Can you believe it? A question about QuickBooks Live made it into the latest Intuit earnings call! In other Intuit news, the company recently caught and stopped a hack. Find out how you can protect yourself from similar attacks. Also, we take a look at ProAdvisor feedback from the Joe Woodard online town halls. In non-Intuit news, Jamie Dimon is jealous of Square’s innovations, Abacus adds travel booking to its expense management app, and a new study suggests switching jobs is the easiest way to make more money.
In this episode, Blake and David discuss:
Intuit catches 'credential stuffing' attack on TurboTax account
— Accounting Today
— The software provider recently alerted Vermont that a cybercriminal had gained access to a state resident's account. How did they do it? Because the customer had used the same password on another site that got hacked. The lesson: Use a different password on every site! How do you do that? With a password manager.
Intuit Inc. (INTU) CEO Sasan Goodarzi on Q2 2019 Results - Earnings Call Transcript
— Seeking Alpha
— Can you believe it? A question about QuickBooks Live made it into the latest Intuit earnings call! The analyst from RBC must have seen the conversation online about what QuickBooks Live means for ProAdvisors. We’re proud to have broken the story on the Cloud Accounting Podcast, and good job everyone in making sure that this “test” didn’t fly under the radar. In short, Sasan Goodarzi, CEO of Intuit, likes what he sees from the test. That doesn’t surprise us considering he and his predecessor were both bullish on TurboTax Live, a very similar service.
David also highlights the following quote from Goodarzi earlier in the call:
This strategy is a continuation of Intuit's 10-year transformation led by Brad from a North American desktop company to a global cloud company. As we advance our strategy, we're taking steps towards becoming an AI-driven expert platform. Let me unpack what I mean by an AI-driven expert platform. It's a platform where we and others solve the most pressing customer problems and deliver awesome experiences. It's about significantly accelerating our application of Artificial Intelligence, which progressively learns from the large datasets across the platform, and delivers the benefits customers seek with speed, and it's about solving the largest problem customer's face, confidence, by connecting them with experts on our platform.
What ProAdvisors are Saying about QuickBooks Live
— Insightful Accountant
— Here’s the feedback from the wider ProAdvisors community based on three online “town halls” hosted by Joe Woodard with official Intuit participation. One stat in particular that caught our attention — 51% of attendees saw QuickBooks Live has having a negative future impact on Intuit’s relationship with the accounting profession, while only 30% saw a positive impact.
Interestingly, the Intuit representative said he regretted not communicating Intuit’s test to accounting professionals. However, that contradicts what we’ve told by a ProAdvisor that Intuit held a secret webinar for 75+ top ProAdvisors informing them about QuickBooks Live in late January. These ProAdvisors were unable to speak publicly because they were under NDA, which may explain the unusual silence from some in the community who would typically be all over such a story.
Whatever you think about the whole incident, David highly recommends everyone read The Cluetrain Manifesto
, available online for free.
Are Job Switchers Earning More?
— Korn Ferry
— Even in this record-low unemployment market, companies have been keeping salaries in check. But new government figures suggest that those who jump ship are starting to get around that.
Get in Touch
Blake Oliver: Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver-
David Leary: And I'm David Leary.
Blake Oliver: We're definitely not talking about Botkeeper this week, right, David?
David Leary: Correct, but I hope you have some other articles, because I parsed through all mine, sat down to get ready for the show; realized most things are not worth talking about, and I wound up, coincidentally, only having articles about Intuit this week.
Blake Oliver: Well, there's a ton of great Intuit stuff this week, given that we have the transcript from the earnings call, and we'll get to that. I've [00:00:30] also got a story about J.P. Morgan, and Square, which is very interesting. Actually, David, you kinda called this months ago, so that's gonna be interesting. Also, a story about Abacus, the Expensify, and Concur competitor, and, if we can get to it, a story from the consulting firm, Korn Ferry, about how job switchers are earning more money than those who stay in their job.
David Leary: Good, should we jump in?
Blake Oliver: Yeah, let's talk about Intuit.
