Why Amazon — and accounting firms — have no choice but to retrain their workers

This week, Blake and David explore how the forces of low unemployment, outsourcing, and automation work to balance each other out in a time of rapid change. Amazon, a pioneer in automation, apparently thinks it will still need humans, at least in the near future. The tech giant has announced a massive effort to retrain a third of its 300,000 employees in the United States by 2025. Meanwhile, Robinhood moved a bit too fast, Bill.com's international payments is growing rapidly, MindBridge Ai and Kabbage secured new funding, Monopoly goes cashless, and more.

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Closing the books is a manual, error-prone, and time-consuming process. In fact, 82 percent of accountants find the month-end close to be a negative experience, 78 percent report having to reopen the books, and three out of four say they're not confident in their close. Meanwhile, management wants numbers faster than ever, and investor scrutiny on financial reports has only increased. There has to be a better way than email, Excel checklists, and endless status update meetings.
 
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Blake Oliver: Welcome to the Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver.
 
David Leary: I'm David Leary.
 
Blake Oliver: Did you hear about Amazon and their new [00:01:00] experiment retraining their workforce force?
 
David Leary: Did not hear about this.
 
Blake Oliver: I mean, I'm a big Amazon fan. I get Amazon boxes every day. Of course, I love automation and technology, and I just think they're one of the coolest companies in the world. Amazon is going to be spending $700 million to retrain about a third of their American workers to do more high-tech tasks. This was in an announcement that happened this past week. They're going to retrain 100,000, or they're aiming to retrain 100,000 workers by [00:01:30] 2025, and they have 300,000 employees in the US, so that's a lot of people.
 
David Leary: The reasoning on this is they need to grow, and they can't hire another hundred thousand people? It just makes more sense to get everybody working highly efficiently, or ...?
 
Blake Oliver: That's the really big question, right? Of course, the reasoning, or the number-one reason I think of is, you know, Amazon is on the forefront of automation. If you've seen any the pictures of their warehouses or the videos of how they work, they [00:02:00] are super-automated. They're some of the most automated warehouses in the world with robots bringing packages. There's still humans packing the packages, but they have a lot of robotic assistance.
 
If Amazon continues this trend, if they manage to automate, fully automate these warehouses, right, that's a lot of workers that are going to be out of work, and so they need to upskill their workers, to use a popular term these days. The program's goal, it's not going to be to turn these warehouse pickers into software [00:02:30] engineers; the program is aiming to move these workers who are picking items and putting them in boxes, move them up one or two rungs on the skills ladder and turn those floor workers into IT technicians or low-level coders; get them able to maintain these robots.
 
David Leary: Got it. So, it's similar to our space, right? A typical bookkeeper who, historically, has just done data entry doesn't need to become a CFO and do advising, but [00:03:00] they need to know ... I need to be a Cloud accountant, and I also need to know a bunch of apps. I need to know how to connect the pipes. I need to know how to troubleshoot if a connection between two apps doesn't work, kind of changing that skill, as a level up.
 
Blake Oliver: Yes, you nailed it. That's why you and I laugh a lot of times about when we ... There's all this talk about moving to advisory, right? And there's people out there telling bookkeepers they need to become advisors, and I feel like that's ridiculous. It's the same thing as telling a warehouse worker [00:03:30] that they need to become, I don't know, a logistics COO, right?
 
David Leary: Yeah.
 
Blake Oliver: It's not realistic. It's not going to happen. So, yeah, this is kind of cool. The only thing, the cynic in me though ... By the way, I'm reading from an article in The New York Times called "Amazon's Latest Experiment: Retraining Its Workforce." The thing is, at the end of the article, a guy named Mark Muro, who's a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, is quoted. He [00:04:00] recently wrote a report on automation and the workforce. 
 
He said that increased training would, like higher wages, benefit workers, but he cautioned that there's no guarantee these policies would actually last. He said that, if Amazon did, in fact, expect large job cuts in the future due to automation, offering training now would be a very savvy public relations move. The cynical take is that Amazon is saying we're going to retrain 100,000 workers [00:04:30] when they really have no expectation that this is actually possible; they're just really going to end up automating the jobs, but they'll at least have tried to retrain the workers.
 
