Blake and David get caught up on all the news that slipped by during AICPA Engage, Scaling New Heights and Xerocon, plus David's got some new intel on QuickBooks Live. Facebook announced a new cryptocurrency, B2B IPOs are triggering investor zeal, a disappointing percentage of firms are taking advantage of videoconferencing tech, we have a couple of podcast recommendations, the CMA is growing like crazy, Pilot plans to bring 450 jobs to Nashville, Freshbooks has a new Retainers feature, and much, much more!
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This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by AutoEntry. By using AutoEntry, you can stop typing data into your accounting system. AutoEntry can turn your stack of paper, be it bills, receipts, bank statements, sales invoices, and vendor statements directly into transactions posted into QuickBooks, Sage, or Xero. Regardless of your small business client engagements, once-a-year tax-only engagements, write up or catch up work, monthly bookkeeping that you do in-house, a client doing bookkeeping themselves, AutoEntry is the perfect fit for all of them. AutoEntry can even handle the tricky details like line items, billable costs, customers, jobs, classes, employee expenses or reimbursements, even multi-currency. To learn even more about AutoEntry, head over to CloudAccountingPodcast.promo/autoentry. That is Cloud Accounting Podcast dot promo forward slash A-U-T-O-E-N-T-R-Y.
Blake Oliver: Welcome to the [00:01:00] Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver-
David Leary: And I'm David Leary.
Blake Oliver: And we're back from conference season.
David Leary: Yeah, the first part of conference season, because I think it picks up again towards the end of summer.
Blake Oliver: But there's two seasons, right? There's the spring and the fall.
David Leary: Spring and the fall.
Blake Oliver: It's heating up here in L.A. 85 degrees. My son is going to a splash pad with his mom.
David Leary: I just want to rewind. 85 degrees? It's heating up?
Blake Oliver: Yeah. What is it for you?
David Leary: And I think it was 107 yesterday.
Blake Oliver: Well, I am [00:01:30] inside. It's nice and air-conditioned. I'm sure you're in the same situation.
David Leary: It's a necessity, right?
Blake Oliver: I actually have a story for you, David.
David Leary: What's this?
Blake Oliver: But I think we should get to the reviews first, and then I'll tell you my tale of woe.
David Leary: Tale of woe? All right, yes. As always, let's do the reviews. So, I have one from June 17th. This is Paul from Method CRM. Five stars. "Killing three birds with one stone. I blast David and Blake's podcast on my morning cycle downtown to Method's office, keeping me (and [00:02:00] some cyclists on my route) informed to the latest juicy industry news. The Cloud Accounting Podcast saves me the time to seek out and read all the accounting tech updates and the banter is always entertaining. Listening to David and Blake is my favorite all-in-one life hack. Commute, workout, stay up to date. Keep it up, guys." Paul, founder, and CEO of Method.me.
Blake Oliver: That's awesome. Thank you, Paul. I am also a sometime cyclist, so I like listening to podcasts on my way into work. Really great to have you listening.
David Leary: Reading this, it sounds like Paul just has a speaker playing while [00:02:30] he's riding his bike. He doesn't actually use headphones.
Blake Oliver: I use AirPods. By all means, if you want to blast the Cloud Accounting Podcast on your bike, on the subway, get a really big boombox and just educate the people.
David Leary: Plane flights.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. Don't get kicked off the flight. Thank you!
David Leary: Even better. Even better. Get kicked off the flight and so that you have to say on the news, "I was only trying to listen to The Cloud Accounting Podcast."
Blake Oliver: Here's a review from Jennifer: "Required listening for my class. I teach accounting information systems at a university in [00:03:00] Texas. This podcast is totally relevant to the accountants of tomorrow. The topics discussed here are great conversation starters for my class. This will be required listening. I also teach Xero and QBO and love how this podcast covers a variety of areas each week. Keep up the great work." I think that might be my favorite review so far. Like, the fact that she's having- Jennifer is having her students listen to us. David, we really have to watch what we say, because we are shaping the minds of tomorrow now.
David Leary: It actually feels very honorable. I'm [00:03:30] a little loss at words. It just shows that we're not just talking to each other, right?
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: People are finding value in this, and it's beyond just saving people time and staying on top of the news, right? They're getting real long-term value out of it.
Blake Oliver: And one more. This is not a review, it's a tweet, but a tweet from somebody very special to us. Ranica Arrowsmith of Accounting Today, the technology editor there, she said, "If you're not following Cloud Accounting Pod yet, do it. They're on-point and also hilarious." She retweeted that picture that we took at Xerocon [00:04:00] of us in our action-reporter poses. You know, if you listen to the podcast and you wonder what we look like, you should go to the show notes, because I'm gonna put that picture in the show notes this episode. It's pretty funny. David is wearing the Xero fanny pack from Xerocon-
David Leary: The Xero fanny pack, and The Cloud Accounting Podcast shirt-
Blake Oliver: Yes.
David Leary: -but what's great about that picture is we were actually really recording, and that recording will be live. Well, I'm sorry, will be released in the podcast feed soon, but we were actually recording and ran over and took a picture and then kept recording.
Blake Oliver: Yep. So [00:04:30] that was us actually in the middle of a live episode where we walked around the expo floor at Xerocon and interviewed people. We asked people, "What is advisory?" We got an infinite number of answers, so that will be a fun episode. By the way, we did a lot of interviews at Xerocon. We've got more from Scaling New Heights. I've even still got interviews from Accounting Salon that I haven't gotten through, and that's my bad. I want to apologize. If you were interviewed ...
David Leary: Is this your story of woe?
Blake Oliver: Well, yeah, sort [00:05:00] of. Actually, it's related to that. I'm very behind on the editing, and part of the reason is that we moved. Literally, I got back from Xerocon on Thursday and the movers came on Friday, and we moved out of our house. The woe part is that we were trying to buy a different house and then we had to back out of that one. Now, we very quickly arranged alternative housing, and we're renting for the moment, but I actually found a way to tie this back to cloud accounting, believe it or not, David.
David Leary: Before you jump into that, so you're going to have [00:05:30] to ... You're renting temporarily, so you're going to have to move again.
Blake Oliver: Well, I don't want to, and here's why, because I'm actually ... We've moved in, and we're in this really nice apartment complex on Ventura Boulevard. We can walk to, like, 30 things. I haven't been able to do this since college, where I can just walk everywhere, and especially in L.A. I'm renting, and I'm thinking, "You know what? This is a lot like SaaS." This is like Software as a Service versus on premises. You can either rent or you can own. I've owned a house, and that was my first house. We owned it for two years, and I hated everything [00:06:00] about owning a house.
It was the worst. Every time something would break, I couldn't just call and get it fixed. There's a lot of things about owning a house that's great, but there's a lot that sucks, right? I don't know, maybe we don't tend to talk about that, or it's just this sort of assumption in our country that, if you're successful, you buy and own a house. That's what you do, right? I don't know, maybe it's just not for me, or maybe it's changing, but it just ... I love just not having to commit to that, like living there forever. We're flexible now; we've got everything taken care of. There's [00:06:30] a pool, a hot tub, there's a barbecue. I don't have to clean it. I'm kind of liking things right now.
