, please - these bank-tech firms might want to start focusing more on their 'users' and less on their egos
  • 42:47 – Shirts, and stickers, and merch, oh my! Get your official and limited edition Cloud Accounting Podcast stuffs now
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Blake Oliver:
Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver.
David Leary: And I'm David Leary.
Blake Oliver: David, I have a photo of Michael Mann!
David Leary: How is that? Did you break into his house, and take his physical photos? Is it a digital photo? How is this possible?
Blake Oliver: I don't know, actually ... Believe it or not, the best coverage on this is from The Daily Mail in the UK. They have an exclusive article, "Unmasked - the MyPayrollHR CEO who stiffed thousands out of their salaries is finally pictured as worker tells how crude forgery sent the 'Warren Buffett' of Clifton Park into collapse."
David Leary: But [00:00:30] it's not even a real photo, right? It is a cell phone video of some training they were doing at work, possibly-
Blake Oliver: Something like that- 
David Leary: -on a cell phone. Then they screen-grabbed that. There's still not a real photo, on the internet, of this guy; like, he never did a selfie.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, and our listeners, of course, can't see the picture that we're looking at. I'll do my best to describe Michael Mann. You know who he looks like to me? He looks [00:01:00] like Jason Biggs, the guy who played Jim in American Pie.
David Leary: Oh, like when he's 50 years old and maybe has some pounds on him?
Blake Oliver: Yeah, like when he's older. 
David Leary: I can see that. 
Blake Oliver: He's gonna play him in the TV movie.
David Leary: Okay ... 
Blake Oliver: So, we now know what he looks like. That's it. If you'd like to see that picture, it's in the show notes.
David Leary: You can watch the video, too. They were obviously roleplaying something? Maybe it was a training for other employees. There was supposedly a meeting at MyPayrollHR, but if you listen to the audio, [00:01:30] it's this weird interaction between him and this other person, and I think it was creating a fake scenario. They were acting.
Blake Oliver: Oh, weird. Actually, I didn't realize it was a video. So, I'll have to go watch that now. That's great.
David Leary: Yeah, the audio's really hard- it's really hard to hear, but it's worth checking out ... Then, they have a nice little map about ... The Daily Mail is really sensationalizing this. It's Michael Mann's Coast-to-Coast Empire, and it has little logo,  and it shows one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve - twelve different cities that are all tied into this. It's worth checking out.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. I'm just [00:02:00] amazed that the readership of the Daily Mail in the UK is that interested in following this. Is this our royal family, here in the US? Is this dirt really that interesting?
David Leary: I was actually surprised ... Did The Daily Mail just happen to have somebody that was in Clifton Park? I was just really surprised, too, as well. Like how is The Daily Mail all over this as much as they are. 
Blake Oliver: They sent somebody to his house, I think.
David Leary: They videotaped the FBI raid. They were there for that. I don't know. I don't know ... Maybe [00:02:30] The Daily Mail is a front by the FBI.
Blake Oliver: Who knows?
David Leary: All right, that's enough of that ... There's a picture, finally. 
Blake Oliver: That is not the really big news we wanna talk about today. There actually is some really big news, and I'm gonna let you talk about that, David.
David Leary: All right. Well, one part of the news is we don't have any reviews to read this week, Blake. We got zero reviews.
Blake Oliver: It was a busy week. It was October 15th; not that long ago. So, people are resting and relaxing after the deadline - the tax deadline. That's my ... That's how [00:03:00] I make myself feel better about it.
David Leary: I think I saw a video on the socials. It might have been EY. I'm not even sure which of the Big Four it was, but there was a fire alarm in the building, and everybody was outside holding the laptops, because they could still get some Wi-Fi. 
Blake Oliver: They were working? 
David Leary: They were filing people's returns. They were working. Yeah, they were outside and at the front counter ...
Blake Oliver: That's awesome. Good for them. That's hard core. Well, let's talk about Square.
David Leary: Square. Yeah! We've been saying it - if Square ever makes a GL, it's a game-changer.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. The background on all this, for our [00:03:30] listeners, is that Square just seems to be releasing crazy amounts of features all the time ... Time tracking. They just added restaurant capabilities. You can now run your restaurant on Square. What else?
David Leary: Payroll-
Blake Oliver: Payroll ... 
David Leary: They have appointment setting, if you're a salon. 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, they're adding ... They're going at it from starting with just a little payment-taker, point of sale ... Building out an entire point of sale; building out all these business features. It's a whole business [cross talk].
David Leary: Marketing automation tools ... Everything you [00:04:00] need to do to run your business, they do, except for a GL.
Blake Oliver: David, you and I have been speculating for a while now - hey, when are they gonna build accounting software? Right? That's the big news, today. You found a post on their developer site? 
