Trump wants to kill the PCAOB

With Valentine's Day 2020 on the books, we're sharing the love with a wealth of news, including how the Trump Administration wants to kill the PCAOB — and we agree; how the ransomware industry is growing at startup pace; the latest trends in remote work; and why the UK is the next cloud accounting battleground. We'll also examine seven reasons to date a finance pro, Rhode Island's 1040 form emojis, updates from Xero, FreshBooks, Kashoo, Joust, and Receipt Bank. Wrapping things up, we've got updates on MyPayroll HR, news about an unfortunate phishing scam that hit the Puerto Rican government, and why people don't feel like leaving their hearts (or their companies) in San Francisco any more.

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Are you struggling to free up time for client advisory work? Is scope creep hurting your fixed-pricing model? Are your quality-control processes lacking? Is your staff stuck in a never-ending monthly close process? Ever wish you had a Genie that could help you out? Stay tuned to hear more from our sponsor, SmartBooks Genie, later in the episode. 
 
Blake Oliver: We collaborate remotely. We use Slack; we use Basecamp- 
 
David Leary: This is where I was heading with Slack – I've questioned it; you've questioned it. I've started talking to other people that are questioning it. [00:00:30] It's almost like Slack's a little outta control. The benefits you had from Slack before are starting to go away because it's starting to just feel like another big old inbox. Then, if you're in multiple Slacks, and you can't find things ... 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah, it's- 
 
David Leary: Is Slack ripe for disruption from a different app? 
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Blake Oliver: Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver. 
 
David Leary: And I'm David Leary. Blake, hugs and kisses for you. This is our 160th episode, and it's Valentine's Day! [00:02:30]
 
Blake Oliver: Happy Valentine's Day, David. I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather spend the morning with than you. I have a relevant- 
 
David Leary: The chocolates you sent were wonderful, by the way! 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah, the digital chocolates that I didn't send? I spotted an article that is appropriate for Valentine's Day on the AICPA blog. Can I share this with you? 
 
David Leary: Do you absolutely love it? 
 
Blake Oliver: I ... 
 
David Leary: All right, I'll stop. There's no more jokes. It's done. I'll stop now. Sorry. 
 
Blake Oliver: These are "7 reasons to date a finance professional," over at [00:03:00] blog.AICPA.org, by Mballa Mendouga. I'll go through the list for you. 1) they pay attention to detail. 2) you'll never have to calculate the tip ... Although, we do, annoyingly, take out our calculators to calculate the tip because we don't like doing mental math. People always get confused by that. 3) consistency; 4) they know work/life balance ... That, I'm not really sure about. 
 
David Leary: That is hilarious! That's genius! 
 
Blake Oliver: Well, here's the ... Here's what that means: [00:03:30] "You won't have to worry about finance BAE getting too clingy, especially during tax season – whether they're offering sound business advice, filing people's taxes, or running audits, finance professionals dedicate their work days to the clients' goals and happiness. For their partner, that means ample amounts of 'me' time and space; but don't worry. Finance professionals know all about balance. They can multitask like no other, so you won't have to worry about feeling neglected, either. 
 
David Leary: This is great. 
 
Blake Oliver: If you really don't like going out to Valentine's dinner, then date a finance professional. [00:04:00] 5) they're great under pressure; 6) guess who's handling the taxes? I think that's my wife's favorite part is that she doesn't have to deal with any of the money stuff. She hates that. Then, 7) you can trust them. 
 
David Leary: Well, I can stick with a Valentine's Day theme, if you'd like. 
 
Blake Oliver: All right. 
 
David Leary: You know what's a nice thing to get your Valentine? Amazon gift cards! 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah, money always beats anything else because ... I feel like when somebody gives me a gift that I have to go use and I can't ... It's not money, [00:04:30] then, it's like a chore. So, yeah, tell me about the Amazon gift cards. 
 
David Leary: An associate of the MyPayrollHR CEO, Michael Mann, plead guilty on Wednesday to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. 
 
Blake Oliver: Was this somebody who worked for him? 
 
David Leary: He was- for one of his entities. You know, he has the huge structure; this is one of the entities that was "advising" Optimum, which is a United Healthcare Group company. 
 
Blake Oliver: Mm-hmm. 
 
David Leary: Basically, what they were doing was they were taking a real consulting contract, somehow, [00:05:00] they got with Optimum for $3.6 million, and then, tweaking it, and using it over and over again. Instead of just the real company, with the contract, he'd have seven fake companies, and they would all have the same invoice. Then, he would use that to go get loans. 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, I see. So, he was factoring fake receivables. 
 
David Leary: Exactly. Apparently, when a bank would contact him, he would forward the email to Michael Mann. Michael Mann would reply back, and then, he would forward, and be like, "Yeah, this seems legit!" [00:05:30] The banks just did not do good due diligence on this stuff either. 
 
Blake Oliver: Right. 
 
David Leary: But here's his payout. Here's the thing – Michael Mann paid him $11,000 worth of Amazon gift cards. That's how ... This guy helped commit $13 million of fraud- 
 
Blake Oliver: And he only got- 
 
David Leary: -and he only got $11,000 in Amazon gift cards. 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, God ... Not- not worth it. 
 
David Leary: Now he's gonna go to prison. So ... And he has to pay them back. He has to pay back $11,300 worth of gift cards back, apparently. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:06:00] Did it say how long he's going to prison? 
 
David Leary: He hasn't been sentenced yet. 
 
Blake Oliver: Okay. Wow. If he gets prison time, and all he got was $11,000 of gift cards, that's not a good payout. 
 
David Leary: This story just ... There's gonna be more people exposed. There's just too many entities. There's too many people involved. It wasn't just Michael Mann sitting there in his room by himself, orchestrating all this. There's a lot more people going down. I actually think your hunch- last week, you talked about the president of the bank. [00:06:30] They just happened to be roommates or something in college- what'd you say? 
 
Blake Oliver: They were part of an MBA program together. So, it's this personal relationship thing, right? Maybe the bank manager or the VP that we were talking about, maybe he didn't mean to do anything wrong, but he trusted Mann because of that personal relationship. 
 
David Leary: Yep. 
 
Blake Oliver: I'm not an expert on fraud, but it just ... Reading all these stories over the past few years about it, seems like a lot of the time, the problem is people rely on personal relationships; they don't do their due diligence. You gotta trust but verify. 
 
David Leary: [00:07:00] I think that's the last of my Valentine's Day stories. 
 
Blake Oliver: I've got a story about other folks not doing their job, and that is the IRS. Now, maybe we can give the IRS a break because they are seriously, seriously under-funded, but you would think they would do a little bit better than how they did when it came to managing the Free File program, which is what I wanna talk about. 
 
Obviously, we've been talking about this for months and months now – the IRS exercised very little oversight over the Free File program, [00:07:30] which is the program that allowed low-income taxpayers to file their taxes for free. They outsourced the Free File program to dozens of tax-preparation companies, including TurboTax. Those companies then found ways to redirect people into paid products so that something like only two percent of folks who would've qualified for the Free File program to do their taxes for free ended up paying to do their taxes. 
 
