Greetings from App Watch headquarters, where over the past week we heard about a new financial document clearinghouse from CPA.com; new fraud detecting capabilities from Incisive; and some international language and integration functions from FieldAware.
To be fair, this column is not out to break any news nor regurgitate press releases from the vendor community. App Watch is, however, a weekly snapshot of product vendor and service provider news as it pertains or is of potential interest to accounting professionals and their clients. We also provide a bit of additional insight into what the news means, or could mean, to you and your clients.
Comfy? Ok, let’s go…
News: CPA.com Unveils Financial Information Exchange for Private Companies
CPA.com, a business subsidiary of the AICPA, has partnered with Confirmation.com to officially launch the RIVIO (Repository of Intelligent Validated Inputs and Outputs) Clearinghouse, which assists with CPA source-validated financial documents such as audited financial statements to bankers, shareholders and other investors. RIVIO makes documents available through a secure, cloud-based platform that offers comparatively stronger fraud prevention and more sophisticated controls than existing delivery methods. The product also acts similarly to EDGAR for public companies, creating a secure, central repository for private company financial information. The RIVIO Clearinghouse is designed to validate that a financial document has been uploaded by a licensed CPA firm; allow companies control over who can view the information, so financial data remains private; and protect private company information with encryption and an IT architecture tested by security audits. The clearinghouse does not replace or compete with firm or bank portals, since it was designed specifically for transferring information between three distinct user groups with features relevant to each. In time, the RIVIO Clearinghouse can be integrated into these portals.
Views: OK so on first sight, you may say “what is the importance of this?” Knowing this product fairly well, I can say there are multiple scenarios where it could be of use to a CPA firm and its clients, but the most basic is this: You have a small business client going for some level of financing, be it through a bank, venture capital or some form of private equity. The financier is going to require that business to provide financial documents and an audit statement – which a CPA firm will likely be asked to provide. The issues here are both process and privty. The current process of gathering and exchanging these documents is by all counts antiquated, not to mention open to fraud. It is slow, it restricts certain parties from being able to communicate directly with each other (i.e. if the financier needs a certain document they can’t directly contact the CPA firm and vise versa). Then there’s the issue of these documents potentially being altered, say verbiage being copied and pasted from the Web or even a CPA firm logo pasted onto a document which is then either faxed, emailed or mailed to the lender/financier. I could go on, but the bottom line here is there needs to be a better way to do all of this, CPA.com via RIVIO is offering it.
News: Incisive Adds New Capabilities to Detect Spreadsheet Fraud
Spreadsheet management technology provider Incisive Software Corp. has new capabilities designed to make it easier for organizations to identify fraudulent behavior. The company’s flagship Xcellerator product is now enabled with automated detection capabilities that locate hidden and misrepresented data within spreadsheets. This update also delivers additional performance improvements designed to reduce the amount of time it takes to scan spreadsheets for risk. Xcellerator can now discover hidden cells by height/width, so that it identifies rows and/or columns that are significantly reduced in size; monitors merged cell activity to ensure data is not accidentally or intentionally hidden; and support for Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2016.
Views: Look, for good or bad, most of you still work in spreadsheets and, as such, errors can and will occur. This could be through no fault of your own, or your client’s, or…but then again, it could be. Either way some of these errors and misinformation can of course lead down the path to fraud. Having a tool that can locate, verify and “unhide” data and identify areas of risk doesn’t seem like a bad thing to have in your corner.
News: FieldAware Adds International and Integration Functions
The latest release from cloud and mobile field service automation tool maker FieldAware includes integration to several accounting software packages including Sage, Xero, QuickBooks Online and desktop, as well as French language localization. With the integration of FieldAware’s mobile solution the aforementioned accounting platforms, when a work order is complete, and a job is closed-out on a field worker’s mobile device, an invoice can be automatically generated in the back office. The invoice includes all costs related to the work order, such as the cost of service and any parts/inventory consumed, and can be sent to the customer immediately. Integration of FieldAware with a customer’s accounting system also means that new companies, contacts and parts can be created in either system and automatically synced to both platforms. In addition, French is the first language to be released as part of FieldAware’s language localization and international expansion strategy. Available on both the FieldAware web-based app and mobile app, it allows French-speaking businesses to immediately take advantage of the mobile-first field service offering provided by FieldAware. Additional languages will be added with each new quarterly feature release.
Views: OK I was probably going to let this one go, but with the increase of the mobile work force it is highly likely that you have clients this product would be relevant for. Maybe the French language component isn’t quite as relevant, but the fact that it’s moving more international has to be a plus. The real reason for this getting an App Watch mention too is the integration with many of the top accounting platforms your clients are likely using. How well that integration actually works is, of course, one of those try it for yourself moments.
Until next week, we welcome your feedback and submissions openly.