David Leary: First, I got caught by the click bait headline around InPayments, which said "Intuit [00:01:00] denies data breach at TurboTax." I kinda was busy, and I think I even sent you a text. I was like, "Hey, we might have a story here. There might be a breach at TurboTax." Then, Accounting Today had a little bit more sane headline that said, "Intuit catches credential stuffing attack on TurboTax account." You were able to research into this a little bit.
Blake Oliver: Yes. Basically what happened is classic situation with hacking these days, where some hackers broke into an unrelated website, [00:01:30] where people who also happen to use TurboTax, had used the exact same password, and user name that they used for TurboTax. WebsiteXYZ.com got hacked, and they took these user names, and they started trying them on TurboTax, to see if they could hack in, because people don't use different passwords, and it worked, but Intuit was able to catch it, which is a good thing.
David Leary: Intuit had some sorta account-logging fraud detection, and they detected it, and then they pretty much shut it down. That's actually really good on Intuit's side, then. [00:02:00]
Blake Oliver: Yeah, it's good for Intuit, and it's a reminder to all of us of the importance of password managers, and using ... Well, using unique passwords on every website, so that if one of them does get hacked, they can't get into your other, more important banking, and financial, and tax sites. If you don't have one, download a password manager. I'm a big fan of LastPass. Do you use one, David?
David Leary: I do have LastPass, but [00:02:30] I actually just use the built-in Firefox stuff [cross talk], but I do two-factor on everything, if there's two-factor there. For example, I have two-factor my Intuit. Yes, it's a hassle, every time I log into Mint, every time I log into QuickBooks. Then, obviously, I'm using TurboTax Live, and I log into that, I have to pull out my phone, and type in my six-digit code. The cost of the time is probably worth the security.
Blake Oliver: Definitely for your financial accounts. Actually, I am interested to know if [00:03:00] Intuit is ... I think, obviously, they're not enforcing multi-factor authentication on TurboTax. They really probably should, at least via text messages, even though that's not the most secure way. It would basically stop this kinda thing in its tracks.
David Leary: If they required it?
Blake Oliver: Yeah. The idea being that when you sign up for an account for TurboTax, you also put in your mobile number, and then they would text you a code every time you log in. That way, even if somebody gets your password, they can't get in. I [00:03:30] think that that's where Intuit could improve, in this respect.
David Leary: I think the trouble on this is some people might have created that Intuit account a decade ago.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: That's some of the problem on this. I think there's a challenge, if you ... A brand-new start-up, yeah, it's easy. You're only taking on new customers, but people have had their Intuit accounts for decades.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, getting them to ... Forcing them to sign up for it is a pain.
David Leary: Well, that's good, though. The headline was scary, but the reality, it wasn't anything to worry about.
Blake Oliver: Not like Marriott, right?
David Leary: That's exactly how this happens. A hack at Marriott, or a hack at one of these other [00:04:00] companies exposes a bunch of people's usernames and passwords on that site. Then, people just start trying them on other sites. Some hacker somewhere decided, "Hey, I'm gonna try out TurboTax ..." and that's where they started trying to use them at.
Blake Oliver: Moving on to other Intuit news, this, I am very, very excited to talk about, David. This is the transcript from the Intuit earnings call, in which Sasan Goodarzi, CEO of Intuit, discussed their second-quarter 2019 results.
David Leary: I think what turned us on to that, there was a tweet.
Blake Oliver: Yes.
David Leary: Last episode, right? [00:04:30]
Blake Oliver: Mm-hmm.
David Leary: That was about ... He made that vague comment in a tweet about ... He discussed an AI expert platform.
Blake Oliver: Mm hmm.
David Leary: We were like, "What?!"
Blake Oliver: Yeah. This made me go and dig up the earnings call. Regular listeners of this show will recall that there were some amazing tidbits in last year's earnings call, hinting at the future of QuickBooks Live, based on the results from TurboTax Live.
Now, I'm becoming an analyst, and I'm digging through these [00:05:00] earnings calls. I finally sat down, went through the transcript, and I couldn't believe it. David, the story that we broke about QuickBooks Live, and all the commentary from all the thought leaders in the profession ... All you folks who are listening that wrote about QuickBooks Live on your blogs ... Joe Woodard, on InsightfulAcountant ... An analyst from RBC must have read this stuff, and asked Sasan Goodarzi on the earnings call about it. Shall I [00:05:30] read the question, and response?