The Inspector General of the United States came out [00:08:00] with their official report earlier this month and formally said that the IRS did not exercise proper oversight; that the complexity, confusion, and lack of taxpayer awareness around the operation requirements of the Free File program are contributing reasons why many eligible taxpayers don't participate in it. 
 
They verified that only 2.5 million, or 2.4 percent of the 104 million eligible taxpayers obtained a free return filing through the program. More than 34.5 million taxpayers who met the Free File [00:08:30] program criteria used the members' commercial software to file their tax returns. So, out of those third of people who qualified, who used commercial software to file their tax returns, somehow, those companies managed to funnel those folks into paid software the vast majority of the time. 
 
The lack of oversight's pretty amazing. There's a lot of detail in this report about the complexity, but also about what the IRS didn't do, when they were supposed to exercise oversight. [00:09:00] Apparently, they failed to develop goals and performance metrics. They weren't really even measuring the program, so the IRS folks didn't even know that it was this bad, and they weren't verifying that people who qualified for the program were being properly put into the right funnel, and all this stuff. The IRS agreed with almost all the recommendations and is going to implement them. In more uplifting news, did you know that the Rhode Island 1040 form has emojis on it this year? [00:09:30]
 
David Leary: Emojis on the 1040 form? 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah. The 2019 Form RI-1040- it is Line 15c and 16 – Total Amount Due, and Amount Overpaid. Next to Total Amount Due, there is a frowny face, and next to Amount Overpaid, there is a smiley face. I found this on a Reddit thread on the Tax Reddit. The comments are pretty funny. Somebody said, "The first time I saw it, I thought our system accidentally printed it [00:10:00] but it is, in fact, real." Apparently, Arkansas's individual return has had them for years. Utah did it a few years ago on their online filing system; took it off after they got complaints, and then put it back on when they got even more complaints for taking them off. 
 
David Leary: Now we have show artwork, right? We can utilize that for our artwork on the show. 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, there you go. Those are all my tax stories. 
 
David Leary: Do you wanna talk about ransomware? 
 
Blake Oliver: Sure. 
 
David Leary: All right. There was an article in The New York Times kind of summarizing the year in [00:10:30] review for ransomware in 2019. The numbers are really scary, when you look at it versus 2018, or even Q4 of 2019 versus the previous quarter. In 2019, 205,000 organizations have claim that they've been hacked by ransomware attack; 41-percent increase. 
 
Blake Oliver: Wow. 
 
David Leary: The average payment is now $84,000, and that was just for the Q4 of 2019. It's double what it was in Q3 [00:11:00] of 2019. 
 
Blake Oliver: Wow, this is quickly approaching the amount that people lose due to in-house fraud. 
 
David Leary: Then they're saying, in just December alone, it's jumped up to 190,000. 
 
Blake Oliver: That is, I think ... I think 200,000 is something like the ... I could be wrong here, but around the amount that the average business loses due to fraud. That basically means ransomware should be equally on our attention. 
 
David Leary: Think about that- if you put that on a graph, it's like a hockey stick! 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah. 
 
David Leary: What happens when people see numbers [00:11:30] look like hockey sticks? Businesses pop up, correct? 
 
Blake Oliver: Right. Of course. 
 
David Leary: Okay, so what's happening now is hundreds of gangs are starting to specialize, and hackers are starting to specialize in creating 'Ransomware as a Service.' 
 
Blake Oliver: Hacker gangs-
 
David Leary: Yes. 
 
Blake Oliver: -are creating Ransomware as a Service? 
 
David Leary: As a service; so you can- 
 
Blake Oliver: What does that mean? 
 
David Leary: You and I could go buy a ransomware package, and maybe inside the feed of The Cloud Accounting Podcast, distribute it ... 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh ... So, like, create a little side business doing ransomware.  
 
David Leary: Exactly, so we don't have to ... I don't have time to code up ransomware! I could just sign up for a service and get ransomware, and then distribute it. Then, not only that, because when people get ransomed, you put the phone number ... You've gotta call in ... You and I do not have time to take phone calls from people, saying, "I wanna pay the ransom!" They're setting up call centers to handle the call volume. A complete industry, a legit industry, has been built around ransomware attacks! 
 
Blake Oliver: That's amazing. I have a related stat. [00:12:30] According to the Allianz Risk Barometer for 2020, 39 percent of respondents to its ninth annual survey of risk experts identified cyber incidents as their main concern, pushing business interruption events out of the top spot it had occupied for seven years. Cybersecurity, which includes ransomware, is now the top concern – 49 percent of risk experts say it's their top concern over business interruption events. 
 
David Leary: Two add-ons to this, right? [00:13:00] Bryan Sartin- he's the head of Global Security Services at Verizon; they're encouraging clients to create a slush fund of bitcoins. 
 
Blake Oliver: Just to have in case you need it. 
 
David Leary: Just to have in case you need it. Then, the article also talks about somebody who had a medical practice, a doctor. She ran her practice over 20 years, and then, it totally became a mess. She got ransomwared, et cetera ... She was shutting down her whole thing, but her forensic expert apparently told her that even if she paid the $50,000 to get her data back, [00:13:30] there's only a 15-percent chance she'd actually get it back. Stop clicking on links, guys. 
 
Blake Oliver: This is sobering. 
 
David Leary: The numbers just are staggering from the month, by month, by month of last quarter, even. 
 
Blake Oliver: You were talking about the trend, right – that hockey stick kinda growth?
 
David Leary: Mm-hmm. 
 
Blake Oliver: Same thing for this stat that I just mentioned. Seven years ago, cybersecurity ranked 15th, with just six percent of responses that it was the top concern. It went from six percent to 39 percent in just seven years. 
 
David Leary: Wow. 
 
Blake Oliver: Amazing. 
 
David Leary: [00:14:00] It's still affecting governments. Did you know Puerto Rico- they lost $2.6 million in a phishing scam? 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, no! How did this work? 
 
David Leary: They got contacted by an email that said change the bank account details to this, and they paid the bill to the wrong bank account details. Again- 
 
Blake Oliver: It's classic. Classic. 
 
David Leary: -so all of you probably ... To be honest, everybody listening should have a process with each client- provide value to your clients – call them all up and have some internal processes where you do not change the banking account information without either a sign-off, [00:14:30] or a secondary verification. You can't just do it because you got an email. 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, email verification doesn't work. Email is not secure. Well, let's shift gears for a bit, and talk about the Trump administration. It's election season. I got my ballot in the mail here in California – my mail-in ballot; but that's not what I wanna talk about. What I really wanna talk about is the White House budget. 
 
