Fintechs Dominate Covid Economy

So. Much. News. TikTok Bid Highlights Oracle’s Public Embrace of Trump; Senate, Supreme Court opt out of Trump payroll tax deferral; House Republicans push to reopen Paycheck Protection Program amid coronavirus relief gridlock; E-filing problems plague some Sept. 15 tax returns; Penalty relief may be available to those who miss Sept. 15 deadline due to COVID-19; IRS set to begin rolling out new case management system; US Offices Only At 50 Pct Capacity In August; Almost 60 percent of business closures are now permanent, new Yelp data shows; Square launches payroll feature that could boost its banking business through the Cash App; Xero revamps Early U.S. plans; What’s new in QuickBooks Online: September 2020; TD Rolls Out Online Accounting In Bid For Small Biz Accounts; Chime is now worth $14.5 billion, surging past Robinhood as the most valuable U.S. consumer fintech; Wolters Kluwer buys XCM Solutions; Bookkeeper360 Launches App That Integrates with Xero to Provide Real-Time Business Insights; Survey Says: Fintech On The Rise During COVID; Klarna Valued At $10.65B After $650M Fundraise; QuickBooks Desktop 2021 updates respond to new COVID realities

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Many times, when choosing a payroll service, you have to choose between a new startup with a great app or an established company whose tech may feel behind the times. With OnPay, you get the best of both worlds – a great app from an established company that's been providing payroll services for over 30 years in all 50 states. Stay tuned to hear more from our sponsor, OnPay, later in the episode.
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David Leary: [00:00:25] It's great that this is a feature, but at the same time, in the world of cloud, it's dumb or maddening. They have a new troubleshooting hub to help you address common problems and errors such as installation, file, network, and password issues.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:00:39] Oh, man.
 
David Leary: [00:00:40] Three of those are because you're not in the cloud – installation, file, and network. Why ... They're building a tool to encourage people to have headaches.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:00:50] You just gave me memories of the times when I was on a desktop and I had file corruption issues and I lost a day of work or more and ... Oh, God. I wouldn't ever go back to that by choice.
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This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by ClockShark. Back in October of 2013, I became ClockShark's first Twitter follower. Today, ClockShark has grown into a highly rated and very-much-loved time-tracking app that is now used by over 5,000 small businesses globally. With features like crew tracking, scheduling, overtime notifications, routes, geofencing locations, job costing, budgeting, and reporting, ClockShark has built a robust mobile time-tracking app to handle the unique challenges that face your mobile workforce clients.
 
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This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by A2X. Blake and I have talked to plenty about the massive shift to online shopping during the time of COVID-19. This means that e-commerce sellers are dealing with massive amounts of transactions that need to appear in the general ledger correctly so that you can easily reconcile these transactions with a bank statement. 

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A2X has won the support of Amazon, Intuit, and has hundreds of five-star reviews by accountants and bookkeepers in both the QuickBooks and Xero app stores. Cloud Accounting Podcast listener and expert, Scott Sharp said that A2X is the gold standard in e-commerce accounting. To learn more about using A2X and get 20% off your subscription by using code "CAP20," head over to cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/a2x.
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Blake Oliver: [00:03:22] Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast, I'm Blake Oliver.
 
David Leary: [00:03:24] I'm David Leary. Blake, this morning, I was thinking, "Oh, what's a small kick-off thing I can mention personally or something exciting that happened this week in my life?" I've nothing. Nothing.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:03:35] We're stuck at home here pretty much; it's same old, same old, but the news is quite varied this week. I think we have to talk about the strangest story of 2020. 2020 has been a crazy year, but the fact that TikTok, Oracle, and Donald Trump are in an entire news narrative that has spanned weeks and possibly months-
 
David Leary: [00:04:00] And Mnuchin.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:04:01] Along with China and Mnuchin. I don't know if it could get any stranger, other than the fact that there might be life on Venus. It's Saturday and I think tomorrow, TikTok is gonna be taken off of the app stores in the United States because Donald Trump has banned TikTok for security reasons, as we discussed. Oracle has proposed a- well, originally, it was gonna be an acquisition, but now it's more like a strategic partnership. We can talk about that later, it's very strange. The fact that Oracle and TikTok might be teaming up ... Oracle, the enterprise software ERP developer, the owner of NetSuite? I just never thought- although I follow accountants on TikTok like Lorilyn Wilson, I never thought that Oracle, an enterprise software, and accounting software would end up- I never thought we would actually be talking about TikTok.
 
David Leary: [00:04:53] I'd fully agree. When Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's going on CNBC to discuss this, it still blows my mind, like, "The head of the IRS is talking about this," we're gonna have to. It looks like Oracle is getting a sweetheart deal here. They're gonna host the data, and this is being spun up. This is gonna create TikTok Global. It's a U.S. company; it's gonna add 20,000 new jobs.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:05:15] Well, that's what they're saying, but this still has to be approved by the Justice Department or it's the Treasury that has to approve this, I think. The deal is strange. Originally, it was gonna be an acquisition and Microsoft was trying to get TikTok.
 
David Leary: [00:05:32] Walmart.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:05:32] Walmart. Now, it's like an Oracle partnership where, like you said, they're going to host the data, but ByteDance, the parent of TikTok, in China, will continue to be TikTok's majority shareholder. That might be a deal breaker for the Trump administration, which is why it's getting banned at this point. I'm not even sure how that would work because ... Oracle is hosting the data in the U.S., and that might do more to secure United States data, but if ByteDance still controls the code, how does Oracle, then, know that user data isn't being siphoned off for malicious purposes by the Chinese communist government? Just because you host data in the United States doesn't mean that it's secure. Maybe the administration doesn't really understand this, or maybe Oracle's trying to pull a fast one on this. I don't know what's going on here, but-
 
David Leary: [00:06:25] Because like with most apps you use, they're sending 40 pieces of data out to other apps and other internet services that they partnered with or they're connected to an ad service they're using or whatever it might be. It's just not the app the data has on you, it's all the other apps that have access to your behaviors when you're using that app.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:06:44] It's where the data is being siphoned off to, like you said. If you don't control the code; if you're unable to see where all this data is flowing through the code, then ... Anyway, maybe Oracle can basically provide that assurance. We'll see. Interesting fact about all of this – it has really put Oracle in the spotlight in a way that I'm not sure it wants to be. I'm not sure people realize this, but Larry Ellison, the founder and chairman of Oracle, he is a Trump supporter, which is unusual in Silicon Valley and in the tech world. Oracle has been a prominent ally of the president and the administration. Larry Ellison hosted a fundraiser for Donald Trump's reelection this year. He has spoken to President Trump about the possible use of hydroxy- let me see if I can get this right, hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.
 
David Leary: [00:07:35] This episode's gonna get banned; we're never gonna be able ... They're gonna kick us off of every platform. You're talking about stuff that gets you banned. We're not gonna be able to publish this on Facebook. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:07:43] Our Facebook ads constantly get taken down because we talk about this kind of stuff. Yeah, apparently the president specifically requested the FDA use an Oracle database for a study of hydroxychloroquine. That's the study that never happened because we found out that the drug is not actually a net benefit. This is so strange because it's one of those things where it's almost like the president's on a phone call with Larry Ellison, and Oracle is in his mind. Then, the TikTok thing is happening and he just connects those two. Then all of a sudden, those two are now connected in the national narrative.
 
