Shoutouts to some of our favorite people on the new Top 50 Women in Accounting list by Practice Ignition, details on “Intuit Expert Connections,” another test that Intuit is running to gauge interest in a marketplace to connect tax pros and tax firms, a report suggesting that Congress should extend tax season, metrics on the typical number of accounts in a Chart of Accounts, the latest M&A activity in the cloud accounting ecosystem, a survey about remote work, and more
- 00:10 -- Top 50 Women In Accounting 2018 — Practice Ignition — The winners ranked among the highest on an “anonymised scoring system which took into account the communication of professional and community achievements.” Check out Madeline Pratt’s Facebook Live panel discussion with nine of the winners which is also available on the Finding Fearless podcast.
- 02:48 -- Intuit Expert Connections — Intuit ProConnect — Thanks to one of our listeners for sending over a link to this “still in concept phase” offering for tax professionals. The idea, according to Intuit, is to help you “easily find and hire Intuit-screened accounting professionals to support your practice with temporary or in-season help.”
- 07:43 -- Report Suggests Congress And IRS Should Give Taxpayers More Time To File In 2019 — Forbes — It’s not your imagination: It really is a different kind of tax season. It’s so different that the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) is calling on Congress to extend the tax filing season.
- 10:12 -- Metric of the Month: Number of Accounts in the Chart of Accounts — CFO — While there is no precisely right or wrong answer in terms of how many accounts an organization should have in its COA, this metric provides some guidelines.
- 15:42 -- Facebook’s Workplace reaches 2M paid users, targets SMBs — ComputerWorld — Workplace by Facebook, the company's enterprise-focused collaboration offering, has seen strong growth since its launch in 2016. Will we see more accounting firms adopt the corporate internal social network in 2019?
- 20:06 -- Remote control? Over half of accountants say they can ‘work smarter’ from home — Xero Blog — 53% of respondents to a South African survey claimed they could perform their duties more effectively if they were allowed to do so from beyond the office — but 75% are based in the office and only 13% work from home.
- 22:01 -- Nationwide, BlueVine partner on small business lending — Fox Business — Nationwide has partnered with BlueVine to bring small business lending to its customers.
- 23:20 -- Funding Circle Reveals Plans For Canada Launch — PYMTS — The company issued a press release Thursday (March 7) announcing it will add Canada to the list of jurisdictions in which it operates, which currently include the U.S., U.K., Germany and the Netherlands.
- 23:42 -- PayPal Hits £1B UK SMB Lending Milestone — PYMTS — The company said in a statement that the total amount of funding advanced to firms was up 60 percent, reaching that £1 billion tally in 2018, and that more than 37,000 businesses have tapped into its working capital offerings, which debuted five years ago.
- 24:02 -- Square Capital head: We are leveraging data to extend credit to small businesses that lack access to traditional loans — CNBC — Jim Cramer sits down with Jackie Reses, the head of Square Inc.'s Square Capital, to discuss how the lending arm is helping businesses that have trouble getting traditional loans.
- 27:18 -- When You Should Hire a CPA or Tax Pro — The Wirecutter — The New York Times owned publication says, “Working with a tax preparer who takes advantage of tools such as cloud accounting and apps that allow you to securely send documents and electronically review and sign your return can save time and trips to their office.” You read that right — cloud accounting gets a mention in a consumer oriented review site!
- 31:30 -- Certify Merges With Chrome River In $1B Deal — PYMNTS — Under the terms of the deal, K1 Investment Management will own a majority stake in the combined business.
- 33:22 -- Wave acquires Canadian SME account provider Every — Fintech Futures — Software firm Wave has acquired Every, a Toronto-based fintech that provides business accounts and debit cards to SMEs.
- 34:02 -- Why FLEETCOR Bought Nvoicepay — PYMNTS — The Nvoicepay acquisition means FLEETCOR will expand its existing card payment processing capabilities to include automated accounts payable transactions for a range of payment methods, with a broader focus on modernizing the AP process overall.
Get in Touch
Blake Oliver: Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver-.
David Leary: And I'm David Leary. Blake, welcome to Friday. What is today, the 8th of March? It's International Women's Day.
Blake Oliver: Was it today or yesterday?
David Leary: It's today. I know it's confusing, because our first article is Practice Ignition announced their top women, their Top 50 Women in Accounting for 2018 List, but they released that last night in [00:00:30] anticipation of International Women's Day, which is today. Madeline Pratt, with Practice Ignition, I think, had nine women on, and they had a panel, just talking about all the issues in women in accounting. It ranged from the practice numbers, and women not being partners, all the way down to teeny little bigger-world problems of micro-financing for women just to get jobs, or to start businesses. Apparently, she's gonna release that in a podcast format, what they [00:01:00] recorded. Maybe we can get that in the show notes once it's out. A lot of people, women that follow the podcast, that we know both personally, are in this list of the Top 50.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, it was great to see Alison Ball, from Intuit, on there. Michelle Long. Ingrid Edstrom, Mariette Martinez-.