The Trump administration released the budget, and there's something [00:15:00] in there that's really relevant to accounting. The White House wants to get rid of the PCAOB – the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board – which has been around for 16 years. It was created after the fall of Enron to be the watchman – the auditor of the auditors. Yeah, the Trump administration wants to eliminate the PCAOB and transfer its authority back into the SEC, which is the parent of the PCAOB- 
 
David Leary: How do you feel about this? Because I think before, in previous episodes, you ... I think you've railed against [00:15:30] them for failing- being a failure at what they're supposed to be doing. 
 
Blake Oliver: I love this! This is like the best thing that Trump has ever done! It's amazing! Because just two weeks ago, in Accounting Today, there was this great article called, "Is the PCAOB Doing Enough?" The stats are just damning. Since the PCAOB opened its doors, it has levied less than one half of one percent of the fines that it could have imposed on the Big Four U.S. accounting [00:16:00] firms, based on its finding of defective audits. This amounts to a total of $6.5 million in fines; rather than the $1.6 billion that were warranted – a minuscule fraction of what the PCAOB should have recovered from wrongdoers. It is also a minuscule fraction of revenue of the sector, which reported more than $154 billion in global revenue in 2019, alone. 
 
David Leary: I imagine that number doesn't even cover their budget line to justify their existence. 
 
Blake Oliver: I don't think [00:16:30] so because-
 
David Leary: Could you repeat that again? $6 million? $3 million? 
 
Blake Oliver: In 16 years, they have collected $6.5 million in fines. 
 
David Leary: I'm getting my calculator here. 16 ... All right, let's see. What's that a year? That's a couple ... $200,000 a year? [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: You do the math right now, and I'm gonna look up something else for us, which is interesting. I'm gonna look up the cost of the PCAOB. 
 
David Leary: I'm dividing $5 million by- 
 
Blake Oliver: You're dividing $6.5 million by 16 years. 
 
David Leary: Oh, it's earth-shattering. $400,000 [00:17:00] a year. 
 
Blake Oliver: Okay ... 
 
David Leary: For a government department. 
 
Blake Oliver: So, the budget for 2020 for the PCAOB is $284.7 million. 
 
David Leary: Oh, we have to kill it! That's absolutely [crosstalk] You've got me convinced! This is the best thing Trump's ever done. I'm sold! 
 
Blake Oliver: Isn't this amazing? So, putting these fines in perspective, $6.5 million in fines for an industry that generates $154 billion in global revenue. It's like- David,  [00:17:30] if I got a parking ticket and it was like five bucks, right? It gets worse. I'll share some of the stats from this article. By the way, this article in Accounting Today, it's in the show notes, and it links to a report by The Project on Government Oversight, which is one of those groups that government oversight. Thank God we have these. 
 
According to POGO's report, since the PCAOB began its oversight functions in 2003, it has identified 808 instances- [00:18:00] 808 instances in which the Big Four firms performed audits that were "so defective that the audit firms should not have vouched for a company's financial statements, internal controls, or both." But they only took enforcement action in 21 of those instances. 808 completely defective audits; 21 enforcement actions. 
 
Individual fines? The PCAOB is no joke. They have the power to levy individual fines on accounting firm management who fail to reasonably supervise lower-level staff; [00:18:30] so the partners. They've imposed a total of $410,000 in fines in 16 years, which is less than one- the salary of one Big Four partner. [crosstalk] What a waste of money, right? What a giant freaking waste of money that the PCAOB is, and how could anyone justify keeping them around when this is their track record over 16 years. It's like, just shut it down. 
 
David Leary: This is just one little small piece of our government, right? 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah. 
 
David Leary: I'm sure this just goes [00:19:00] deeper and deeper [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: No, David, you should be worried. This is gonna make me vote for Trump, David. You're gonna- I'm passionate about this! This is my issue! 
 
David Leary: Well, your other guy, Yang, dropped out this week.  
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, Yang dropped out, and that was- 
 
David Leary: You were all part of the Yang Gang. 
 
Blake Oliver:  I know we talked about Andrew Yang on the show, and I ... Not that much; we don't talk about politics a ton, but, yes, I liked- I like Andrew Yang, and not necessarily because I agree 100 percent with his policies, but because I think he's drawing [00:19:30] attention to the threat of automation and how that's gonna fundamentally change our society. He's actually talking about it and wants to do something about it. 
 
David Leary: Let's go off your talking about automation spin. 
 
Blake Oliver: Okay. 
 
David Leary: ScaleFactor ... We've talked about ScaleFactor a lot in the past, right? 
 
Blake Oliver: Yes, and I am not terribly familiar with them, but I understand they are one of those software companies with a service, or, like you like to say, accounting firms with developers. 
 
David Leary: Accounting firms with engineers. They're similar to Botkeeper, ScaleFactor, Ceterus, [00:20:00] Bench; arguably, QuickBooks Live; kinda that model, right? 
 
Blake Oliver: InDinero, right? 
 
David Leary: InDinero, right; that same model. They had a blog post this week come out about how, "The Future of Small Business Finance is More Human than You Think."  
 
Blake Oliver: More human than you think? 
 
David Leary: It really sounds like they're pivoting their business model. 
 
Blake Oliver: Currently, they do ... You buy ScaleFactor and you get software plus a service, and it's provided in-house. 
 
David Leary: Yep. It's similar to the QuickBooks [00:20:30] Live model. They use QuickBooks or Xero under the covers, and you pay for them, and you get a ScaleFactor app, and a ScaleFactor dashboard, and you do all your interactions with ScaleFactor. In-house, they have accountants and bookkeepers do your bookkeeping. 
 
Blake Oliver: Got it. 
 
David Leary: It's a full-blown service. 
 
Blake Oliver: They raised a bunch of money last year; that's how we ended up talking about them, right? 
 
David Leary: Yeah, so of all these players, they've raised the most. They've taken in $100 million. 
 
Blake Oliver: Okay, got it. 
 
David Leary: And, I think when they announced, they took in that last round, [00:21:00] they didn't have 1,000 customers. I think we did some math before, and it was- the ratios were not good as far as for the amount of money they've taken in versus how many actual customers they've acquired so far. 
 
If you really read the article, it starts out – a little – very high about ... I’m not saying arguing against technology, but tip-toeing the waters that maybe it wasn't solving- automating, and creating bots, and using technology, maybe it wasn't solving problems as easily as they maybe thought it could. I'll [00:21:30] just read some quotes, here. 
 
Blake Oliver: I know where this is going. 
 
David Leary: "The time and cost savings that come from smart application of technology can be the lifeblood of a small business, but sometimes, the answer is no." Then, there's another sentence about, "Psychological support in the early years is a critical piece of business owner success that requires a different kind of innovation. Technology can still enable the solution, but it is not the whole solution." It's very interesting because I think a lot of these companies were betting on, [00:22:00] "We'll just get engineers and automate the hell outta everything." Is the pendulum swinging a tad the other direction? 
 