David Leary: [00:08:17] I think, like I said weeks ago, Ellison, and Oracle, he's been on- ever since 9/11, he's been on a kick for the government to build the database of every American and everybody get a special ID card that Oracle runs the database. He's been on this anti-privacy of Americans kick for a long time. He's like, "People should not have privacy." He's not a good dude.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:08:39] Well, I don't know about that.
 
David Leary: [00:08:41] I put the link in our episode, a few episodes ago.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:08:45] Well, okay, but just because you wanna create a national ID doesn't mean that you are anti-freedom or anything like that. There's a lot of reasons why you might not wanna have that, but- 
 
David Leary: [00:08:55] I'll tell you the opposite of that – I have no problem saying Larry Ellison is anti-freedom and anti-privacy. What's weird about this whole TikTok thing and with the IRS is you know how everybody talks about the algorithm. TikTok has this amazing algorithm that services the right videos to people on their first use and knows what to do. They're actually asking for Mnuchin to comment about it, and he refused to talk about it. It's just very, very interesting and he goes on to say, and I'll quote him. "I would just say, we will need to make sure that the code is secure, Americans' data is secure, and phones are secure," Mnuchin said. "We'll be looking to have discussions with Oracle over the next few days with our technical teams." Mind you, this is the person who runs the IRS computer systems that are how old now? 35? 36?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:09:41] They date back to the Kennedy administration. They're now finally modernizing it; we can talk about that later. That's one of my app updates, or one of my IRS updates. 
 
David Leary: [00:09:53] The algorithm's complete bullshit anyways, I think [crosstalk]  Have you signed up and ever used it, TikTok?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:09:59] Yeah. Here's how I understand it very, very broadly. You know how we talked about Facebook's algorithm and how it prioritizes engagement? 
 
David Leary: [00:10:08] Yeah.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:10:08] And that can have a negative impact because really controversial stuff gets high engagement and that gets surfaced into your feed, so it creates this cycle of everybody starting to hate each other and becoming polarized. TikTok is different in that what it does is, when somebody creates a video, it packages up all the recent videos into a small set of videos. Then it sends all those videos out to a sample size of the population that's using TikTok. Then, depending on which ones that you watch all the way through and like, and which ones that you skip through, it ranks the videos, and then sends the best performing videos out to a broader group, and then does it again, and again and again. So, it's like focus-group-testing the videos, instantly, so that- 
 
David Leary: [00:10:50] Except for, the results are this. You're making this sound very technical and highly amazing, and the results are this. If you're a dude, and you sign up to TikTok, you instantly get girls in bathing suits dancing, and if you're a female and you sign up for TikTok, you get guys with their six packs showing-
 
Blake Oliver: [00:11:06] Well, that's 'cause that's what people watch.
 
David Leary: [00:11:08] That's the algorithm, that's the whole algorithm. They can play it up to be some proprietary, amazing system but that's the results of it; that's the algorithm.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:11:17] It's actually a very simple algorithm, but yes, it has a negative impact, which is that what do people watch? They watch hot people. That's what you get; you get a lot of hot people doing stupid shit on TikTok.
 
David Leary: [00:11:28] And people with really nice kitchens [crosstalk] amazing kitchens people have in these videos.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:11:35] Yeah, well, that's 'cause that's what people wanna watch. 
 
David Leary: [00:11:35] We've talked about this for too much. It just seems like of all the stuff the IRS needs to be worrying about and Mnuchin should be worrying about, he's involved in this silliness. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:11:45] It's very strange. It's the strangest thing of 2020, if you ask me. Let's move on. We have lots and lots of app news this week. Many, many updates from Xero and QuickBooks, and Square, and TD, the bank. We've got Chime, Wolters Kluwer. Oh, and we cannot forget the CCH outage on September 15.
 
David Leary: [00:12:11] Which felt like a redo of May of 2019. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:12:11] Yeah. Then we've got some updates on PPP, on the payroll tax deferral, and if we can get to it, I've got some updates on the Wirecard, and EY, and whatnot. Perhaps, we start with a little bit of PPP news and payroll tax deferral news?
 
David Leary: [00:12:32] Yes, we can talk tax deferral, just an update on that. I know last week we talked a little bit about, "Oh, well, technically, if Trump loses the election, he won't have to pay it back." Now, we were technically wrong because he makes more than the wage limit on this, but it's the spirit of the thing, like his staffers, possibly.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:12:46] The small details, right? This is why I'm not in tax. You have to make about $104,000 a year; you have to make under about $104,000 a year, 'cause it's $4,000 every two weeks. And so, yes, the president and most of our elected officials make more than that with their official salaries.
 
David Leary: [00:13:07] There's an article in Accounting Today; the U.S. Senate, the Supreme Court, and the House are not gonna implement this order.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:13:14] It's funny. You would expect the House, of course, to not do it because they're the opposition party, but you would expect the Senate to do it. Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, said that, apparently, a contributing factor was technical issues with the Senate's payroll processing systems. I guess they couldn't change the systems, or they weren't willing to make the effort to change the systems to do this deferral.
 
David Leary: [00:13:36] Well, they should use Oracle, and Oracle could focus on building a newer payroll system for them instead of buying TikTok.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:13:44] That's interesting. So, yes, nobody's doing the payroll tax deferral except the executive branch of the federal government. We actually had a listener send us his pay stub showing that the 6.2% Social Security had been not taken out that pay period and was annoyed at it. We have a sample size of one saying that they don't like it. 100% of Cloud Accounting Podcast listeners that we know are participating in this are unhappy. 
 
[00:14:15] We also have the PPP; PPP has stopped, but there's still lots of money left. There's $138 billion remaining in the Paycheck Protection Program. I spotted two bills that have been introduced into the House to make these funds available. There's a Republican effort to expand the program or to reopen the program so that small businesses can get a second PPP loan if they have fewer than 300 workers and have seen their gross revenue plummet by at least 25% as a result of the virus-induced crisis. The bill would also set aside $25 billion for small businesses with fewer than 10 workers. 
 
[00:14:54] That is being sponsored by Steve Chabot, of Ohio, and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington. That was introduced on Wednesday of this week. Interestingly, they're trying to force this bill, this targeted bill, to a floor vote because the leadership, Nancy Pelosi, has said, "We're not gonna do any piecemeal stimulus. We're only gonna do a big stimulus bill." They're using a seldom-used method called a discharge petition, where they can force a floor vote on the legislation by gathering a simple majority of signatures. They need 218 signatures to move to a vote, and Republicans control 198 seats in the House, so they only have to get 20 Democrats to sign this petition. I would be interested to see if they accomplish that. 
 
David Leary: [00:15:36] My understanding is, this is the only part of the stimulus that almost both sides of the aisle are in agreement on. I could see this easily getting signed and pushed through as a whole separate thing because the money is already available; the decision's made, but I wonder if anybody is actually gonna take advantage of it. Did you see Yelp had some survey results, or state-of-economy-type results, and right now, they're looking at 60% of businesses that had closed, they're now permanent. They just haven't reopened.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:16:05] Of the businesses that closed as a result of the pandemic, 60% of those are permanent closures.
 