David Leary: That's interesting. There's a listener, Matt Rubish? Rubush. Sorry, Matt. He has his own podcast, and he's kind of been documenting this journey he's been on, where they downsized, they sold a bunch of their material possessions, and they are starting to rent instead of owning. It's like "Hey, I can walk to everything now. It's healthier." Maybe you guys are on a trend. Accountants and bookkeepers are starting a [00:07:00] new trend of renting.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, it's the subscription economy, right? Maybe renting is the new buying. I don't know. I like it. So now that we're settled in - we've almost got everything set - I am hoping to get, today and tomorrow, get down to business and get some of those interviews out.
David Leary: It's exciting, because they all came out great, and I can't wait 'til everybody gets to hear them.
Blake Oliver: So with that, what is the news this week?
David Leary: Since we're talking about the conference interviews, maybe we can wrap up with a little bit of conference news that didn't justify [00:07:30] its own episode, because it was just two small pieces of news that were on those last ... The last day of Scaling New Heights and the last day of Xerocon.
Blake Oliver: Mm-hmm.
David Leary: The news out of Scaling New Heights was next year in 2020, it's going to be held in St. Louis, so that-
Blake Oliver: I've never been to St. Louis.
David Leary: I have never-
Blake Oliver: Maybe I'll get to go.
David Leary: -as well, so hopefully we'll be able to do a broadcast from the Arch. That would be exciting. You can go in it, I think. I don't know-
Blake Oliver: You can?
David Leary: Well, I think there's a tourist-y thing to do. Yes. I'm not positive, though. Maybe you get to bungee-cord off of it. I have no clue [00:08:00] on that. Xerocon had one announcement I thought was interesting. They are launching apps.Xero.com. So, instead of having ... It was Xero.com/marketplace or whatever they had before, it's going to be apps.Xero.com, in the same way Intuit, which years ago switched to using apps.Intuit.com, right? But it wasn't an instant journey for Intuit either. Intuit had about four different- over a period of three years - four different URLs for their app marketplace. It was Partner Platform, and Workspace, [00:08:30] and Marketplace, and finally, it's pretty obvious the market wants just something simple like apps.Intuit.com or apps.Xero.com.
Blake Oliver: Well, and it's live. I just went to check it out. It's the Xero App Marketplace, apps.Xero.com. I like the layout. It's nice and simple. Grid form, filters on the left-hand side for different types of apps.
David Leary: It doesn't look like they changed the site too much. It feels like it's definitely the get the domain changed over first, and then they'll make changes from there.
Blake Oliver: Well, I had a bit of follow-up from Scaling New Heights. Even though I [00:09:00] wasn't there, I got to read the follow-up articles.
David Leary: Okay.
Blake Oliver: Dan Hood in Accounting Today did a summary called- headline is "Make the Move from Trusted to Transformative," and it was about a kickoff session at Scaling New Heights. You've already covered a lot of this, David, but I just wanted to call out one of the quotes that I really liked from Joe Woodard. He said, "If the typical QuickBooks ProAdvisor ran a Starbucks, we would encourage customers to bring their own Keurig machines, and then we'd have a shelf of all their different Keurigs [00:09:30] carefully labeled, and we'd let each of them tell us how to make their cups of coffee.".
I just like that analogy because it so perfectly encapsulates the lack of, I don't know ... Bookkeepers, accountants, especially smaller firms, we tend to just let our clients tell us what to do, rather than telling them this is how it's going to be, right? That is what creates a lot of the problems when it comes to standardizing your processes, or scaling, or anything like that.
David Leary: Because that's when you get people coming in with an espresso packet. They need you to cut [00:10:00] it open and pour it into a reusable Keurig packet, so you can put it in your Keurig. You're spending so much time moving things around, when, if you just get them to standardize, you can focus on advisory and all these things everybody wants you to do, but you can't if you're stuck in that brewing coffee custom.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, and business owners don't want to make all these decisions, right? They want you to help them, like menu simplicity. So, maybe the analogy, if we're gonna talk about fast food, then the [00:10:30] ideal situation is like In-N-Out Burger, where there's literally three things on the menu. Yes, you can customize them, and there's a secret menu, and all that stuff, but it's burgers, fries, and shakes. Very simple.
David Leary: And as a parent, that really helps a lot when you're trying to just order food in a hurry.
Blake Oliver: Yes.
David Leary: Your kids don't have a lot of options. They just make a very quick decision.
Blake Oliver: That's basically Xero, Scaling New Heights. We got a bunch of interviews coming out. Tony Ward's going to drop next, and of course, many, many others. What else- what should we [00:11:00] talk about this week?
David Leary: So ...
Blake Oliver: What happened while we were gone?
David Leary: We did release the interview with Rich Preece, so that's out there. That was the previous episode if people want to listen to that, but there is some additional- after that interview, there was some new QuickBooks Live news that I discovered that dropped.
Blake Oliver: Okay. What's new with QuickBooks Live?
David Leary: A couple of things. One, Rich Preece, in a reply to a tweet, mentioned that they're going to ... Because people were wondering, kind of like an Uber, right? You get a different Uber driver every single time, no matter what. You just do, right? People were like, "Is that how the bookkeepers are going to work? My [00:11:30] QuickBooks Live bookkeepers?" [crosstalk]
Blake Oliver: Oh, right. Are you going to get a dedicated one, or are you gonna get a new one every time?
David Leary: Exactly. He referenced that they're gonna use some sort of smaller virtual teams of six to eight people, so you're gonna- there's gonna be some familiar ...
Blake Oliver: Familiarity?
David Leary: Between those six or eight and the set of clients they're possibly helping, the small business owners so that some people will get to know each other. So, it's not perfectly one-to-one always, but it's also not gonna be as random and scattered as picking up an Uber driver.
Blake Oliver: This is brilliant. I mean, this [00:12:00] is exactly what I was- before I left public accounting, this is what I was aiming for was teams of ... It wasn't six to eight, but teams of two to three bookkeepers working on the same clients, because that way, if somebody's sick or on vacation, somebody else can pick up for them, right? So, you don't have that dependence on one person, but you also have familiarity. I think this is a great thing. This is a great move.
David Leary: Then they re-released ... You know how Intuit's had their Firm of the Future blog, and they've been putting out a nice monthly update on QuickBooks Live? They put out a new update, and from what [00:12:30] I can tell, the only thing that's in this update is a link to another site. They've actually launched a true QuickBooks Live bookkeeper site.
Blake Oliver: Ooh!
David Leary: Advertising for people to earn more money, set your hours, and work remotely.
Blake Oliver: I'm looking at it right now. Yeah.
David Leary: It has an in-depth FAQ. It has a button to sign up.
Blake Oliver: Learn more, become a QuickBooks Live bookkeeper and help small businesses manage their books every month. Make extra money, make more of your time. It's like this is the recruiting site, if you want to be a QuickBooks [00:13:00] Live bookkeeper.