Blake Oliver: Well, I think they're just learning hard lessons; which, once you do bookkeeping for a few years, you start to realize just how hard it is, and how there is so much that you cannot automate. There's a lot you can automate, but there's a lot you can't; 100-percent bots ... Not gonna work. Not even ... Maybe you can do [00:22:30] half. It just depends on the task, right? The client-facing stuff, it's so difficult to automate. 
 
David Leary: It sounds like they're completely pivoting to where they are gonna play more of a middle man, like a true Uber model. So, Uber does not have drivers in-house; looks like they're gonna pivot that way. If you really read the article a little bit deeper, there's a sentence that actually reinforces that. They go on to say, "We are also retaining a portion of our finance professionals to foster this new marketplace from the inside. In addition, we'll be providing assistance [00:23:00] for some team members to spin off and start their own independent businesses as certified pros in our ecosystem." It sounds like internal accountants and bookkeepers that they had in-house are now, for lack of a better term, being laid off to go become independent contractors for ScaleFactor.  
 
Blake Oliver: Makes total sense to me. This is the only way that you can scale a business is by being a platform; not by being a provider. This is the problem, I think, that a lot of these software-plus-a-service companies have is that they end up getting sucked [00:23:30] into doing the service, and that doesn't scale like software does. You don't get the return on investment; you don't get the huge margins; you don't get the crazy exponential growth that you need to justify taking VC money. 
 
David Leary: Think about bookkeepers, in general, or, let's step it back ... You've done this. You order a Lyft, and he or she shows up, and there's an Uber sticker in the window, a Lyft sticker in the window, an Amazon delivery app running because he's also doing Amazon package [00:24:00] deliveries; he or she is; all those food services – DoorDash, and all that kinda stuff, right? It's all ... TaskRabbit ... They've got 50 stickers of all the services he or she does gig work for, right? Is there gonna be more bookkeepers that are going to ... They have their LinkedIn page, and they're gonna be like, "Hey, I'm a QuickBooks Live bookkeeper, and I'm a ScaleFactor bookkeeper, and I do gig bookkeeping for this other ..." Is that kind of the future you think we're headed? 
 
Blake Oliver: Yes, unless states follow California's lead and pass laws like AB5, which pretty much makes it [00:24:30] impossible to do that here in California. ScaleFactor's not gonna be able to hire California bookkeepers as contractors on their platform, I don't think, because the test for independent contractor status is really hard now. Those laws were created specifically to target companies like Uber, and Lyft. 
 
David Leary: But could ScaleFactor take on California clients, but have labor in El Paso? 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, but what if Texas does the same thing? What if New York does the same thing? If most of the U.S. [00:25:00] population falls under these new laws that are getting passed, then, no; they'll have trouble. So, we'll see. 
 
David Leary: I did reach out to ScaleFactor. We'll put a link on Twitter, just to confirm whether or not they actually laid off staff, which ties into our story from last week, where over here, on the QuickBooks side, it sounds like they can't hire staff fast enough, so [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: Right? Which is why they're gonna advertise- 
 
David Leary: -there's some freed-up labor now. The market's gonna eventually balance all this out, right? 
 
Blake Oliver: We'll see. [00:25:30]
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This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by SmartBooks Genie. SmartBooks Genie was born out of the struggles experienced by Calvin Wilder, as he grew his firm, SmartBooks, from zero to 40 people in eight years. Calvin has been using Genie to run SmartBooks for the last 18 months and now, he's making Genie available to all accounting and bookkeeping firms to power their client-accounting services. 
 
SmartBooks Genie layers on top of QuickBooks Online to allow you to centralize your firm's workflows, manage the monthly close, automatically prepare client reports, and complete time-consuming manual processes that you're currently doing in spreadsheets or other isolated systems. By centralizing client management to get core work done accurately and on time, SmartBooks Genie will stay on top of the deadlines and scope of service that you're delivering to clients, so you keep your client engagements profitable. 
 
To learn more about SmartBooks Genie and take advantage of its Early Adopter program offering 50 percent off monthly subscription fees, head over to cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/genie. That is Cloud Accounting Podcast dot promo forward slash G-E-N-I-E. SmartBooks Genie grants your wish for a streamlined practice. 
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Blake Oliver: We're talking about distributed workforces, people working virtually. I imagine that ScaleFactor may have had bookkeepers, accountants in their office, and now those folks are gonna work from home in a different relationship with the company. So, let's talk about remote work and working from home. 
 
David Leary: Yes. 
 
Blake Oliver: David, you sent over the latest Buffer State of Remote Work Report. 
 
David Leary: Somebody tweeted that, and I said, [00:27:00] "That's Blake's beat," and I tagged you in the tweet. 
 
Blake Oliver: Well, and you know I love- 
 
David Leary: I didn't open it or read it, so I'm looking forward to you summarizing for us. 
 
Blake Oliver: Buffer does a great job with this report. The link is in the show notes, and I encourage anybody who's interested in seeing some good visuals on remote work to go visit that. I'm a big fan. I have been working remotely since I started in accounting; most recently, since October, because where I work, Jirav, we're a virtual company. [00:27:30] We have a headquarters in a WeWork in San Francisco, but that is a optional work space. People work from home; often, we have folks in Seattle and Texas, L.A., and we're gonna grow that way. So, let me just share some of these interesting stats from the report, shall I? 
 
David Leary: Yeah. 
 
Blake Oliver: This was a survey of folks who work remotely at least some of the time. There is one unequivocal response, and this has happened every single year ... When they asked folks, "Would you like to [00:28:00] work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of your career?" 98 percent say yes. When people get- 
 
David Leary: Who are the two percent? They must have- 
 
Blake Oliver: They're not having- 
 
David Leary: Too much laundry to do or something; like, "I can't be at my house. It's just too much." 
 
Blake Oliver: There's a small percent that don't recommend remote work. 97 percent of people who work remotely recommend it to others; three percent don't. We'll explore that three percent a little bit more, as to why they don't recommend remote work because I think that offers some clues as to how we can make remote work better. 
 
David Leary: Okay. 
 
Blake Oliver: Just to provide some [00:28:30] context to folks, remote work has been growing really fast, but it's still very small in the U.S.. Only three percent of U.S. workers work remotely; although, I believe- I don't have the data in front of me, but if you just look at professionals, or knowledge workers, who work on a computer, it's probably all of that three percent is gonna be in that group, pretty much, so it makes it a bigger percentage of people who are listening to this show, and whatnot. [00:29:00] 
 
Of people who work remote, over half – 57 percent – work remote 100 percent of the time; then, about 16 to 17 percent work remote 75 to 99 percent of the time; 10 percent work remote one to 25 percent; smaller percentages work remote 50 to 75, 25 to 50 ... Basically, more than half work remote full-time, and the rest [00:29:30] are working remote some of the time. 70 percent are happy with the amount of time they work remotely, but 19 percent would like to work remotely more often. Only 11 percent would like to work remotely less often. 
 