David Leary: [00:16:11] Yeah. I feel like even, anecdotally, as I drive around Tucson, I'm starting to really notice, I'm like, "Oh, yeah, they didn't make it. Oh, they didn't make it." I'm starting to see it more and more. What's interesting, this is like proof PPP worked and didn't work. They've seen a 23% increase since mid-July. When did PPP run out? If you got your loan, you're probably looking at somewhere between mid-June to mid-July, when you ran out the money, if you got the loan in the first tranche. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:16:38] Probably, yeah, because you were spending it thinking of an eight-week period. It was two months, essentially.
 
David Leary: [00:16:43] People that got those loans, it delayed them closing, but it didn't save them. These businesses still closed. Now, without having new funding that's available differently, these people aren't gonna reopen. This is game over already, so who's actually gonna take out these additional loans? Because if you haven't taken the loan yet, is it because you think you're gonna close? It just doesn't ... There's $130 billion just sitting there still, right?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:17:12] $138 billion, yeah. The bill sponsored by House Republicans, would allow those who have already taken a loan to take a second one. There's also a bill sponsored by a Democrat, Chrissy Houlahan, and I believe it has bipartisan support. It would streamline the forgiveness process. That might encourage more people to take out loans if they knew that they didn't have to do complicated paperwork. The proposal is that loans of less than $150,000 could have their debt forgiven with a one-page form and simply saying that the funds were used in accordance with PPP guidelines, without having to provide a detailed accounting of how the money was spent. I think a lot of small businesses are not taking the money because they're afraid of having to do that themselves and they don't have an accountant who's gonna do that for them.
 
David Leary: [00:18:01] I also think it's ... Remember how when the housing crisis happened before, people were ... Their interest rates and their loans- because everybody had those balloon mortgages. Right?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:18:09] Yeah, yeah.
 
David Leary: [00:18:09] When that became due, their house wasn't worth anything and they just walked away from the loan. They just lived in the house until they finally took the keys away and stopped paying their mortgage. I wonder if this that same thing, people are just gonna be like, "Screw it. I'll just shut down the business. I'm not paying my PPP loan back." Then, you just start a new company; you just start a new entity, and never pay the loan back. In a way, everybody's gonna get forgiveness. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:18:34] One way or another. 
 
David Leary: [00:18:35] One way or another, it's gonna happen because if you're struggling to keep your doors open and there's a pretty good chance you're not gonna be open three months from now, why would you fill out forgiveness paperwork and start paying back a loan or ask for forgiveness? Just screw it. That mindset, or that attitude could take place easily. There's just a little bit more economic news out there. Six months in, now, most office buildings are still dark. People are not going back.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:19:01] It's over half, right?
 
David Leary: [00:19:03] Yeah. There's a lot of data on this. So, there's a company called Brivo, I guess; you have those door badges where you buzz in and buzz out of a door to unlock it type of a thing. Then, a lot of workplaces have that, and that unlocks the doors at offices, and they track when people go in and go out of businesses. Traffic is down 51% in August versus February; so basically, half of everybody are not going back to the office-
 
Blake Oliver: [00:19:27] That means nobody is in that office; it's completely dark.
 
David Leary: [00:19:31] Yeah. You either probably have some offices where maybe they're at half capacity, but there's probably a lot more offices that are below that, if not not being used at all. It all ties back to this PPP and stimulus and all that, and now they're saying there's not gonna be stimulus until after the election. It's starting to get tough, which doesn't reconcile with the whole ... We'll get into this, I guess, with app news because we'll probably talk about these raises in the evaluations of these companies in the stock market; these companies going public. The realities of the economy are not reconciling with the market, but I get the market because you can't get any interest rate if you have cash. You've gotta invest in the market.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:20:09] It's fascinating what is happening. The explosion of e-commerce, of digital banking, of these challenger banks. They've just taken off. Anything that allows you to continue to do your work remotely, or to pay people remotely. As you were talking about, you guys are doing fantastic over at Melio because people don't wanna use paper checks anymore, because they don't wanna go into that office just to print paper checks. As we discussed previously, that is one of the only reasons that finance professionals are going to the office; it was specifically called out in a survey of finance teams.
 
David Leary: [00:20:42] I just talked to a friend in New York City. He's an internal controller at a company, and he drives all ... He has to commute over to New Jersey one day a week to cut 50 checks because they have no other way to do it.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:20:54] Amazing. This is gonna be the thing that finally kills paper checks. David, I listened to you on the Cloud Stories podcast with Heather Smith. You had a great interview with her.
 
David Leary: [00:21:04] Oh, thanks. She's awesome. It's all her; she is a great interviewer.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:21:10] You were a great interviewee, and you said that. You said this pandemic, the silver lining of it is we could finally, in the United States, eliminate paper checks and move to digital payments. That will change the lives of finance pros and controllers who go to the office only for that purpose.
 
David Leary: [00:21:26] Half of those people that are clocking in and out of the office are the controllers going into print checks?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:21:32] That's right. 
 
David Leary: [00:21:33] Those are the only ones going into the office right now.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:21:34] Exactly. App news — the big story this week is CCH. CCH is in the news because on September 15, which is the deadline for 1120-S S-Corp, and 1065 partnership returns, they went down. Their e-filing system was not working, and so this impacted a lot of large accounting firms all over the nation. I think this is the filing system that is used for CCH Axcess, and there's one other of their systems that was impacted by this. A lot of large firms use CCH. I was chatting with a colleague of mine, a former colleague, who works at a very large accounting firm. She said that in her office they had 200 of these S Corp or partnership returns that could not be filed on time and were technically late as a result of CCH. 
 
[00:22:37] There's some good news, which is that the penalty, if there is one, will not be humongous because these entities generally do not have taxable income as they're pass-through entities, but there is a late filing penalty, which could be $200 or something. If you think 200 returns times $200, that could be a $40,000 penalty for a single office; and multiply that by all the different offices, all around the country, of this kind of size. So, it's a lot. The good news is that CCH is working with the IRS and has pledged on its support website to work with its customers to address potential impact from the fees or penalties. 
 
[00:23:17] The AICPA has contacted the IRS to discuss penalty relief. Given how generous the IRS is being now with penalty relief, so it sounds, hopefully this will not cause a giant headache for all of these tax practitioners. It's not just the fine, itself, and getting that waived, it's all the paperwork that could result, and having to deal with all these penalty notices, and the clients calling, and then trying to get them waived, and all that. That could be a huge waste of time, right?
 
David Leary: [00:23:47] Yeah, it's just a headache. Have they announced why it was down? Because I think last May of 2019, they had an outage, and I think that was ransomware, correct- 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:23:57] Yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:23:57] - was their hosting situation? That's funny because the article that I'm looking at here in the Accounting Today says that some people received a message that said it was down for scheduled maintenance, like they pre-planned to pull it down on the tax deadline day.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:24:11] No, it was not a hack. There's no indication that it was a hack; it was a technical glitch. They had it up and running early morning on September 16. No indication right now what it was. I know you hate the word glitch, David, but I think that's  ... 
 
David Leary: [00:24:27] Glitch is a lame excuse of, "We don't wanna tell you what really happened and you're dumb, so just trust us. It was a glitch."
 