David Leary: You're scrolling faster than I can scroll here.
Blake Oliver: I've got a trackpad, so ... Yeah, really cool. It was interesting ... Oh, Rachel Fisch, of Sage. Amanda Aguillard-
David Leary: Cindy Squires is on there. Diane Lucas.
Blake Oliver: What [00:01:30] was interesting about this is they said that the way they decided who would get on the list is ... It was an anonymized scoring system, which took into account the communication of professional, and community achievements ... The judges did not know the names of the people associated with each application.
David Leary: That's impressive. It's a big list; it's definitely a global list, as you scroll through it. Congratulations to everybody that's on that list.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, well done. Lisa Martin, Eileen Adao.
David Leary: There's people I've never even heard of. Somebody's with ... Might have to research. Her firm, [00:02:00] or her app, her company is called Hot Toast. Sarah Lawrance. I'm gonna have to ... This is good, because it gives exposure to new people we've never seen before.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, it's good. There's a lot of people doing great things in the profession, who are just too busy to be on Twitter all the time, David [cross talk]
David Leary: Oh, are you thinking of me?
Blake Oliver: We lose sight of that. No, no, that wasn't directed at you, directly. Sorry.
David Leary: Okay, just making sure.
Blake Oliver: I wasn't throwing shade at you, David [cross talk]
David Leary: Okay, perfect. Hopefully, we'll find that link to the audio of [00:02:30] that panel discussion that kind of ties on to this list, and we'll get that in the show notes for people to listen to, out of Madeline ... I think she's gonna put on her podcast, Finding Fearless. We'll try to get that in there ... I know I have a lot of teeny articles today, a lot of app news. Do you have any other bigger stories?
Blake Oliver: Well, you know, we always like to continue our coverage of QuickBooks Live. and what Intuit is doing in the face of becoming an AI-powered platform, whatever that means, right? This is something that was sent to me, when [00:03:00] all of that news was blowing up. It's another website, another project that Intuit is working on, called Intuit Expert Connections.
This is a live website. It's ProConnect.Intuit.com/Expert-Connections. That link will be in the show notes for you, if you wanna check it out. The page is called Intuit Expert Connections, and the subhead is Easily Find and Hire Intuit-Screened Accounting Professionals to Support Your Practice with Temporary, or In-Season Help. [00:03:30] The idea looks like it's a marketplace.
The idea is to describe the work that you need; let's say you're a firm, and you need extra help during tax season. Intuit will then match you with three qualified pros. You can compare their reviews, and experience, and pick your favorite. Then there is a collaboration platform, where you can share files, chat over video, and email, all over Intuit's secure platform. You pay through the platform by the task, and only [00:04:00] when the work is completed to your satisfaction. The cost is $58 per hour.
Thanks to the anonymous Twitter user who sent us this intel, and just to be clear, they received this link via an email from someone from Intuit The Intuit person who forwarded this said that the offering is still in concept phase. Not a test, but a concept phase.
David Leary: With 35,000 qualified [00:04:30] people already vetted by Intuit? I'm like, "Wow! That's very impressive." Just to make sure I have this right in my head, this is not targeting small-business owners. This is targeting accounting-firm owners who need help on Intuit's Pro Series products, or Lacerte products, essentially.
Blake Oliver: I think it's designed for people who are already using their ProConnect products. I'm going through, actually, the interview right now to sign up to see if it's possible. The idea is I [00:05:00] have a firm, and I want to get somebody to help me ... Yep, again, this is a test. "Thank you for your interest in Expert Connections. We're still testing and exploring how best to provide this service to you. Rest assured, we will contact you soon with more information."
David Leary: Oh, so this is a complete ... Truly another test. Let's see ... Wow.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: This model, this being the middle man, doing this matching service ... It's right aligned to what Sasan said in the Intuit earnings announcements, and on the earnings call this.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: This, "We're gonna build a expert [00:05:30] platform, where we're gonna match people up." Not only are they matching small businesses, they're gonna match accounting firms to other accounting talent.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, that's what he said on the earnings call. You pulled this quote last time, and I thought it was great. Just to summarize what he said, it's that the biggest challenge their customers have right now is finding professionals; matching up with professionals to help them; getting that help that they need. Intuit wants to be the middle man, wants to be the platform in between that connects those business owners, and those professionals, and, [00:06:00] of course, they wanna extract some value from it.
The big question is what model is going to end up being the one that dominates? Is it going to be something like this, where it's more of a marketplace-type model, like Upwork, or any of those other services, where you can get help from freelancers, or independent contractors? Or, is it going to be a model where Intuit hires people who then provide on-demand help to customers? To bring [00:06:30] back the GoDaddy analogy, is it gonna be that Do It With me, or Do It For Me marketplace-type model? I think Intuit's just experimenting, at this point.