Of the benefits- let's talk about the benefits of remote work. You might think that it's the ability to spend time with family or work from home, but those are actually not at the top of the list. The number-one reason people like working remotely is the ability to have a flexible schedule. That's almost a third [00:30:00] of respondents. Then, a quarter say it's the flexibility to work from anywhere; and 21 percent say not having to commute, which I think is my favorite. What's your biggest struggle with working remotely? It's split between- 
 
David Leary: Can I guess some of these? 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, go ahead. 
 
David Leary: Just opening cabinets and just looking for a snack. Laundry ... 
 
Blake Oliver: Not on the list. 
 
David Leary: And daytime soap operas [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: 12 percent say distractions at home are the biggest struggle, [00:30:30] but almost twice that, 20 percent say collaboration/communication; 20 percent say loneliness; and 18 percent say not being able to unplug. Then, comes distractions at home. Not being able to unplug is interesting because that actually ties in with other stats we have heard from remote work surveys that say that remote workers are more productive; as much as 20-percent more productive than office workers because their office is at home so they can work all the time, and they end up working a lot more [00:31:00] than if they went to an office. 
 
David Leary: I think there's a fine line of working remotely, and working at home, as well, because I work from home, and I wanna kill myself a lot of times because it's just- it's hard. There's a lot of distraction. But, if I go to a Starbucks, I'm working remotely, and nobody bothers me, and I get a lot done. It's almost like I sit down, and you can really get into the zone, but it's a lot harder to get in that zone sometimes, at home, when there's distractions. 
 
Blake Oliver: When I have my best days are when I will [00:31:30] sit down early. I wake up, and the first thing I do is grab coffee, and I go sit in front of my computer, where I'm sitting now, in my office, and I'll knock out a solid two to four hours of stuff I really just need to get done without distractions. Then, once you've done a few hours of really what some people call flow work, you're exhausted. So, I'll take a break. I'll go have lunch or brunch; get outta the house; then I'll work at a Starbucks for a few hours. [00:32:00] Then, I'll come home and finish up. Changing that view really helps, I think; it also helps you feel less lonely. 
 
The collaboration/communication part, that is a significant challenge; although I would argue that it can be just as difficult in an office, depending on the size of your company. You definitely, if you have remote workers, you need to have better processes than ... You can't rely on the ability just to walk over to somebody's desk and find out what's going on. You've gotta have more defined ways of communicating. Where do you think, [00:32:30] David, since you're making guesses ... Where do you think people primarily work from when they work remotely? Starbucks? 
 
David Leary: Oh, the physical place ... I was gonna say at their- I think it's gonna be at their house, probably the number-one place.  
 
Blake Oliver: It is. 
 
David Leary: Then, I would say, probably on the couch; if people are being honest ... I'm willing to bet and guess many people do it on the couch. 
 
Blake Oliver: Well- 
 
David Leary: While Netflix is on. 
 
Blake Oliver: -couch is not listed here, but 80 percent of people who work remotely work from home, primarily; nine percent work at the company's office; so, [00:33:00] I guess a different office than your team? Seven percent work at coworking spaces; only three percent work primarily from coffee shops, which I totally get. That's impossible to get ... You can't work full-time from a coffee shop; although, I think there's lots of people in my neighborhood who do because the Starbucks is always jammed. 
 
David Leary: The other interesting thing is, even at companies, when you're in the office ... I remember having this experience at Intuit; you go to a meeting, and the Intuit campus is gigantic, and people just don't have the time to walk to the meeting, [00:33:30] so they end up dialing in remotely. Even though they're at the office, they're still attending meetings very remotely. 
 
Blake Oliver: That's pretty funny, right? Yeah [crosstalk] 
 
David Leary: -so even people at the office are getting the remote experience. 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah. We would do the same thing when I was at the firm down on Wilshire Boulevard. My team would be- there'd be a wall between me and my team, and we would all just dial in on Zoom because it was easier than trying to get everyone around a desk; we all had our stuff at our desks. It just makes so much sense. 
Some insights from the report, okay? The [00:34:00] big question is how do people overcome the challenges of remote work, and why do people not recommend remote work? What are the issues, and how can we fix them? The number-one issue is when teams are split between offices and remote workers. 
 
This is something you'll hear from a lot of folks who run remote companies is that if you're gonna do it successfully, and if you want those remote workers to feel included, it's actually really important that you don't have an office, or if you do have an office that it's not required that people go there. 
 
Because you don't want your company [00:34:30] split into two groups, where you have – here's my group of people in the office who all have really great relationships and have that traditional office style of working together. Then, here's the remote team, which are like second-class citizens, and they don't get to know what's going on; they miss out on stuff. Those people feel really lonely.
 
If you're gonna do remote, you need to really go all in on it. It's kinda like dropping timesheets. It's kinda like changing your process to pricing fixed fees, or value-based. You can't really go halfway and make it work. [00:35:00] You gotta do the whole switchover to be really successful. 
 
David Leary: Buffer is like a social media tool/company. Are they 100-percent remote, them as a company? 
 
Blake Oliver: 100-percent remote, yeah- 
 
David Leary: I think TaxJar's 100-percent remote-
 
Blake Oliver: Zapier is [crosstalk] They're big. I wanna say they're like 1,000 people, and they are 100-percent remote. So, guys, if you think that remote work is just for small firms, or small teams, it's not true. There are some big tech companies [00:35:30] that have gone fully remote. You know why they're going remote? Because San Francisco is unlivable now. 
 
There was actually just a story on CNBC about Twitter's CEO, Jack Dorsey. He said that San Francisco is just unsustainable and that they're not planning to expand the Twitter offices in San Francisco anymore. They're gonna go everywhere else, and they're gonna have a distributed team. His other company, which is Square, which everybody is familiar with from their point-of-sale, they are not opening offices in San Francisco. They recently opened a new office [00:36:00] in Oakland. They're not going that far away from the Bay Area, but it's certainly a lot cheaper.  We have this experience, too, at my company, at Jirav; San Francisco headquarters but we're not gonna expand there; no way; too expensive. Even L.A. is cheap compared to San Francisco [crosstalk] 
 
David Leary: Even L.A. is cheaper ... 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah. 
 
David Leary: Did this get into any tools? 
 
Blake Oliver: Solutions? Well, obviously, they recommend Buffer for using your social media because it's- you know, Buffer's the company that created this report. But, you and I can talk tools, David. We collaborate [00:36:30] remotely. We use Slack; we use Basecamp- 
 
David Leary: This is where I was heading with Slack, right? I've questioned it. You've questioned it. I've started to talk to other people that are questioning it. It's almost like Slack's a little outta control, and the benefits you had from Slack before are starting to go away. It's starting to just feel like another big old inbox. Then, if you're in multiple Slacks, and you can't find things ... 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah, it's- 
 
David Leary: Is Slack ripe for disruption from a different app? I've started to, in my head, digest what else could I be using? 
 