Blake Oliver: [00:24:35] Well, it was probably something technical, right? [crosstalk] 
 
David Leary: [00:24:36] Well, then tell us what it was. Did a switch go bad? Tell us. What happened? A hard drive crashed? What happened?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:24:43] Speaking of penalty abatement, there is penalty relief available to those who missed the September 15th deadline, not specifically yet because of CCH, but because of COVID-19. Apparently, according to an article in Accounting Today, the AICPA has been having conversations with IRS officials about penalty relief and have been told informally that practitioners who have made a good faith effort to meet the filing deadlines on behalf of their clients but are unable to do so because of the coronavirus pandemic, can write, "COVID-19 at the top of the tax return to indicate the need for penalty relief."
 
David Leary: [00:25:19] You mean just scribbled across the top? 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:25:21] I guess. Just write a big COVID-19 at the top of the tax return, and then that's your get-out-of-jail-free card. I just think that's really funny.
 
David Leary: [00:25:30] Well, I think it's something you would just try. I'm just gonna write this on the top and see what happens. Now, they've made it an official procedure.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:25:35] I think I'm just gonna start doing that for everything that I do; if I'm late with anything, I'm just gonna write COVID-19. If I send a birthday card to somebody late, I'm just gonna write COVID-19 at the top of the card and then they'll forgive me. I don't have to send in ...
 
David Leary: [00:25:50] It's like when you were a kid ... Little Johnny- his homework, and he didn't get it done properly, or he didn't finish it. The mom writes across the top, "He had a fever last night," across the top of the homework when he turns it in the next day. It's the same thing.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:26:03] Well, we're on the IRS, so let's continue with this. The IRS is rolling out a new case management system. Do you remember talking about the Taxpayer First Act last year, David, and the IRS's ancient systems?
 
David Leary: [00:26:14] I think so, yes. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:26:14] They have systems at the IRS that date back to the Kennedy administration, the oldest systems in use in the federal government, other than the ones that launch our nuclear missiles. Not so great for the IRS, which has been struggling during COVID-19 because everything is super-paper-based. That's because they have these ancient systems that aren't connected to the internet and all this stuff. As part of this Taxpayer First Act, we're seeing the fruits of that, a system developed by a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based technology company called Pegasystems is going to be implemented at the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division. 
 
[00:26:51] The customer support part of that division is going to start using this new software, which I didn't see a name for it, but they're calling it their case management system. The initial release of this will enable this customer support division to scan and copy documents, research case records, send requests for publicly available documents, such as applications for tax exempt status and exemption letters, and resolve problems, including determination requests for tax exempt status. 
 
Now, what does this mean for the customers of the IRS – the tax pros who are contacting the IRS? Well, taxpayers are going to have a digital option to send their requests for copies of determination letters and applications online, finally. You're not gonna have to fax or mail that to this division to get that information. If this goes well, they're going to roll out similar solutions across the IRS. The difference is, now, you're going to be able to have correspondence with the IRS not using fax or mail. You will actually be able to digitally make these requests; and they will be able to digitally respond to them. The silence is deafening.
 
David Leary: [00:27:57] I was trying to decide if I should say wow or- I was trying to gauge my amazement level, and I just couldn't find it. I couldn't find it to pull it out.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:28:07] Well, we're eliminating paper checks. Maybe next, coronavirus is going to finally get us to eliminate paper correspondence with our tax authority.
 
David Leary: [00:28:17] I did call the IRS this week. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:28:20] About what? 
 
David Leary: [00:28:21] I wanted to find out where my stimulus payment was. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:28:21] Did you find out anything?
 
David Leary: [00:28:25] Well, first, they route you to a bunch of people that, basically, just tell you, "Don't give me your Social Security number, don't do this. Go to the website." The first person hung up on me, so I called back, and I get a second person that did that. So, I escalated up the ladder. I finally talked to a real IRS person. I did not know this ... With all the communication about this stuff that's been happening, I always thought this was just like- remember the olden days after 9/11, when George Bush just sent everybody checks? You Just got them?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:28:52] Yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:28:52] This is really more like earned income tax credit. Essentially, they sent people checks, but it's like an advance that's gonna- you'll have to reconcile through on your tax return. In my case, because I didn't qualify my 2018 income, but I did for my 2019 income, when I do my 2020 taxes, I will be able to calculate the difference for my stimulus payment that I did not receive in this year's taxes. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:29:17] And take a credit? 
 
David Leary: [00:29:18] And take a credit. These checks they've been mailing, they're like an advance on a credit for your taxes. They are not just like, "Here's checks." Which I did not know. In all the communications about this that we've seen over the last six months, I had no idea [crosstalk] completely did not understand that.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:29:34] If you're not a tax person, would the general public understand this? Probably not. Well, what should we move on to next? We've got Square. How about Square? Square, they have done really, really well during the pandemic, and I did not expect them to do well. I actually expected Square to have massive problems because so much of their business is point-of-sale terminals in small businesses. [crosstalk].
 
David Leary: [00:29:58] -they did, within the first three weeks ... It was insane how everything dropped. They were able to recover because of-
 
Blake Oliver: [00:30:08] Their Cash app. The Square Cash app, which is that app on your phone that lets you send money to people and receive it from people without exchanging physical cash or checks, has seen incredible growth, and has saved them. It was the star of their last quarter, gross profit for the app rose 167%, year over year, to $281 million. Square is doubling down on this Cash app, and they have released a payroll feature that integrates Square Payroll with the Cash app. 
 
[00:30:40] Employees now can request $200 of a paycheck in advance of their normal biweekly schedule. If you're running Square Payroll, employees can now request that money in advance and Square will handle all of it, the employer's not at risk. The funds are funneled directly into the Cash app. By doing this, Square is going to increase usage and adoption of the Cash app because they have linked payroll advances to the Cash app. 
 
[00:31:05] Now, on the business side, they're going to let businesses fund payroll immediately, using the money in their Square balance instead of waiting to pay through their external bank accounts. The money is going to stay in that Square ecosystem and it's going to improve cash flow because now businesses don't have to interact with their bank in order to run payroll. They just use the money that they've received from their customers that's in their Square balance from the credit card payments. This is genius.
 
David Leary: [00:31:31] I have a prediction that this goes one step further. Payroll will be free. We are in a march to see Payroll be free. I'm going back, my career, 10, 11, 12 years ago, and I tried to talk to the people on the Payroll team about this, like, "There's a way to do this." You think about a high school kid. They get their paycheck, old school paycheck. They take it to the bank, they cash it. What are they doing? They're taking that, they're putting some of it to their Xbox Live account, some of it in their Amazon account, some of it in their Apple iTunes account at the time, so you could buy music on iTunes. It's being shoved in all these companies, these cloud companies, so you can spend the money. That's where their money- nobody was getting actual cash. 
 
[00:32:12] I always thought you could create a payroll product that would be offset, like, "Hey, Apple ..." Instead of me, like right now when I get paid, I can specify what accounts I want my direct deposit to go to – my bank accounts. I've seen some payroll services where you can actually even specify, like, "Oh, I'd like to do a donation to some charity," and you could actually have that automatically withdrawn from your paycheck, too. Now, imagine if, in the same place, you could say, "I want this much to go to my iTunes account, this much to my Amazon, this much to my Starbucks card, this much ..." I could easily see Square, if you're paying your employees to their Cash app card directly, no fee to use Square Payroll.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:32:46] It's brilliant because then Square, when you make that payment, Square's the processor, but they are also the payer, so they can make a greater margin on those transactions [crosstalk] because they're not paying a bank interchange fee or something like that. I imagine there's some- 
 
David Leary: [00:33:02] This is a direct attack on the banks because their argument is you don't have to go and get your account numbers and routing numbers from your employees. You just, boom, and you're done.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:33:12] You said this last week or the week before, that every payroll processor should just automatically give every employee what is essentially a bank account. It can be through the Cash app, or it could be through a debit card, or whatever, but don't make that be an issue. Just automatically give them an account and let them transfer the money wherever they wanna take it or keep it there, which a lot of people will do. 
 