David Leary: They could offer all of the above.
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: Intuit's big enough to do that. The services that need to be provided, from consumer tax, to ProSeries tax, to small-business bookkeeping, there's a whole wide range. They could do all these different models, depending on what the right is, where.
Blake Oliver: Of course, I have the same concerns about this product [00:07:00] as I do about QuickBooks Live. With Intuit Expert Connections, the price appears to be set at $50 per hour, so, I, as a professional, can only make up to what Intuit charges, minus their fee, whatever that is, right? I imagine it would probably be at least 10 percent, maybe up to 30 percent. We're probably looking at me, as a professional using their platform, making anywhere from $35 to $45 per hour, which for some folks is great. I [00:07:30] would never work for $35 to $45 dollars per hour, at this point in my career. I could make way more on my own.
David Leary: I think Intuit probably needs to launch this fast, because my article is going to create a lot of need, and demand, possibly, here. This article-
Blake Oliver: Let's hear it.
David Leary: -is in Forbes. It is written by Kelly Phillips Erb, who I think is like the number-one social Twitter person in our space, right?
Blake Oliver: Mm-hmm.
David Leary: She has an article ... "Report suggests Congress, and IRS should give taxpayers more time to file in [00:08:00] 2019." If you're a firm owner, this report's suggesting - if I scroll down here - I wanna say it wants to extend it 30 days, because of the government shutdown. Individual taxpayers should go til May 15th, 2019.
Blake Oliver: Kelly is not gonna make a lot of friends with this article, in the staff accountants working at firms-
David Leary: This is not her opinion. This is actually the recommendation of the NTUF, which is the National ... There's the National Taxpayer Advocate, but then there's a second acronym for NTUF, [00:08:30] which ... What does the UF stand for? That's the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. There's two organizations that are lobbying for this.
Blake Oliver: They are saying that, because of the shutdown, tax season should be basically extended, what, almost a whole month?
David Leary: Yes. They're saying it should be ... The shutdown was 30 ... What'd they say? 35 days?
Blake Oliver: Mm-hmm.
David Leary: That it should be extended a whole month because, for example, in the beginning of the season, the IRS was only answering about 48 [00:09:00] percent of incoming calls, and they had an average wait time of 17 minutes. At the same comparison from the year before, the previous year, they're answering 86 percent of the calls, with an average wait time of four minutes. Their argument is that the IRS is just behind, and people who need the IRS's service have not gotten it yet, so they're gonna need time to catch up on this. I guess accountants who've had vacations planned should maybe cancel them, and maybe use Intuit's [00:09:30] service to get some extra help, because this could happen.
Blake Oliver: Oh, boy. That'll make a lot of people, I think, very unhappy, but probably good, considering the complexity of the tax code this year.
David Leary: In general, it's fairly easy to get an extension, so maybe that'll be the recommendation is that-
Blake Oliver: Well, here's what should happen is that the Congress should pass a law that automatically just extends everybody and waives the penalty for underpayment. It wouldn't actually extend tax season, it would [00:10:00] just give everybody an automatic extension [cross talk]
David Leary: Well, it's not an election year, so they're not gonna do anything like that now, of course, because they don't need the goodwill, but, yes, it's something they should keep in their pocket for the future.
Blake Oliver: All right, well, let's flip over from tax to getting all that accounting done. I have an article from CFO magazine. It's one of their Metrics of the Month ... I think I've shared Metrics from them before in the past, right?
David Leary: Yep.
Blake Oliver: I love this series that they do. It's Metric of the [00:10:30] Month, and this one is Number of Accounts in the Chart of Accounts. David, I'm gonna ... Don't look. Don't look at the screen.
David Leary: All right, I'm not looking.
Blake Oliver: I want you to guess what ... Tell me, as a non-accountant, who's been in the accounting space for many, many years, what do you think is the appropriate number of accounts in a typical Chart of Accounts?
David Leary: I think I have 68 in mind. I'm assuming you don't try to put every single job, or business [00:11:00] unit as a separate account in your Chart of Accounts. I think 250-300 might be reasonable for a medium-sized business.
Blake Oliver: All right. You're actually pretty on the money there. According to this survey, and this includes some very large organizations, so, the folks who are working only with smaller organizations, this might seem like a lot. The typical company has 450 accounts in their Chart of Accounts. The top 25th percentile, is 200, and the bottom [00:11:30] is 860. We have a spread of about 200 on the low side, to 450 in the middle, to 860 at the most.