David Leary: You're arguing it's the press; they're getting the headline?
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
 
David Leary: Because, if they lay off 100,000 people and they say, "Hey, but don't worry, we're going to retrain some of you," it's better just to lead now with the clean, "We're going to retrain 100,000 people," and there's no negativity. So, three years later, if they lay off 20,000, 20,000, 20,000, 20,000 ...
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, exactly. If you're a big [00:05:00] accounting firm and you're also on this automation trend, then get ahead of it, right? Say, "We're going to retrain all of our staff accountants," and then, when you do ultimately lay them all off because you don't need them anymore, then you don't get that bad press.
 
David Leary: Great. Next week we're going to have five articles all with the same headline. Perfect. You've set up the poor expectation on that.
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
 
David Leary: Oh, man.
 
Blake Oliver: I've got more on this. The reason I- 
 
David Leary: Oh, really?
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah. I've got more accounting talent shortage stuff ... Like [00:05:30] you said, this is related to accounting, right?
 
David Leary: Yeah. 
 
Blake Oliver: Because we're an industry or profession that is being automated heavily right now. Dan Hood wrote a great article in Accounting Today called "The End of the War for Talent," summarizing a lot of the discussion about the talent shortage and automation and putting it in a really succinct way, or I should say, he, in a very succinct way, describes the sort of disconnect [00:06:00] between these two concepts. In that, we have a really tight labor market for accountants. The employment overall in the US is below five percent. Unemployment in accounting is around half that. There's demand rising faster than supply, giving professionals more options than ever, salaries are starting to rise, firms are struggling to fill positions, firm leaders report recruiting and retention among their top concerns. 
 
This seems like it would be a great thing for accountants, right? But there [00:06:30] are these other factors that are pushing the labor market in the opposite direction and reducing demand, which is outsourcing. It's getting easier and easier to outsource work. Our friends at TOA Global, or TOA Global, would definitely agree with that. It's getting easier to automate work. That's the whole Amazon thing. That's the whole automating data entry kind of thing. Hey, there's AutoEntry, right? You don't need to keep that stuff in anymore. Remote work is [00:07:00] getting more prevalent, so you can expand your pool of job candidates, and more non-accountants are becoming important in CPA firms, or we're recruiting more non-accountants. Those factors kind of are balancing each other. Dan Hood's argument is that - I think, if I'm summarizing it correctly - yes, there is low unemployment, but that outsourcing and automation are going to offset this, and if so-
 
David Leary: So it's a wash. It's just a wash at the end of the day?
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, so there's this [00:07:30] tension, and they're going to balance each other out. The low unemployment drives the automation, but then the automation drives layoffs. Basically, you just don't want to be one of those employees who gets caught up in the, I don't know, where these two friction points meet and gets ground into dust. There's a lot of people, like we discussed last week - the Walmart layoffs, the United layoffs of accountants. I think that there's a lot of accountants who are just not really paying attention to automation that are, potentially, [00:08:00] going to get swept under by all these trends. Just more evidence, I think, that this is not just an accounting thing, this is in all industries - tech, accounting, retail, manufacturing. It's all being affected by automation, and if we're upskilling, and we're learning to manage these robots, or RPA tools, or whatever they are, we're going to be in a good spot. That's the connection to accounting.
 
David Leary: Yeah, because if you're [00:08:30] not going to where the shift is headed, you're going to be impacted by it. You're not controlling your destiny, ultimately.
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, and there's one other story that is in this theme, which was a kind of a clickbaity title; a story in MarketWatch. "Companies Use This Creative Trick to Keep Wages Stagnant Even in a Strong Economy." What a clickbaity finance article, right?
 
David Leary: What strategy are they using? Of course, you want to click on it.
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, you want to know, right? It's not a trick, of course. It's just that the point of the article [00:09:00] is that many companies are leveraging technology to eliminate layers of middle management. Companies like Zappos are cited. There's some other examples in here of ... Middle managers are some of the first people to go in a recession, because they don't directly produce anything, and they aren't executives [cross talk] 
 
David Leary: Well, I mean, you could look at a lot of apps [00:09:30] now that are helping that process, right. You can look at the Asanas of the world, and the Trello boards, and Slack, and that stuff. As it stacks up, the communication ... You don't need a manager telling another manager, telling another manager, because you could just get it summarized.
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, right, and everybody has access to the information. A lot of middle management is just taking in information and communicating it to other people, right?
 
