Here's your weekly accounting and bookkeeping news roundup (with a tech-focused twist). Thanks for listening! Follow and tweet @BlakeTOliver and @DavidLeary. Find us on Facebook and, if you feel like being super nice, give us a review on iTunes.
- 00:08 -- We got more reviews. Thank you! Give us a review on iTunes and we’ll read it on one of our weekly shows.
- 01:43 -- A survey revealed that you’ll get the best results from a blog post if you spend six hours working on it.
- 03:57 -- QuickBooks Live is now official — details on Intuit’s official Firm of the Future blog include the fact that Intuit has already hired 10 Boise-based ProAdvisors as part of the QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping team.
- 09:07 -- A survey by the IMA suggests that the gender pay gap is closing for management accountants.
- 10:57 -- A 2018 survey shows that mandatory busy season Saturdays are on the decline at CPA firms, but a shocking number still require their staff to work weekends.
- 12:11 -- Meanwhile, 8 percent of CPA firms will hire “anyone who is breathing,” according to a survey of AICPA Engage 2018 attendees. Could there be a correlation?
- 13:21 -- If you want to have a better busy season experience, stop pointing the finger at clients and start asking your team how you can facilitate a better process that makes it easy for clients to get you what you need.
- 16:59 -- The cashless debate continues! LA Eater asks, “Restaurants Are Going Cashless. Is It Always Best for Business?” Meanwhile, Philadelphia has already banned cashless stores, citing discrimination, and San Francisco is mulling its own ban. Gene Marks says you’re crazy if you reject any form of payment.
- 22:09 -- Facebook admitted that it stored hundreds of millions of user passwords in plain text for years, potentially enabling thousands of its employees to access them.
- 26:34 -- Here’s a rundown of upcoming accounting and bookkeeping training shows and conferences in 2019, plus all the ones David and Blake will be attending.
- 28:51 -- When you’re booking your accommodations this upcoming conference season, consider the Rodeway Inn. They’ve got the best hotel WiFi, according to research.
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Blake Oliver: Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver-
David Leary: And I'm David Leary.
Blake Oliver: We got some more reviews, David.
David Leary: That's exciting. More reviews, iTunes reviews?
Blake Oliver: iTunes reviews. Yeah, it seems to be working.
David Leary: This is gonna be my favorite part of the show, because I don't have an iPhone, so I don't get to read these, so it's wonderful to hear you read these.
Blake Oliver: Why don't we take turns? I'll go first.
David Leary: Oh, okay.
Blake Oliver: Stick bro said, "Blake and David do a great job keeping up on changes in the industry. The podcast saves me time doing my own research and keeps [00:00:30] me up to date. Let's admit it, accounting is boring; yet, they make this otherwise boring topic interesting." Wow, I think that might be the best compliment we've gotten yet, David. We made a boring topic interesting.
David Leary: Cloud accounting is not boring. We have a review from Stan?
Blake Oliver: He's not sure if that's his username.
David Leary: It may not actually be Stan, okay? "Look forward to this podcast each week. Five stars. Apps, bots, innovation should be at the front of every accountant's mind, and these guys really bring home the importance of doing your research. Keep [00:01:00] up the good work!"
Blake Oliver: Thanks, Stan. Lastly, "Great way to stay up to date on #CloudAccounting. Five stars," from Dave Wiese. Thank you, David. Can I get CPE credits for listening to the #CloudAccountingPodcast? Asking for a friend. I learn more from David Leary and Blake Oliver, than from any of these courses." We reached out to NASBA on Twitter. They didn't reply to my message. I'm not sure why. Oh, well ...
David Leary: I think there's requirements for CPE. We have to actually put out an agenda-
Blake Oliver: Yes, learning [00:01:30] objectives-.
David Leary: -ahead of time, of what we're gonna talk about, but we don't know what we're gonna talk about until the news happens, so, it's very, very difficult, there.
Blake Oliver: I think it has to have some interactive element, as well, so we might have to shift this to a live show.
David Leary: People put their headphones in their ears. That's interactive.
Blake Oliver: Well, David ... What's new this week?