Blake Oliver: I saw a headline that IBM is signed up [00:37:00] for Slack now, and I feel like that means that it's the beginning of the end. 
 
David Leary: Oh, it's tipped; okay. 
 
Blake Oliver: They're gonna put something- hundreds of thousands of people on Slack, and ... Yeah, I think the problem with- it's certainly better than email, and it's a solution we need, but it hasn't solved email, and that was what Slack aimed to do. They were like, "We're gonna replace email," and then, they never did. It just became yet another communications channel we have to manage. So, I think there's still a solution out there? Hopefully, somebody can figure [00:37:30] that out. 
 
After years of using Slack, I think the big problem is when there's just way too much communication going on in Slack, and people- you've gotta train people in your organization when is the best time to use instant chat, or team chat, and when is the best time to use email because you don't wanna be distracting people constantly. This is one of the problems with remote work; if you have your chat app open, it's just as distracting as being in the office and having conversations happening around you all the time. 
 
We gotta figure out how do we now when communication should be asynchronous, [00:38:00] meaning I am not expected to reply immediately to it; maybe I have a 24-hour period. Then, you have communication that really is priority. I would say that 80 percent of communication is not high priority, or more. 
 
David Leary: I'd argue that there's people I'm on Slack with that I've been communicating via text messages a lot more in the last four to eight weeks; so something obviously has shifted to where- it's almost like, "Hey, I want them to see this message," or I need actually to- I really need to communicate with them, and Slack's just not good [00:38:30] enough for that anymore. I don't know, it's something to keep in mind and watch. I don't know if we have to beat this up today. 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, no, we'll keep talking about it, but yeah, that's my- because you brought it up, I gotta say, that's my main complaint with Slack is that if I open a message on my phone, it's marked as red. If there's something I needed to do, it's not easy to keep that in an inbox, or keep that in a queue. I have to star it, and then remember to go to my starred messages, or I have to set a reminder. It's not good for actually tracking work that needs to get done. 
 
David Leary: Versus an inbox; it'll just sit in your inbox [00:39:00] for the rest of your life [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: That's the thing about an inbox- yes, the inbox may get full and cluttered, and then it's a pain to clear it, but at least you are assured that you're not going to lose a message that you read because it's there in that inbox. 
 
David Leary: Well, I think there's that feature of Slack, I think it's on by default, where all the messages just go to your inbox, and you can reply to them in your inbox; so you could actually just never actually use Slack anymore, but just have all the messages run through your inbox, and you just [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, in my email? 
 
David Leary: In your email, yeah. 
 
Blake Oliver: Then, that's worse. That's the worst, because you can't reply from your inbox, so then you gotta go back to [00:39:30] the app. It just- it makes things even worse. Anyway, we're not gonna solve the world's problems in that regard today. 
 
David Leary: No. I have two small app updates that were kinda interesting, but then, I do wanna talk a little bit about the UK. I don't know what else you have on your plate. 
 
Blake Oliver: There's just one thing I wanted to add to that remote work discussion-  
 
David Leary: Oh, yes. 
 
Blake Oliver: -which is something that we don't often bring up; a lot of times, we talk about work/life balance; we've talked about the talent shortage; how accounting firms, bookkeeping firms, in particular, [00:40:00] are gonna have trouble attracting and retaining talent, and that's one reason that remote work is important. It can help you attract folks who don't wanna commute.
 
There was a stat recently in the Wall Street Journal in an article called, "Smallest U.S. Firms Struggle to Find Workers." Businesses with fewer than 20 employees – in 2019, their headcount was essentially unchanged. When you compare that to bigger companies, companies with 500 or more employees, they grew their workforces by 2.3 percent in January, and they grew their workforces [00:40:30] in 2019. 
 
The economy's good; businesses are expanding; but the small businesses have not been able to hire and aren't able to compete with the big companies that can offer big benefits. So, remote work is a real option; a way that they can – the small businesses – compete. Also, investing in software was mentioned in this article. The quote is, "Some small companies are using software to drive efficiencies that keep headcount down and allow companies to remain competitive. North Carolina Trailer Sales, Inc. [00:41:00] invested in new software that cost $15,000 a year to streamline bookkeeping and other administrative tasks." They don't say what that software is- 
 
David Leary: Sounds like an ERP. 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, sounds like an ERP system, right? More companies willing to spend on software. Outsourcing is also mentioned. "Other companies are taking advantage of a boom in service providers willing to handle functions such as human resources and marketing. Altraco, a contract manufacturer in Thousand Oaks, California outsourced accounting in 2019, and this year plans to shift [00:41:30] logistics, and the creation of artwork, and presentations to third parties." Software; outsourcing ... Outsourcing, too, is like a remote work kind of think, if you think about it, right? They're not your employees; they're contractors, but they're not in your office. 
 
David Leary: Yep. 
 
Blake Oliver: One more thing I wanted to add – this was an article in Forbes, called, " Remote To The Rescue: How Virtual Jobs Are Saving The World." It reminded me that there are benefits to the earth from remote work. Remote work saves 3.2 metric tons [00:42:00] of carbon emissions and 313 gallons of gasoline per remote worker per year. So, if you are a climate-change advocate, and you wanna save the world, you can make your employees' lives better, and you can reduce your carbon footprint by letting people work from home because they're not commuting; they're not polluting.
 
Lastly, another benefit of remote work that isn't brought up a lot is its promotion of diversity and inclusion; because when you measure people based on results, [00:42:30] the color of their skin, or their gender is less important. Also, when people aren't in an office all the time, that is not as visible- 
 
David Leary: Or hygiene. 
 
Blake Oliver: -so people's work ... Or hygiene. That's right. You have to have systems to measure work product, which is hard, but yeah, it's better for top performers because they don't get judged based on superficial traits. 
 
David Leary: I have two small quick app news- [00:43:00] Kashoo, are you familiar with Kashoo? K-A-S-H-O-O? 
 
Blake Oliver: Uh, gesundheit ... 
 
David Leary: They're a cloud-accounting software app. It's been around- I feel like it's been around at least a decade. It's been around a long time. They released some new tools. They have now added machine learning to categorize and reconcile expenses. They're saying data entry is virtually eliminated. Then, they're also gonna do some OCR – take a picture of a receipt, upload it right into the app. They're consolidating, arguably, things that were done by third-party apps into their [00:43:30] one app. 
 
Reading it, it's hard to tell ... This is just kinda normal cloud-accounting stuff - other than the OCR – that everybody else has been doing, so I don't know ... What was Kashoo doing before? I've never actually used it; I just know they've been around. I've always thought it's bank feeds, and they pulled down transactions. 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, I think similar to Xero, QuickBooks Online; more for those micro-businesses, though? I got some app updates, too. 
 
David Leary: Okay. 
 
Blake Oliver: Square has released progressed invoicing. [00:44:00] So, now you can send an invoice and set up milestones; then, you can progress invoice your clients. 
 