David Leary: Yeah, why not?
Blake Oliver: This was Ross MacMillan, and he said, "There was some commentary around, I guess, the test product - bookkeeping - that was out there. I know it's not a product that's in the market yet, but I was just curious of kind of your thoughts around that, and maybe if there's anything just to talk about on a potential product in the future?"
Sasan replies, "Yes, I think you're asking about QuickBooks Live. Let me just take a step back and set up some context. When you think about what I shared [00:06:00] earlier around an AI-driven expert platform, there are common needs across all of our customers that we serve - consumer, self-employed, and small business. One of the biggest problems that customers face is confidence, and so one of the most important areas that we are focused on is connecting people with experts on our platform.".
"We've been doing some testing to learn what's important to small businesses, what's important to bookkeepers, enrolled agents, and accountants, and running a test to make that connection. So far, we like what we see in [00:06:30] the test, because ultimately, it's a two-sided platform. It's about serving small businesses, but it's also helping enrolled agents', CPAs', and bookkeepers' growth, and we're seeing ... We like what we see so far in our early reads."
David Leary: It ties back to something he said earlier in the call. He actually even, I think, references in this, where he talks about Brad Smith really led that transition for the last 10 years, for Intuit to go from a desktop company to a global cloud software company, and the start of the platform, really ... QuickBooks Online became a platform. Sasan's really now ... You [00:07:00] can see where his 10 years is. It's gonna take Intuit to become an AI-driven export platform, and really, all of Intuit as a platform, not just QuickBooks Online as a platform.
Blake Oliver: Yep. I was just psyched that this became a story that the analysts are paying attention to.
David Leary: Obviously, people are listening, which is good.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: I don't go to the closet every week just to talk to you, only; I feel like we are actually talking with the others out there.
Blake Oliver: It's great. Speaking of the conversation [00:07:30] around this, I know that Joe Woodard put together a number of town halls, and brought together ProAdvisors, and some people from Intuit to talk about QuickBooks Live. I unfortunately was not able to attend, but, David, I understand that you got a recap of what happened, and there's an article that Joe posted on his website.
David Leary: I know that there were a couple of ProAdvisors, and some others reached out, or made ... I saw some comments, especially from the people that attended the ... Try that again, Woodard webinars. [00:08:00] He had through three webinars. I think they might've been three days in a row, but it might've been every other day. He surveyed people that attended. and Rich Preece, from Intuit, showed up, and he talked to all the ProAdvisors. He's leading accountants globally at Intuit.
The big distinction here is people who attended that, and attended the conference call, they're the ones that noticed, "Oh, there're some differences in the answers being given." Sasan's answers that you [00:08:30] just read in the conference call feel very like, "Yes, we're testing, but this is amazing. The results were amazing, and this is moving forward.".
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: You can almost ... You can taste it, just in the responses. Unfortunately, that was ... I think that took place on the day after the third Woodard webinar, sow within like a five-day period, the message is a little bit different, at least for people that are observing, that attended, from the answers that they said they received in the webinar.
Joe Woodard put out some stats about people who attended. 94 percent [00:09:00] of the people that attended were ProAdvisors, and 84 of them are Certified ProAdvisors. The audience are definitely people that are super-super in the QuickBooks family, and, obviously, super-concerned - good and bad. They're just wanting to learn more about QuickBooks Live.
Couple interesting numbers ... For these attendees, only 5 percent did not perform bookkeeping services, but 44 percent, it's their primary practice. Another [00:09:30] 14 percent, it's their sole practice model - bookkeeping. You're pushing 54 percent of the people that attended this meeting, the only thing they do is bookkeeping.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: It's super-super-super-important, and which makes sense why they showed up to this-
Blake Oliver: The thing that really struck me - going to page ... This is a long article; going to page three - is the polls about the impact. 51 percent of the people in these town halls, all ProAdvisors, almost all ProAdvisors, saw a [00:10:00] negative impact, 51 percent. 20 percent saw no impact, and 30 percent saw a positive impact. Obviously, Intuit's gonna have a hard time, or is currently having a difficult time getting ProAdvisors on board, which kind of makes sense, given the lack of communication about this before the tests started, right?