David Leary: [00:33:12] Intuit should do this. Everybody who files their taxes with TurboTax, "Would you like a bank account and have your deposit go there today?"
 
Blake Oliver: [00:33:38] Yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:33:39] Like, boom, they set up a bank account, they get their deposit there today. "Oh, by the way, we noticed you have a bank with Intuit, your employer pays you with QuickBooks Payroll ..." Boom, instant pay with ... Intuit could build this system very easily. Anybody who has both sides of the equation, businesses, and the consumers, that's the situation they're in. Square also had- I don't know if you wanna talk more about Square Cash, but Square had some news come out about their actual retailers, as well.
 
[00:34:03] Let's hear that. I'm done with the app update.
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This of episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by OnPay. OnPay is an easy-to-use, full-service payroll, and HR software that is the right fit for all your clients, whether they have just one or 500 employees, to stay organized, save time, and get compliant. OnPay includes the best-in-class integrations to benefit providers, workers' comp plans, QuickBooks, and Xero. They also handle all the complicated stuff that other payroll providers don't, like agricultural payrolls, including Form 943, multistate payrolls, and employees with H2-A visas.  

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David Leary: [00:35:12] Because of COVID-19, people are starting to go cashless. For Square, in February, only 5.4% of Square sellers were cashless. By mid-April, it jumped up to 23% were cashless. Now things are trying to- now that physical locations are starting to open up, it's falling back down, but it's now stabilized at about 13.4%.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:35:35] Well, that's a huge increase. Remember all that legislation earlier in the year to ban cashless stores? I wonder what's gonna happen with that; that's gone away.
 
David Leary: [00:35:43] COVID's changed everything. It's accelerating all of this stuff that wasn't accelerated before. When you see their numbers go up like this, and we'll talk about some other numbers that have gone up, it explains why the stock market, and the valuations for these companies are insane.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:35:59] Well, you mentioned Intuit. Let's talk about QuickBooks Online and what's going on there. Then you have some updates about QuickBooks Desktop as a result of the pandemic.
 
David Leary: [00:36:08] I have Desktop updates, yes. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:36:08] I'll do the Online ones. This is from the September 2020, "What's new in QuickBooks Online?" update. QuickBooks Online now connects to Amazon Business. If you're an Amazon Business customer, you have the ability to seamlessly sync expenses with QuickBooks to review or categorize transactions, and then add them to your books. This integration will bring in-line level detail, such as product descriptions, item costs, and fee breakdowns for each transaction. You can categorize each item you purchase separately and match them with bank transactions.
 
[00:36:42] This is my favorite feature that I've seen enter QuickBooks in a super-long time. When I was doing bookkeeping for a lot of clients, my biggest pain was Amazon; because I didn't get detail on the bank statement, so I couldn't easily set up a rule. If I wanted to do good bookkeeping, I'd have to actually go get all of the emails, have my clients send me all those emails, or do it into a Hubdoc, or one of those- Receipt Bank, one of the receipt ... I tried a bunch of them. Then, we'd have to go and look at the actual Amazon receipt and code it properly, as to what it is. Is it computer equipment, is it office supplies, is it blah, blah, blah? Because a lot of businesses, they buy everything on Amazon, so you can't just categorize it to a single account; it's meaningless. This is really cool.
 
David Leary: [00:37:29] I've used it. It's been in QuickBooks Labs for almost easily over a year. Maybe a year and a half, it's been in QuickBooks Labs. Then there's another app out there called Greenback, and they do it really, really well. That way, if half the transaction's there, they put all the line item details from your receipt. The only flaw in both of these — you don't get to specify anywhere like, "Oh, only do this for purchases on this credit card," like the business credit card. Now, you can just pick the transactions you wanna sync to QuickBooks, or match, but all of your personal transactions in Amazon are on there, unless you set up a whole different user ID and password for Amazon, and only use your business ones through there. 
 
[00:38:08] If you're like most entrepreneurs, all you're doing is changing the payment method and what you're buying. All my normal- the other junk coming into my house are all in this feed, and that's a little annoying. It is convenient, though, when I wanna have the documentation, because, frankly, the receipt Amazon sends you doesn't have good details in it. If you send that to AutoEntry, or one of the receipt-scanning people, it doesn't come in very well. Services like this, pulling it through the API of Amazon, are definitely way better, but they're not- they need to take that next step to where they're smarter, where it just pulls in the ones on the one credit card. I don't need to see my water filter I bought for my refrigerator in my QuickBooks. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:38:47] Also new in QuickBooks Online Advanced is industry benchmarks in the performance center. Now you will see industry benchmarks for net profit margin and gross profit margin on those KPIs. I feel like this is of somewhat limited use, given that you don't really know what is the quality of the data? Where are they getting this information from? It is cool, though, to see the industry benchmarks come back after going away for a long time. This is one of those things that Intuit has added in, and then taken away, and added in, and taken away for years. 
 
[00:39:18] We also have QuickBooks Payments Instant Deposit automation. This is coming soon. Instant Deposit is where you can pay a small fee, and you can have your credit card receipts deposited instantly, basically advanced to you, into your account. Now, you don't have to go and do that manually. You can specify the days of the week where you want those automatic instant deposits. You can say, "I want them on Mondays only." Maybe you only want it on the day when you're gonna run payroll or something like that.
 
David Leary: [00:39:46] Maybe you're a restaurant or a bar, and your busier on Fridays, so you wanna instantly put in on that day only. That makes sense, because I think that, right now, even the next-day deposits, you opted in on QuickBooks, and you opted in for all of them. Even though it's made out to seem like, "Yeah, just pay 10 bucks for this one deposit," and I opted into all of them.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:40:03] Also new, Guideline is now built into QuickBooks, so you can get a 401(K) plan for your business and you can sign up your employees. I have been a Guideline user for, I guess, a few years now. My previous company used it, and I think it's great. That's really cool because, I don't have it on hand, but I saw a stat that a really depressing number of small businesses offer retirement plans to their employees. I think a big reason is that it's just so hard to administer. That'll hopefully make more businesses do that and people will be saving for retirement. That's all the QuickBooks news I've got. 
 
David Leary: [00:40:41] I get QuickBooks Desktop updates.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:40:43] Oh, yeah, let's talk about Desktop.
 
David Leary: [00:40:44] Essentially, the gist of this is they're putting changes in because all the QuickBooks Desktop users had to do what? Work from home. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:40:53] Hosting, go to the cloud.
 
David Leary: [00:40:54] They're getting tons of requests, so this is a product manager at QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, Rachna Arya. Hopefully, I'm saying her name right. She said that there's been a rise in customer requests for remote hosting solutions.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:41:10] No surprise there.
 
