App Watch on AbacusNext, Aplos and Liscio

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And a very Happy New Year to all. Seems like a great time for an App Watch, no? You remember, it’s our non-promotional, never paid for, no stars or rankings column focused on relevant, accounting-related application news.

As ever, we strive to be informative and insightful, giving you only the necessary info on the latest announcements, and a few insights on what it could mean for you and your clients. This week we have yet another acquisition from AbacusNext, a new app from Liscio and a partnership between Aplos and Gusto. Here’s the news and the views:

News: Commercial Logic is Now a Part of AbacusNext

Technology-as-a-service provider AbacusNext has purchased Commercial Logic, developers of practice management and workflow tools for accounting professionals. The purchase adds yet another piece to AbacusNext’s overall offerings which, in addition to practice management and workflow, include cloud hosting, security, CRM and document automation. Specifically, over the past two years AbacusNext has acquired HotDocs, OfficeTools, Cloud9 Realtime, and ResultsCRM. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Views: Given the above information, and their relatively recent history, it should come as little surprise that AbacusNext has its eyes fixed squarely on the accounting profession and their myriad of needs through being, essentially a “one-stop shop.” They’re not likely done with their purchasing ways either. I’d expect there are a few other components like perhaps expenses, payroll and tax. In fact, adding a tax component could even have them compared to the likes of CCH and Thomson, with a comparatively smaller-firm focus. At least, that’s my two cents.

Meanwhile, to the purchase in question. Many of you may not have heard of Commercial Logic, despite them being in business for 35 years, or even the purchase itself, which occurred just before the Christmas/New Year’s break.

Commercial Logic have however carved out a CPA firm-focused niche that AbacusNext was likely attracted too and I’m certain the price was right as well. As with the previous purchases, the jury is still out on their overall go-to-market and messaging to accountants and how they’ll be received, but clearly they have a lot to offer.

News: Liscio FrontDesk App Released

Client experience platform provider Liscio has released its new app—FrontDesk—designed as a companion app to the core Liscio platform. FrontDesk is an extension of the Liscio platform, designed for internal firm use. With FrontDesk, firm staff can now present clients with an iPad to update demographic information or collect electronic signatures for engagement letters or document pickup—eliminating paper and clip boards.

FrontDesk users can also create an electronic, time-stamped audit trail of front-desk activity and alert clients of missing information or outstanding tasks while they are still in the office. The Liscio platform, which was launched in early July 2017, was developed to simplify management of all “front-stage” client tasks such as on-boarding, signature capture, client messaging and information requests—bridging the gap between client experience and back-office transactional work.

Views: Ok so it’s been a minute since we heard from Liscio, which as mentioned was first launched back in July 2017 and brought to you by the likes of Darren Root (Rootworks, etc.) and Chris Farrell (the former CEO of expense management company Tallie). Promotion and awareness seems to be mostly word-of-mouth and now having a mobile offering where you can give an iPad to a client or colleague and show off essential process info and perform productive tasks seems, well, pretty cool. This is of course if you and your clients are mobile-minded and into efficiency and keeping on top of tasks and all that.

News: Aplos and Gusto Partner for Nonprofit Sector

Aplos and Gusto unveiled a strategic partnership that connects their two platforms, making an integrated financial and HR solution for nonprofit and church organizations. Through this partnership, payroll and tax data in Gusto syncs with bookkeeping in Aplos, which provides web-based software designed for the unique needs of small and mid-sized nonprofits, churches, and private schools.  Gusto is an online payroll, benefits, and human resources platform, specifically designed for small organizations. It automatically calculates, pays, and files federal, state, and local payroll taxes, as well as manages W2’s, 1099’s, and new hire forms.

Views: As with Liscio, we had not heard from Aplos in a little while and at the risk of being long-winded, this move just makes sense. When you have a niche-focused accounting product (albeit a very large one like the nonprofit sector), it pays to offer that sector all that you can. And, in this case it’s HR and payroll solutions that hopefully integrate as advertised. We see this fairly often in, well, non-sector-focused accounting solutions, integrating with a third-party payroll offering for the benefit of whatever client you work with. This deal just happens to be more specifically beneficial if you have any nonprofit or church organization clients.

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