David Leary: Let me ask you this ... I think your best blog post ever was the QuickBooks Live one you did - all-time hits. How many hours did you spend working on that?
Blake Oliver: It took me like a day.
David Leary: A day. Okay.
Blake Oliver: Actually, I have to correct the record. My number-one blog post, by far, of all time, [00:02:00] is a post on my blog about remote work - places that you can remote work. It was called something like "X Places You Can Work Other than a Coffee Shop." I get thousands, and thousands of hits every month that just dwarf the hits I get on anything accounting-related.
David Leary: How long did you spend on that post?
Blake Oliver: It's hard to say, because it was a list that I compiled, but, yeah, it took five, or six hours.
David Leary: This is from American Express's small-business-trends blog, "Survey Reveals 56% of Bloggers Get Better Results by Spending 6 Hours on a Post." Really, the [00:02:30] gist of the article is if you're writing a blog post for your accounting firm, or your app, or wherever you're writing your blog post for, the ones you spend time on, and actually have deep, enriching, good content, in the long run, will get you more eyeballs than lots of just blabble posts about nothing.
Blake Oliver: That makes sense, right? It's quality over quantity.
David Leary: You are correct, it's about quality over quantity. I'll just read you a quote from here. "In the report, Jay Baer of Convince [00:03:00] & Convert highlights the importance of definitive content. Baer says, "To succeed with blogging (or just about any written word online) you must provide definitive content. Not just some half-baked flotsam and jetsam that's 85 percent of the same as 5,237 other posts on the internet, but real meaty stuff." I think that's the service we provide, because we're the ones going through the 5,237 other posts, and bringing you guys the top stories every week.
Blake Oliver: It's a lot of crap to wade through. Yeah, just know that it takes [00:03:30] a lot of effort to put this together. Well-
David Leary: This ties right into to the next story. As of about two hours ago, there was a new blog post on the Firm of the Future blog, which is an Intuit property. This is about QuickBooks Live bookkeeping. It's super-super-deep, and it has everything you wanna know, straight from the horse's mouth, which means, now, Blake, you'll have less work to do on your next blog post.
Blake Oliver: Well, that's good. I don't have to dig so much. It's really nice to see all of this coming out, upfront. David, what's the news about QuickBooks Live?
David Leary: The [00:04:00] article covers a little bit about what we already knew, that this is a test, and it has some of the stats that Intuit's been communicating. I think we talked about, before, about 89 percent of the small businesses say they're more successful when working with an accountant. With that said, there's still 40 percent ... They don't work with an accountant, or ProAdvisor, at all. Part of QuickBooks Live was to match those people up.
They actually give a little bit of a history, on this post, about what happened in February of 2019; what happened in March of 2019. In February, they do talk about the test that we've covered [00:04:30] deeply on the podcast; about the pricing test they were doing. Then, they also talked about, in February, that they actually made a hiring of 10 accounting professionals in their Boise office.
Blake Oliver: Wow, 10 already ...
David Leary: Remember, you found that job posting in Boise?
Blake Oliver: Yep.
David Leary: Yes, they have hired 10. Now, this is to 'test' this.
Blake Oliver: These are 10 ProAdvisors?
David Leary: They are 10 ... They're accounting professionals, who are ProAdvisors.
Blake Oliver: Got it.
David Leary: They mentioned that this is not their long-term vision. This is just a way for them to start testing the service, because [00:05:00] their long-term vision is to play middleman, and get people paired up with the other ProAdvisors that are out there on the market.
Blake Oliver: ProAdvisors working from home, everywhere in the country, theoretically?
David Leary: Correct.
Blake Oliver: Got it.
David Leary: Then, they actually even go into what's next. It's really communicated really well. On March 25th, which is what? Monday morning? Sunday morning?
Blake Oliver: Mm-hmm.
David Leary: They're gonna start another version of this test that's a little bit deeper, and they're gonna do even more of a pricing structure, and test on the website, and see how the messaging- to better understand what the small-business owners want. [00:05:30] They will possibly use that to gauge the interest in the service, and possibly match some of the customers up with the Boise ProAdvisors. Then, they also mentioned that they probably are gonna add some ProAdvisors, and bookkeepers to QuickBooks Live, in Reno, Nevada, because that's where QuickBooks Payroll is.