David Leary: Yeah. For the vast majority of the people, this was a surprise.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. What really is interesting to me is question five - why [00:10:30] didn't Intuit directly communicate QuickBooks Live to its ProAdvisor community before going public with the test? That was one of the questions that was asked on these webinars. Intuit's answer is, "Typically, Intuit doesn't communicate the testing of new concepts, or product ideas, even if the test has some level of public exposure. The normal sequence is to run the test, evaluate the results, and then decide the appropriate level of communication." Rich stated that he regrets not [00:11:00] communicating Intuit's test to accounting professionals, especially ProAdvisor program members, in advance of running the test. However, we have some information that suggests that they actually did communicate the test in advance to some ProAdvisors, at least, right, David?
David Leary: Yeah, I think there was rumblings that this was shown before it went live, because I actually heard about it a little bit ... Little rumblings of it before it went live, but I had ... Even from my own imagination ... I was told there was [00:11:30] a test, and in my imagination, I was like, "Oh, it's a typical Intuit test. Somebody made a fake-looking website, showed it to ProAdvisors; got feedback.".
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: Then, that following Monday, it was on the website, like really out there, and I was like, "Whoa, this is ..." That's when, obviously, we did that other episode, and it [inaudible] from there. Some ProAdvisor members did get a heads-up on this, but in the vast majority of the ProAdvisors, nobody was told that this test was happening, or this was coming, or even ... [00:12:00]
It's interesting, because I think there's two arguments on this. Some ProAdvisors are saying Intuit's been telling you for three years, four years. Intuit's been saying, "Hey, you need to become a firm of the future; you need to start doing advisory work; you need to start doing this; you need to start doing this." Some people are arguing that Intuit's been telling ... It's clear as mud that Intuit's been telling us this. Then, there's this whole other-
Blake Oliver: Well-
David Leary: I'm sorry, clear as day ... Clear as water. I don't know ... What would be the proper analogy there, Blake?
Blake Oliver: Clear as day, maybe?
David Leary: Clear as day, but the other part ... There's [00:12:30] a whole 'nother set of people that are arguing, "Wait a minute, Intuit's never given us a smell, or a hint of this at all, and they just dropped it."
Blake Oliver: This was really interesting to me to find out, which is I got some intel from a top ProAdvisor, saying that, on January 24, Intuit invited over 75 of the top ProAdvisors to a webinar, a Q&A webinar, on the 30th of January, [00:13:00] specifically about QuickBooks Live to inform them, and get their feedback; but that they then, on the webinar, said it was under a non-disclosure agreement, and couldn't be shared publicly.
Apparently, Intuit did share this with its top influencers, but they couldn't say anything about it, because they were under NDA. That, to me, explains a lot of the reaction, when this did go public, and [00:13:30] why certain people that I figured would be all over this weren't saying a word-.
David Leary: Because they weren't allowed, yeah.
Blake Oliver: They couldn't. We're talking about a number of people have commented publicly on the roll-out of this being mismanaged, from a PR perspective. Why would you think that you can invite over 75 people to a webinar, and put them under NDA, and then think it's not gonna get out there, somehow, when this is something that's highly relevant to everybody in [00:14:00] the profession, who has a relationship with Intuit, or QuickBooks, and you're putting it on the public pricing page? How did they think that this would stay a secret?
David Leary: At some point, if you have 75 people in a meeting, is it really an NDA at that point? There's some number where an NDA becomes ineffective, possibly, right, from a math standpoint? Essentially, this is really a bigger Cluetrain Manifesto. Those of you who've never been to that site, go to cluetrain.com. You don't even have to read the book; just [00:14:30] read the 95 theses. Thesis number one is markets are conversations. Companies miss this point all the time-
Blake Oliver: Whoa, they need to update their website, David.
David Leary: What? I'm sorry?
Blake Oliver: They need to update their website-.
David Leary: Because it looks how old?