David Leary: Yeah. It's a post in their developers blog, and I have to give credit to Annie Terry, who texted this over to me. She actually came across it, I think, from somebody on Twitter. Hi, Annie ... Before we read this, let's rewind a little bit or talk about this. If you work backwards, Jack Dorsey, who started Square, [00:04:30] started Twitter. When Twitter was started, it was kind of in this new era of Web 2.0, and companies started thinking about things differently. Instead of just building a website or building an app, you would build your APIs first, and then you would build your product offering on top of those APIs.
Blake Oliver: Gotcha.
David Leary: And I think this is something you probably have heard, like QuickBooks talked about, going forward, they're kind of rewriting some parts of QuickBooks Online. I think maybe possibly Xero has talked about this, as well. Instead of creating your APIs after [00:05:00] the fact, you build on top of your own API. That way, all developers, your own engineers, your whole product runs on this same technology stack. That's how they built Twitter.
Blake Oliver: That's truly a platform, when you think about it. The idea of a platform is that it's something you build apps on top of. You build your platform, then you build your own app on top of it.
David Leary: When you do that, it's super-scalable. You're not having this weird, like, "Oh, somebody added a feature to QuickBooks," and there's a [00:05:30] ripple effect to a developer, because it's not in the API; versus the API is built first; then, as soon as something is added to QuickBooks for the whole world, all the developers can get to it, too. 
Blake Oliver: Gotcha. Okay. That's the background.
David Leary: That's why people are ... That's the background. Going by that same logic, there's a blog post on the developer blog from Square, and they call it "Books."
Blake Oliver: This is a blog post announcing a new service called Square Books.
David Leary: It's not even ... I don't know if it's as much an announcement as it's a kind of a behind-the-scenes, nerdy [00:06:00] engineering look of how Square is doing something.
Blake Oliver: And the full title, by the way, which really caught my attention, is "Books, an immutable double-entry accounting database service - Tracking financial transactions at scale." 
David Leary: Our listeners could actually go read this article, because it's not as technical, from a nerdy perspective. It's really almost like an Accounting 101 class in how Square now has APIs, and they are solving, and [00:06:30] tracking things in a double-entry-bookkeeping system at the API level.
Blake Oliver: It describes the problem they had, which is they originally started out tracking transactions in a non-double-entry way, listing out transactions in a ledger. Of course-
David Leary: That's like using Quicken.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, exactly, or how merchants in the Renaissance tracked things before the invention of double-entry accounting. There are obviously problems with that.
David Leary: Yes. 
Blake Oliver: Basically ... It's [00:07:00] funny, too, this is one of those themes, where, developers encounter problems that humanity has already solved for hundreds of years, but they think that they're the first people to ever solve it. They had to come up with doing this in a double-entry way. Now, I mean, they obviously looked-
David Leary: Well, he actually talks ... He has a sentence in here, which is really, really great, that actually I like. He goes, "You're right, most engineers over-engineer stuff. They reinvent the wheel."
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: He's talking about this, and he gets at a point in the article, and he's like, "To address consistency, we picked a well-established [00:07:30] public domain battle-tested approach to modeling financials that enables all of our properties: double-entry accounting. It's really well-played on that-
Blake Oliver: There's all these screenshots showing how their database changes when they move from a single-entry recordkeeping system to a double-entry recordkeeping system, which, really, when you get down to it, what they're doing, it seems like, is recreating in a better [00:08:00] way, in a public way, what banks do. This goes straight to your argument, David, that Square is becoming a bank, because now they have built, as part of their platform, the recordkeeping system that they need to be one. They're currently using this double-entry system to track their payments, refunds, pending balances, and payouts, but they could easily use it to track customer account balances. Well, and actually, they are doing that, because your Square balance that you have with them that they [00:08:30] owe you, that's an account. It's only a small stretch for that to become a bank account. Square just has to create a banking entity, and they could do it, right? 
David Leary: They have transaction entities - journal entries.
Blake Oliver: Right. 
David Leary: A developer can ... There's a journal-entry API call.
Blake Oliver: Somebody, if they make this public ... If I can use their Square Books database, now, as a developer, I could build a double-entry accounting system inside Square, or leveraging square, and [00:09:00] Square could do it themselves. 
David Leary: Yeah, I think there's kind of this GL ... The GL is a commodity- 
Blake Oliver: GL as a Service. 
David Leary: That's one way to think about this, a service, right? I think the bigger impact is A) you're right. It lays the groundwork for them to become a bank. But it also lays the groundwork for them to slap a UI on top of this, and now this is a very, very, very, very serious competitor to QuickBooks and Xero. Like, very, very, very ... It's a well-funded competitor- 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, well, because think about it, you sign up as a ... As a small business, you sign up. What's the first pain point you have? [00:09:30] It's not "I need to do my accounting," It's- 
David Leary: You wanna get paid. 
Blake Oliver: -"I need to get paid." So, if now, your payment-service provider, your swiper can do your accounting, why wouldn't you just sign up? Because they're gonna import all your transactions correctly coded. There's no ... So much of bookkeeping is just making sure that the transactions get in from that point of sale into the accounting system properly, with batches and stuff, but Square could just do it automatically. It's almost hard to believe they wouldn't do it. You heard it here first.