Blake Oliver: What was interesting to me about this post is they talk about what is going to actually be included in the QuickBooks Live service, because that was not clear. Originally, it was not really made clear in those town halls, in which [00:06:00] ... Who was at the town hall?
David Leary: Joe Woodard did the town halls. Rich Preece attended those, from Intuit.
Blake Oliver: Got it. It wasn't really clear what the services are, and now, that's being talked about. The article says that, "Pending additional testing, the service will include setup, monthly categorization, reconciliation, reports, year-end closing of books, and help using QuickBooks." Why I find that very interesting is that that is a lot more hands-on than Intuit has portrayed this. It [00:06:30] was portrayed as just, "We're gonna help you use QuickBooks. It's not a replacement for a ProAdvisor," but that scope of services, including setup, monthly categorization, reconciliation, reports, year-end closing of books, and help using QuickBooks? That's the meat and potatoes of a lot of QuickBooks bookkeepers.
David Leary: Yep.
Blake Oliver: They also said that you're not going to get the same person assigned to you, as a business owner, every month; that you might have to deal with different people each time ... I don't see how that's gonna be possible, if [00:07:00] that's the scope of services. There's gonna have to be a one-to-one relationship.
David Leary: With this testing, they're really trying to ... Intuit's trying to get their own questions answered, themselves, and they actually put these out there, like, "Hey, we have our own questions we're trying to answer." How much will the service really cost? How much are ProAdvisors, and bookkeepers gonna be paid as part of this service? Then, what is the scope of services being offered through it? Then, what happens to somebody if they maybe outgrow that level of service?
Intuit has their own questions, and it's actually great that they're putting it out here, and just ... They're [00:07:30] being honest, and open, and having the conversation, and showing their own vulnerabilities, like, "We don't know these answers yet." Kudos to Intuit putting this out. I wish it had the date, and time; I wish it said who wrote it, but it doesn't have any of those types of things.
Blake Oliver: There is the question answered in this post that a lot of people have had, which is will this service be offered to someone already connected to an accountant? The official answer is, "Our goal is to connect small businesses not currently connected to a ProAdvisor bookkeeper, or accountant."
Now, [00:08:00] I have a hard time seeing how they can keep those two groups separated - the business owners who are already connected to an accountant, or a bookkeeper, and the ones who don't have one. How's Intuit gonna know that? There are inevitably gonna be people who have a current relationship with a ProAdvisor that see this new option, and that disrupts that relationship, and I'm curious to know how Intuit will handle that.
David Leary: The only way they're gonna know is if somebody [has] actually, in their QuickBooks, have added their ProAdvisor, their accountant. Then, there's real data; there's a real connection [00:08:30] there, where Customer A - small-business owner A - is connected to Accountant B.
Blake Oliver: How are they going to only market to the people who don't have an accountant? It's impossible.
David Leary: The trouble, I think, is really gonna be for ... Let's say you are a small business, and you are, "Hey, I'm kind of not too keen on my current bookkeeper, or my current ProAdvisor, and I wanna shop around a little bit. Maybe I wanna test out this QuickBooks Live."
Blake Oliver: Yeah, exactly.
David Leary: Are you gonna be kind of blocked from trying out a new service?
Blake Oliver: No, of course not.
David Leary: Yeah, you're right. That's, again, another open question that's gonna have to be answered over time. [00:09:00]
Blake Oliver: All right, cool.
David Leary: More time on high-quality blog posts ... That's the theme here, because this is a really good one that obviously somebody spent some time on.
Blake Oliver: Following up on our discussion about the new list, the "Top 50 Women in Accounting" list that Practice Ignition sponsored, I've been paying a little more attention to this, recently. I spotted an article in CFO Magazine, called, "For Management Accountants, Gender Pay Gap is Closing." The really interesting stat in this article is that, in [00:09:30] the United States, the median total pay for women in 2018, for management accountants, was 88 percent of what men earned. Now, that's not that great, right? That's according to a survey by the Institute of Management Accountants. We can certainly do much better.