David Leary: It looks like it moved from ... Before, I think they just had a Google form maybe. They were just capturing people's interest for the last four months, but now there's an official site launched for people that are not familiar with this service or haven't been following the news yet. If they discover this now, they can learn more and apply.
Blake Oliver: There's a FAQ at the bottom, like you said, and I just popped open one of these questions: What specific tasks are part of this role? I'm reading this live right now. There's been a lot of questioning about what [00:13:30] exactly the scope of services will be for QuickBooks Live, so maybe this is an answer. It says, "Examples of some tasks include setting up their books and chart of accounts, perform monthly categorization, reconciliation, running reports, e.g. balance sheet and P&L statement, closing their books at end of the year, and general QuickBooks tasks." That sounds like pretty much full-service bookkeeping to me. But there's been some discussion, right? Like, question about exactly what it's going to be, right? Is it are they gonna categorize transactions, or are they just gonna [00:14:00] help you when you need help?
David Leary: Yeah, like help you create rules to categorize those transactions, or are they gonna- are you actually getting in their books and doing that for them?
Blake Oliver: We'll have to get more clarification, but if we just go based on this website, then it sounds to me like pretty much not just helping people live on camera; it sounds like doing some work outside of the actual appointments.
David Leary: Yeah. The FAQ question I found was really interesting - the answer for it - is how will I be paid?
Blake Oliver: Ooh!
David Leary: It says, "You will [00:14:30] be paid hourly. Pay is determined by regional location, interview, and years of experience."
Blake Oliver: That fits with what I was told at AICPA Engage when I went to the TurboTax Live booth. I guess maybe it wasn't a TurboTax Live, it was just an Intuit booth where they were recruiting people for both TurboTax Live and QuickBooks Live. That's exactly what the rep there told me. She said that it's hourly; it depends on what state you're in. She didn't mention years of experience, but she did mention qualifications - like, if you're a CPA or [00:15:00] an EA, it can change.
David Leary: What's your knowledge of the gig economy, right? If I'm an Uber driver, is that kinda no matter where I'm at in the country, am I going to get the same rate? How does that ...?
Blake Oliver: No. No, because it's a percentage of the fees, and the fees vary dramatically by the city you're in. Like, I could not believe how cheap Uber was in Houston versus L.A.
David Leary: Okay.
Blake Oliver: It was crazy to me. This is not scientific, but it felt like half the price. I [00:15:30] couldn't believe it. I was going across town for 10 bucks, and in L.A., that would have been a $20 or $30 trip. Maybe it was just the timing, but I would love to find out more about that. I feel like it would- it would have to be similar, right?
David Leary: Yeah. This kind of leads me down a path ... I'm sure Intuit will measure, and when you're done with that QuickBooks Live representative, or call, chat, video conference, whatever you want to call it, you're going to get that, "Hey. Do you want to rate them one star, two stars, three stars, four star, five star? Rate your experience." Does this lead [00:16:00] to that next thing, which is, "Do you want to give them a tip?" in the same way Uber and Lyft also do?
Blake Oliver: Oh, interesting. Huh. Wonder if they would think about doing that? We'll find out.
David Leary: I wonder if small businesses would do that. That would be interesting. So anyways, everybody should go to that site. It's, from what I can tell, brand new, and I haven't seen anybody talk about it yet, so hopefully maybe this- we're breaking that news possibly. We'll see.
Blake Oliver: Link is in the show notes along with- I'll put a screenshot in there, too. I was reading The Wall Street Journal, as I like to do to make myself seem really smart, David. I spotted an [00:16:30] article about a bigger business trend that maybe I think is directly related to cloud accounting in the end. You may have heard that two of our favorite apps went public this spring: Slack and Zoom. We are users of Slack at The Cloud Accounting Podcast, right? And I know that tons of our listeners use Slack in their firms and in their apps, if you're a developer.
David Leary: We use Zoom as well.
Blake Oliver: We use Zoom too, yeah, when we do video interviews. Really great to see both those apps go public and do really, really well. Slack [00:17:00] jumped something like 50 percent in its first day of trading in April. Zoom didn't have quite that immediate bump but is up something like three times over its IPO price since April. This reporter, Heather Somerville, in The Wall Street Journal, wrote an article calling out those two IPOs and a bunch of other ones: CrowdStrike Holdings, PagerDuty. Some acquisitions - Tableau Software acquired by Salesforce, and Google buying [00:17:30] Looker as examples of how business software, B2B software, is starting to gain a lot of enthusiasm in the investor community.
I felt this way for a long time that business software, and it could be very not sexy business software, like accounting software, for example, is the next great frontier for all these acquisitions and IPOs. It's really neat to see that collaboration tools like Slack and Zoom, which are very general-purpose, are doing well because I think maybe the next thing is these [00:18:00] niche applications going public and doing really, really well.
David Leary: That'll be interesting to watch, and you're probably correct, because I imagine the consumer rush of tech, right, social media, all those types of things, if you ... I think I saw some crazy stats now. Like, if you search for apps on the app stores, the top 80 of the 100 are basically four companies. You're right [crosstalk]
Blake Oliver: Facebook, Google.
David Leary: Amazon, Microsoft.
Blake Oliver: Amazon, Microsoft. Yeah.
David Leary: The [00:18:30] opportunity and the upside now is business-to-business software.
Blake Oliver: Yep. That's the new frontier. If you are an investor, and you are listening to us to try and find out what's the next great frontier, I'll tell you it's cloud accounting. It's back-office systems that have been ignored in favor of all these sales and marketing apps. Every sales team, every marketing team, you've got dozens and dozens of tools to choose from to manage your sales [00:19:00] and marketing efforts, right? Developers, and programmers, and engineers, they've got the most, because, of course, they develop their stuff to help themselves first, right?
But accounting, finance, you look at how many apps are available for small businesses, medium businesses, it's just like hardly anything by comparison. Even though cloud accounting has been going on for 10 years now, we are at ... This was something we talked about with the two Jamies of Hubdoc, right, at Xerocon. We [00:19:30] are still at the very beginning of this massive explosion in quality and quantity of back-office business software.
David Leary: Fully agree.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: So, speaking of trends that might be coming or not coming, have you heard about Libra from Facebook?
Blake Oliver: This is the Facebook cryptocurrency, right?
David Leary: Correct.
Blake Oliver: Other than that Facebook is getting into cryptocurrency, I don't know much else about it. I'm very skeptical about it. Maybe you can change my mind on that. I [00:20:00] don't know. What do you think?
David Leary: Yeah. I would argue ... Whatever, eight days ago, and I listened driving home from Xerocon, from San Diego to Tucson - it's about a seven-hour drive - and I listened to three podcasts on it. Basically, the news broke. For the first three or four days, Libra ... Facebook Libra's gonna change the world, it's so important. Then nobody's talked about it since. The best I can make it out is it sounds like it's more of a payments play, and [00:20:30] it's gonna let people really, as a medium for transferring money overseas ...