David Leary: There's no doubt - Square [00:10:00] is getting into this game. It's very, very clear, and especially if you follow the history of Twitter at all. There's no way they don't get into this game. If you really follow Twitter, they'll do it ... That's what Twitter did. Their APIs were totally wide open at first, and they let a bunch of other people build crazy ... I remember my first three years on Twitter, I never actually used Twitter. I was using everybody else's products-
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: -that used Twitter under the covers. Then, eventually, Twitter kind of started blocking some of the API access, and then made everybody use Twitter, and that started getting all the good features, like retweets [00:10:30] and things like that- 
Blake Oliver: Now, I don't know if-
David Leary: -and you could see this same strategy- 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, but I don't know if that ... That happened with Twitter because they needed the advertising, so they had to have people on their app to sell ads. They couldn't- they hadn't figured out how to do that through the API, right? Maybe if they'd figured out how do it through API, we'd still have all these different apps, but ... They acquired-  Tweetbot, I think, is one they acquired, right? They acquired the tech they didn't have to make the app better, and then they forced everyone to use it. But I think that Square, if they really think about it, could decide to let people build [00:11:00] GLs on top of Square that leverage Square's Payments, because that's where Square makes the money.
David Leary: Yeah, and then, pushing all their other products-
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: -as well, through their UI. This is gonna be ... This is coming. There's no doubt. That's the next announcement from Square's is like, "Hey, we have a UI." They already have 220 terabytes of data in this system, so they've been using it. The interesting thing is it's a small team of three people, so this was a very- a big brag by the engineer here. This is major, [00:11:30] major, major news that I think there's been one tweet about, thus far- 
Blake Oliver: Well, because it's on the developer blog, which people don't pay attention to- 
David Leary: Only developers do.
Blake Oliver: Only developers do. On the other side, the non-developer blog, the mainstream blog, there was a giant release this week, as well - I think it was this week. They released Square for Restaurants. Now, you can use Square to ... You don't have to have a separate system for managing all your [00:12:00] restaurant stuff. You can just use Square for that. Square, you know ... I don't know, I feel like they've been mostly used for like cafes or small shops, like retail, but you couldn't use it to manage a full-service restaurant.
David Leary: Yeah, and that's where people would make that jump from Square to a product like Revel point of sale- 
Blake Oliver: Exactly.
David Leary: -which is really good for restaurants. So, yeah, now they're attacking them. Square's attacking a lot of people on a lot of different fronts. 
Blake Oliver: Waitstaff can place orders with conversational ordering. There's employee [00:12:30] management built in; staff performance, and time-tracking, tip-splitting, fraud protection. You can make changes to the menu on the fly. You can customize and preview exactly how your menu appears on the point of sale. You can customize your workflows, so you could select different items to straight-fire automatically. I assume that's terminology in the restaurant industry ... Oh, and they integrate with Caviar, which is the Square-owned meal delivery service. Now, you don't have to have a separate service [00:13:00] to accept delivery. You can just use Caviar or tell your customers to use Caviar.
That was the big release on the product side. Then, there was a smaller announcement called Square Assistant. It's an AI-
David Leary: Oh, yeah, I saw that.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, and AI-powered automated messaging tool from Square Appointments. This is part of Square Appointments, an existing app that's part of the Square ecosystem. It allows customers to respond directly to SMS appointment reminders to confirm, cancel, or change their appointment. [00:13:30] It automatically applies to customers and handles all coordination around bookings without any action needed from you. That's cool. There's a picture showing how it works with a customer getting the confirmation and then replying, saying, "Oh, I need to cancel or reschedule," and it doing it all for you. That's another example of something that is hugely valuable to the business owner, way more than accounting, and Square built that first, and then they can build on all the other stuff, and we're [00:14:00] gonna be naturally funneled to it, as customers, because we're already in their ecosystem.
David Leary: I think a five, six years ago, back when I was younger, and I made the 40 under 40 list, one of the questions, I think, was what is gonna be the biggest challenge for accountants, and bookkeepers in the future? An argument I've been making for years is you are not part of the conversation. If you go back 15 years ago, somebody would start a business on day one; day two, they would go to Office Depot and buy QuickBooks. 
Blake Oliver: Right. 
David Leary: Day three, they'd find an accountant or vice versa. Now, on [00:14:30] their phone, they're setting up their whole business. They're getting a swipe- a Square-type product; they're receiving payments; they're setting up appointments; they're using all these apps. The bookkeeping part is six months down the road. You're not even in the conversation. Square's complete proof of that, right? It's everything else- they're solving all the business owners' problems, except for bookkeeping. But, obviously, now, we just learned that they're gonna attack that, as well. 