David Leary: Mm-hmm.
 
Blake Oliver: Technology eliminates the need for as many middle managers, and so I love that I saw this, because it answers a question for [00:10:00] me that I've had in my head for so long, which a lot of economists have been asking, which is how can wages be stagnant when the job market is tight, right? If unemployment goes down, wages should go up, but that hasn't happened at the same rate. The economy added 224,000 new jobs in June, but wages have just sort of gone up 3.1 percent on an hourly basis over the last 12 months, which is not that great; should be more, [00:10:30] apparently, when the economy is at full employment. That's the reason is, you know, companies are flattening their organizations. There's basically upper management and there's workers. That is what's depressing wages overall.
 
This is the Amazon effect, right, which is that Amazon's a company where they have hundreds of thousands of workers, but most of them are just making not a lot of money on an hourly basis, working in warehouses, but [00:11:00] the ones who are programming the Amazon website, or the apps, or running AWS or ... They make many times as much money as those hourly workers, so it's the hourglass economy that we're hitting. It's both troubling, also exciting, if you can get into that group that is building all the tech or is managing all the tech, or if you're an accountant who is leveraging all the tech, it's very exciting because there's a lot of potential, but it's creating a lot of disruption [00:11:30] and limiting opportunity for people who don't have those higher-level skills.
 
David Leary: Well, I think it's just efficiency, right? Companies have got to be as efficient as possible and, if you have three layers of middle management that may not be contributing to the actual production process, if you want to think about it that way, of course, those positions are going to get eliminated over time.
 
Blake Oliver: Well, if it's possible, and the tech allows that happen, so yeah. That is my three articles that are all tied to talent this [00:12:00] week.
 
David Leary: I have one that's kind of connected. Microsoft Teams ... We've talked about Slack a lot. You and I use, actually, Slack to talk during the week about the podcast. We actually use Slack. Microsoft Teams is now bigger than Slack.
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah.
 
David Leary: They have 13 million daily active users, and the growth curve is really fast because that started, like, December of 2016, and Slack goes back to 2013.
 
Blake Oliver: Well, but is that really [00:12:30] fair, given that Microsoft is shoving Teams down everyone's throat if they already have an Office subscription?
 
David Leary: That's one of the arguments I read about this. For the last three years, Fortune 500 companies have been migrating their entire systems over to Office 365, and they've moved everything to Microsoft's Cloud. They didn't want to go and get another piece of software and [00:13:00] implement that, when they can just turn on Microsoft Teams, and it integrates beautifully with all their other stuff. The reason I think this is important for us ... I know we've talked about Slack a lot, but for people that haven't done it ... I know lots of our listeners and lots of accountants and bookkeepers out there are on the Microsoft 365 stack. So this could be you flip it on, and you could start getting some efficiencies with your team.
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
 
David Leary: You could eliminate a whole layer of middle managers.
 
Blake Oliver: Seriously. The people who spend all their day just receiving emails and sending emails, those [00:13:30] people are getting replaced by apps like Microsoft Teams, or at least their lives are getting better.
 
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Blake Oliver: You want to stay [00:14:30] on app news?
 
David Leary: Okay.
 
Blake Oliver: Have you heard about this app called Robinhood? Have we talked about that?
 
David Leary: That's like an automated investment app type thing, all web-based?
 
Blake Oliver: Yes.
 
David Leary: It's like NewBank, right? They're not a true securities company in the same way Fidelity or Merrill Lynch is, something like that?
 
Blake Oliver: I don't think they're a bank at all. Yeah, they're one of those apps that wants to disrupt investing in your 401k and whatnot. So, if you're a millennial and you haven't saved anything [00:15:00] for retirement, you download the Robinhood app, connect your account, and start investing today. They are super-hot. It's a no fee stock trading app. That's where the name Robinhood comes from, because you don't pay anything. 
 
David Leary: Okay.
 