It's funny, because the author of the article says that he is part of the organization that collects this data - APQC - and APQC is currently in the middle of transitioning to a new ERP system. Perry Wiggins, who wrote the article, he's the CFO there, he says they have more than 5,000 [00:12:00] accounts in their Chart of Accounts. They obviously have way more than they need. I think the reason, I'm going to guess, is because they added accounts, sub accounts, in order to track that kind of stuff that people should be tracking, using classes and dimensions.
David Leary: Yeah.
Blake Oliver: This is one of the reasons to switch to a modern accounting system is that old accounting systems didn't have dimensions, or classes, so you had to just add a million accounts to your Chart of Accounts, in order to get all that data. Now, you don't [00:12:30] have to do that anymore.
David Leary: Goes back payroll, when QuickBooks Desktop had payroll items to track all the payroll stuff, but you just have one payroll liabilities account, and one payroll expense account, so, you don't have to have these ... With software now, you don't have to do this. Actually, you haven't had to do it in like 20 years. I've seen it. People make these obnoxious Chart of Accounts. Did they have a recommended, or is this just kind of, "Here's what our survey showed, out of 1,400 ..."?
Blake Oliver: This is just what the survey showed. I [00:13:00] went into my own accounting, and I looked at my Chart of Accounts. I figured it would be kind of high, because I'm a little bit ... I'm very particular about tracking everything in detail. I have 277 accounts in my personal Chart of Accounts. Probably could condense that down to under 200, very easily. I just break out stuff like medical expenses, I like to break it out, if it's eye care, or doctor, or pharmacies. There's really- [00:13:30]
David Leary: You're talking about your personal finances [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: Yeah, this is my personal.
David Leary: Yeah, mine's a mess, too. Restaurants, versus fast food. I'm like, "Why do I track that? Do I care?" I don't know.
Blake Oliver: Well, there's no utility in it. You need to start from the high level, asking what kind of reporting do I need, and then figure out how many accounts you need to roll up into that. I don't actually need ... I have a travel account for vacations, and whatnot. I probably could just have one account that's travel. Instead, I've got it broken down: travel-hotel, travel-ground transportation, travel-airfare. [00:14:00] It doesn't matter to me, personally. I have no reason to break it out in that way, but I set it up that way to begin with, and now I have to live with it, or I have to go through a project of archiving the old ones, and reclassifying transactions, and what not.
David Leary: I think this goes to a theory I always have about people have this irrational emotional attachment to their financial data, in a way. It's kinda that similar thing, where you over-track, even though the reality is you never have a meeting about it. You never really care if you went to ... If it [00:14:30] was a restaurant versus a fast-food restaurant, or however ... Whatever nuances you're drilling down into. Once you've kind of set that, and you're tracking it that way, you're just like, "That's how I've always done it," and you just can't let go. It's just an irrational emotional attachment to data.
Blake Oliver: One way to figure out how to condense your Chart of Accounts, if you're thinking about doing this in your organization, or for your clients, is to look at that trial balance on a month-to-month basis, and see how material are the amounts in these accounts? If it's below the threshold of [00:15:00] what you would consider material for that organization, then just get rid of it, unless there's some reason you need it for tax purposes, or whatnot, but-
David Leary: The author of this article, he actually said he examined their own accounts, and of the 5,000, 4,500 had almost little activity, and had a balance of $10, or less. They're just wasted accounts in space.
Blake Oliver: It makes things much harder for everybody, because it's just hard to get to know the Chart of Accounts, when there's that many of them. Instead, it's more likely stuff's gonna get mis-classified.
David Leary: Totally, totally. Makes [00:15:30] sense.
Blake Oliver: There are really simple things we can do to improve accounting. We don't need technology to simplify our Chart of Accounts.
David Leary: Yeah. You wanna jump in on another one of yours?
Blake Oliver: I don't know, let's see ... What about you?
David Leary: One that's an interesting one that I have here is Facebook. Facebook Workspace ... I'm sorry, Workplace. I don't know if anybody have seen this at all-
Blake Oliver: This is their product for corporations who want to create a communications tool, internal social [00:16:00] network, right?
David Leary: That's correct, but it's not internal, because it's on Facebook. Just how if you're on Facebook, and you were in a Facebook group, it'd be like having a Facebook group for FloQast, and all the FloQast employees are in there. You can share docs; you can set up events, and meetings; you can do video-conferencing, and chat. All the Facebook functionality that you're used to having, plus additional business-collaboration-type workflows.
Blake Oliver: It's limited to just employees at FloQast-.
David Leary: That is correct.
Blake Oliver: Got it. Okay.
David Leary: I've known it's existed. [00:16:30] I knew people were starting to use it. I think I saw a video interview of the CFO of Smartsheet. Smartsheet, in a way, is kind of a collaboration tool, and Smartsheet is using Workplace to do their collaboration internally.