The good news is that's up from 85 percent in 2017 - from 85 percent on the dollar to 88 percent on the dollar in 2018. The really good news in this survey: for women in their 20s, in the 20 to 29 age group, women [00:10:00] earned a median 97 percent of what their male counterparts did. At the other end of the age spectrum, for women 50 and older, the figure was just 80 percent. Clearly, there is a change happening, and globally, there actually is no compensation gap anymore. If anything, women are earning more than men, in certain areas of the world. It's good news, right? Hopefully, though, as those women in their 20s move into their 30s, and 40s, that the gap doesn't widen again.
David Leary: Well, I think, though, the [00:10:30] big problem that's always faced females is that they already start out down 12 percent, or 18 percent, from the get-go. Then, even if they get raises that are equivalent to men, by the time it's all said and done, it's like compound interest, right?
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: They're just gonna be way behind. The fact that they're starting out almost on equal footing, from the beginning, at 97 percent ... I know somebody's gonna be like, "That's still not equal!" But, it's just- it's gonna stack up to where that gap should not get as wide, as they go further on in their careers.
Blake Oliver: Now, moving on to busy-season news, I've [00:11:00] got a busy-season stat for you, David.
David Leary: What's this one?
Blake Oliver: This stat is from a report by Convergence Coaching. The report is called the "Anytime Anywhere Work Survey," and it was done in 2018. The one I wanna call to your attention, David, is this question about Saturdays being mandatory, or optional in busy season.
David Leary: I think there's another accountant who took a photo of their parking lot that showed all the cars in it on a Saturday morning, and he was really proud that his firm had those employees showing up to work on a Saturday morning, like it was a teamwork effort.
Blake Oliver: The stat [00:11:30] from this report that stuck out to me about optional, or mandatory Saturdays is that, in 2016, 39 percent of firms offered optional Saturdays; only 39 percent of firms made Saturdays optional, but that jumped to 58 percent in 2018, so, now, over half of firms have optional Saturdays.
David Leary: What if you even are making your employees work all Saturdays, and you still can't get all the work done? What do you do then?
Blake Oliver: That's the thing is that it's not about how much time the people are working. You [00:12:00] don't need them coming into the office; you don't need to mandate that they work on Saturdays, because people will figure out how to get their workload done, if you trust them. That's the difference between the old-school mentality, and the new.
David Leary: Got it.
Blake Oliver: That's really important, right? It's really important to trust people, because it is getting harder and harder to hire. I came across another stat that was actually really funny, from the AICPA ENGAGE Conference in 2018. There was an audience survey done there that Accounting Today published about hiring standards. The question [00:12:30] is: how strict is your firm, in terms of who you will hire? Eight percent of firms, or eight percent of attendees said that they'll hire "anyone who is breathing," and 41 percent said they have an ideal, but will settle. Only 51 percent of attendees said that they, and their firms adhere to high standards, when they're hiring. That’s probably because it's getting harder, and harder to find talent. There's a labor shortage in the CPA, and the accounting world. Going back to this question of optional, or mandatory Saturdays, if [00:13:00] your firm still has mandatory Saturdays, especially the kind where you have to come into the office, who's gonna wanna work at your firm?
David Leary: That's crazy. Anyone who is breathing ... Eight percent.
Blake Oliver: I mean, who knows? This was an audience survey, so, maybe there were some cheeky answers there, right?
David Leary: They were being funny. Yeah, that could be [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: -clearly, half of firms are having to settle; not getting necessarily who they want. I got one more busy-season story for you, David.
David Leary: Okay.
Blake Oliver: Last one. This is called, "Point with Your Thumb, Not with Your Finger," published in Accounting Today, [00:13:30] by Kyle Walters, who is a partner at L&H CPAs and Advisors, in Dallas. He talks in this article, or at least he starts off this article by talking about a policy that his firm has, which is that you can only point at people with your thumb, not with your index finger. That sounds a little strange ... Why would you have that policy? Well, it is more a metaphor than anything. The idea is that when you point at people with your thumb, you're really pointing at yourself.