Blake Oliver: You can just start investing, like, "I want to buy stock." I can go do that. I can be stupid and not invest in an index fund, right? This is just such a ridiculous story. Robinhood wanted a hot new feature. This is detailed in a Business Insider article. The [00:15:30] link is in the show notes, but just be warned that it's a Prime Business Insider article owned by Amazon, by the way, and you have to have a subscription to read the full article, but you can read the summary, which I read, without having the subscription. Anyway, the summary is that they wanted a hot new feature to attract more customers, so they created a product called Checking and Savings, and they promised an industry high interest rate of three percent. Can you imagine getting three percent on your savings account, David?
 
David Leary: That would be amazing.
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, it's ridiculous, right? Nobody does this. [00:16:00] I saw this when they advertised it, and I said this can't be true, this will not be around. Well, less than 38 hours after the launch, they scrapped it completely. The whole Checking and Savings thing scrapped completely because, apparently, they had promised that the accounts were insured, but they didn't actually do that; like, the FDIC insurance.
 
David Leary: Okay.
 
Blake Oliver: So they're telling everybody that it's insured, and nobody at the company checked to make sure that anyone had actually done it. There's a quote in the article. Apparently, [00:16:30] Business Insider spoke to 10 former Robinhood employees, and one of them said, "When it came to the Checking and Savings launch, sources said the decision to not reach out to the proper authorities was a deliberate one." When warned by his team, a former executive tells Business Insider that, co-CEO Baiju Bhatt's response was, "F*** it, we're doing it anyways."
 
David Leary: The difference is you think about Uber, right?
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
 
David Leary: Uber just started launching markets illegally, right?
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
 
David Leary: Bird and [00:17:00] all those scooters are everywhere. They just go and dump them on the sidewalks, and then, "We'll figure it out after the fact, when we get in trouble for it." But it's different, because there's not this thing called the SEC involved, right? Stocks and banks is a whole different game. You can't do that same launch strategy. This is going to bite these guys.
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah. I mean, they had to shut it down within 48 hours. It did not fly, like, this whole break it and then fix it later, yeah.
 
David Leary: I wonder if it'll affect the rest of their service, like, is this going [00:17:30] to really impact their whole everything now?
 
Blake Oliver: Well, now you know that they're on the regulators' radar for sure.
 
David Leary: Yeah.
 
Blake Oliver: If they were doing that kind of stuff, telling people that your checking account is insured when it's not. I mean, you know that-
 
David Leary: What else did you guys say, "Just eff it," and skipped?
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
 
David Leary: Yeah, that's a good find.
 
Blake Oliver: You got any app news?
 
David Leary: I got Bill.com-
 
Blake Oliver: All right.
 
David Leary: -app news. I feel like it was about four to six months ago, Bill.com launched their multicurrency and international [00:18:00] payments.
 
Blake Oliver: Yes, yes. Very exciting.
 
David Leary: They, basically, just had kind of a press release saying that they've now ... Since the beginning of the year, their payment volumes increased 124 percent, and the monthly transactions for international is up 135 percent.
 
Blake Oliver: Wow, that's very successful.
 
David Leary: Yeah, and the average company's saving about 32 percent on the cost of doing wire transfers or, historically, what was a wire transfer, but now moving the [00:18:30] money to Bill.com.
 
Blake Oliver: Well, I think the fee- Bill.com's fee is, what, something like $10 to do a wire or the equivalent of a wire? It's very low, compared to like 30 or 40 that you're paying a bank, typically.
 
David Leary: Let me scroll through the article, because I feel like they said it was no fee.
 
Blake Oliver: Oh.
 
David Leary: Or there's no wire transfer fees, and the exchange rates are competitive.
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, gotcha.
 
David Leary: Obviously, you have to subscribe to Bill.com, but I wonder if there's some other ...?
 
Blake Oliver: It's interesting, [00:19:00] like, international payments it's so difficult to know how much you're actually paying, because they may say there's no fee, but then what are you getting in terms of the exchange rate? That's where they make their money is on the split between what they pay and what you pay. I'm just going to say it's got to be cheaper than what the banks are doing, because the banks just rip us off. I've got some fundraising announcements that we may have missed over the last few weeks. Mind Bridge AI, they raised $11 million in a new funding round from the Canada [00:19:30] Strategic Innovation Fund, which is earmarked to accelerate the development of artificial intelligence technology.
 