Blake Oliver: That's what we need to be thinking about. as accountants, is how do we stay in [00:15:00] part of the conversation or what markets do we serve where we are still a part of that conversation? Because there definitely are ones where accountants are part of the conversation. Although, I think I could make a counterargument, David, that accountants have been sidelined from that conversation ever since QuickBooks came out, in a lot of ways, because QuickBooks was that first software where, instead of the business owner going to the accountant to say, "All right, I need to get set up and do accounting," they would just go to Office Depot, and buy QuickBooks, and start without the accountant.
David Leary: Yeah, [00:15:30] it's probably the scratch of that surface, for sure-
Blake Oliver: It was the beginning of it.
David Leary: -but I don't think it's easy; like, literally, somebody in their car with their phone [cross talk] it's that easy to do.
Blake Oliver: Really, what happened is that bookkeepers and accountants started supporting QuickBooks and became ProAdvisors. It was business owner goes, buys QuickBooks, runs into trouble, needs help, goes, and gets the ProAdvisor, and that's how the relationship forms. With this, there'd certainly be a similar thing. As soon as Square GL comes [00:16:00] out, or Square Books rolls out - whatever their accounting software, Square Accounting - then you wanna jump on that as an accountant, so that you can serve all those new customers.
David Leary: There's no reason, as an accountant, or bookkeeper, you can't have Square as your niche, like, "I only support the Square stack, tech stack, and only take clients on Square, across the board.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, especially in the Square niche ... "I only serve restaurants that are using Square," or something like that. Yeah, cool.
David Leary: Absolutely. 
Blake Oliver: All right, enough about that.
David Leary: I have an article that I cut last [00:16:30] week. Now, an article this week; maybe bring it back.
Blake Oliver: Okay. 
David Leary: Last week, it was an Op-Ed article I saw that I thought was just interesting, but we had too much other news, so we didn't catch it. The title of the article is "We're Losing Control of our Computers." Really, back in the day, you could buy a computer; you could install any software you wanted on that computer, anywhere you get the software. CD-ROMs, download from anywhere on the globe. Well, Mac and the new Mac OS, they've announced they're not gonna let you install software, if you don't get it from the Apple [00:17:00] store. So, Blake, if you were an engineer, and you wrote your own little teeny bit of software, and you wanted to run it on your own computer that you own, you can't do that.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, but this has been a thing for a little while with Macs, in that if I ... I actually had this happen, where, recently, if I download something not from the Apple Store, or the App Store, I should say, I have to do a little work around. I have to do a key combination and [00:17:30] click a submenu to open the app and get around it not being from the App Store. The idea is we don't want less-sophisticated users to download malware. So, you have to be a power user and know what you're doing, in order to open that app.
David Leary: Yeah, but apparently they're going even more extreme than that now. If you wanna be able to do those types of things ... This ties back into this article; it talks about how Adobe, in Venezuela, canceled all the people that are using Adobe's cloud product. They just canceled [00:18:00] all their accounts. You just can't use it anymore, just because you're in Venezuela. You just don't have control over this.
Blake Oliver: Right. 
David Leary: Now, to tie it back to our industry ...
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David Leary: Reckon ... Are people familiar with Reckon? Are you familiar with Reckon?
Blake Oliver: A little bit.
David Leary: Reckon, essentially, is the third-party provider that, in a way, branded QuickBooks in the Australian market.
Blake Oliver: Right, right. They were QuickBooks in Australia.
David Leary: Essentially, yes. It was a separate company, but it was almost like a development [00:20:00] deal type of thing. You used to be able to just buy it. Then, if you had to reinstall it, you could call, and get it reactivated, and get a new keycode to install it. All that desktop software was keycode-driven, and you had to activate your subscription.
What they're doing now is they're just shutting people's off; they're deactivating their keys. You can call them, and you gotta buy a new key, and a new version. You've lost ... They're forcing people to ... Because Reckon's a little desperate, I think, to ... They're not competing, obviously, with the Xeros [00:20:30] of the world, and in Australia. They're basically-
Blake Oliver: Well, they-
David Leary: Are you trying to argue? They’re playing dirty [cross talk] 
Blake Oliver: Well, they have to move to a subscription model because that's where everything's headed. So, the only way to do that is by requiring people to upgrade.
David Leary: Well, yeah, going forward, but to turn off something they already paid for ...
Blake Oliver: Did they? That seems like- 
David Leary: Yeah, that's the problem ... That's the problem; it's crossing a new line.
Blake Oliver: Well, they paid for ... Technically, when you pay for software, you don't own it. You're just licensing it. That's why it's called [00:21:00] a software license, even if it's installed on your computer. This is really an issue of consumers, or businesses not really understanding what they agreed to in the past. You thought that when you bought that CD, you were buying software. You're not. 
David Leary: The industry standard is usually, okay, you bought it, and you can continue to use it ... "Maybe we won't give you the tech support. Sorry, we're not gonna support it anymore, but if your computer still runs it, you've still got the disc, you still wanna use it, more power to you." But what they're doing [00:21:30] is they're disabling existing situations out there, and that's really not okay. 