David Leary: The real thing is they've now reached 2 million paid users. Now, obviously, they're going for enterprises. They get enterprise on, maybe they get 5,000 users, right?
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: It's a very interesting number. This is a growing space. Microsoft now, if you get Office [00:17:00] 365, you get Teams-
Blake Oliver: Wait, wait, sorry ... What's the news about this? Why are we talking about Facebook Workplace?
David Leary: Because it's hitting a new level of usage. Now, there's a lot of things like this. Could you use this at your firm? Could you use this with clients? Because people are already in their Facebook. They're comfortable with Facebook.
Blake Oliver: They already know how to use it.
David Leary: They already know how to use it. You don't have to train them on how to use some portal to interact with you.
Blake Oliver: Wait, wait, so, could I [00:17:30] invite clients into Workplace?
David Leary: I don't know. Maybe we have to set up a Facebook Workplace, and try that out.
Blake Oliver: They've hit 2 million paid users. That's why they made news, here in Computerworld, which is a lot. Of course, it's easier for them to get a lot of users, because they go after big enterprise. I think Walmart is on Workplace. It's super-cheap. It's only $3 per active user, per month, which is way less than apps like Slack. It's very easy, as a large organization, [00:18:00] to implement it, because it's almost trivial how- the cost.
David Leary: Then, why it's important to us is they're now gonna come down market and go after smaller businesses. Maybe nobody in our space has any clients using it, yet. None of the accounting firms, and bookkeeping firms that are listening to this podcast are using it. Six months from now, guarantee you, people in our space are gonna be using this, Blake. It's coming.
Blake Oliver: If you're listening, and you are using Workplace by Facebook, or you have experience with it, I'd really love to hear [00:18:30] how your experience has been going, because I'm fascinated by all these social-collaboration tools in accounting firms - to find out what is working, and what is not. If you wanna share that, reach out to me, and David on Twitter. I'm @BlakeTOliver-
David Leary: And I'm @DavidLeary. Definitely reach out on this. They now have 50 third-party apps that integrate with it, even Microsoft integrates SharePoint with it, even though Microsoft has their own competing product. Then, obviously, you have Slack is out there. I think Dropbox is heading towards [00:19:00] more collaboration.
Blake Oliver: Interesting.
David Leary: This next level of collaboration tools that are not internal is moving to the cloud, Previously, people would have their Internet internal; nobody could get to it, outside the world. Now, people are at a new level, where ... Five years ago, if somebody said, "You're gonna put your company everything on Facebook," people would've said you were crazy, but that's happening now.
Blake Oliver: I've always actually liked Facebook as a platform. I think it's just very well-organized, and the Groups features are fantastic. If [00:19:30] you can use it for a good purpose, like growing your business, then, that's great.
David Leary: It'll be interesting, because I remember when Yammer first came out, and then just a lesson from my experience at Intuit. I remember, it was really cool, and high-tech, and it was new. Only like the first hundred Intuit employees were on it. It was really engaging conversations, but it was just a small number of people. Then, as soon as they rolled it out to the entire company, and 5,000 people were on it, people were putting pictures of their dogs, and all this other stuff, and it just wasn't as useful. I wonder, if people start using their Facebook Workplace the same way they use the rest of Facebook, and it just [00:20:00] becomes not very useful. We'll have to see how that grows over time. Be prepared. It's coming.
Blake Oliver: This is related to social apps, and communication at work. Tools like Workplace by Facebook, and Slack allow employees to work more efficiently, remotely. They don't necessarily have to be in the office to collaborate. I found a survey by Xero. It was a survey of South African accountants about the way they use cloud technology.
A few points in [00:20:30] here that I wanted to pull out, having to do with remote work. The report says that 53 percent of respondents said they could perform their duties more effectively, if they were allowed to work from beyond the office. A majority of accountants in the survey said they could be more effective outside the office. Yet, as we experience here in the US, 75 percent of accountants said they're based in an office, and only 13 percent work from home. It's not clear whether those 13 percent ... Or that the other, what, 87 percent work [00:21:00] at the office, because they have to, or at the client's office, because they have to. There seems to be a disconnect between people saying, "I could be more productive at home," and then the amount that employers actually allow them to work at home.
David Leary: The interesting part that's in here is that benefit of it's a healthier, happier workplace, both ways. Working from home just decreases stress. They don't have to rush to get on the bus, get in the car. Then, when they do come the office, they're just more relaxed.
Blake Oliver: I love, for [00:21:30] instance ... I love Mondays working at home, because I don't have to get into the office, and get distracted. I can't get straight to work, tackle the most important things that I need to do that week. Then, come in on Tuesday, and have all those water cooler conversations, and that sort of thing, but I've been productive for at least one day. I like that kind of hybrid flexibility. Not enough employers embrace that, unfortunately.
David Leary: With tools like Facebook Workplace, you can enable your remote workforce.