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: It's a payments play, and that's why I think people like PayPal are involved, because if PayPal is not involved, they're giving a chance for Facebook just to steal all that business. You'll have a 'Pay with Libra' button on your website, right? I think they're also going after that same space Veem's going after, that international money transfer game.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. The remittances world, right? That's the other word I hear used [00:21:00] for it. That makes so much sense, because with the entire world on Facebook pretty much, if you want to send money across borders, Facebook is the social network that crosses every border, it seems like. So, I don't know what-
David Leary: And I wish there was more on this.
Blake Oliver: Well, my question is why do they need to use blockchain for it, right? I guess it's so that they can have other partners on their payments platform, rather than just Facebook managing it. I still haven't heard anyone say why is it necessary for this to be a [00:21:30] cryptocurrency-
David Leary: And I think that's where I'm at on this, right? Even listening to interviews, you start to realize there's just lots of speculation on what this is still.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: Nobody really knows yet. It's kind of a paper was written and then everybody just started running with this.
Blake Oliver: Facebook has- despite all of their privacy issues, they still had their most profitable quarter ever, I think, in Q1, right? I'm skeptical of Libra just simply from the fact that I personally would not use it, because I don't want Facebook knowing that much about me. I [00:22:00] try to minimize the amount of stuff I put on Facebook these days from a personal standpoint, because I can't trust them to secure my data and not sell it to a firm like Cambridge Analytica, but maybe that's not an issue, and they'll be able to figure it out. I actually got a pop-up on Facebook recently which I tweeted out. They surveyed me, but it wasn't a typical NPS, Net Promoter Score survey, where you say, "How do you like Facebook from zero to 10?" It was, "Do you think ..." I'm paraphrasing. "Do [00:22:30] you think that Facebook has its users' best interests in mind?" or something like that [crosstalk]
David Leary: -I think I strongly agree, as well, with that.
Blake Oliver: I'm like, the fact that you as a company have to survey your users to find out if they trust you is a sign that something is deeply wrong.
David Leary: My view is they probably know the answer. They don't even need to survey you. They probably have the data enough to know whether you believe that or not, just based on your patterns, and behaviors.
Blake Oliver: I was about to answer no, and then I stopped myself and I'm like, I [00:23:00] don't know if I want them to know that I don't trust them, because what might they do with that?
David Leary: Right.
Blake Oliver: Like, if they're gonna punish any of their users, it will probably the ones that don't trust them, right?
David Leary: You're just gonna get a bunch of invites to these silly games and that's it. That's all you'll ever see on your Facebook feed.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, so I don't even trust Facebook enough to tell them the honest answer to their survey question, you know?
David Leary: I don't know. What's your take? Should people, our listeners, accountants, and bookkeepers, should they be like, "Hey, I've got to pay attention to Libra," or should they just wait 'til it actually shows up on market then pay attention to it?
Blake Oliver: Yeah, [00:23:30] I wouldn't bother worrying about it. But I mean, if it does show up, I guarantee you you'll have customers starting to pay with it. We've got to figure out how do we record all those transactions. That'll be actually a nightmare for bookkeepers and accountants, because we still don't have guidance from the IRS as to how exactly to track all of these transactions. The IRS views cryptocurrency as an asset, not a currency, so you have to track all the gains and losses. Of course, if it does get popular, it's gonna just stimulate [00:24:00] this app economy around tracking the gains and losses from cryptocurrency, which I think we've covered one of them that does that in the past, where you can just import your wallet, and then it gives you all those numbers and it's like-
David Leary: What makes this different, I think, than other currencies ... I'm gonna use the word 'currency' broadly. If I put money in my Starbucks card, and it's in my Starbucks app, that's my Starbucks currency. I [00:24:30] can do the same with Amazon, right? I can add credits to my Amazon account. I think what the difference is, the theory with Libra is once I have that in my account, I could use that to pay for things, but I can also use it to transfer to other individuals in the Facebook universe.
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: That's where I think it can be ... If I, at Amazon, have gift card points or whatever you want to call them, Facebook- sorry, Amazon bucks, I can't use those to give them to you. I've got to put new cash in if I want to issue you a gift card. Maybe that's the big difference between [00:25:00] everybody else's ... Amazon has coins, right? My Starbucks bucks; but I can't give those to other people.
Blake Oliver: I know that in parts of Africa, where they don't really have banking systems, the way they transfer money is often with phone cards, prepaid phone cards.
David Leary: Yes.
Blake Oliver: You can load them up, and transfer the money, and stuff like that. The difference between this is this is more than that, because there's a cryptocurrency behind it, so theoretically, if Facebook went down ... Well, I actually don't know how that would work, because it's [00:25:30] not a public blockchain, but, theoretically, it would be able to survive even if the network wasn't up, because it's its own network? I don't know. We're all speculating. We have no idea.
David Leary: That's correct. None of us know [crosstalk]
Blake Oliver: Until we hear more, I'm not really going to pay much attention.
David Leary: Yes. What else do you have?
Blake Oliver: So, I mentioned Zoom earlier, and their crazy valuation, or their crazy stock price going up three times over their IPO price. I have a survey that has to do about video-conferencing [00:26:00] from one of my favorite publications that has these crazy surveys, CPA Trendlines. The survey was asking firms, "How many of you use videoconferencing?" The answer was, unfortunately, 47 percent, less than half of firms are using video-conferencing right now.
David Leary: I'm gonna tie this back to QuickBooks Live and TurboTax Live, right? I think a lot of small businesses want this. They want- or even consumers, they want to have a video conference-
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah. [00:26:30]
David Leary: -with their doctor, right? Plus, consumers and small businesses want this technology. They're demanding it from companies like Intuit, and accounting firms are not even offering video-conferencing, not even for their own staff.
Blake Oliver: They're not even giving people this option. You can either call your accountant on the phone, or you can go into the office. This was one of the big differentiators with my firm was you didn't have to meet me in-person. We could chat on Zoom, and my customers loved it. They absolutely loved it, because ... Even if they were [00:27:00] local, they would meet with me one time in L.A., locally, and then the rest of the time, we would just video chat because it was too much of a hassle to go across town because it would take an hour.
The title of the survey is "Nearly Half of Firms Use Video-conferencing," but if this is a glass half-full or half-empty thing, I'm on the half-empty side, because it's crazy that you're not using video-conferencing when it is such a mature product right now, like Zoom, for instance. The firms are using old stuff, like, [00:27:30] Microsoft Skype is 28 percent of those who do use video chat. GoToMeeting, six percent. Lifesize? I don't even know what Lifesize is, got three percent. Zoom isn't even on the list, and Zoom is the best video-conferencing available for small businesses, as far as I can tell. Long way to go, right? And like you said, the reason that QuickBooks Live, the reason Intuit and Rich Preece are doing QuickBooks Live is because of customer demand, because they want this, and accountants aren't giving it to them.
David Leary: Yeah, and the headline's bad because the headline's very optimistic. Like, nearly half are using video-conferencing, and it [00:28:00] really should be over 60 percent fail at using video-conferencing.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, it's kind of shocking to see that. Oh, okay. So, there's another chart also on CPA Trendlines, which lists out in more detail the apps that people are using. GoToMeeting is there. It's at 17- GoToMeeting's at 18 percent here; 18 percent of firms are using GoToMeeting, but I think that maybe they're not using it with their clients. They're using it internally; otherwise, the numbers would be higher on [00:28:30] the other chart. They're not quite adding up for me.