Blake Oliver: Here's a great example that in the U.S. ... Did we not talk about this? QuickBooks announced that they are no longer going to support Payroll in the Desktop product after, what, early in 2020? Did you hear about this?
David Leary: I did see that. We have so many articles, and then sometimes, things fall off the radar. 
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: Yes ... They're getting out of the QuickBooks Desktop Payroll game. 
Blake Oliver: Basically, all these people who bought QuickBooks Desktop, who- Payroll [00:22:00] is part of that product. They paid for it. Now they are no longer going to be able to keep using Desktop with the integrated Payroll. They're gonna have to either use one of the other Intuit Payroll products that's online, and then sync their data into Desktop, or do ... I don't even know if you can do that; maybe do manual entries-
David Leary: Well, Payroll in QuickBooks Desktop was always you got it, but if you wanted to calculate things, you had to pay for the tax table, and so I don't know if that article- 
Blake Oliver: Now, you can't even do that [00:22:30] anymore, right?
David Leary: That, I did not see. I feel like I saw that as a headline. I never actually saw any article about it. Maybe I saw it on social media, possibly, and that's why; I just saw a tweet or a Facebook post about it. But, in theory, the tech's still there [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: But it's useless, if you have to do your own calculations.
David Leary: Well, you'd be amazed- 
Blake Oliver: Nobody's gonna do that.
David Leary: Noooo, you'd be amazed. I was on the Payroll team at Intuit, and it was maddening. People manually- to avoid spending $100 a year on getting. ... I'm going back a decade ago, people [00:23:00] would, every week, manually calculate paychecks to avoid spending $100 a year on tax tables. 
Blake Oliver: Gees. 
David Leary: Hundreds of thousands of people, every week, would do that to avoid paying for a tax table. I don't know ... Maybe I'll have to do some research over the next week, and see if I can find an article or this ... But I did see the announcement, now that you bring it up. I have no clue about it, though.
Blake Oliver: All right. Well, we'll figure that out, and then get back to you on that. Since we-
David Leary: That was enough about desktop software-
Blake Oliver: Since we just talked about QuickBooks, [00:23:30] let's talk about Xero and their latest release. We haven't covered that yet. So Hubdoc, a Xero-owned product, now has more sophisticated permissions for users, so business owners can control who can access their documents by assigning user roles, which they apparently didn't have before. There's three types of user roles that include: upload only, standard, or accountant/bookkeeper.
The difference between [00:24:00] standard, and accountant/bookkeeper is what I'm really interested in. Standard users can upload documents, view, and download, manage the organization settings, and then, optionally, publish documents to the GL, manage automated connections, or manage other users. Those are optional. Then, the accountant/bookkeeper can do everything that the users currently can. I guess the idea is let's create a user type that can't manage all the other users, where we can control whether or not they're publishing to the [00:24:30] GL. That's the Hubdoc update.
The only other thing that was really interesting ... I don't know if this is really news to a lot of people, but they've changed the way that they're integrating with Stripe. Now, you can create your Stripe account as a bank account in Xero, and you connect it. Speaking of Stripe becoming a bank, or Square becoming a bank, it actually looks like a bank account now, in Xero, and you can connect to it like it's a bank. Then all the transactions import every [00:25:00] day, and you can reconcile those, whether or not you're using Stripe as a payment service on your invoices in Xero. It's really neat.
Then you can set up bank roles, of course, and then any transfers your bank account work like transfers between the accounts and Xero. Then, you can also now do auto-pay on credit card invoices with Stripe in Xero. You set up a repeating invoice, you offer auto-pay, and then, once that is set up, it just goes every single repeating period, whatever [00:25:30] that is. That's it for the Xero updates. What else is new?
David Leary: There's a Bill.com announcement.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, big one!
David Leary: About how they're moving into mid-market.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, they are now doing purchase orders. They're gonna sync purchase orders from Oracle NetSuite, and Sage Intacct, and other partners and then allow you to match up those POs with bills on one screen in Bill.com and route for approval. This is big, because this is one of those things that's really been missing for the mid-market, [00:26:00] for Bill.com.
David Leary: I think, for me, the takeaway was that they're gonna offer premium customer support, because I do feel like the vibe I've gotten from a lot of accountants and bookkeepers is they just don't get the support they want from Bill.com. Basically, you get fast-track access to chat, email, or phone support for prompt, personalized assistance. They're stepping up their game on that side, as well.
Blake Oliver: There's another feature specifically for accountants that I really like, which is multiple client bill approval [00:26:30] through the accountant console, meaning that I, as an accountant, log in and, on my dashboard. I see I have 100 bills to approve across all 20 clients. I can click into that, and then go through, one by one, without having to log into each individual company account in Bill.com, which is really cool for people who do stuff like business management, who are paying bills for lots of clients every single day, or just anyone who does an accounts-payable [00:27:00] function across multiple clients with Bill.com. It's a nice feature. They also are expanding cross-border payments. They continue to do that. Now, they're at 130 countries and 106 currencies, and a new VIP program for qualified accounting firms and clients that conduct high-volume transactions.