Blake Oliver: It looks like it's from 1999,
David Leary: It is. These guys made this ... They were a decade ahead of their time.
Blake Oliver: What is this about?
David Leary: Okay, so two engineer- I think they were engineers. They were tech engineers. This is on the cusp of the internet; just starting to come out. The concept of wikis, and internets, and disorganization [00:15:00] of the hierarchy just started coming out. These guys wrote this book, The Cluetrain Manifesto, and these are the 95 theses.
A lot of it is like markets are conversations. Big companies, your marketing doesn't work. You have to have conversations with people. It really changed my ... The way I've thought about customers. Even when I was at Intuit, I've always worked in ... There's a thesis about you have to embrace the fact that your customers may know more about your product than you, and if you-
Blake Oliver: Oh, that's definitely the case with Intuit. [00:15:30]
David Leary: If you can embrace that, it changes how you- the decisions you make, and how you interact with your customers, and how you design your products [cross talk] if everybody has not read this, it's super-super ... Actually, if you are in PR communication in any way, shape, or form, you need to print these out, and hang them on your wall. It's that important of a doc, and these guys were 15 years ahead of their time.
Blake Oliver: Well, that's great-
David Leary: It's a snapshot ... They missed a couple things, but [00:16:00] how they were supposed to predict exactly how the internet would turn out is a little hard, but 93 of those are perfectly on the money.
Blake Oliver: Well, I'm gonna go check that out. Thank you, David, for that. We'll put that in the show notes; that link in the show notes, as well. Moving on from the town halls, let's talk about something that we could learn about QuickBooks Live from GoDaddy.
David Leary: Yes, that was an interesting article.
Blake Oliver: Ned Dwyer, he's the founder of an app called Spritz. They are ... How would you describe Spritz, David?
David Leary: Spritz is [00:16:30] a prepaid small business credit card/debit card. I actually have one. It's Spritz.works.
Blake Oliver: I, too, have received one of these cards. I've tried it out myself. It works great. Ned is the founder of that company, Spritz, and he is a listener of the podcast. Thank you so much, Ned, for listening. He said, "Hey, QuickBooks Live sounds very familiar to me. It sounds like when I worked at GoDaddy." In 2015, Ned joined GoDaddy, as [00:17:00] a director of product, working to help their web-developer, and designer community be successful. At that time, he was part of a project to create a community, a platform, for web developers. GoDaddy had three different ways of helping people who were using their domain service. They had three products, basically.
They had DIY - do-it-yourself. That was their website-builder product that anyone could sign up for and build their website with. It's like Squarespace, or [00:17:30] Wix. In Intuit's case, he compares that to QuickBooks Online. Then there's Do It With Me - DIWM. That was the internal services department that they built at GoDaddy, called Professional Web Services. They would work with you to help you use the website builder, or WordPress to build a site for you in a semi-collaborative approach. That would be comparable to Intuit's new QuickBooks Live; the new assisted bookkeeping service would be the Do It With Me at GoDaddy. [00:18:00] Then, they also had a Do It For Me product, and that was a full-service type of situation at GoDaddy. That was their marketplace, and it's comparable to Intuit's Directory of Accounting Professionals- The ProAdvisor Directory.
Now, to basically summarize this article, what happened at GoDaddy is that the Do It With Me, the assisted product, and the Do It For Me, the community, were basically [00:18:30] competing with each other for the same business, in a lot of cases. What Ned says happened at GoDaddy is that Do It With Me, because it was so profitable - something like 80-percent profit margins, which is actually very similar, by the way, to TurboTax Live - those profit margins were so high that Do It With Me ended up getting higher billing then the Do It For Me, and the marketplace kinda just withered at the expense of the Do It With Me product.
If [00:19:00] the same thing happens with Intuit, they have a assisted, and they have a full-service option, or a referral option. Ned suspects it's likely that because Intuit is a company that is trying to make a profit, and they can make more money from the assisted product, that that's what they'll promote. That has consequences to accounting professionals. Basically, you have to figure out how to get clients from outside the ProAdvisor Directory, because you're probably not gonna get as many clients in [00:19:30] the future from them. There's a lot in ... This is an article that Ned wrote on Medium, by the way, and the link will be in the show notes. Definitely check it out, if you're interested. That was my takeaway. David, is there anything I missed?
