Thanks for tuning back in for another exciting edition the non-promotional, never paid-for column devoted to the latest relevant, accountant-focused product news. The past week or so has gotten pretty exciting actually with acquisition news from Abacus Next, a new Xero integration from AuditFile, and a mobile chatbot from newcomers TALK Accounting.
As with each App Watch column, we strive to provide some brief information and insight into the news in the hopes that you can make better decisions for your practice and your clients with regards to the products and services you may choose to use or recommend. So let’s get to it…
News: Abacus Next Acquires Cloudnine Realtime and Results Software
Abacus Next (Abacus), a turnkey technology solutions provider for legal professionals has entered the accounting space with the purchase of Cloudnine Realtime and Results Software.
Cloud9 is best known for its hosting of applications and systems for the CPA profession including QuickBooks, Sage and Microsoft solutions. Results Software are makers of business management CRM products that integrate with QuickBooks, Constant Contact, Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint, Gmail, TSheets, SmartVault, and Citrix ShareFile.
Abacus was established in 1983 and was an early developer of practice management software for lawyers. According to the company, as the new offerings are integrated, there will private cloud hosting, Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) software solutions, IT infrastructure management, security endpoint protection, and business automation.
Views: So, first off don’t confuse them with Abacus, the expense reporting company even thougy Abacus Next does refer to itself as Abacus. That said, it looks like we have a new player for the cloud-leaning hearts and minds of accountants and bookkeepers. News of this purchase has quickly made its way around, but what does it mean? Well look, it’s go big or go home, right? The immediate tie in with a hosting company and a CRM product maker here is simple, they have each respectively made inroads with the accounting profession thanks to their integrations with products accountants, bookkeepers and their clients regularly use. It’s now up to a once solely legal profession-focused product company to integrate its practice management and compliance offerings with that of its recent purchases. As we well know, integrations on paper are not always what they are in reality when it comes to technology, staff, culture and marketing approaches. We’ll see if they are a presence at upcoming accounting tech and practice events to get a better feel for their intentions and acceptance. It’s worth watching in any case.
News: AuditFile Integrates With Xero
Audit automation software maker AuditFile Inc. is now featured as an add-on solution on Xero’s App-Marketplace, allowing AuditFile users to import the trial balance directly from the client’s Xero account in three steps. The connection is designed to delivers seamless access to the accounts in Xero from the AuditFile trial balance, allowing the audit team to easily view the underlying transactions and account detail.
Views: Once again, this move goes along with what I’ve said for a while about the importance of integrations and partnerships in the cloud application realm. And for those in the Xero family, this deal allows for anyone at the firm level doing trial balance to have an integrated option. This is the first audit related app integration for Xero as well.
News: TALK Accounting Mobile Chat App Launched
TALK Accounting of Tucson announced a new phone app today that utilizes voice-activated commands to conduct basic tax, accounting and bookkeeping functions. It is essentially a chat activated application that currently integrates with QuickBooks desktop and QBO and can perform a review of credit card transactions; utilize data from photographed Form 1099s for tax returns; intercept a GPS recording of where your car has been for mileage tracking; and scan in necessary documents via an integration with Fujitsu ScanSnap. The mobile app, available for Android and iPhones, is designed for business clients to record the business purpose of transactions. There is also a web portal for the bookkeeper or accounting firm to review documents in a cloud-based backend software and manage the accounting workflow cycle. The accountant has access to all of their clients’ submissions (upon approval from the client) and can see their data at any point, but it does not currently integrate with tax software.
Views: First off, if I were to read you the press release these guys sent, you would think that they have invented the greatest mobile accounting app…ever. Tons of features, more than I was able to list, that are aimed at individuals, small businesses and of course the accounting professionals that work with them. I mentioned a year ago that we will be hearing a Lot more about chatbots and artificial intelligence-type applications, and this stand-alone product is likely to be one of many to come out that will do essentially the same thing. At their core, chatbots (the first iteration of which include the likes of Siri, Alexa and Cortana) want to utilize your voice commands to interpret and perform a myriad of tasks and make them simpler. Search, of course, is among those tasks but eventually the artificial intelligence kicks in and it starts to “learn” activities and spot trends based on regularly recorded data from things like receipts, tax forms, mileage from your car and financial data. That’s when things get really interesting and the basic historic role of a tax and accounting professional gets called into question. But, we’re still a ways off from that…not that accounting professionals shouldn’t already be thinking about how to “partner” with technology and see what more they could be doing for their clients, but I digress. Essentially, if you are at all curious about TALK accounting, there is a demo video and more information on their site and apparently it’s a free app.