David Leary: The article actually that I have here says they're gonna be at Sage Intacct Advantage, which we'll be at Sage Intacct Advantage next week, as well. So, we'll have to go and check some of these features out.
Blake Oliver: We'll go say hi to [00:27:30] the Bill.com team. If you're gonna be at Sage Intacct Advantage, come say hi to us. Where are we gonna be, David? 
David Leary: At the MGM Grand. That's about ... I saw the map, and I don't know where we're gonna be. We'll tweet it. Follow us on the Twitter, and we'll definitely get that out, for sure.
Blake Oliver: David's hard to miss in a conference, you know, given his height, and he's wearing a Cloud Accounting Podcast shirt all the time. So, he should be easy to track down, I think.
David Leary: Yeah, just look for red hair.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, that's right. What else [00:28:00] is new? Veem, the payment service is integrated with Zapier now. This is super-super-cool because the examples of what you can do with Veem and Zapier are really interesting. It's just a few of the possibilities. Basically, not familiar with Zapier? How would you describe it, David?
David Leary: It's a way to [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: API service? 
David Leary: -digital plumbing between apps. If apps don't talk to each other directly, you [00:28:30] could possibly make two apps talk to each other through Zapier, because Zapier talks to App A; Zapier talks to App W, and you can actually build some rules and connect those two apps together. For example, your customer signs up on your website, and maybe you wanna take their name and address when they sign up on your website and put that into your accounting software. You could use a tool like Zapier to move that data across.
Blake Oliver: So, I have a trigger from a form on my website. The action is it creates a contact in my QuickBooks file. With [00:29:00] Veem and Zapier, you can now do cool things like, for example, use the Veem and Schedule, by Zapier's app to set the frequency of your recurring payments and eliminate manual entries. You could potentially use Veem and Salesforce together to automatically send a new payment request, when an order is created in Salesforce; send a payment request from Veem to the customer to pay for that order. You could use the Veem and Harvest app to make sure that, when you have a new invoice in Harvest, you send [00:29:30] a request with Veem. Pretty nifty stuff there. 
Check out the show notes, when we've got those done, for a list of the triggers and actions ... Probably the best way to do it. Oh, here it is. I found it. Currently, the supported triggers - meaning what starts a workflow - is an updated inbound payment status, or an updated outbound payment status. If payment is updated, basically, in Veem, you can trigger something. Then, the actions that are supported ... Using [00:30:00] Zapier to make Veem do something - you can send a payment, create a contact, or request a payment.
The sending a payment thing is really amazing. Interesting, right? Because you could automate so much with Veem, now, if you've got your contacts in Xero, or QuickBooks, or NetSuite, or Intacct. You wanna pay them a commission, or something like that, and you have some tool that calculates commissions, and that's all in a Google sheet, you could theoretically connect your Google sheet to [00:30:30] Zapier and pay out all those commissions automatically on a preset schedule or something. Just one idea.
David Leary: I feel like [inaudible] apps about this before, right? Sometimes, it's hard for you, as the app developer, to think, okay, why would we want to connect to Zapier? But it's really like ... There's use cases that customers want to do or need to do that you can't even think of or imagine. Yes, you're right. By connecting to Zapier ... I think we talked about Practice Ignition, when they announced how they were connecting to Zapier; it opened up 700 other possible combinations [00:31:00] of apps that can now do cool stuff [cross talk] 
Blake Oliver: The beauty for you, as a developer, on a small team, especially, is that now you've just built one connection. You maintain one API connection to Zapier, and your customers can do all this stuff that would have been impossible for you to build before [cross talk].
David Leary: But it's not a replacement for your own API. For all you developers listening, you need to have your own API, because Zapier needs to talk to you through your API, for starters. But you need to offer a [00:31:30] true API, and you probably also want to offer Zapier, because there's a bunch of people that maybe they have the brains of an engineer, because maybe they're in accountant, but they don't know how to code. That's where Zapier's nice.
Blake Oliver: If you're an accountant, learn to use Zapier, because it's pretty cool. You can do a lot of awesome things with it. Then you can offer this service to your clients. Like, "Let me automate some of these painful things in your business," and they will love you for it. There's people, like Heather Satterly, who are- [00:32:00]
David Leary: Training people [cross talk] 
Blake Oliver: -training people how to do this. Yeah, it's pretty cool. What else? Gusto has an update with FreshBooks, speaking of integrations. I think they've always had a payroll integration, but now it works better. It's more visible. Now, small business owners can find Gusto in their FreshBooks profile, and then they can set up the integration to automatically book the payroll entries into their FreshBooks account.
David Leary: Interesting ... My [00:32:30] impression of FreshBooks has always been kind of that smaller scale, like, "I'm a one-man shop," right? 