David Leary: There's a takeaway and lessons for ProAdvisors in this, but he also has takeaways for Intuit in this. If there's any Intuit employees listening, you probably should check out this article, as well, because it's very easy on paper, but it's a lot harder to do, especially when it's already a mature market, and [00:20:00] there’s obviously a market leader. It's gonna be complicated waters. If anybody can do it, it could be Intuit. My money would be on somebody like Intuit doing it, but there's lessons in here for all sides of this.
I would argue this might be one of the best thought-provoking articles around about QuickBooks Live, because everybody ... I mean, yours kind of was, "Hey, this is coming." Your articles that you wrote, early on, right? "Hey, this is really coming. Look, there's hints of it; Intuit [00:20:30] earnings from a year ago ..." Everybody else's articles are like, "Oh, it's no big deal; just go into advising, blah, blah, blah ..." but this is really a super-super-thought-provoking article that really tells people, "Here's kind of what happened when we tried to build something just like QuickBooks Live." The funny thing is, is Ned sent this to us as an email. As soon as I got it, I was like, "You need to put this out as a blog post. Blake and I shouldn't be the only people that get to read this," so he ran off, and wrote us a blog post.
Blake Oliver: It's a great post. Check [00:21:00] it out. The thing that makes a lot of sense to me about why this would happen the same way with Intuit, as with GoDaddy, is the margins. Let's say Intuit charges $200 a month on top of the QuickBooks fee for their assisted-bookkeeping product, for QuickBooks Live. They probably would only be spending an hour or two every month helping a customer, on average, just to categorize transactions, close the books, whatnot. Well, for Intuit, their cost is probably something like $20 [00:21:30] an hour for that labor. Maybe they're paying $40 to service a $200-per-month account. That's an 80-percent profit margin. Am I right? Yeah, it is-
David Leary: It may be even more. I paid for TurboTax Live. I have yet to engage my CPA that I've access to [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: -have the comfort of knowing you could-
David Leary: I have the comfort of knowing I could, that's correct, but, essentially, I paid an extra hundred dollars, and it's all margin for Intuit.
Blake Oliver: Fascinating. What [00:22:00] else do we got today?
David Leary: We have some non-Intuit stories, which you brought to the table, thank god, because every story I went through ... Every time I got close to bringing it to the podcast this week, I was like, "Ah, it's not worth talking about," and I just threw it in the trash pile. At least you found a couple worth talking about. I'll let you continue on.
Blake Oliver: Here's one on American Banker. It's called "J.P. Morgan's Dimon: Square Innovated where We Should Have." It features the CEO of J.P. Morgan, Jamie Dimon, confessing to having a little bit of envy for [00:22:30] the payment processor, Square. This was at J.P. Morgan Chase's annual Investor Day in New York recently. He talked about Square, and he talked about how they innovated, where Chase did not; that they innovated with the little dongle that you attach to your phone that you can use to take payments. He also lamented that Square beat J.P. Morgan to the punch in making online loans to small businesses.
He now sees the opportunity in the $40-trillion investments [00:23:00] market, particularly around providing advice to households of modest means, basically allowing Chase to tap into the loan market that it hasn't been willing to get into - small loans, financial advice to middle-class families, that sort of thing. I thought this was interesting, David, in the context of this podcast, because you've talked a lot about Square, and FinTech, and payments, and how the banks are going to have to change what they're doing to target ... Become more efficient [00:23:30] to reach these small businesses that need loans that aren't getting them.
David Leary: I don't think it's just about becoming more efficient. I don't think it's just becoming more efficient. They just have to provide them products that they need and want.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: Square just keeps chugging away. If Square ever made a GL, it could be very dangerous.
Blake Oliver: Given everything they've built ... They've built so much in the last few years. Payroll; they have built time-tracking. You can do almost everything from Square, when it comes to your employees.
David Leary: Yeah, and then [00:24:00] you can do all your marketing stuff to market your business-
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah, email marketing.