David Leary: Wow. 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, right? It's something that people have been asking for, forever, in a lot of apps, and Square just does it. They just go and do it. Nothing stops them. Then, Xero has a couple updates. Xero Expenses has mileage. That's now in open beta. You can track your mileage in that Xero Expenses app. 
 
Then, you can now attach a file to a Spend Money transaction on [00:44:30] your mobile device. This is something that was really requested; when you're reconciling on the bank feed, you can now open up that transaction you create, and you can snap a picture of a receipt and attach it. It changes the workflow from having to submit the receipt first and then reconcile. 
 
David Leary: Yep. 
 
Blake Oliver: Makes a lot of sense because I don't save all of my receipts. David, I know you're crazy, and you save every receipt. I just wanna go in, when I'm reconciling, take a picture of any of the bigger items, like my hotel bill. 
 
David Leary: Well, one day, when I hire [00:45:00] a- I outsource my bookkeeping work, I'm gonna be an ideal client. There's gonna be a lot of demand to take me on because my stuff's all nicely organized, and I have good habits as a client- 
 
Blake Oliver: Except, you'll know how it should be done, so you'll complain when it's not done properly. 
 
David Leary: Not done properly or on time ... "This is taking too long!" File this one under banks becoming GLs. Joust - like joust, the event on horses [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: Or the famous computer game. [00:45:30] 
 
David Leary: Oh, yes, exactly. They've launched a banking app for freelancers. They're actually part of an invoice-guaranteeing company called PayArmour. I don't know if you've ever heard of [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: No, I've never heard of it. 
 
David Leary: -to help collect ... It's invoice-factoring to collect unpaid invoices. Basically, this app is now ... It has an FDIC-insured bank account combined with a merchant account, but it also does ... You get your debit card; you get bill pay; you get savings, and goals; you get a dashboard; you get client management; you get invoices and invoice factoring. It's your bank account, your bank [00:46:00] app, but it's your full-blown ... It's pretty close to a GL. We just keep seeing this every week. 
 
Blake Oliver: Did they start as a bank? 
 
David Leary: I think they started as a invoice-factoring company, and then worked with a bank to spin up this Joust app. 
 
Blake Oliver: Got it, and who's it for? Who's using this? 
 
David Leary: Small businesses; freelancers. 
 
Blake Oliver: Freelancers [crosstalk] small business is a big category; so, is it [crosstalk] Got it.  
 
David Leary: But it's just that same march we keep seeing every week. Banks wanna [00:46:30] be GLs. GLs wanna be banks. 
 
Blake Oliver: For freelancers, I totally see this app/bank/plus accounting system/plus invoicing system being the winner, among freelancers, for sure; because their needs are really simple, and it's totally doable. They just need to categorize their expenses, send invoices, get paid, manage their money. Somebody's gonna get millions and millions of customers if they can lock this down. 
 
David Leary: Then combine it [00:47:00] with probably some human piece; some human bookkeeping type level of support; some small add-on on top of it. 
 
Blake Oliver: You really may not even need to because this is the one thing that AI is really good at, and ML - like you just said with Kashoo - is categorizing transactions. If you have a big enough database and you have enough people who are manually categorizing – just some of them; a fraction of them – you can automation categorize the rest. This is not complicated to look at a bank statement line and figure out what category it should go to, especially if you've got a standardized [00:47:30] Chart of Accounts. That's the trick. 
 
David Leary: That's the key is standardized accounts across the board because I'll tell you what ... Mint ... I've given up. I don't even correct transactions anymore. I just don't care. I know that it categorizes them based on what the crowd categorizes things on, and it's just ... It's always a hassle. It's never right. 
 
Blake Oliver: That's the trick – standardized Chart of Accounts; then, have some human verification, a little bit of it. Anyway, that's all I got this week. How about you, David? Oh! We didn't read our reviews! [00:48:00]
 
David Leary: We have to read reviews, and then we can talk UK. What do you wanna do [crosstalk] Let's read the reviews and get back to our Valentine's theme. There's a lotta love in there. 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, let's read some love notes. So, we got one here on Apple Podcasts. This is from CPA in YYC. "I recently began researching starting my own accounting firm and listening to this podcast has helped affirm I am on the right track and has kept the impostor syndrome to a minimum. I particularly enjoyed the dive into what the heck is goodwill, and how do we keep our designation relevant?" That's from [00:48:30] Ian Folinsbee, CPA, CMA, and founder of MetaQuants Inc., in Calgary, Canada. Awesome! Thanks, Ian, for listening, and I’m glad you liked this discussion. Sometimes, I think, when I talk about FASB, and goodwill, and the PCAOB, that nobody actually cares about this stuff. It's good to know you do. 
 
David Leary: I usually go out and get something outta the fridge and come back when you're going off on that. 
 
Blake Oliver: That's David's snack time. 
 
David Leary: I have an interview ... Interview, sorry! I have a review that was on Podchaser. [00:49:00] This is five stars. It's from Marc R. Bruce: "A big thank you to David and Blake for an amazing podcast. You're absolutely making a difference in the world of cloud accounting and bookkeeping. I'm an Australian, living in Asia, working with accountants and clients across the region to help them with their transformation journey. This podcast has become a very important source of ..."
 
Blake Oliver: Then it cuts off? 
 
David Leary: That might be the whole thing. He might've ran out of characters. I don't know. 
 
Blake Oliver: Well, thank you, Marc. Last one is from Cliff Mitchell; five stars; on Podchaser, as well. "David and Blake are running the best podcast [00:49:30] in cloud accounting. They have a deep understanding of the app and accounting landscape and are both entertaining personalities. They also like ClockShark, which is obviously the best time-tracking app for cloud accounting." Thank you, Cliff, for listening and taking advantage of our offer to read your review on the air, even if it is obviously totally promotional! It's smart! You get a free ad. Write a review. 
 
David Leary: Actually, I think ClockShark's sponsoring next week, so [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, thank you, ClockShark! That's awesome. I've heard great things. [00:50:00] Last story, you were gonna talk about the UK, right, David? 
 
David Leary: Yeah. I don't know if you heard, FreshBooks is launching in the UK. 
 
Blake Oliver: I had not heard that. Wow! That's a big deal [crosstalk] Oh, I knew they were going international, yes, but I didn't know where. 
 
David Leary: Yeah, so they work in the UK. They work globally; but they've actually added functionality to support making tax digital, which is the big push in the UK. If you step back and you think about Intuit's claim – they're beating Xero in the UK now ... So, FreshBooks in the UK, that's fine. That's one of the articles. 
 
Then, there's a related article that was [00:50:30] published in the Australian Financial Review about how an accounting software minnow says it can prosper in Xero's shadow. This is- 
 
Blake Oliver: A minnow? 
 
David Leary: A minnow. So, if you've really been following any of the news lately, Receipt Bank, they took that huge round, and they've been on the press tour; Receipt Bank's founder has been on the press tour spouting the virtues. This article's interesting because it touches a little on that concept of what happens when an app- so, Xero bought Hubdoc, [00:51:00] right? When there's other players in that space ... 
 