This $11 million adds to the recent Series B funding the company received, and I guess the total they've raised now is $34 million. I see Mind Bridge around a lot, or at least I see their articles around a lot. They're really out there talking about artificial intelligence in audit. Their flagship product, which I've never seen - I would love to know more about it - is AI [00:20:00] auditor, which they released in 2017. They say they've grown pretty fast. They have more than 260 customers in 14 countries and they've tripled the size of their workforce since 2017.
 
David Leary: Wow. That's a decent investment, and it looks like they are adding customers. People are finding value in it. 
 
Blake Oliver: Keep that on your radar, yeah.
 
David Leary: Yeah.
 
Blake Oliver: Another one here, Kabbage. We've talked about Kabbage before, right? Integrated loan platform, so what, I can plug it into my QBO, right [cross talk]
 
David Leary: Yeah. It's [00:20:30] another one of those instant loan players. It reads your QuickBooks data. They really, when they started, were targeted at inventory companies, right?
 
Blake Oliver: Mm-hmm.
 
David Leary: You can't buy ... If you're retail, especially, right, you need to buy a bunch of inventory in November, but it's hard to go get that loan, so you have that inventory to sell in December. They really started getting into that space and looking at the QuickBooks data, historically, to offer loans that traditional banks would not give.
 
Blake Oliver: I didn't know that they were-  they're a unicorn. They [00:21:00] were last valued at $1.2 billion in 2017. They have raised about $500 million in equity to date. The announcement on TechCrunch is that they have raised another $200 million in the form of a revolving credit facility from an unnamed subsidiary of a large life insurance company. That is on the heels of a $700 million securitization that they got three months ago, which is another four-year [00:21:30] facility. There's a lot of confidence in the institutional investors in Kabbage, at this point.
 
David Leary: But there's still questions, I think; I think I saw another article about Kabbage, but there's still questions about that high-interest loan type, quick loan, high risk, because a lot of these people are high risk, and some are getting overexposed.
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
 
David Leary: You see this theme happening. There's definitely risk. Obviously, people wouldn't be investing the money in it, if they didn't think there was money [00:22:00] to be made ... Depends on the due diligence.
 
Blake Oliver: I'm glad you brought that up because an article in Accounting Today brings some concerns into my mind, anyway, about these types of companies. This is called "CPAs See Risks in Complex Financial Instruments and Derivatives." It's summarizing a survey of CPA financial executives by the AICPA. 
 
The highlight is that a 55-percent majority of the CPA business executives [00:22:30] expressed concern about financial instrument valuations. 59 percent of the CPAs surveyed reported having complex financial instruments, such as mortgage backed securities, interest rate swaps, or other derivatives on their company's balance sheets. A majority have these on their company's balance sheets, these derivatives, and 55 percent are concerned about their valuations.
 
The reason this is a big deal is because the whole reason we had the Great Recession was because of derivatives, essentially, that [00:23:00] nobody understood around the housing market. What if, David, the next recession or crisis, it isn't derivatives based on housing, its derivatives based on small business lending?
 
David Leary: Because these are going to get packaged and repackaged.
 
Blake Oliver: Right. So Kabbage goes and loans out $250 million to small business X-Y-Z, or maybe it's less, right? It could be anywhere from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands, and then they package all those up into a basket [00:23:30] of loans that's worth millions, or tens of millions, or hundreds of millions, and then they sell that to an institutional investor. Maybe this goes through many different layers. There's tranches of tranches. That's the way I understood that the housing mortgages got packaged up and became a problem. The more rounds you go through, the less visibility there is into the actual health of these loans, and they magically become A-rated, and they're [00:24:00] overvalued.
 
David Leary: That's an interesting observation to tie that back to the housing crisis because, in a way, there were all these new mortgage companies; they were startups in a way, right? They were not financially valuable, and then they would package these up and sell them to more traditional banks, right?
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, yeah.
 
David Leary: And they would buy these. You're right, are they truly financing all these guys on their own, or is this being rolled up? That's an investigative job here, somebody has to ...
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, and just like with the mortgage market, these new [00:24:30] tech lenders are making the loans, and they're getting the securitization from the large institutional folks. Banks would never make these loans. Where traditional banks would never make these loans, the tech companies are doing it. I'm not saying this is happening, but I could see how it could become a problem. I mean, especially if it expands beyond ... Let's say it's beyond small business lending, and it's just like individual lending becomes like this where instead of going to my [00:25:00] payday lender down the street, I just do it on an app, and then that app is repackaging all these tiny little $500 loans into- and resell it like that. Then that could cause ... That would be enough volume to cause a problem, maybe.
 