Blake Oliver: Well, you have maybe a few employees, and you can also pay contractors with Gusto, too. Even if you're a freelancer, maybe you work with a bunch of other freelancers on projects that you run. You've got to pay them out for their work and stuff. Then, Slack has an update. They just released a workflow builder tool, speaking of automation. Did you [00:33:00] see this one, David?
David Leary: No, not at all.
Blake Oliver: Now, instead of having to use Zapier to do some stuff, you can directly create custom workflows in Slack. So the examples given are standardize how you collect requests from your team, report any outage in real time, and get new team members up to speed with welcome messages. Those are just a few examples. I'm trying to think if there's anything I really like. The recurring progress updates are pretty cool, or fielding [00:33:30] requests from your team - these are these are kind of creating ... 
It actually looks a lot like Zapier, when you create a workflow. Like, here's what happens; here's what it collects; here's what it goes and does. For instance, the example here that I'm looking at right now is a helpdesk request. You can create a form inside of Slack that has all the information you need for a typical helpdesk request. Then, once it's submitted, it posts the information into a different channel, like maybe for your IT team. It's a way to setup some quick [00:34:00] automation without having to go by another helpdesk tool or something.
David Leary: Anything that you can automate from the app you're already in, the better. Even now, QuickBooks has added- I think QuickBooks Online has added some sort of workflow-y tools. They've started to experiment around, and I think, in the QuickBooks lab, you can add it to QuickBooks, too. Any little teeny bits of automation you can do yourself adds up, right? 
Blake Oliver: Yeah. I think we have one last story before we go, right?
David Leary: Yeah. I think it really ties into last week, right? A [00:34:30] lot of our stories last week were all everybody's trying to become a bank. There's more stories of that; like AMEX is targeting- actually, sorry, everybody is trying to be a small business bank. Now, there's other articles this week. AMEX is targeting small businesses. MasterCard's trying to go- working with another company to go after employees to help them get their paychecks two days early, and these big, big partnerships. 
There's other tech companies that are now entering the small business bank/credit [00:35:00] card account. A lot of people are doing this. I think the most notable this week that I saw a lot on social media was ScaleFactor. So, ScaleFactor now released a credit card for small business. It's kind of similar to what we talked about last week about Expensify. They're gonna be able to control that end-to-end spend.
Blake Oliver: Well, and this is really interesting because ScaleFactor is not just software, like Expensify. They are an accounting shop that makes software. They're an accounting firm with engineers, like you like to say.
David Leary: Yeah. I think this is gonna be the standard. [00:35:30] I think last week, we even said, obviously, QuickBooks and Xero are gonna do this, too. It's pretty obvious this is all coming. Where this is really kind of heading, and tying it back to last week is ... I think maybe even two weeks ago, we talked about how there's this partnership between smaller regional banks and tech companies. They kind of need each other, because a lot of the tech companies can't become a bank, and a lot of these teenier, smaller regional banks really are not good at tech.
Blake Oliver: That's [00:36:00] an understatement, yeah. 
David Leary: But I feel like, looking at this and stepping back a little bit ... There was an op-ed piece about how this is not a fad; it's necessary - these partnerships. It was in Bank Innovation. Really, sitting back and thinking about this, I'm starting to wonder ... I get it, everybody wants to disrupt Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, and the big guys, and the Chases of the world, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe there's a reason that little mid-sized- I'm not gonna say peon bank, but there's [00:36:30] a reason that bank is just a teeny little regional mid-sized bank, and it hasn't grown past that. Maybe they're just not ready to grow past that. Now, they're pairing up with tech companies that are being over-aggressive on their growth; does this just lead to breakdowns? 
Blake Oliver: Well, then there was a specific breakdown that happened this week. The mobile-only bank Chime went down on Wednesday. Everything broke. You couldn't use ... This is a [00:37:00] one of the challenger banks; one of those new app-based banks where there's no branches. Their app went down; their debit cards weren't working; their credit cards weren't working; you couldn't pay your bills; payments weren't processing.
David Leary: This is for 5 million customers. They are a startup, but they've had insanely rapid growth, and most of it is they market there's no overdraft fees, so [cross talk] 
Blake Oliver: No bank fees at all.
David Leary: No bank fees at all, including overdraft.
Blake Oliver: Right. They gained a ton of customers [00:37:30] after Wells Fargo had their problems, and it's unfortunate that this happened. It's the third time they've had an outage since July or something like that. They're in the middle of raising a new round of funding from investors, and they're seeking a valuation of $5 billion. So, not great, right? You figured out, David, that it actually wasn't Chime, itself, that had the issues; it was a partner that they work with. Who was that?
David Leary: Remember, last [00:38:00] week, also, I talked about that company's name I couldn't pronounce out of Europe. Revolute ... right? Essentially, they are the same thing. They're a non-bank bank; one of these challenger banks, but they're all powered by the same company. There's a company called Galileo. They power Robinhood; they power Chime; they power all these companies. That's where the outage level happened.