David Leary: Maybe they're using it- GoToWebinar and they're doing webinars with it, and they're just ... It just gets lumped together because nobody knows when to [stream] the other product.
Blake Oliver: So 17 percent are using Skype. Six percent are using Zoom. Cisco WebEx, five percent. JoinMe, two percent. Google Hangouts, one percent. A long way to go. Probably QuickBooks Live will hopefully drive more firms to start using video chat, but [00:29:00] if you are using it and you're listening, you are ahead of half of the firms in this country.
David Leary: And if you are using it, and you're building out your pricing page, it's probably wise to list that as one of the benefits of the services you provide.
Blake Oliver: Yes, video chat. Yeah, exactly ... Actually, if you've been doing it for a while, you might not even think of that as a differentiator, but it's a huge differentiator. Great point, David.
David Leary: There you go.
Blake Oliver: That's awesome.
David Leary: There's the benefit for today. Your tip to take away.
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Blake Oliver: I got some more tech stories if you want.
David Leary: Yeah, yeah. Jump in.
Blake Oliver: We are big fans of Gene Marks here at the podcast, and he occasionally does a series on Accounting Today and some other publications called "Ten Tech Stories You May Have Missed." This [00:30:30] is from June 17th in Accounting Today. I like number 10, which I wanted to call out. It is Google launches CallJoy. Google has introduced an app called CallJoy, a virtual customer service phone agent, and it's targeted directly at small businesses.
Gene says, "Why is this important for your firm and your clients? You get calls, you provide service, your customers or clients need answers, CallJoy is supposed to help you do all of this in a very affordable manner. Something like $39 a month total. The system will offer a low-cost customer service agent to block spam calls and [00:31:00] provide basic business information about your company. It will also redirect calls based on customer requests, like appointment booking using text messaging, too. CallJoy will also transcribe and record calls, as well as storing them so you can search later.”
I called this out, David, because you actually predicted this. We weren't aware of this, when we were talking about Google Duplex, that voice AI bot that Google developed that can do outbound calls to make appointments on behalf of business owners, or just individuals. You said, "Hey, they're gonna use this [00:31:30] technology for businesses, too." You actually said- I remember, you said, "Why can't I ... I want to use this technology to answer the phone, right? To take the appointments."
David Leary: Yeah.
Blake Oliver: That's what this seems to be.
David Leary: It's interesting, because this ... If you go to CallJoy's website, it's not Google. I mean, it's not branded by Google, so did Google make an acquisition here?
Blake Oliver: Oh, it's an incubator. So, Google is incubating CallJoy.
David Leary: Okay, got it, got it. So, they have an investment in it, and they're growing it.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: Okay, okay. So, yeah. What's the [00:32:00] price on this?
Blake Oliver: Gene's story said it starts at 39 bucks a month. 39 bucks a month, per location, that's it. You get a phone number with a local area code, unlimited call recording and transcripts, a voice agent. It's an AI voice agent that will answer the phone and provide basic business information. It's like having sort of an AI receptionist, and I could ... I would absolutely give this a try, if I were in practice, because it's so much better than people just having to leave a voicemail, if they can ask the [00:32:30] assistant for information that you've programmed into it to give standard responses. Really cool.
David Leary: Yeah. This'd be more interesting if it was tied more into chat, because if I have CallJoy, and I have some customers coming through there, but maybe on my website, I have a chat product that ties back to my CRM, or my chat product is Intercom, then it is my CRM, to some extent I'm not going to see a full picture of my communications with my customers. It will be interesting to see where this goes next.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. Well, the thing that I like is the text-back functionality. Using [00:33:00] CallJoy, when they call in, the AI answers; you can direct callers to place orders or schedule appointments online, via instant SMS text message. This is like when I was searching for the apartment. Remember I told you that story about how I called, and nobody answered, but it said, "Hey, if you want to book an appointment, it's best if we do it via SMS. If you want to do that press 1." I did, and they sent me a text message, and I booked the appointment that way, which was way better than waiting for somebody to call me back. I [00:33:30] think that's what this is.
David Leary: The other thing that's really interesting to me is this looks like it's off-the-shelf usable.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: Like, a small business owner or one of our listeners could sign up for this, configure it themselves, and there's not that big overhead of where you have this account executive who's gonna call you up, they need to pull levers and tweak this for you. It looks like it's truly a real SaaS app, where you just sign up for your trial and set it up yourself.
Blake Oliver: For 39 bucks a month, it has to be, right? I'm so excited, because this is real AI in use helping business [00:34:00] owners. Pretty slick.
David Leary: We should [crosstalk].
Blake Oliver: We should try it for the podcast. Let's sign up- let's create an account, and people can call in and leave voice messages or something. You know how they do that on Marketplace, right?
David Leary: Oh, yeah. People can ask a question and then we can ...
Blake Oliver: Yeah, or if you spot a story, they could ask a question, or if they spot a story, they could share their story. I think it would be fun.
David Leary: Yeah. We'll have to give this a try. It's [00:34:30] an interesting tool I think accounting firms and small businesses could use. CallJoy.com. What do I have? I have something I think that's actually cool for small businesses and accountants and us, as personal people, as well.
Blake Oliver: Sure.
David Leary: Obviously, there's Google Drive, there's Dropbox, there's all these services, right? Microsoft has OneDrive. And I actually like OneDrive a lot. It's really deeply seamlessly integrated into Windows, which is great. My understanding is all the Microsoft stuff, [00:35:00] and if you have Mac as well, no matter what device you pick up, all the Microsoft Office 365 stuff is really seamless - device to device to device.
They're launching something called Personal Vault, and it's kind of an added layer of security. You'd have a folder that's extra-encrypted; not only that, it's gonna- you can put extra two-factor authentication just on that folder. Many times, you have to take a photo of your driver's license or your passport or you have some ... With all that two-factor authentication, they give you those 10 other codes you [cross talk] store somewhere. What [00:35:30] are you supposed to do with this? You download this text file ...
This could give you a place to put those in. It's a place that's super-secure, but you don't need it unlocked all the time. You only need it unlocked once a month or when you actually need to go access it. This is something that's rolling out. I tried to sign up, but I couldn't figure it out. It's because it's launching in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, as we speak right now, and then other regions by the year end.
Blake Oliver: Nice. Well, it's great to see them [00:36:00] trying to solve this problem of needing to have some more information in a more secured way, rather than just having everything synced to your desktop.
David Leary: Yeah, and then when it does sync down to your desktop, it's gonna be stored in the BitLocker, as well. So, it's completely- it's almost like a siloed-out, highly-secure subdrive in your OneDrive.