David Leary: [00:41:11] One of the things they've done is they've created- of course, this is the Intuit way, create another sales level of QuickBooks. You could buy QuickBooks Desktop Plus, and then it gives you a discount on some hosting options that are available. That's not really what was interesting to me. Reading these notes, did you know they have a Desktop mobile app?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:41:29] I had no idea. How does that even work?
 
David Leary: [00:41:32] There's a QuickBooks Desktop mobile app and you can actually use that now to photograph receipts and categorize expenses out in the field, which I did not know existed before. Then, they've released a bunch of tools to help you install QuickBooks – to install the Desktop products from one management tool. Then they also have a secondary tools hub, which I think is ... It's great that this is a feature, but at the same time, in the world of cloud, it's dumb or maddening. They have a new troubleshooting hub to help you address common problems and errors, such as installation, file, network, and password issues. 
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, man! 
 
David Leary: Three of those are because you're not on the cloud – installation, file, and network. They're building a tool to encourage people to have headaches.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:42:19] You just gave me memories of the times when I was on Desktop and I had file corruption issues, and I lost a day of work or more. Oh, God. I wouldn't ever go back to that by choice.
 
David Leary: [00:42:32] Then because of COVID, people need loans, so QuickBooks Capital's coming down into QuickBooks Desktop now, so they can apply for it right inside of QuickBooks Desktop. The gist of it is a lot of this is working remotely, administering this remotely, installing it remotely, and- it's just, switch to QuickBooks Online. That's what every one of those phone calls ... "How do I host my QuickBooks?" Just switch to QuickBooks Online. It would probably be the easier phone call ... So, a lot of changes for QuickBooks Desktop announced there.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:43:00] Well, let's talk about Xero. Xero has revamped its U.S. plans. The starter plan, I believe it was called the starter plan, is now called Early. That's the one that's $9 per month. That's the list price they usually have discount-
 
David Leary: [00:43:17] I'm just thinking out loud. Simple Start from QuickBooks is $10 a month; this is $9 a month. It's falling into that. I'm just getting going ... 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:43:24] That's the equivalent. It's always sucked, in my opinion. I never had anyone who used it. It was really just, I think, an inbound funnel tool; a lead-gen tool for Xero on the direct side for small businesses that are just getting started. Accountants would never use it. I never had a client that could use it.
 
David Leary: [00:43:43] It was super-limited before. You could only do one invoice a month or something. It was super-limited, right?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:43:49] Right. Actually, I'm glad you're calling this out, because the most annoying part was that they had a limit on the number of transactions you could reconcile every month, and it was really low. It was 20 lines or something.
 
David Leary: [00:44:01] That you could reconcile?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:44:02] Yes. They would just sit there until the next month, and then you could reconcile 20 more.
 
David Leary: [00:44:06] I'm sure accountants love that.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:44:10] It was so painful. They removed the limit on bank rec. You can reconcile, I think, it sounds like an unlimited number of transactions, which is great, because now it's more equivalent to that cash version of Xero; Cashbook, I think, is what they called it, where it was 12 bucks a month; only available to accountants. I think they still have a version of that. That allowed for unlimited bank recs, but didn't have invoicing or bills, but it was good for write-up work. Actually, that's one of the things that drew me to Xero from QuickBooks originally was the fact that they had that affordable, basically, 'bookkeeping for accountants' version where I paid 12 bucks a month, and I could do all the bookkeeping, even if my clients are using some other invoicing solution. I could do my write-up-type work [crosstalk] 
 
David Leary: [00:44:57] The write work, yeah.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:44:10] Now, Early is more like that. No limit on bank recs and they've expanded the number of invoices you can send from five to 20, and it includes Hubdoc. This is, I think, a very appropriate and aggressive move to attack Intuit on the direct side, and honestly, on the accountant side because, for 9 bucks a month, you can do a lot. You can [inaudible] customers; you can send 20 invoices; you get the receipt processing with Hubdoc, and you get unlimited bank reconciliation. This is a good value.
 
David Leary: [00:45:28] If you get on this and you grow, you just basically unlock the different Xero plan, and you get more features. You're not stuck, and that's the one issue I always think with Intuit- they have their Self Employed, but you're stuck. You can't migrate to a different QuickBooks product if you're on that. If you mess up and you choose that because it's five bucks a month, instead of choosing Simple Start, you're set up for a wrong path if you choose the wrong one. Yes, I get it. For Self Employed, it's really targeted at Uber drivers, true gig workers. Gig workers are never gonna turn their business from being a gig worker into a real business. There's no path for that, but I think a lot of people will opt into that because it's cheap and then they outgrow it, and then now, they have to change their data and start over. It sounds like this is gonna be- it's the same product.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:46:15] Then just, for the folks who are not familiar with Xero's pricing, you can then move up from this $9/month one to their standard plan, which is called Growing Now that's 30 bucks a month that includes the bills. Actually, the Early one includes up to five bills; Growing is unlimited. Now you can do all your unlimited invoicing bills, et cetera. Then they have this Established plan, which I think is- there's a QuickBooks that's 70 bucks a month, and this Established plan is $60 per month, so that's the equivalent. That one adds multi-currency, expenses, and projects. 
 
[00:46:46] Speaking of projects, Xero has released a new profitability dashboard in Xero Projects where you can see the total profit margin, all work invoiced, costs associated with the project, a highlight of outstanding invoices, as well as how the project is tracking against estimates. The idea is to make it easier to identify which projects are the most profitable and which need tweaking. That's interesting. Is there something like that on the QuickBooks side where you can do this project costing inside of QuickBooks?
 
David Leary: [00:47:15] Yes, there is, because you can track to classes, and locations, and jobs. There is some levels of job costing, and project costing inside, but it's where it's just good enough. I think if you are a small contractor, you wanna look at an add-on app, like , you can add an app like Knowify; if you're maybe professional services, BQE Core. There's add-ons to QuickBooks that are that next level deeper. I think in a way, Xero's catching up to QuickBooks on this projects-type stuff right now.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:47:44] Last update is their enhancement to short-term cash flow and business snapshot tools. Xero has this new short-term cash flow tool where it will forecast your bank balance for the next 30 days based on your bills and invoices in the system. That was originally made available to customers during COVID-19, and they were going to charge more for it; it was gonna be an add-on thing. They've decided to make that an ongoing feature in the platform. Now that's going to be part of the solution, just built in. They're gonna enhance it and make that an optional add-on price.
 
David Leary: [00:48:21] That's not included in the Starter plan?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:48:24] I actually am not clear on that, whether or not this- well, I don't think it could be because Starter limits you to five bills ... Well, I guess it could be, but you're gonna be limited in the number of bills you can enter. If you've got more than five bills, you're not gonna get a clear view of your cash flow.
 