He says in this article, in [00:14:00] busy season, it's really important to point at yourself, not the client, and not blame the client for the problems of not getting documentation, or not getting what you need on time to get your work done. He says, "You're not an accountant, you're a luxury service provider." If your clients were organized, and got everything to you in time, and you didn't have to ask them multiple times to get things done, they probably wouldn't need you to do their taxes. They could probably do it themselves if they were that organized, right?
David Leary: He's got a point. He's got [00:14:30] a point.
Blake Oliver: He talks about some ways that you can improve the flow of communication, the client experience, and reduce this friction that occurs between the staff, and the clients. For instance, sending a tax organizer in January is not enough. He says you really "need to walk clients through the process without being condescending.".
Maybe do some things that are not typical, such as send a courier to your client's house to pick up documents, [00:15:00] or create a short instructional video that walks new, or tech-challenged clients through your portal. How about adding an administrative assistant whose job is to help people use the portal better? If you take those steps to really hold your clients hands, then it'll make everything better for both your staff, and for the clients, who ... Really, how can we blame them for not wanting to do their taxes? It's basically the worst thing for a lot of people; they hate it, right? I just liked his approach of [00:15:30] thinking of your firm as a luxury service provider, rather than a compliance shop.
David Leary: Yeah, and I think that the firms that probably need this the most right now are heads down, and will not know this article was written, and did not have time to read it ... If people read this four weeks from now, they can really implement this stuff for next season.
Blake Oliver: I like this, too, because there's all these people out there talking about how tax preparers/compliance shops need to go into advisory services. I don't really think that that's necessarily how you have to differentiate yourself. [00:16:00] Yes, it's true that compliance work is becoming more, and more automated; it's requiring less, and less effort, but you can continue to provide incredible value by taking the extra time you have, now that you're not typing in transactions, or manually moving around tax data ... You can take that extra time you have and offer of better client experience.
There's many, many, many ways to improve the client experience, right now, that we can think of. It could simply be that by offering [00:16:30] better customer service, you can continue to do the services you've already done, or always done, and continue to see your profits grow. The last thing I liked in this article a lot is about making mistakes. When your firm makes a mistake, you shouldn't just say, "I'm sorry, my firm made a mistake." You should also say, "I made a mistake, and here's what we're gonna do to fix it. Are you okay with that, Mr. and Mrs. Smith?" By doing that, you'll have a much better relationship with the client, and a smoother-running firm the next time around.
David Leary: Blake, I [00:17:00] actually ... If you know, I'm a foodie ... I don't know if I'm a foodie, or not. I just made that up. I was reading Eater Magazine, the Los Angeles Edition, and I saw an article ... I actually sent it to you, when I saw it, because I was like, "Hey, Blake's in LA. This could be an on-location investigation for him." The title of the article is, "More LA Restaurants are Going Cashless. Is it Always Best for Business?" This is a restaurant magazine talking about this. They talk about how Blue Bottle recently announced plans ... Blue Bottle's kind of a- [00:17:30]
Blake Oliver: High-end-
David Leary: -fancy version of Starbucks. High-end coffee-
Blake Oliver: A high-end coffee company.
David Leary: They're experimenting with a new cashless-payment model, meaning customers are no longer gonna pay for food and drinks with anything other than a credit card, or a phone app, or your iWatch type of a situation. They really go into some of the bigger news ... There's a salad chain called Sweetgreen, and they had a robbery in New York City, at one of their stores - cash robbery - and it led to a police chase, and somebody wound up being shot.
They have famously [00:18:00] just said, "No more cash," because of the safety of their employees, and their restaurants. I know we've talked about this before, as far as, from a cloud-accounting standpoint, it's super-efficient to just only do credit cards, because then you could just move those in the accounting system, and you don't have to count cash; you don't have to go to bank to do a deposit. It's just easier from a bookkeeping perspective to do that.
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah.
David Leary: But, now, there's a lot of arguing happening on both sides of this. before I jump into the other articles that are related to this, did you actually go [00:18:30] to one of these restaurants, or go to one of these ... I'm sorry, no-cash restaurants in LA?