Blake Oliver: Speaking of Windows, we've covered some security issues that Windows has had recently, mostly security gaps found in Windows 7 and Windows 8, right? Now, [00:36:30] Windows 10 has an issue going on with it. There's a flaw in an app called PC Doctor Toolbox. It's a systems-analysis software which is re-badged and pre-installed on PCs made by some the world's biggest computer retailers including Dell, Alienware, Staples, Corsair.
So, if you have a computer from Dell, for instance, you should probably check and see if you have this app on it, because you might want to uninstall it. This is a perfect example of what [00:37:00] we would negatively call bloatware. It's a tool that allows them to service your PC, but also apparently has a gap, a security breach in it. The hackers have figured out how to insert malicious code into this toolbox, and then they can access your PC remotely. So, if you have a Dell computer, you got to take a look at that. Make sure that you are updated.
David Leary: It sounds like Dell put themselves at risk by not vetting out some app they're installing on PCs as they go out the door.
Well, yeah. This is the problem with the [00:37:30] way that the whole Windows ecosystem works, which is like you have the Windows, the OEM Windows that Microsoft makes, which they are able to secure most of the time, but then you've got all these PC manufacturers that are adding on stuff after the fact. That's the stuff that is less secure, because they're not doing as good a job as Microsoft. The author of this article in Forbes, his name's Gordon Kelly, says best practice is whenever you buy soft- whenever you buy a computer from Dell or any of these PC [00:38:00] makers, always get it without the bloatware, or if it does come with that is immediately reformat your hard drive and install Windows fresh, and that way [cross talk]
David Leary: Yeah, I've always been a 'install the OS fresh' kind of a guy.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: In other news, I came across two podcasts that are interesting to listen to. One came in via tweet actually, Ian Cook on Twitter.
Blake Oliver: Ian Crook.
David Leary: Ian M. Crook. I-A-N-M-C-R-O-O-K. He came across a podcast called Reply All from Gimlet Media, [00:38:30] and essentially, it is a really highly-produced summary of all the TurboTax Live news that was out for the last six, seven, eight weeks that Blake and I've talked about ad nauseum, here, but it's kind of a dramatic listen to hear it all at once in a very logical flow, so it's worth listening to. The other podcast I heard was-
Blake Oliver: Well, that's great, because, David, we have a lot of new listeners I know that just discovered the show because of the conferences we were at. If you want to catch up on all this, hear us [00:39:00] talking about TurboTax Live, and QuickBooks Live, and all that stuff ... Well, no, this is about TurboTax Free File not Live, right?
David Leary: It's Free File. My bad. It's TurboTax Free File.
Blake Oliver: If you've heard us talking about TurboTax Free File and you're like, "What is going on with this?" check this episode out of Reply All, because it's got everything.
David Leary: The other one I listened to is Planet Money, and it came out this week. Essentially, the reporter, this is an experience she actually had, she mistyped somebody's name on Venmo and sent money to somebody.
Blake Oliver: So [00:39:30] wrong username on Venmo. Instead of sending money to Stefan with an F, she sent it to Stephen with a P-H.
David Leary: Correct.
Blake Oliver: Or Steven with a V? I don't remember. Whatever.
David Leary: So, it was a typo, right? And then that guy who got the money and said, "Hey, I don't think this was for me." She asked for it back. He said, "Ah, go contact Venmo." He didn't want to give it back right away. It kind of takes you through that journey of how payments work, how refunds work, how merchants have charge-backs and how that works in that system. It's a [00:40:00] good little listen to just gain some knowledge in that space.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. You've got to be really careful with these new payment services like Venmo, where it's not like a credit card. You don't have that protection. Basically, to kind of summarize this whole thing is the woman who sent the $1,500 to the wrong person, Venmo refused to help. She was not able get her money back through them. She had to do it through her bank by blocking the ACH from Venmo from her bank. Then [00:40:30] finally Venmo canceled it. There's a reason that people like credit cards, because they've got that protection of those charge backs. This is also a problem with cryptocurrency, right? If you send money to the wrong person with Bitcoin or probably Facebook Libra, too, you're not getting it back. There's no reverse button. I think for any of those services to become really mainstream, that's got to exist.
David Leary: Yeah.
Blake Oliver: Otherwise, as a consumer, why would I use it? I don't have that protection. Those two episodes that David highlighted, the first one is Gimlet's Reply All. Reply All is [00:41:00] the name of the podcast. It's episode 144 called "Dark Pattern." That's about TurboTax Live and all the issues Intuit has had with that. Then the Planet Money episode, it's 922, "The Cost of Getting Your Money Back." That's the title. Check those out. Great podcasts to subscribe to in addition to The Cloud Accounting Podcast.
David Leary: 922 episodes. That's impressive, Planet Money.
Blake Oliver: They do episodes every day, I think, on Planet Money.
David Leary: Pretty quick. That's true. That's true.
Blake Oliver: We'll get there someday, David. We're working on [00:41:30] it.
David Leary: If you get the editing done of all these interviews you're promising.
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah. I know. I know. I got homework to do. So, I got a few more stories before we get to ... You've got a bunch of small app updates, right?
David Leary: Yeah, I got a rapid app update I can run through, but let's jump through some of yours.
Blake Oliver: We'll finish up. I got a few more stories from conference season. While we were at Xerocon, the IMA, the Institute of Management Accountants, was having their conference in San Diego, as well, at a different hotel. The IMA was celebrating its one hundredth year. The [00:42:00] IMA issues the CMA - Certified Management Accountant - certification, and there were some stats announced at their event that I thought are worth drawing attention to, given that we have recently discussed the value of the CPA license, comparing that to the CMA.
The CMA is growing pretty fast. In fiscal year 2019, the IMA had more than 100,000 CMA exam registrations, and their total number of CMA candidates is [00:42:30] over- the new total number of CMA candidates is over 82,000. That represents year-over-year growth of 32 percent. This year, they have more than 10,000 CMAs awarded, which represents year-over-year growth of 70 percent, which stands in pretty stark contrast to the CPA numbers, which have pretty much just stayed the same for the last 10 years or so. Putting some numbers behind that debate as to which is the certification you want to go for, and of course, if you really want to be a [00:43:00] bad ass, you gotta get both. So, that's the news in the world of CMA.
There's also a story in Accounting Today called "The State of Bookkeeping in 2019." This is a survey that Accounting Today did this year. It's their very first annual state of bookkeeping survey. Pretty cool, they're finally- we're finally talking about bookkeeping as its own thing and not just a sub-product of the accounting profession. Nice to see that progress being made. as somebody who started [00:43:30] out as a bookkeeper and kind of lives in that world of tech.
David Leary: Makes sense.
Blake Oliver: Accounting Today surveyed 709 accountants. 74 percent of them reported offering bookkeeping - a pretty big survey sample size. There's a lot of stats in this article. I recommend you check it out, it'll be in the show notes. The stat at the very end was the most interesting to me, the one I want to call out, and it's titled "The Geographic Reach of Bookkeeping Practices." This is where these [00:44:00] firms are offering bookkeeping.