David Leary: You have your point of sale. You have everything but a GL. It's very, very interesting to see where Square's headed next. Obviously, people are noticing. I think we need to read American Baker more. I feel like we've been getting some very good articles out of them, lately.
Blake Oliver: Well, speaking of feature updates, new features from apps, there's an expense-management app that I've been following for a long time now, called Abacus. I actually [00:24:30] used it, at one point, in my own business. If you use Expensify, they're a competitor to Expensify. Started a bit after and have been quickly growing as a competitor.
Concur is another example of a competitor in the space. It's more established than both Expensify, and Abacus, or disrupting. I saw this on the Abacus blog last week. Abacus has just released Abacus Travel, which is a full-featured travel-booking platform, [00:25:00] accessible right inside of Abacus. That caught my attention, because one of the reasons that we used Concur in my last public-accounting job was because of the travel booking that was directly in Concur.
The reason that you want this, as a medium-sized, or a large business, is that you can create travel-booking policies that allow you to control the types of travel that employees are doing, what they're permitted to do. Can [00:25:30] they book business class, or can they not? You're not in the situation of having to then deal with it, after they've already paid for it, and are expensing it. You can also manage all the re-bookings, and whatnot; all sorts of great features for businesses inside of the tool. Thus far, I've only seen that in apps like Concur. I don't think Expensify has it, so it was really interesting to me to see Abacus beat Expensify to the punch in building something like this.
David Leary: Did it say if they're built on somebody else's platform? For [00:26:00] example, I know Priceline has a platform. I've seen developers plug into to build some sort of travel-booking site for employees. All but travel sites have some sort of APIs. Does it say anything about that, that they're actually using somebody else's, or is this ...?
Blake Oliver: It doesn't mention it on the blog post, I don't think, but I have not dug into the support documentation, yet. The big benefit, of course, is the ability to implement all your travel-booking policies inside [00:26:30] of your expense-management app before people expense it. Check that out, if you're in the market for expense-management. or expense-reporting tools.
David Leary: Yeah, it's definitely a needed feature, and saves time, because if you're booking your travel with the same app, you're doing your expense tracking with, you just eliminated a whole middleman game of getting receipts from one other app over into the expense app. It's just all seamless. No, that makes sense. Then, I think you had one more article about switching jobs?
Blake Oliver: Yes. This [00:27:00] is called, "Are Job Switchers Earning More?" on the Korn Ferry website. Korn Ferry is a consulting firm that puts out some really excellent analysis, and research. This article caught my eye because it features a survey, or statistics saying that job switchers, "in January, saw their wages grow 4.6 percent, on average, from a year earlier, according to new data from [00:27:30] the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. It's the fastest growth for job switchers since October 2007, and handily beats the 3.4-percent growth in wages for those who stayed in their current jobs."
Basically, it's getting more and more appealing to switch jobs, if you want to make more money, which I don't think is really that much of a surprise to anybody. It's kind of always been ... Well, over the last 10 years, especially, it's always been the best way to get a raise is to change jobs. Although, David, you were at Intuit for, [00:28:00] what, 19 years? Clearly, you made a different choice.
David Leary: Yeah. They're saying in this article, over the last 20 years, only one time did the non-switchers make more, and that was in 2009, when basically there was no jobs to be taken. Nobody was hiring, so that was the only time that happened. The interesting thing about this article is where it's gonna ... As so much stuff's going to gig, and more and more people are going to head towards that, "I'm just an independent contractor, or an [00:28:30] independent person" route, is that going ... Is this article including those types of numbers? Because you could [cross talk] Chances are, a lot of people that go out on their own that first year, a lot of times, maybe are not exceeding their previous income on year one.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. This is something that is very interesting. The projections that more, and more Americans would join the gig economy, and quit full-time employment, and go out on their own as freelancers, that [00:29:00] has not really happened nearly as fast as people were predicting-.
David Leary: So, you're calling bull on all those headlines, and those articles-
Blake Oliver: Yeah, and that's not me. There's a lot of really smart people out there that are saying the research was wrong, but what is changing, and what I think this article gets right, is that the average job tenure in the U.S. has dropped. Now, it's at 4.2 years, which is down from 4.6 years, just five years ago, and continues a long-term decline.