David Leary: [00:48:41] At this point in the game, why even have a plan that's $9 a month or $10 a month, and this is for Xero, and Intuit, especially Intuit. Intuit has all these things, these add-on services that they can sell you. You can open a bank account now with Intuit, the payroll and all these other things. Obviously, the banks are coming. The banks are adding in GL services. We've talked about it before, Square's gonna add a GL. Any day now, that'll be the biggest story of the week. They'll just open up a GL. It's going to happen, there's no doubt ... Isn't it in Xero's, and Intuit's best interest right now to offer their cheapest plan free forever? "Hey, you wanna do 20 invoices a month on Xero? It's free forever." Just get people locked into the ... Because it's hard to switch once you're on the platform.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:49:29] Well, I think we'll eventually get there. That's probably where it's heading. At nine bucks a month, all they're doing is covering their hosting costs. That's just their cost of goods sold at that point-
 
David Leary: [00:49:42] Think about the logic. When you're still brand new, starting, even nine bucks a month, you're like, "Oh, it's a little much," when you're just starting your business.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:49:50] I'm thinking maybe it's just, if somebody's not willing to pay you that much, they're just gonna suck your support team's time.
 
David Leary: [00:49:56] That's possible, too. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:49:57] You got to have some barrier to entry, or it's gonna cost you. Let's talk about the world outside of QuickBooks, and Xero, because there is one on the small business side. Let's talk about banks that are becoming GLs. We've been talking about GLs that are becoming banks. TD Ameritrade has rolled out online accounting, integrated with their banking, for small business clients. It's using tech developed by a Detroit-based company called Autobooks. Autobooks describes itself as an integrated accounting and receivables platform. 
 
[00:50:31] I went to the website, and this is fascinating. They are selling to banks. They don't sell this software, or they're not trying to, anyway, sell this software to end customers, it sounds like. They are building an accounting software that is designed for banks to use for their customers, to integrate into their platform. What does Autobooks include with TD? You can send invoices electronically, accept payments digitally, automatically reconcile your statements, create financial reports, and access dashboards with real-time data and insights.
 
David Leary: [00:51:06] I think we've talked about Autobooks a long time ago. It looks like they've pivoted to go straight to banks. That makes sense because banks are desperate to have GLs. It's a smart pivot, instead of trying to compete with Intuit, compete a different way. That ties in really well.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:51:22] It's so fascinating. This is the big battle that is going to occur. It's already started. Banks are going to have accounting; QuickBooks and Xero are going to become banks. You even have payment processors who are becoming banks. Then, you called it David, we're gonna see Square, I think, add a GL option at some point in the next few years.
 
David Leary: [00:51:42] Then, this shift to cloud is happening, and now cloud finance is happening. Everybody's seeing this shift, and so we're starting to see this in the data from Plaid. Remember Plaid? Plaid powers most of these apps we're using.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:51:57] All the bank integrations, a lot of that is Plaid. 
 
David Leary: [00:52:01] Plaid, it wasn't even a year ago. Yeah, less than a year ago, Visa bought Plaid for $5.3 billion, and I'm starting to think Visa got the deal of a lifetime because what they're seeing is, now that the pandemic is here, 59% of respondents in their survey are using apps to manage their money than they ever did pre-pandemic. There's a whole shift from physical banks and banks and paper checks. It's kind of the theme of the show this week is the shift of what's happening. Plaid's starting to see data on this that it's just- it's through the roof. Not only that, now banks are becoming more and more interested in utilizing Plaid; how do I get a mobile app? How do I offer my customers access to the bank feeds and to my data? Basically, they're seeing, across their customer base, 70% increase in usage.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:52:50] Well, speaking of banks and digital banks, Chime, the challenger bank, an app-based bank, is now worth $14.5 billion, which puts it beyond Robinhood as the most valuable U.S. consumer fintech. Chime was founded in 2013 and in their latest fundraising round – it's a Series F; you don't get that far in the alphabet, too often – they raised $485 million, which doubles its valuation from December and makes it worth 900% more than just 18 months ago when it hit a $1.5 billion valuation. They went from being worth $1.5 Billion to $14.5 Billion in a year and a half. They are planning to be IPO-ready within the next 12 months, according to the CEO. Although they said they're not gonna lock themselves into that, they're not gonna necessarily commit to that, only if it's the right timing. 
 
David Leary: [00:53:45] We've talked about Revolut out of Europe. Revolut has launched their whole business; Revolut bank business. Chime has not said anything about business yet.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:53:56] It's interesting, the CEO, Chris Britt, he said, "We're more like a consumer software company than a bank." They really view themselves as consumer-centric, and I don't imagine they will be trying to target anyone else in the near term, because why would you when you see growth like that? Stick with what you're doing if it's working. He said that they're adding hundreds of thousands of accounts a month, hundreds of thousands. Although he wouldn't say just how many users they have. After this fundraising round, they now have almost $1 billion in cash in the bank.
 
David Leary: [00:54:31] They could buy a cloud accounting app and jump right in, if they wanted to. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:54:36] They could. They probably could; one of these smaller ones.
 
David Leary: [00:54:39] Do you wanna jump overseas and talk about now Europe's highest value private fintech company?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:54:44] What is that? 
 
David Leary: [00:54:45] We talked about them a couple of weeks ago; Klarna, K-L-A-R-N-A. They're one of the buy-now-pay-later apps, like Afterpay, we talked about these companies. Well, they took $650 billion investment.
 
David Leary: [00:55:01] $650 million or billion? 
 
David Leary: [00:55:03] Oh, the article says billion, but it's got to be million.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:55:07] Is that what they're valued at or is that what they took?
 
David Leary: [00:55:09] No, that's gonna now value them at $10.65 billion.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:55:13] Wait, how can they take $650 billion [crosstalk] 
 
David Leary: [00:55:15] I think there's a typo in the article. They took $650 million, and that now their valuations is $10.65 billion, which makes them Europe's highest-valued private fintech company. All these fintech companies, these "new banks," they're taking off. Those are the companies that are gonna win in the stock market, and that's why they all wanna IPO soon. They're boasting that they have a billion in annual sales now with over 3,500 global employees. These services, and these new banks, and these online ways to move money around through apps and this new- which just used to be a hashtag, #fintech, five years ago; nobody was really in it. Now, it's leading everything because of the pandemic.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:55:59] Amazing. Well, I have one last app story in acquisition. Wolters Kluwer has bought XCM Solutions. XCM is a cloud-based workflow solutions provider for professional tax and accounting firms. I've used it in my professional career, really popular in tax as a way to route tax returns. They have about 440 employees located in the U.S. and India. 
 
[00:56:24] Something interesting I did not know until I read this article is that they actually were spun out of an accounting firm in Massachusetts in 2002. An accounting firm building software for itself creates workflow software that it then sells to the world. The deal values XCM at $161.4 million. They recorded revenues of $22.5 million in 2019, and three quarters of that came from cloud-based software.
 
[00:56:49] I did the math on this, and if you divide their valuation by the revenue from cloud, it's about 10X earnings. That's a standard in tech valuation there. Multiply your annual earnings by 10 times. XCM and Wolters Kluwer have been working together since 2006, so this is not a surprise. They've had [crosstalk].
 
David Leary: [00:57:09] -when this was announced, and I was like, "They don't already own them?" I had no idea. My entire career, I had no idea that they weren't already owned by them.
 
Blake Oliver: [00:57:18] Now, it's official. Last bit- actually, I lied; I got one more. Epicor software, the maker of ERP software that is very popular in manufacturing, they have been sold. They were owned by KKR, a private equity firm, which bought them in 2016 for $3.3 billion, and they have now turned around and sold them four years later to a private equity firm called Clayton, Dubilier & Rice for $4.7 billion. That's it for me.
 
