App Watch on Intuit, ZipBooks and Zoho Books

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Welcome to the all “books” edition of App Watch – the always informative, never paid-for or promotional column dedicated to the latest accountant-focused product news. This week we take a look at announcements from Intuit and their QuickBooks Online Accountant product, the recent launch of new ZipBooks features, and integration news from Zoho Books.

As these columns aren’t planned or funded, it was a bit random that every bit of news this week concerns a “books” product, so hey, let’s get to it, shall we?

News: Practice Management Features Added to QB Online Accountant

Intuit has released Practice Management capabilities within QuickBooks Online Accountant, which are designed to help accounting partners manage not only their clients but all the work across their firm. The exclusive beta starts March 31, with general availability in the US, UK, Canada, France, and Australia 30 to 60 days later.

The new capabilities let accountants see all their workflows in one place and track progress across their team, giving them confidence that nothing will fall through the cracks. Practice Management is free regardless of firm size or number of clients, fully integrated in QuickBooks Online Accountant, and fully mobile enabled. Users can send messages to clients within the platform, securely share and access documents, and track the status of requests, all in one place. With Practice Management, accountants can also communicate with clients and always have insight into what they have requested, what they have received, and what is still needed.

Views: So first off, insert golf clap here as I know for a fact that these are features that accountants have been asking Intuit for for several years. And if you attended QB Connect last fall, or read any of the news coming out of it, then you know the company telegraphed the coming of Practice Management features in QBOA. Specifically, Sasan Goodarzi, executive vice president and general manager of the company’s Small Business Group, said these features were coming in order to have accountants perform nearly all of their tasks within QBOA. At the same time the company boasted integrations with Intuit Online Tax and QuickBooks Online Self Employed.

So what does this all mean? Well, I think very loudly it’s yet more evidence Intuit is making the decision to stay on desktop that much more difficult (not that they will admit to actively “pushing” anyone off). 

News: ZipBooks Launches New Accounting App

Lehi, Utah-based ZipBooks has officially released a new version of its accounting software to its web and native iPhone apps. ZipBooks now also tracks the total value of a company at any point in time, complete with a customizable chart of accounts and automated balance sheet reporting. These features are added to the product’s ability to bill clients, process payments, and track expenses.

ZipBooks claims it added features that bring it closer to parity with QuickBooks, like the ability to confirm transactions and reconcile them against a bank account. For example, ZipBooks now tracks vendor obligations, creates a new journal entry automatically when you send an invoice, and runs A/R aging reporting. Business owners can add a bookkeeper as a team member and can do things like send invoices, a bookkeeper can log in, reconcile the books, and run reports as needed. 

The company is also working on the ability to manage multiple locations, companies, and profit centers under one account with a tagging system. ZipBooks is a free product. 

Views: Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Who are these guys, and why does the market need another accounting product? Valid questions, but they do claim to be free so there’s that. Granted, they’ve mainly been aimed at small businesses that need to perform basic accounting functions, and clearly they are starting to add a bit more than the basic bare bones of invoicing and expense tracking. They even mentioned comparability to QuickBooks, a very bold statement, but as to where they fit in with the Kashoos, FreshBooks, Zohos, Outrights, SageOnes, and FreeAgents of the world (to name just a few), your guess is as good as mine. But, hey, they’re free right?

News: Zoho Books Integrates With PayPal

Zoho Books has made a new enhancement to the reconciliation process with automatic PayPal feeds. The new PayPal integration fetches all transactions into Zoho Books automatically on a real-time basis. These transactions can later be matched and categorized. Users can also now make and accept payments in foreign currencies. All multicurrency PayPal accounts can be set up in Zoho Books and the individual currency’s transactions can be tracked in separate ledgers.

There is also now an OAuth authentication technology that doubles the security layer offered by Zoho Books and PayPal. OAuth pulls transactions into Zoho Books only after you enter your credentials on a PayPal login page, limiting the number of apps with access to your password.

Views: Regular readers of this column, and just me in general, know well my thoughts when the words “integration” come around. The only way you know how well they really work is by test driving and seeing if you can do everything in one place and all the data you need flows in the right places and the work you perform is, well, simple. For Zoho, despite their years in the market, they are still comparatively under the radar, but this is the kind of partnership they need to have in their core accounting product and raise their validity and usefulness.

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