It's not that people are going out, and getting into the [00:29:30] gig economy, and becoming freelancers. That really hasn't changed that much. People are just more open to switching jobs more frequently. Think about that, 4.2 years, that's the average; that's across all age groups. For millennials, for people in their 20s, and 30s, it's even less than that. A lot of people are switching jobs every year, every two years, three years. I think technology actually makes a lot easier to do that these days.
David Leary: Do you think it's people are jumping, because [00:30:00] they wanna get raises, or they just ... Jobs are just dead ends. Where they're at ... There's no reason to stay where they're at.
Blake Oliver: I think it's two things. One, it's really hard to get a meaningful salary increase if you stay. I guess that kinda makes sense, right? They've gotta be afraid that you're gonna leave to give you a real raise, and if you're gonna leave ...
Well, this brings me to my second point, which is that with technology changing so rapidly, with business models changing so rapidly, the most important thing, career wise, if you're young, is to be able [00:30:30] to be in a position where you're learning. I don't know, after two, or three years in the same job, if you're smart, you've probably learned what you need to learn about how to do that job. Then, the only way to keep learning is to get a new job, and if that new job isn't available at your employer, you've gotta go somewhere else.
I feel that way, too. I haven't stuck around in many jobs for very long, at this point in my life. I'm hoping it changes, and I do stick around where I am now, because I like it, but if I'm not learning, I'm gonna move, and I [00:31:00] would actually ... There's even studies - I don't have this in front of me - but studies that show that younger workers are actually willing to take pay cuts to get into jobs, where they are gonna learn new skills. That's the most important thing.
David Leary: If you're running a firm, and you don't want your employees to quit, you basically have to offer more opportunities, and give 'em the chance to learn.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. That was my big frustration, when I was in public accounting, is that ... I left after one year at my last firm, and it was a big firm. Part of the reason [00:31:30] that I left - it was a number of factors - it was the feeling that I've done one year, and next year's gonna be exactly the same. Not much is gonna change, so what's the point in staying any longer? Yeah, I agree with you that giving people the opportunity to try new things, and move around during- in the firm, and get new skills is super-important.
David Leary: No, it's a good find. Something to think about this week.
Blake Oliver: That's everything I've got this week. That was a fun episode. What is the future bringing to us, David? What [00:32:00] are you doing the rest of March?
David Leary: The rest of March? We're starting to get nice weather. I had a soccer tournament this weekend. I was out ... I'm wearing shorts. We've gotten to short weather. Yes. I wore shorts all day, today.
Blake Oliver: Oh, man. Really?
David Leary: We're tipping into ... I gotta maintain the pool; those kinda spring-cleaning things ... I know the rest of the country is freezing, but we have ...
Blake Oliver: Yeah, there's people who are giving you the finger right now, as they listen to this podcast, David. You might wanna be careful.
David Leary: Well, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I think we have ... I think [00:32:30] things will start happening, end of April, and May. I think Accountex in the UK starts up; the summer accounting season starts, all the shows conferences ... Things'll start getting busy here very, very soon. It's a quiet news week. It was a quiet, quiet weekend. We'll get back on this next Friday. In the meantime, if people have something exciting, they wanna send us, how would they get a hold of you?
Blake Oliver: Find me on Twitter. You can direct message me, or you can just tweet at me out in the open. I'm @BlakeTOliver. [00:33:00] How about you, David?
David Leary: I'm @DavidLeary. Don't forget about our Facebook page. You can go to Facebook.com/cloudaccountingpodcast, and you can like that page. Hopefully, we'll be doing some more ... We did the interview with Botkeeper, and we're gonna try to do a couple more Facebook Lives in the future. It was kind of an interesting model.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: It's an easy way to have the community participate. I think that was the coolest part of that. I think we had about 45 people all putting comments in, during the whole Facebook Live. That was kinda fun to do, so [00:33:30] we wanna try to do those more often.
Blake Oliver: I'm looking forward to more Facebook Lives. David, have a great week, and I'll talk to you again on Friday.
David Leary: Bye, everybody.