Blake Oliver: I've definitely been to cash-only- or to card-only restaurants in Los Angeles. I can't remember exactly where, but I wouldn't have even noticed, because I can't remember the last time I paid for lunch, or anything with cash. I think it's great, but there are people that are upset about this, and complaining. I know that Philadelphia recently banned cashless stores. Is that right?
David Leary: There was [00:19:00] recent news, this week. They banned cashless stores. The argument is that if anybody is maybe, I'm not saying off the grid, but they don't have credit cards for personal-finance reasons, they are the unbanked, they just personally choose not to have them, it's a division-.
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: Some of them are arguing it's haves and have-nots, but a lot of these restaurant owners, if you start reading these articles, make arguments that like, "Is it really our fault?" What if a restaurant takes cash, but they only sell $50 hamburgers; they take cash, with only $50 hamburgers. Are [00:19:30] they gonna be creating a cultural divide? There's a lot of arguments around this. Gene Marks is saying you're crazy to do cash-only, because he looks at this as you don't- and I'll read-
Blake Oliver: Not cash ... He's not saying ... You're crazy to do cashless.
David Leary: Cashless, yes. Yeah, sorry, or even go cash-only. His article is "Cash-less? Cash Only? You've Gotta be Crazy to Reject Any Forms of Payment." I kind of- I get the whole efficiency; I get safety; I get having [00:20:00] to physically count cash. Restaurants are expensive to run, and if you're paying somebody to count cash every night, that's money you could be paying your kitchen staff.
I get those arguments. but I think I'm on Gene's page here, where you have to really accept all possible payments. My dream would be is, with Xero, or QuickBooks, when I send an invoice to somebody, I wanna have 25 payment options available to my customer, so they can pay me any way that works for them. That's Gene Marks' argument on this.
Blake Oliver: Look, the [00:20:30] problem here in LA is that, in a lot of places, people are just not paying with cash, so, it becomes silly for the businesses to accept it, because very few people are paying with it. I understand the argument that it could be discriminatory, especially towards poor people who don't have banking, but there's gotta be a better solution than forcing all businesses to take cash, which they don't wanna do.
Maybe the city could put out free card- ATMs that issue prepaid cards, or something like that. It's expensive, and dangerous to have cash [00:21:00] on hand in a store, so, I disagree with Gene, here. I think that businesses should do whatever they think is best for their businesses ... Clearly, a lot of them have decided that they don't need to accept cash in order to succeed.
David Leary: I can see this being a battle, because my small-business advocate - me - is like, "This is super-efficient; small businesses kinda have to do this." They just have to, to survive. It's tough, right?
Blake Oliver: What about airlines? Airlines stopped taking cash on planes a long time ago. Are we gonna start forcing them to do [00:21:30] that again?
David Leary: Yeah.
Blake Oliver: You can only pay for your drinks, and your food with a credit card on all the flights that I've been on - Delta, Southwest, American. I haven't paid cash anything. If we're okay with that, why can't stores do it, too?
David Leary: I wouldn't be surprised if this gets bubbling up to the higher political levels. Right now, it's a lot of individual cities, and states that are banning this, but I could see this becoming a national political topic. Maybe it's even in the election, because, you're right, so many transactions are on credit card. Are we gonna have discussions [00:22:00] about getting rid of all cash, at a national level? Who knows? Anybody who has a client, who has a cash register, and listens to this podcast - this is gonna affect you.
Blake Oliver: You wanna talk about the Facebook thing next? I couldn't believe when I read it. Apparently, hundreds of millions of people's passwords were being stored in plain text on Facebook's servers?
David Leary: Yeah, not only were they stored in plain text; possibly up to 20,000 Facebook employees had access to this.
Blake Oliver: It gets worse, and worse for Facebook, every day. Where did you see this?
David Leary: It's on KrebsonSecurity, [00:22:30] which is ... I think we've talked about this once before. This is THE place people go to find out about security hacks, security breaches, and problems like this. They do really deep articles, investigative-type reporting, and journalism. It's KrebsonSecurity. Essentially, the headline is pretty straightforward: "Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain Text for Years." This goes back to 2012.