David Leary: I've had concern with some of the loan players a little bit because I kind of feel like, for a lot of small businesses, they might be doing it just to make payroll that week, or they might be doing it to get over a hurdle, then the next two weeks later they're doing it again. I could see them possibly getting in a trap. What's [00:25:30] interesting is you have to step back and think about what's the motivation, right? Obviously, Intuit has Intuit Capital, QuickBooks Capital, right? And, obviously, Intuit wants to make money on that in giving out those loans but, ultimately, Intuit just wants small businesses to be successful, because that's how they're really going to make their money. If your app or your company only makes money off of loans, isn't your motivation to give out as many loans as possible?
 
Blake Oliver: Well, yeah, especially if you are not holding the loans, if you're reselling them.
 
David Leary: It'll be interesting to watch and see [00:26:00] if that's happening. If any of our listeners are with one of these companies that are in that space, if repackaging is going on, I think it'd be great to find out.
 
Blake Oliver: I would love to know. So, what else is new?
 
David Leary: You know how going cashless has been on my-
 
Blake Oliver: Your beat.
 
David Leary: My beat, right, is going cashless. Well, Monopoly, you know, our board game, Monopoly?
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah. Everyone's favorite game to play with your family to [00:26:30] make yourselves hate each other.
 
David Leary: But, didn't you, like, when you were a kid ... I imagine you probably liked to be the banker.
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, I loved counting the money; yes, I did.
 
David Leary: You had the money. You could count the money. You have the money in your hands. Well, it's cashless now.
 
Blake Oliver: What?
 
David Leary: Monopoly's cashless.
 
Blake Oliver: Oh, God.
 
David Leary: There's, basically ... the best way I can think of describing it is like it's an Alexa speaker in the middle of the board, and it's now called Monopoly Voice Banking.
 
Blake Oliver: Wait, where? I have to see this. I'm going to go to your link. [00:27:00]
 
David Leary: There no picture yet.
 
Blake Oliver: Oh.
 
David Leary: I'm just imagining the way it's described. It's a speaker; it's in the middle of the board, and it keeps track of everything.
 
Blake Oliver: I mean, but the whole point of the learning experience is in knowing how to count the cash, and keep track of how much you have, and trade the money, and all that. What do you, like, do that- you do the transaction through the speaker or something?
 
David Leary: Well, it's trading money. It's getting in fights with your siblings. It's changing the rules.
 
Blake Oliver: It's stealing the money when somebody's [00:27:30] not looking.
 
David Leary: Yeah, it's having free parking. Like all those things that, yeah [cross talk]
 
Blake Oliver: Maybe I'm just getting old, David, but I don't like this.
 
David Leary: Maybe we should have a poll.
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, you should do a Twitter poll.
 
David Leary: If Monopoly should have cash' maybe people should try to save Monopoly.
 
Blake Oliver: I'm generally in favor of cashless, but I do not support cashless Monopoly.
 
David Leary: Now, with that said, though, my kids on the iPad had Life. Life is so much easier on the iPad. You spin [00:28:00] it up, you play it, you put it away, you're done.
 
Blake Oliver: Isn't that the dumbest game, anyway, in the real world, right? You just roll, and then you move forward and you collect money, right? There's, like, no strategy.
 
David Leary: You get to decide if you go to college or not. That's the only decision in the whole entire game, I think.
 
Blake Oliver: Is it ever a good idea not to go to college?
 
David Leary: Well, sometimes, in the game, you have to change your career, so you could go from being a doctor to a teacher, and then you're just screwed.
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, well definitely.
 
David Leary: I don't even know if you can be an accountant in the Game of Life, if that's a career. [00:28:30] Maybe it is.
 
Blake Oliver: That's when your life ends, when you become an accountant, so they didn't include it in the Game of Life.
 
David Leary: That could be true. Remember last week we talked about MYOB had a crash?
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah, well, they had that ... Well, we're not going to call it a glitch, because you didn't like that word, but yeah.
 