Blake Oliver: Exactly. What [00:22:00] else do you got, David?
David Leary: Nationwide. You know, Nationwide's on your side-
Blake Oliver: It's on your side.
David Leary: Huge insurance provider. They are partnering with a small-business lending ... I'm gonna use the word app, BlueVine. Some people may have seen BlueVine. They were teeny, and I remember they were ... In the grand scheme of banking, and banks, and insurance companies, BlueVine was a teeny little app that launched on Apps.com. Now, Nationwide's partnering with them to provide small businesses easier loans. Another [00:22:30] example, banks remain disrupted by these small loan players, which leads me to the very next article-.
Blake Oliver: Wait, wait, wait, but, I'm not ... I don't understand; you're going too fast.
David Leary: Too fast. Okay, sorry ...
Blake Oliver: Why did Nationwide partner with BlueVine? To do what?
David Leary: To help customers of Nationwide's insurance product get easier small business loans.
Blake Oliver: Oh, so, if Nationwide is insuring them for workers comp, or liability, or whatever, they'll refer 'em to ... It's a way for BlueVine to get in front of 'em?
David Leary: Yeah, exactly.
Blake Oliver: Oh, okay ...
David Leary: I think the news here is it's [00:23:00] not Nationwide, and Bank of America paired up. It's not Nationwide, and J.P. Morgan Chase paired up. They paired up with arguably ... They're growing like crazy, but arguably, a teeny little company, in the grand scheme of banks, and insurance companies. My next three articles are all related-.
Blake Oliver: All right, let's hear it.
David Leary: More small-business funding. Funding Circle, who is a small-biz-lending software play that, again, uses small-business data to give out those loans, disrupting the banks, they [00:23:30] announced that they're going to launch in Canada soon. They're now growing.
Blake Oliver: Rachel Fisch will be very excited to hear that.
David Leary: Yes. Funding Circle's coming to Canada. Then, we'll go from Canada to the other side of the ocean. PayPal hit 1 billion in UK small-business lending. PayPal is doing small-business lending based on data they know about small businesses that use PayPal. They've done a billion dollars in the UK.
Then, the last article, this is all software startup apps that [00:24:00] are giving small -business loans, and just disrupting the banks. Square Capital, they are leveraging data to extend credit to small businesses that lack access to traditional loans. There's four articles that all came out in the last two days, and it's all about ... They're separate companies that are all giving small-business credit. I feel like I saw a tweet about Intuit doing another $225 million in small-business loans recently, this week, but I didn't see the article.
Blake Oliver: It seems like everybody wants in with small businesses. They all wanna be lending to small businesses. [00:24:30] Could this be the beginning of a new bubble? I mean, because small businesses aren't exactly the most creditworthy borrowers, which is why the big banks haven't been lending to them, traditionally.
If all of these apps get in the game of lending money to small businesses, and not doing a whole lot of due diligence, and just using their aggregated data to make these loans, what if we get in a situation where too many loans are out [00:25:00] there, and we have a financial crisis, some sort of recession, and none of these apps ever get paid back?
David Leary: They should be the case, except for I don't think they're using aggregated data. I think they're using individual data, inside of each accounting file that they connect to. Basically what they're doing, the loan process for all of these ... Historically, the banks ... You'd bring in your profit-and-loss, your balance sheet; you'd fill out tons of paperwork. It would take months for you to get a loan. These services, you're connecting your QuickBooks account; you're connecting up maybe your bank accounts through a service like [00:25:30] Plaid, possibly. They're seeing the real data you have, and then giving you a loan amount based on that real data-.
Blake Oliver: Got it.
David Leary: -an individualized loan in 10 minutes. Basically, they're doing something that the real banks - historically - the real banks never could do before, because they never had access to the data.
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: They've just completely missed the boat. It's very clear that people like Nationwide are now recognizing this and partnering with these companies that know how to deal with lending to small business.
Blake Oliver: You know what would be really funny? I wonder, if I took a bunch of [00:26:00] demo data, and populated a QuickBooks file, and then I hooked it up to BlueVine, or Funding Circle, or Square Capital, or whatever, I wonder if they would give me a loan using fake data?
David Leary: I'm sure people are trying that, because I remember back in the payroll days, and direct-deposit days, people would create fake companies, and then, go talk to ADP, and go, "Hey, I need to run this payroll." They'd create 50 fake employees, and they would steal the direct-deposit money from ADP, or Intuit Payroll, or [00:26:30] whoever it might be. If people were doing those scams with payroll companies before, you know, they're doing scams with ... There's criminals everywhere, man. They're everywhere ...
Blake Oliver: Well, I bet we start hearing about that. It's probably small right now, but ... Not to give anybody any ideas. Don't go-.