Blake Oliver: They're not making people reset their passwords, though, and they're not saying that the passwords were necessarily used in a bad way. It was just [00:23:00] exposed on their internal networks.
David Leary: That's correct. Based on their investigation, they're pretty confident it's not being used improperly. Nobody stole these. My bigger concern with this is Facebook, in a way, is hiring the A+++++ of talent. Facebook is; Apple is; Google is, right? They have the highest-flying stocks; they have the most money; the most cash. They're hiring these smartest people in the world, from an engineering standpoint ...
Glaring ... You [00:23:30] could argue this is Security 101. Mistakes like this are happening ... Some of it could be a cultural thing. What about the companies that are hiring just an A+, or an A, or an A-, or maybe a B+ engineer? This is what's kinda scary about this, because even the article talks about GitHub and Twitter both had some similar issue like this, a couple months back. This is kinda scary, because this is like 101.
Blake Oliver: If you think about this in the context of all the data that Facebook [00:24:00] has, passwords are the most important thing that they could be protecting, and they are not securing our passwords, which give access to potentially anyone into our accounts. What do you think they are doing to protect all of our personal information that we are out there sharing on Facebook? Well, they're obviously not. That's what the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal was about, that third-party app developers had unfettered access into what appeared to be most of the Facebook database.
David Leary: That was a API level; [00:24:30] it was kosher, et cetera, et cetera.
Blake Oliver: But internally, imagine you work at Facebook as a developer. Theoretically, those people aren't supposed to be able to go in, and view our Facebook messages, right, David? Well, do you think they probably can? I imagine that a lot of them probably could, if this is how well they were securing our passwords. I wouldn't bet that my messages are safe.
David Leary: Up to 20,000 people had access to this. I'm not saying 20,000 people saw them, but-.
Blake Oliver: They could have.
David Leary: -nobody raised this issue up since 2012? The [00:25:00] whole thing is dumbfounding, and crazy.
Blake Oliver: I gotta take the opportunity to tie this back to all of our discussions about third-party providers overseas, serving the CPA profession, especially small ones. If a company like Facebook is not securing data, what do you think the odds are that that "bot" company in The Philippines is securing your client data? I'm gonna say not very good.
David Leary: Yeah, it's-
Blake Oliver: CPA firms, it's buyer beware in this world, if you are outsourcing your client data; if you're putting your [00:25:30] own data on consumer-quality networks. We really oughta be using B2B software, B2B services, that are audited; that have standards that they publish that will tell you what they're doing with your data, or we're putting ourselves, and our clients at risk.
David Leary: The one good thing about things like this coming to light is that this is how they get resolved.
Blake Oliver: Facebook seems to just do whatever they want, and nothing gets fixed.
David Leary: I know when ... After, I think, the Cambridge [00:26:00] Analytica stuff broke, I remember, at Intuit, at the time, the board took that very serious; lots of companies took that stuff very serious, and, then, looked at their own APIs, and their own data sets.
I'm sure every Fortune 500 company, right now, is performing an investigation on how they're storing people's passwords. There's a ripple effect of how this affects the rest of the industry. I guarantee you, other companies, their CEOs are like, "I don't wanna be on the front page of the Krebs Security thing. What's our security policy around our passwords?" This is gonna- it'll cause [00:26:30] a ripple effect in a good way.
Blake Oliver: It's less than one month, really only three weeks until the end of busy season, and you know what that means, David ... It's the beginning of conference season!
David Leary: Conference season. Yes! Yes, yes ...
Blake Oliver: Well, one of the big events that are coming up in the next few months, in April, May, June ... What are you gonna be at?
David Leary: Mollie Macklin, at Insightful Accountant, she put together a "Training Shows, and Conferences for 2019" blog post. They're not all [00:27:00] here, but it's pretty exhaustive. There's a good 30 shows, and conferences. We'll have that in the show notes, in the links. First off, I think we're both gonna be at The Accounting Salon, which is May 6th, 7th, 8th, correct?