42 percent are only offering bookkeeping at a local level. 14 percent go statewide. 17 percent go regional. 19 percent national, and eight percent have clients that are in another country. So, the 42 percent local, that actually - I hadn't thought about it until now - ties back to, I think, pretty well, to that number of firms that are using video chat or not. Half of firms use video chat; half of firms don't use it. I'm going [00:44:30] to guess that the half of firms that don't use it are also only serving local clients.
David Leary: That makes sense.
Blake Oliver: Right? Which is 42 percent. Video-conferencing is one of those tools, along with all the other stuff, cloud accounting and cloud storage, that allow you to serve clients anywhere in the country, anywhere in the world, potentially. That's a big reason to go for it is that you're no longer limited to your local market in order to provide bookkeeping/accounting/tax services.
That was one of the cool things about working [00:45:00] with HPC, which is now APRIA, that was my firm. I was with HPC. We had clients all over the country, all over the world. We had a map of all of our hundreds of clients, and it was really, really fun to see. There were a lot, of course, concentrated in North America, South America, but then we had people everywhere - in China, in Africa, even, in Europe. It was really neat. That was all because of the video chat we did.
David Leary: You used the technology to enable you to [00:45:30] take clients anywhere.
Blake Oliver: It didn't matter.
David Leary: The one thing that- the number I thought was interesting, or the chart, was the average number of bookkeeping clients - 23 percent had one to five clients, which, to me, seems insanely low. How are you keeping the doors open with numbers that low, right? Then, over on the ... So, I see this and I'm like, "Oh, there's a bunch of people that need clients.".
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: Because, I think the other answer ahead of that was one of the problems they have, 32 percent of them are saying finding new clients. This [00:46:00] is again, this QuickBooks Live, playing that match. Giving these people that have the additional capacity ... Because, if you have five clients, you might have some additional capacity, I'm guessing. They probably also have that problem of "I'm not finding clients.".
Blake Oliver: Yep.
David Leary: Jumping in on QuickBooks Live could help them take on ... Temporary's not the right word, but taking on- what would you call those? Are these gonna be QuickBooks Live engagements?
Blake Oliver: Well, the client is [00:46:30] owned by Intuit.
David Leary: Intuit, yeah.
Blake Oliver: So, you are, as the bookkeeper, or as the QuickBooks Live bookkeeper, part of a pod. I'm gonna use that term, right? A pod or a team that serves these clients. Intuit is the firm, if you ask me, in this situation, because they are controlling the relationship, and they are owning the billing, and they are deciding what group you belong to, right? As much as Intuit - I think Rich would disagree if he were on the show right now ... To me, it's Intuit- [00:47:00] QuickBooks Live is the firm.
David Leary: Got it. You're really just picking up work. I'd have five clients, but because I only have five clients, I have elbow room, so I'm gonna spend 20 hours a week doing QuickBooks Live to supplement my income. Then those small businesses will get some service. No, that's good.
Blake Oliver: All right, we were just talking about how finding new clients is a challenge, right? Not only is it hard to find clients, it's also hard to find staff. There was a survey cited in CPA Practice Advisor. The headline of this [00:47:30] story is "Finding and Hiring Quality Staff is A Top Challenge In 2019." It's based on a Paychex Pulse of HR Survey that's in its third year. There's one stat in particular that just struck me. This is a survey of HR professionals, by the way. Last year, 59 percent of HR leaders said it's difficult to find ... It's probably difficult to fire them, too, but it's also difficult to find and hire quality candidates. 57 percent said that last year. More than two-thirds said [00:48:00] that this year. That is a huge jump, going from 59 percent to over 67 percent, right?
David Leary: This is not just in the accounting profession. This is just in [cross talk] in general.
Blake Oliver: It's just everywhere. Everywhere.
David Leary: Got it.
Blake Oliver: In general, we are in the middle of a dramatic shift in this country, where boomers are retiring. There are not enough Gen X-ers and Millennials to take their jobs, especially in highly-skilled professions. There simply aren't, right? We don't have enough CPAs; we don't have enough accountants; we don't have enough bookkeepers. [00:48:30] That's another argument that Rich made in that interview, which everyone should go listen to that David did, which is that, look, there aren't enough bookkeepers and accountants to service all of these people. That's why one reason Intuit is creating their own bookkeeping service to go with QuickBooks.
David Leary: Yeah. We're probably gonna see more and more different people trying to solve this in different ways, across the board ... Some of it's gonna be AI; some of it's gonna be outsourcing; some of it new business models, software, things we [00:49:00] haven't even thought of. But something's going to have to give because the labor market is just too tight.
Blake Oliver: Well, and what Rich said, I don't know if he said this in your interview with him, but he has said this previously, is that he expects the source of QuickBooks Live bookkeepers to not actually be people working full-time for Intuit. It is going to be people who are underemployed right now, who are looking for part-time work who have the skills to do the work, but for whatever reason are not full-time- interested in full-time work. They're [00:49:30] not looking to work in an accounting firm, they're just looking to pick up 10 to 20 hours of work a week. That is one way to increase the supply of bookkeepers in a way that it doesn't steal from other firms necessarily, because Intuit has the technology that allows these people just to jump in and work when they want to, like Uber or Lyft, right? It's not like-
David Leary: It's just giving people more options, because if I'm an accountant or a bookkeeper five days a week at a firm, and I want to make- hey, I want to make some extra money in the evenings.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. Or [00:50:00] what's more likely ...
David Leary: I could drive for Uber, or I could actually use my bookkeeping skills and do something like QuickBooks Live.
Blake Oliver: Right, or what's more likely is, let's say you're ... I don't know, you were an accounting major who worked in a firm, and then you stopped working to have kids. You don't want to go work at that firm, because you're like, "I don't want to work 60 hours a week," but you have the skill- you want to do some work on the side. You could sign up for QuickBooks Live and have a very easy situation, not having to commute. Your kids are [00:50:30] at school. Log in, do some bookkeeping on your time. Those are the kind of people that are going to be brought back into the workplace, perhaps.
David Leary: That makes sense. Which will help that crunch a little bit. Should we jump into some quick app news?
Blake Oliver: Yeah, let's just do the rundown. What's new in updates and all that good stuff?
David Leary: Pilot, which we've talked about, they're, again, in that same model, right? It's an accounting firm with technology in a similar vein of BotKeepers, and Skill Factors, and QuickBooks Live - that future model.
Blake Oliver: So bookkeeping plus software, or accounting [00:51:00] plus software.
David Leary: Yeah, and I think actually Pilot's even doing tax, as well. They announced they're gonna hire 450 people in Nashville.
Blake Oliver: Oh, cool! I love Nashville. I got to go there last year.
David Leary: Yeah, it's one of my favorite cities for food, as well. It just shows ... They wouldn't be adding 450 jobs, if they weren't seeing some sort of demand on their side. It's really speaking to this is what consumers want. They want this books and tax for one- some monthly price, et cetera. That was news. Plaid, we've talked about Plaid before, a [00:51:30] lot of ... It's bank feeds, right? A lot of people are using Plaid. They don't know they're using Plaid.
Blake Oliver: They aggregate feeds from banks and then resell those to apps, right?