David Leary: You heard it here first. Just, if you get caught, make sure you plug us.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, you gotta say, "The Cloud Accounting Podcast gave me the idea." Let's switch gears, and talk about income-tax services, and [00:27:00] reviews. A site that I really admire, that I use constantly, all the time, that our listeners may be familiar with is The Wirecutter. It's a site for super-in-depth reviews of products of all sorts. They started out with just electronics, which is why they're called The Wirecutter, but they have since ... In the years since, they became successful; expanded into home and garden, kitchen, and dining, money, travel, office - basically, anything that you can review; sort of like the [00:27:30] next generation of Consumer Reports is how I like to think of them.
David Leary: Then, New York Times bought 'em.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, New York Times bought them-
David Leary: They obviously grew to the point where they were worth acquiring.
Blake Oliver: I spotted a review, or guide, on The Wirecutter, called "When You Should Hire a CPA or Tax Pro." It's basically a guide for the layman about when should I do it myself with a TurboTax, for instance, and when should I hire a CPA, or a tax pro? I won't get into the whole thing. It's actually pretty well-written. I [00:28:00] wanted to call out one of the really cool things I saw at the end, under the list of things to ask during an interview, when you're interviewing a tax pro.
The last question is: what software programs or apps do you use? Here's the paragraph after that question. "The tax-preparation business is in the middle of a disruption. Technology is automating many of the tasks humans performed previously. Many accountants have embraced this change and adopted technologies that make it easier to work [00:28:30] with their clients, and free up time to provide more strategic advice. Working with a tax preparer who takes advantage of tools, such as cloud accounting, and apps that allow you to securely send documents, and electronically review, and sign a return can save time and trips to their office." Cloud accounting made it into The Wirecutter review.
David Leary: That's amazing.
Blake Oliver: Yeah!
David Leary: The fact that somebody else is talking about the same thing we talk about every week ... These apps, and these tools, and being more efficient. It's hitting mainstream. It's still in a sub part [00:29:00] of The New York Times, but maybe this'll be in the New York Times, soon. It'll be a [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: It was at the very end of a very long article, but I thought it was really cool that they mentioned it. It came up in my Google alert for the term 'cloud accounting.'
David Leary: It is a very long article. It's interesting, because if somebody sees this headline, "When You Should Hire a CPA or Tax Pro," I just don't see somebody reading the whole article, unless they're really trying to make this decision right now, because it is very long.
Blake Oliver: What I like about The Wirecutter, with all their reviews, is [00:29:30] that upfront ... It's written like a news article, where you get the key information at the top, with that inverted-pyramid-type structure. They say at the beginning that, "A tax pro is likely your best bet in several situations, including the following ..." Four situations. 1) you're self-employed; 2) you experience a major life event, such as getting married, or moving to a different state; 3) you own rental property, or 4) you have foreign accounts, or investments.
Number two is interesting because that [00:30:00] is something that Brad Smith, and I believe Sasan Goodarzi also called it out in their Intuit earnings calls as one of the number-one reasons that people leave TurboTax is because they have a major life event, and they are no longer confident that they'll be able to accurately prepare their own tax return using the software, so they go find a professional to help them. Well, the whole point of TurboTax Live is so that you have the comfort of being able to ask a question about that major life event and know you did it right.
David Leary: You get to still do [00:30:30] it. You still get to do your taxes. You get the little bit of help you need, and you get to move forward. You don't have to just bail on your ... The thing you like ... Maybe you enjoy doing your own taxes, right? You just got in over your head, one year.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, exactly.
David Leary: I must commend The Wirecutter, though. I actually do not read their blog, but this article, the way they've done it ... They have a little table of contents, which links to the different parts of the article, down below. The whole article is on one page; it's not 10 separate page you gotta click, and then, there's ads everywhere, and it's not playing auto-video. As [00:31:00] a consumer of blog posts, if you wanna call it that, or articles, Wirecutter ... Yes. I'm clapping. I'm gonna golf-clap here. Everybody's blog should be like this-.
Blake Oliver: It's very well-written, yep.
David Leary: Golly ... It's easy to navigate ... There's no noxious stuff in the way. We'll see how long that lasts, though. I'm sure it'll get The New York Times paywall, and that'll be the end of that.
Blake Oliver: It's possible. That actually might make me subscribe. David, anything else on your end?
David Leary: Couple of little small merger news. Certify, [00:31:30] who is a enterprise-level expense-management app; same space as Expensify. Concur, all those other ones. I know they already merged with Nexonia, Tallie ... Who were the other players in that? There was like a five-way merger, and I know we talked about it early on in the year. Now, they've merged with another company, Chrome River, who's in the same space-
Blake Oliver: The way I understood it, with those deals, was it was a private-equity firm that bought them all-.
David Leary: Or bought them all. Okay.