Everybody has Xero, Intuit- everybody wants to be an open ecosystem, but if you really read this article deeper, it goes a layer beyond this, "Oh, it's all fair, and it's okay." There's a quote from Steve Vamos. He's Xero's Global CEO. He talks about how Hubdoc and the automation of ingesting documents and data is core to the vision they have at code-free accounting. In Australia and New Zealand, they built it. But in the UK, they did not [00:51:30] have time to build it, so they just wanted ... They just wanted to get something in market, and that's where buying Hubdoc came in because they want to win the UK and make progress there. 
 
Then, on the other side, the Receipt Bank ... Their quote: "In Britain, most British accountants and their small business clients in that country still use desktop software; but Mr. Blair said the trend is firming towards greater reliance on real-time data." The line in the sand's starting to – for the UK as a battleground – is getting kinda declared. 
 
Blake Oliver: So, the [00:52:00] line is ... 
 
David Leary: It's not really a line in the sand, then. The stake in the ground. Xero purposely picked up Hubdoc to go after the UK market. Receipt Bank is in the UK market. If you tag this on to another article from Receipt Bank ... Remember, we covered about Receipt Bank; I think they have their own credit card? 
 
Blake Oliver: Right; not here, though, in the U.S.. 
 
David Leary: Just in the UK- 
 
Blake Oliver: In the UK. 
 
David Leary: Yeah. So, Receipt Bank in the UK has two products. They have ... Well, they have a credit card product, which they are now killing; but they also have – I don't know if you knew this or not – kind of [00:52:30] like a QuickBooks Self Employed product, like a small version of a GL-type-
 
Blake Oliver: I didn't know that. 
 
David Leary: -full-blown product; it's like a standalone product. This article, they talk about how they're killing their UK product, but if you read it, it actually hints towards them doing two other things. I'll read that part of the quote here; this is Receipt Bank Director of User Adoption, Ben Martin. "Martin stipulated that it does not mean they're pulling back in all terms of payments and hinted that there may soon be news from Receipt Bank on that front." 
 
So, they're killing the credit card [00:53:00] over here on their left hand, but they might be doing something more, payments-wise, on the right hand. Then they also, in this article, have talked about how they're involved in the bank feeds. They're gonna be adding bank feeds to Receipt Bank as part of the open banking initiatives in the UK. 
 
Blake Oliver: Hmm. They're gonna go head to head with Xero. That's what this sounds like- 
 
David Leary: This is what it feels like; like Xero- 
 
Blake Oliver: I think they have to, to survive- 
 
David Leary: -Xero, Intuit, Sage, FreshBooks ... The next battle we're gonna be following for the next six to eight months is [00:53:30] the UK. 
 
Blake Oliver: Well, if they're gonna do that, they gotta rebrand because they can't be about receipts and banks. I always wondered that about Receipt Bank; why is it called that? It makes sense, you bank your receipts with them; put in all your receipts, but they do so much more now. They do expense reports. They do- if they're gonna do GL, then they need a new name. 
 
David Leary: Well, unless you plan on becoming a bank and get a bank charter, right? 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah. 
 
David Leary: They might be a step ahead! Right? 
 
Blake Oliver: Maybe. 
 
David Leary: You're right [00:54:00] [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: Maybe this was all planned from the beginning. 
 
David Leary: That's right. You take these three articles together, and you start piecing it together, it's like, oh, yeah, everybody's lining themselves up for this battle in the UK. The lines are being drawn. 
 
Blake Oliver: Well, maybe we can get ourselves out there. We are going to some events this year. Is there anything we can share with our listeners? 
 
David Leary: We are gonna be attending BQE Succeed. 
 
Blake Oliver: That is the second week of June. You can learn more at bqesucceed.com. We're gonna be doing a keynote. 
 
David Leary: We gotta write that; get that done. [00:54:30]
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, we gotta get that up on the schedule. 
 
David Leary: We'll have more [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: That's all we've got- 
 
David Leary: We have to get the- 
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, that's all we've got on the schedule right now. If you wanna reach me or David and complain, or send us an article, or just say hi, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. I'm on Twitter: @BlakeTOliver. When you do connect with me on LinkedIn, please say that you're a podcast listener. That helps me figure out who's real and who's a bot. You can also email me at blake@blakeoliver.com. How about you, David? [00:55:00] 
 
David Leary: Twitter's probably the best and the easiest: @DavidLeary; but also, a lot of people have been using LinkedIn because I think they are just on LinkedIn and not on Twitter; so I'm totally open to that, as well. 
 
Blake Oliver: Well, David, Happy Valentine's Day, again, and until next week, see ya later. 
 
David Leary: And hugs to all our listeners. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!  
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Time for the classifieds

High Rock Accounting is searching for rock stars. We’re a growing accounting firm looking to increase our team. Our ideal candidate will be self-motivated, eager to learn, and grow with the firm. We help businesses succeed by utilizing cutting-edge technology to provide accounting solutions that increase business efficiency and competitiveness. Our goal is simple – enhance accounting operations, improve accuracy, and reduce costs. As a High Rock star, you'll be responsible for full-cycle accounting in a cloud environment. E-mail careers@highrock.co. That's careers@ highrock.co.
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One of the biggest hurdles accounting firms face is finding training that is current and relevant. There is an answer - Elefant Training. Elefant offers webinars and training on Xero, QuickBooks, and cloud-based apps and modern practice management issues like remote leadership and creative compensation. Their instructors are firm owners who also happen to be international experts in cloud accounting. 
 
This year, Elefant is offering recordings of their most popular webinars, plus valuable resources in their brand-new learning library. You can use code "CAP20" for 20 percent off your subscription. Bulk licenses for firms are also available. Visit elefanttraining.com for more info. That's elefanttraining.com. 
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Are you looking for more great cloud accounting content? Ryan Lazanis started and sold his own cloud-accounting firm in just five years. Now he helps firms stay on the cutting edge through his free weekly email, curating the top five pieces of content that help modernize your firm. Visit futurefirm.co/cloudaccounting to sign up. That is futurefirm.co/cloudaccounting.
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Accountants and bookkeepers, are you itching to make a career pivot and escape the 9-to-5 grind and the [00:53:30] busy season stress and start to build your own career path where you work virtually on your own terms? Then you need to get your copy of the newly released Bookkeeping Side Hustle Guidebook and learn actionable steps to become a virtual bookkeeper without the overwhelm. Cloud Accounting Podcast listeners can get the e-book for 30-percent off with the code "CAP30OFF." Get your copy at bookkeepingsidehustle.com/bookkeeping-guidebook. 
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Want to get the word out about your newsletter, webinar party, Facebook group, podcast, or that fancy Excel macro you just created? Why not let the listeners of The Cloud Accounting Podcast know by running a classified ad. Hit the show notes, and the links to get more info.


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