It’s people! The Botkeeper investigation continues; Avalara buys AI tech; Intuit earnings; new limits in QuickBooks; and more

We dig into the Botkeeper website, press coverage about the firm, the CEO’s public statements, and review sites to try and figure out what exactly Botkeeper claims to be, and how significantly that differs from the reality, which includes a team of offshore accountants in the Philippines doing much of the work. Also, a discussion of Intuit’s earnings, Avalara’s latest AI acquisition, new limits in QuickBooks Online, and more cloud accounting news.

Show Notes

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Recap of Botkeeper coverage and fallout, new questions, and the ethics of disclosing offshoring

(00:53) In the previous episode, Blake and David discussed an email from Botkeeper CEO Enrico Palmerino to the firm’s accountant & CPA partners. In the email, Enrico revealed that Botkeeper, which Enrico has claimed is an artificial intelligence powered “full bookkeeper replacement… a robo-bookkeeper," also employs offshore accountants in the Philippines. Blake’s subsequent public questioning on Twitter led to legal threats by Enrico against Blake and his employer. Enrico has now agreed to join Blake and David for a public Facebook Live session on Friday, March 1 at 2 pm Pacific — Like our Facebook Page to get notified when we go live to try and figure out what’s going on at Botkeeper once and for all. 

(04:09) Blake digs into the Botkeeper website, press coverage about the firm, the CEO’s public statements, and review sites to try and figure out what exactly Botkeeper claims to be, how well it discloses the offshoring operation in the Philippines (hardly at all, apparently) and how Botkeeper’s representations of itself publicly differs from information provided by Botkeeper partners as well as Enrico's own words in an interview with Blake on Monday, February 18. 

(13:22) A Botkeeper CPA partner provided what they claim is a screenshot of a Botkeeper agreement that states client data will be processed in the United States. The CPA also says that no mention was made of a Botkeeper Philippines offshore operation during the sales process. 

(15:18) Why does this matter? Because the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct requires that any member (CPA) must obtain "reasonable assurance that third-party service providers have appropriate procedures in place to prevent the unauthorized release of confidential information to others,” and they may not able to do this if Botkeeper is not forthright about its offshoring of data and/or labor. 

Avalara Acquires Artificial Intelligence Technology and Expertise from Indix

(18:39) Avalara announced it has acquired Indix’s AI technology and expertise, with comprehensive product descriptions for more than 1 billion products sold and shipped worldwide. Avalara intends to use the Indix AI to maintain and expand its already massive tax content database, which includes international product codes and classifications; taxability rules; exemption conditions; tax holidays; jurisdictions; boundaries; tax rates; thresholds and registration, compliance, and return preparation and filing requirements. 

Intuit Second Quarter Revenue Increased 12 Percent Led by a 38 Percent Rise in Small Business Online Ecosystem Revenue

(19:41) David share’s Intuit’s latest earnings report, which shows very strong growth in the Small Business and Self-Employed Group led by their Online Ecosystem. Matt Paff pointed out that Desktop revenue is still growing, which David suspects may be due to a shift to the subscription model for these uses. Sasan Goodarzi highlighted on Twitter how Intuit is focused on “building an AI driven expert platform." 

New limits on users, accounts, classes, and locations in QuickBooks Online

When were these rolled out? First I've seen on a client. @IntuitAccts

Did these limits used to exist and just weren't as explicitly stated? pic.twitter.com/sag1poRabn— Lorilyn A Crum (@LorilynCrum) 

(23:07) Some ProAdvisors are surprised by usage limits that have been rolling out since the announcement of QuickBooks Advanced. Lorilyn Crum shared a screenshot showing new limits on billable users, chart of accounts, and classes and locations. Users who exceed these limits will have to upgrade to QuickBooks Advanced, which is priced at $150/month. Perhaps Intuit’s earnings are up also because they’re squeezing more money out of existing customers? 

Tide Launches Omnichannel, On-Demand Laundry Service

(27:48) Tide is introducing Tide Cleaners, an on-demand dry cleaning and laundry service, at 1,000 locations across the country. David thinks this is really similar to Intuit’s shift from a developer of software to a platform for accounting services with QuickBooks Live. For more on QuickBooks Live, listen to Episode 59.

Continuing Coverage of QuickBooks Live

(29:43) Patti Scharf, CPA and co-founder of Catching Clouds, shares her thoughts on QuickBooks Live.

Etsy Payment Error Creates Banking and Havoc for Sellers

(33:05) Online marketplace Etsy suffered a payment error that resulted in large amounts of money being withdrawn from sellers' bank accounts and charged to their credit cards. 

Get in Touch

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It’s people! The Botkeeper investigation continues; Avalara buys AI tech; Intuit earnings; new limits in QuickBooks; and more
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