David Leary: [00:57:50] I have a one, two, three, four, five more app stories. We can just [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:57:54] You've got to run through them quickly because we're almost out of time.
 
David Leary: [00:57:58] Acumatica, which is basically higher-end ERP software, they've really changed- because of COVID, they've changed where they're headed now. They have a heavy integration now, deep integration with Shopify. They now have advanced expense management, and they also have bank feeds now they've added, and they've actually added a point of sale for people that are doing omnicommerce. They're shifting because of people having to work at home. Airtable, I don't know. Have you ever used Airtable, Blake?
 
Blake Oliver: [00:58:24] I don't think so. 
 
David Leary: [00:58:24] We use Airtable to run the podcast, so you are using it. 
 
Blake Oliver: [00:58:30] I have used it, okay. That's what you use for the sponsorship slots.
 
David Leary: [00:58:33] Sponsorship slots. Essentially, when I discovered Airtable six years ago, and I remember talking to people at Airtable, I was like, "One day, accountants are gonna discover you and they're gonna love you." Airtable falls into that ... You've probably heard of the term; we've talked about "no code."
 
Blake Oliver: [00:58:48] Right.
 
David Leary: [00:58:48] It's like a spreadsheet that you can- but it's really a database, and you can connect things to it; you can connect Zapier to it; you can build out basically, miniature apps. It works out really, really well. They just raised $185 million, and their CEO was just brutally honest about it, which I think is really cool. He just said, "We didn't need the money," but he said once COVID hit, they wanted to seize the opportunity and not have to worry about the economy; if there's a little waves of this. They just want to have a long-term funding, so they can just not be distracted by the market and just continue to push forward. 
 
[00:59:22] The other reason is they have a lot of competition now. In June, I don't even know how we missed this, but Amazon launched something called the Honeycode in June. Basically, it's a spreadsheet program that you create the spreadsheet and you magically build an app to host on Amazon Web Services. Microsoft released something called Microsoft List, which is a similar product. Rumor has it Google's making a product. 
 
[00:59:46] These no-code platforms, I think accountants are gonna love these, because I think a lot of accountants have programmer minds, but they just don't know how to write code. No-code platforms are really like big, huge Excel formulas. I think these no-code tools are gonna be super-popular with accountants and bookkeepers, so it's good to see that they have another round, and they're gonna keep growing and improving that platform [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver: [01:00:10] 100% on that, just before you finish – defining your workflow is the number-one trick to making a cloud-based firm work. It's having a really, really solid workflow. I did something similar; I wish these tools had been available when I had my firm, but I used a tool from Citrix called Podio, which was similar, where it's a- 
 
David Leary: [01:00:31] I remember that app.
 
David Leary: [01:00:32] It's a custom database with a communications layer on top of it, but it's basically a spreadsheet with automation built in. You can connect different columns; you can create formulas, essentially; create workflows, and automation. This sort of thing is not new, but the fact that there are now so many options and different styles of it is really exciting.
 
David Leary: [01:00:53] Maybe finally Excel has met its match. [crosstalk].
 
Blake Oliver: [01:00:56] Maybe. 
 
David Leary: [01:00:56] I have two other teeny app news, because I always love it when accountants build apps. One of them is Bookkeeper360.
 
Blake Oliver: [01:01:05] Oh, yeah. I saw this. 
 
David Leary: [01:01:05] They launched an app, and basically what this app does, it integrates with Xero. I think Bookkeeper360 also, they have a lot of expertise in Salesforce, so I imagine this integrates in. Nick Pasquarosa, he's the founder and CEO – he's actually our listener, I think. He's on our home page. He left us a great review once [crosstalk] podcast. 
 
[01:01:26] This, basically, will create performance dashboards, cash flow dashboards, real-time metrics, and on-demand access to your bookkeepers. In a weird way, it's not really a QuickBooks Live model, but imagine if this app is now your middleman between your Xero data and the bookkeeper you're working with at Bookkeeper360?
 
Blake Oliver: [01:01:48] Well, and just from a marketing standpoint, man, what a great way to get your firm, your bookkeeping service visible, is to be listed as an app in the Xero marketplace? Now, you're surfacing to all those Xero users in a way that none of your competitors are? This is pretty awesome.
 
David Leary: [01:02:04] It's almost like it's a real app, because I know there's these companies that will help accounting firms create these apps, and then it's just-
 
Blake Oliver: [01:02:09] It's a glorified crappy portal, most of the time. 
 
David Leary: [01:02:13] -or business card, or portal, yeah. It looks like everybody else's, and it's just not great. This looks like it's a true- this looks like a standalone separate product, so if people are searching in the market, this is gonna be a way for them to get new customers.
 
Blake Oliver: [01:02:25] That's awesome.
 
David Leary: [01:02:25] Because it looks like a standalone product. The last one is, Michael Lee, who's a listener, as well; a fan of the podcast, his product, Saasable, that he launched, now integrates with QuickBooks and is now in the QuickBooks Apps Store, which is a huge milestone to get to. 
 
Blake Oliver: [01:02:41] That's really cool.
 
David Leary: [01:02:41] The app basically helps automate the recurring revenue metrics in a real-time dashboard. 
 
Blake Oliver: [01:02:47] For software as a service? 
 
David Leary: [01:02:48] Software as a service companies, yeah.
 
Blake Oliver: [01:02:49] Very nice. Well, that is all the time we have today, David, because it's Saturday, and my kid wants to go to the pool. I gotta go do something else other than just talk about accounting and apps, although I would love to do this all day long. If we wanna continue the conversation, where's the best place for people to do that with us?
 
David Leary: [01:03:09] Definitely, you can reach me on Twitter, I'm @DavidLeary, and on LinkedIn, I'm @DavidLeary. Also, Blake, just so we don't forget, we're gonna be appearing and doing a keynote at the Accounting Finance Show Virtual Conference on October 20.
 
Blake Oliver: [01:03:22] Oh yeah, that's gonna be really cool.
 
David Leary: [01:03:23] We'll have links to that in the show notes. Hopefully, the plan is to have a cool survey, and then we'll talk about the results. 
 
Blake Oliver: [01:03:29] We're gonna record it and release it as an episode. It'll be a live recording, right?
 
David Leary: [01:03:33] Yes, yes.
 
Blake Oliver: [01:03:34] You can reach me on Twitter, I'm at @BlakeTOliver, and on LinkedIn, as well. If you do connect with me, please say that you're a listener, or you can say, "I'm not a bot," that's how I know. If you want to leave us a message, you can call our listener voicemail line. What is that number, David?
 
David Leary: [01:03:52] It's (202) 695-1040. 
 
Blake Oliver: [01:03:56] Let us know what you think – (202) 695-1040 – about any of the topics we have discussed or anything that's top of mind for you. You could call in anonymously and tell us about how that CCH outage went for your firm. I'd love to hear more stories beyond my own personal network.
 
David Leary: [01:04:13] I think that's it. It's interesting that phone number you picked ... I said I called the IRS this week, and I noticed, I was like, "Oh, their phone number's 1040 as well." 
 
Blake Oliver: [01:04:20] Until next week, David, have a great whatever it is you have. 
 
David Leary: [01:04:20] It's another week, another week of Zoom calls.
 
Blake Oliver: [01:04:30] That's right. Another week of Zoom calls. Take care.
 
David Leary: [01:04:33] Bye. 
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