Now, it didn't affect all of the companies that are built on top of this technology stack company that's based out of Salt Lake City, in Utah, but the [00:38:30] the bigger thing, which I was amazed by, is, for 48 hours, Chime was down. I think before we recorded earlier today, I saw Chime might finally be up and 100-percent operational. Mind you, 5 million people could not buy groceries. People were at restaurants, and they couldn't leave the restaurant because the card would not swipe. They could not pay the restaurant tab.
Blake Oliver: Wow. 
David Leary: In the meantime, the company that is powering this technology is announcing and releasing their press releases and talking about how great it is that they just raised $77 million. It's like, what assholes! 
Blake Oliver: It's [00:39:00] bad timing.
David Leary: It's bad timing, and it's horrible! Their biggest client was down, and they're bragging about how much money they just raised. 
Blake Oliver: So, Galileo, just to be clear, to make sure I understand it, is the payment processor API company on the back end. Here's the stack, as I am envisioning it. It is Chime has the app. The app leverages Galileo [00:39:30] for the payment processing. Then, I also learned that Chime isn't the bank; that they partner with Bancorp Bank for the actual banking. Chime's an app that sits on top of a traditional bank, and Galileo for the processing. So, Galileo broke, and then all of Chime couldn't send any payments; basically, couldn't process any payments for its customers.
David Leary: The crazy thing was - you start reading people's tweets, their [00:40:00] direct deposits were going to Chime, but you couldn't get your money out. That was the only part that was not down. Money was going into Chime, but nobody could get money out of Chime. It was like Hotel California.
Blake Oliver: Well, I guess it's a really good thing that it didn't happen that the inbound payments got blocked, too, because that would be really bad if people's paychecks were bouncing out of their accounts. That would have been like MyPayrollHR times a thousand. [00:40:30]
David Leary: But this was kind of like that. People saw their paychecks in their accounts, and they could not access it.
Blake Oliver: Well, it's one thing to not be able to pay your restaurant bill with your Chime credit card, but it would be another thing if your biweekly paycheck bounced, and then you had to spend a week or two trying to get another one paid into your account from your employer, who's like, "Why didn't it work?" They didn't know why ... 
David Leary: Just to full-circle this, people on Twitter were really affected. People had their cell phone bills turned off. People [00:41:00] got affected by this ... At gas stations, et cetera. They're running out of gas. They can't buy gas ... To some extent, when you're marketing no withdrawals- I'm sorry, no overdraft fees, you're marketing at either the unbanked, or people that are already probably living paycheck to paycheck.
Blake Oliver: Right?
David Leary: That's the vast majority of their customer base. That's who they're going after. Then, their founders strongly spoke up about this ... It's just that tech hubris. "I completely acknowledge the fact that we feel like we let users down ..." They call them users; they're not customers. [00:41:30] It's just like this disconnect-
Blake Oliver: Yeah, the arrogance. 
David Leary: We saw this with the Visor tax stuff. People are really- they're truly affected by this stuff, and tech companies have got to get this, or this is never gonna happen. All these people, their 5 million people they got; they're gonna probably lose 4 million. There goes their $5 billion valuation right out the window.
Blake Oliver: We'll have to track it. We've gotta get going. This is awesome. We'll continue this; follow up on [00:42:00] all these stories in the weeks to come. In the meantime, David, if people want to connect with you online, where should they do that?
David Leary: Easiest way is on Twitter: @DavidLeary.
Blake Oliver: And I'm @BlakeTOliver. I'll see you again next week, David.
David Leary: Well, yes. We'll see each other in person next week. And if you want to see us in person over the next few couple weeks here, we are gonna be at Sage Intacct Advantage next week. Following that, we're going to- an accounting firm is having their own conference for their own employees, a virtual accounting [00:42:30] firm. We're gonna be at AcuityCon in Atlanta. Now, I don't think you can really go to that, but, hey, we'll be in Atlanta. Then QuickBooks Connect is after that. At QuickBooks Connect, we're gonna be at the Practice Ignition Party. We're gonna be at the VIP party for Gusto, Routable and Jirav. You said you're going to the Digital CPA Conference in Seattle-
Blake Oliver: Yep, that's in December.
David Leary: Hit the show notes for all the links to all these events that you can come see us in person at. Then, also in the show notes is our merch store that we officially finally launched. We have sold a shirt today! Somebody bought a shirt!
Blake Oliver: Yeah! Thank you so much [00:43:00] for buying the shirt! We make-
David Leary: We have some limited edition shirts that are only gonna be available til December 12th.
Blake Oliver: We made $2 in profit from the shirt.
David Leary: This is how it's gonna go. Yes. If you buy a sticker, we make 50 cents in profit, so we should sell more stickers- 
Blake Oliver: I mean, $2 in gross profit; I wonder what our net is gonna be on all this.
David Leary: Yeah, we'll figure this out. 
Blake Oliver: All right. 
David Leary: Hey, til next week, everybody.
Blake Oliver: Bye.
David Leary: Bye.

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