Blake Oliver: I [00:32:00] think they're still all separate applications, right? I haven't heard about the apps actually merging. It seems to me this is more of just a aggregation-type play.
David Leary: Yes, because they basically have apps at each level. Here's our small business app. Here's our mid-range app. Here's our enterprise app. Yes, it is a play of that. I don't think the apps talk to each other. I don't think you can migrate from one app to the other app. You're right, it's a bunch of separate plays, but now, they've just taken ... I think this is [00:32:30] now the sixth app that's in a similar space, now merged with these other companies-
Blake Oliver: Interesting.
David Leary: -with the rest of them, in a $1-billion deal with Chrome River.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, well, it might make sense because there are different ... Every segment of the market has different needs, and this PE firm, K1 Investment Management, can utilize a shared sales and marketing organization across all the apps, and save a lot of money on overhead, in that respect.
David Leary: Which I think on paper, yes, the reality is ... My understanding is [00:33:00] everything in these companies is still all very, very separate, a year into this. We'll see where it goes, but, you're right, they should be able to stack shared resources, including marking departments, and IT, but to my understanding, none of that's happened yet, which is hard, because these are big companies that are merging together.
Blake Oliver: It's good for extracting value from companies that already exist and have a user base. It's not necessarily great for innovation.
David Leary: Wave accounting software, they acquired another Canadian small-business provider, called [00:33:30] Every. Every basically provides business debit cards, and small-business accounts. Wave accounting software is kind of getting into a small-business-banking play.
Blake Oliver: That makes sense, because Wave is free, right? They have to make money somehow.
David Leary: I think they make money on their payroll, and they have a paid version, as well. The real thing is, again, this is that same theme. These tech companies, like Intuit, are getting into banking. Square's getting into banking. Wave is getting into banking.
David Leary: One [00:34:00] more small quick one. A company called FleetCor buys a company called - It's a capital N - it's Nvoicepay, but it's just no I. It's N, Nvoicepay.
Blake Oliver: I always wondered how that was pronounced.
David Leary: Yeah, so it's Nvoice, but no I on the word 'invoice' ... To expand their corporate payments. What it is, is FleetCor is a payments company for commercial payments, global payments. I would say that, in our space, they're probably like an enterprise version of Bill.com, [00:34:30] in a way. They're a big payments play. They purchased in accounts-payable-automation tool, Nvoicepay. If you're a big enterprise doing tens of thousands of invoices, and you have an AP automation, or an AP approval process, the payments company now bought the process, so now, it's really full end-to-end workflow.
Blake Oliver: Interesting.
David Leary: That's the last of the merger news.
Blake Oliver: All right. Well, now everybody who's listening is up to date on the latest in app mergers. Hopefully-
David Leary: I had no news last week. I had [00:35:00] nothing last week, and then, tons this week.
Blake Oliver: Hopefully, this is not too much inside baseball, and that people actually care about this. I'm not saying ... I find it interesting. I'm just ...
David Leary: Well, let us know. If you guys think like I'm obsessed too much with everybody becoming a bank, please let us know. I think it's important, because if the software companies that provide accounting services, and are moving data around, and understand data, and understand open platforms, they become the banks, great. Why do we have to wait for the banks to [00:35:30] release their data? Cut 'em out. That's my opinion. Just cut the banks out of the picture. Why not?
Blake Oliver: Well, hey, that's all the time we've got, today, David. If folks wanna reach us online, where's the best place for them to get in touch with you?
David Leary: Best way to get in touch with me is on Twitter, @DavidLeary.
Blake Oliver: And I'm @BlakeTOliver.
David Leary: Everybody should probably go to our Facebook page. It's just Cloud Accounting Podcast on Facebook; like that page, so if we do any Facebook Live events, you'll be notified right away that we're doing those. The other we really want somebody to do - we [00:36:00] would love it if you went to iTunes, and you left to review. If you do that, Blake will read your iTunes rating, and review on The Cloud Accounting Podcast in the next episode.
Blake Oliver: Yes, although I reserve the right to edit for clarity, and appropriateness; we should put that disclosure-.
David Leary: Only five-star reviews will be read.
Blake Oliver: No, I just wanna make sure we're not ... We haven't created a contract, here, David.
David Leary: Like a bunch of commercials, right? A bunch of spammers will go in there, and you're reading.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, well, you know, I might have to read [00:36:30] something I don't like reading. I remember, I took business law to get my CPA. I just wanna be careful of that.
David Leary: Okay, so I won't promise too much, and if you don't wanna read it, I'll read it. We'll go down that path.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, David'll read it, if I don't wanna read it. There we go.
David Leary: Okay, perfect, and that's a wrap, I think. I know you've got a meeting, and I've gotta pick up kids from school, everybody.
Blake Oliver: All right. Have a great weekend, David. Talk to you later. Bye.
David Leary: All right. Bye.