Blake Oliver: That is in New Orleans, yes; May 6th through 8th. That's gonna be great.
David Leary: Scaling New Heights, and XeroCon are the same week, so, I'm gonna do both-
Blake Oliver: Road warrior.
David Leary: -I'll be two days at Scaling New Heights, and two days at XeroCon, which will be a little crazy, but I'll make it. Where are you headed?
Blake Oliver: Well, actually, FloQast is doing our very first conference, our own user gathering. [00:27:30]
David Leary: Congratulations!
Blake Oliver: It's a ton of work already. It's May 16th. It is just for current FloQast users, this first year. We wanted to get our feet wet with that. It's called Take Control, and that is May 16th, in San Francisco. If you are listening, and you happen to be a FloQast user, head over to FloQast.com/takecontrol, and register. I'm also gonna be at the Houston CPA Society 2019 Spring Accounting Expo on May 22nd. I'll be presenting on remote [00:28:00] work, and the chaos of the close. I might go to AICPA ENGAGE, in June. I'm not sure about that yet. I know that FloQast is gonna be there, and then, I will also be at XeroCon San Diego.
David Leary: Okay, so we'll both be at XeroCon; overlapping there.
Blake Oliver: That's in June 18th, and 19th, and you said that is immediately following Scaling New Heights?
David Leary: They overlap, yes.
Blake Oliver: They overlap. Okay, cool.
David Leary: Yeah, they completely overlap, but I will be ditching one early to go to the- to attend the other one slightly late ... That way, I get to do both [00:28:30] in the same week, which should be a lot of fun. We'll do a podcast related to that. This list goes all the way through' ends out in November, with QB Connect - the full, exhaustive list of all the shows you should consider when you have some time here.
I have to vote; my favorite name of any conference listed here ... I'm not going to it, but, the favorite name is Abacus Maximus, which just might be the best conference name of all the conferences listed here. Then, I have one more small article for all of you, when you go traveling to these conferences. This was American Express's small-business trends. You wanna stay [00:29:00] at the Rodeway Inn. Now, do you know why you wanna stay there, Blake?
Blake Oliver: I don't know. I'm kinda getting a little picky with my hotels these days. Why would I want to stay at a place called the Rodeway Inn?
David Leary: Because they have the best hotel Wi-Fi of any hotels, followed by Americas Best Value Inn, Quality Inn & Suites, Days Inn.
Blake Oliver: What is it with these inns that have good Wi-Fi?
David Leary: They're balancing it out. They're lower-priced. They're providing better service; because the ones with the worst Wi-Fi are the ones that I feel like most business travelers stay at - the [00:29:30] slowest Wi-Fi places. It's the Hilton Hotels, Fairfield, Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott. They have the worst Wi-Fi-
Blake Oliver: Aww, man ...
David Leary: -and they cost more. I'm spending twice as much, just to get some Wi-Fi.
Blake Oliver: That's why I just gave up, and I bought unlimited on my phone, and I just use my phone as a hotspot, whenever I can, because I just can't- I can't put up with the Wi-Fi that's slower than my cell connection.
David Leary: Blake, is that it? Did we ... We got through everything this week?
Blake Oliver: I think we did. Yeah, that's everything for this week. [00:30:00] If people want to get in touch with you, David, online, where can they do that?
David Leary: Right. Easiest is Twitter. I'm just @DavidLeary.
Blake Oliver: I am @BlakeTOliver, and don't forget, you can follow The Cloud Accounting Podcast on Facebook. Just go to your Facebook search bar, and type in Cloud Accounting Podcast, and you will find us. Follow our page. Give us a rating on Facebook. We really appreciate that. Also, give us a rating on iTunes, and we'll read it on the air.
David Leary: We are now on Twitter, and LinkedIn. [00:30:30] I haven't posted much there, yet, but that's gonna be happening soon. You can find us on LinkedIn, and Twitter. Anywhere it's convenient for you, we're there.
Blake Oliver: David, it was a lotta fun. Talk to you next week.
David Leary: Bye. Talk to you soon.