David Leary: Glitch, yeah [inaudible] It's Down Under news. Well I have some more Down Under news.
 
Blake Oliver: Okay.
 
David Leary: The ATO, which is the-
 
Blake Oliver: Australian Tax Office.
 
David Leary: Right, Australian Tax Office. [00:29:00]
 
Blake Oliver: The IRS of Australia.
 
David Leary: They're very proud, in general, as they have their website, their myGov website. Everybody goes to that and files their, they call it lodging, their taxes. They're just a little bit steps ahead. Well, it crashed. I'll read the headline from the video article. It said, "Website Fail Causes Tax Return Chaos," but that's not really why I'm bringing this up. What's really great about it, if you want to talk about it in that terms, is the way myGov, [00:29:30] their Twitter account, handled this. They just communicated really, really well. All tech companies should copy this; the IRS should copy this. They just were very ... Polite might be the word, the way they handled it. They even addressed people by their first name. "Hi, Fiona. Thanks for letting us know-
 
Blake Oliver: Aww, that's sweet.
 
David Leary: There are currently some technical difficulties, including some people not being able to access myGov. We apologize for any inconvenience. We are urgently investigating the issue and we're working hard to fix this as quickly as possible."  [00:30:00]
 
Blake Oliver: Aww.
 
David Leary: We'll have a link in the Twitter thread, but it's really impressive that it's handled in that fashion, very responsive to their caste causing crash.
 
Blake Oliver: Well, Wolters Kluwer should be listening, and take a page out of this playbook.
 
David Leary: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's surprising that that's a government organization with that kind of decent service on Twitter.
 
Blake Oliver: Well, because everybody in Australia is very decent and polite, you know, like it's just their thing. They're all so friendly. [00:30:30]
 
Blake Oliver: Yeah. The thing is, though, they've been ahead. Australia a little bit further ahead on cloud accounting, they don't write checks, so maybe this means the IRS will be tweeting like this one day.
 
Blake Oliver: Someday, we'll have good customer service online from the IRS? That would be great.
 
David Leary: It'll be very impressive.
 
Blake Oliver: Well, hey, David, I got to get going. If people want to get in touch with us, where's the best place for them to reach you on online?
 
David Leary: I'm on Twitter @DavidLeary.
 
Blake Oliver: And I am @BlakeTOliver. Follow [00:31:00] us. Tweet at us. Tell us what you think. Tell us if we missed something, if there's something that we should include in our show. We always appreciate reviews on iTunes, in particular, because that's how the word gets out to folks. That's how Apple decides what podcast to put in front of you. So, if you wouldn't mind doing us a favor, going into your podcast app, scrolling to our page and you scroll down, you find the spot to add a review, give us a review. We will read it on the air.
 
David Leary: You can find us on all the socials. We're on Facebook and we're [00:31:30] on Twitter and we're on LinkedIn. Good news! For those of you that are on the West Coast and you're in the L.A. area, we are going to be at the Accounting show L.A. Is it the Accounting and Finance Show L.A.?
 
Blake Oliver: It's Accounting and Finance Show L.A. 2019 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
 
David Leary: It's the 23rd and 24th.
 
Blake Oliver: Of July, of this month, so we'll be there, what, that's in two weeks.
 
David Leary: So some of you listening to this episode, yeah, it might be that day, that morning, jam over and come see us. We're going to actually have a booth, and we're going [00:32:00] to do some shows on the floor, and a real-deal table.
 
Blake Oliver: We're going to record some panel discussions, right?
 
David Leary: Yes, hopefully we can get those locked down and, if not, come by. If we don't have anything planned, we'll talk to you and put you on the show, maybe.
 
Blake Oliver: All right. That sounds great. So, yeah, that's the Accounting and Finance Show in Los Angeles, Tuesday, July 23rd through Wednesday, July 24th, LA Convention Center West. The show is free, so you should go and register at the link in the show notes, get your ticket, and [00:32:30] you can get free CPE, and meet us, and we hope to see there.
 
David Leary: That's a plan.
 
Blake Oliver: All right, David. That's it for me this week. I'll see you next week.
 
David Leary: Awesome. Bye, everybody.
 
Blake Oliver: Bye.
 
Copyright (c) 2019 Blake Oliver