David Leary: Right. You're in an app and it's like, "Hey, add your bank," and you click a button and then it has Bank of America; you put in your username and password and then it pulls that data in, right?
Blake Oliver: Yep.
David Leary: They're gonna do that, but they're- we talked about them recently, because they just had another big round, and they have a $2.65 billion valuation. One of their founders is leaving.
Blake Oliver: Oh!
David Leary: That's interesting [00:52:00] news, if you're interested in that, to read up on that.
Blake Oliver: Well, you know, that's not terribly surprising. As I've been more in the world of start-ups, I know that, as a company grows, the people who originally founded it, sometimes they're not the best fit to lead it when they get really big. Which makes sense, right? If you're really good at leading a 25-person company, are you necessarily- do you necessarily have the skills to lead a 250-person or a 2,000-person company?
David Leary: Yeah. Because he's more the technical founder. He'll still be on the board; he's still going to advise, et cetera. [00:52:30] Skubana ... So, Skubana, probably people have never heard of, but do you remember a few years back when QuickBooks ran a Super Bowl commercial for a small business, a couple of years ago?
Blake Oliver: Yeah, they won it, right? It was a contest and you could win the ad?
David Leary: Yeah, it was Death Wish Coffee.
Blake Oliver: Yes.
David Leary: Death Wish Coffee, e-commerce seller of coffee, overnight had to deal with- they went from a teeny coffee place to a major e-commerce reseller. One of the apps that early on they started to adopt, and use was this [00:53:00] app called Skubana. They've kind of been flopping around, and they've been around, but they just raised $5.4 million to really take that app to the next level, as well. It's just interesting news that was out there.
Blake Oliver: So, wait, what does Skubana do? I'm trying to figure it out. It's e-commerce operations software. So, what? Like shipping out packages, and inventory, and stuff?
David Leary: As you grow, e-commerce becomes this nine-headed monster. Eventually, you get to the point where you cannot manage all the e-commerce [00:53:30] systems, and data, and the stores that you're listed on. Skubana tries to bring all that into one hub, if you think about it that way.
Blake Oliver: Oh. Got it. Yep.
David Leary: Their expertise and the founders' expertise is the e-commerce space. It was really created out of- it wasn't really software guys that are like, "Hey, we should build something for e-commerce." It's e-commerce guys that are suffering the pain created Skubana [cross talk] in the other direction.
Blake Oliver: Cool. Got it.
David Leary: Thomson Reuters is now going to acquire audit software Confirmation. [00:54:00]
Blake Oliver: So that's Confirmation.com, right? I feel like I've heard about them in the past.
David Leary: They're a SaaS-based startup. They're fairly a newer app, and Confirmation though, I think had ... They're an older company, but I think they had a SaaS app.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. They do audit confirmations. I'm an auditor, and I need to do bank confirmations to find out, "Hey, did these transactions really happen?" Normally, [00:54:30] I would type out a letter, send it to the bank and wait until I got a response, but this is an online way to do those confirmations, to say, "Hey, did this wire really happen?" Then the bank gets back and says, "Yes."
David Leary: Yeah.
Blake Oliver: Cool. They're doing all sorts stuff - legal confirmations, accounts receivable, payable confirmations, employee benefit planning confirmations. Wait, so what's the ... Oh, so Thomson Reuters acquired them. That's the news. Got it.
David Leary: That's the news, yep. Fluidly, which is another cash forecasting type app, they're out of the UK. They just received [00:55:00] 5 million in funding from a competition.
Blake Oliver: £5 million, right?
David Leary: Pounds, sorry.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: From the RBS, which is Royal Bank of Scotland, correct?
Blake Oliver: Yes.
David Leary: To unlock ... "Funding to unlock AI for small businesses."
Blake Oliver: Oh, right. Another AI start-up.
David Leary: Only thing I thought was kind of interesting in this article is that they plan to have 400,000 small businesses on this in 2020.
Blake Oliver: That's a little ambitious.
David Leary: I think it's very, very ambitious. I'm sorry, by [00:55:30] September 2022.
Blake Oliver: Oh, okay. Still ambitious.
David Leary: It's super-ambitious, because you really ... If you think about somebody like Xero, who's been in the US marketplace now for, what, eight years? Nine years? They're at about 200,000, right? For an app that adds onto accounting systems, 400,000 is a gigantic number. If they have 40,000 by 2022, I think they'll be popping champagne. I just thought that was a very, very hugely aggressive number.
Blake Oliver: If you want to raise money, you got to add a few zeros to that number, right?
David Leary: Yeah. We'll [00:56:00] see where this goes. It's a cash flow forecasting app. Hopefully, they're using it for themselves and tracking that 400,000 future users. Two more quick ones. Acumatica, which is a cloud-based ERP system; we've talked about this a lot, right? This enterprise-level ERP systems. They got purchased by a private equity firm, and the focus is really to go big and go after Oracle and Microsoft-
Blake Oliver: That's good. Yeah.
David Leary: in the big end game on the ERP side. Then FreshBooks has [00:56:30] added retainers to help recurring revenue. Lawyers could use this. If you're an accountant and you're billing monthly, you could use this to handle those fees.
Blake Oliver: This is great, because when I just started out bookkeeping, freelancing, just me, I was using FreshBooks. I used it because they had that integrated time tracking and invoicing, and that's what I really needed. One of the problems I had was I would collect retainers from my clients sometimes, but then I would not have really a good way to track when I had used them up. A lot of times [00:57:00] I would go over on my billings, before I had used up the retainer, and then I'd have- I'd be behind, right? I would be owed money, which I didn't want. I'm not sure exactly how this works, but I feel like because it is automated, the idea is you can set a particular retainer amount, and then when you use it up, it just automatically bills the client for the next retainer. That's super-cool.
David Leary: It's interesting, because FreshBooks historically has been really, "Hey, I tracked my time and I'm gonna bill for it. Track my time; I'm gonna bill for it."
Blake Oliver: Right, right. Yeah.
David Leary: I mean, that's FreshBooks' sweet [00:57:30] spot of customer base. I'm sure they've probably had a ... I imagine this is a feature that their customer base has probably wanted for a long time. Like, "Hey, I'm gonna provide this service for somebody quarterly or monthly, and I just want to put them on a retainer." It sounds like it's a good fit for the FreshBooks base.
Blake Oliver: That's it. That's all we got this week, right?
David Leary: Yeah, that's it. Next week's a holiday week. We'll still record a show, but I expect the news It may be a nice short and sweet week of not a lot of volume.
Blake Oliver: As always, you can follow me on Twitter; [00:58:00] I'm @BlakeTOliver. How about you, David?
David Leary: I'm @DavidLeary.
Blake Oliver: If you like what you hear, do us a favor and write a review on iTunes. Not only does it help The Cloud Accounting Podcast get out to all the accountants that need to be hearing the show, we will read your review on the show.
David Leary: You get to be famous.
Blake Oliver: And with that, David, I guess I'll see you next week.
David Leary: Later everybody. Bye.
Blake Oliver: Happy Fourth of July.
David Leary: You too.
Blake Oliver: Bye.
David Leary: Bye.