Hello, hello App Watch-ers and welcome to a steamy, summer edition of our hopefully informative, never paid for or promotional column dedicated to the latest accountant-focused technology news.
This week we hope you find some value in what we have to say about news from Receipt Bank, and newcomers Empire SUITE and LISCIO. As ever, we welcome your feedback on any and all that we post below. So, if everyone's here let's get to it:
News: Receipt Bank Raises $50 million for Development
Bookkeeping automation platform Receipt Bank has raised $50 million in Series B funding from Insight Venture Partners, which is earmarked to help accelerate the growth of the company and to further develop its products. The company currently claims to automate a range of bookkeeping processes for more than 5,000 accounting and bookkeeping firms and over 100,000 of their small business clients across the core markets of North America, EMEA and Australia. The company also attests it will be channeling further investment into its patent-pending AI technologies.
Views: So, normally I tend to ignore these financing announcements as they really, on the surface, are nothing more than: “oh great, look at who got more money. How exactly does that impact me and my practice or my clients?” Well, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong in that assessment because let’s face it, nothing has been rolled out and there’s really just grand plans for all of the money at this point. What grabbed me, considering our audience, was the statement from Receipt Bank’s CEO Alexis Prenn, who said: “Bookkeeping is at a pivotal point as automation technologies and artificial intelligence are bringing it out of the back office. This investment will enable us to further develop our proprietary technologies and bring these services to even more leading accounting and bookkeeping firms and their small business clients.”
What I would say, to any current and potential users of this clearly growing bookkeeping automation technology, is to hold the company to task on their words and demand they deliver. After all, who couldn’t use to take advantage at least some of what they’re claiming?
News: Empire SUITE Updates Mobile T&E App
Empire SUITE’s latest version of its mobile app is now available for immediate download from the Apple Store. It is designed to giving on-the-go employees the ability to input data such as timecards from their smartphone anytime, anywhere, further strengthens the claim that information is up-to-date at all times and that it is available in real-time for management teams and accountants to review.
Empire SUITE mobile users will benefit from an updated user interface; enhanced compliance functionality; improved data capture; improved analytics; support for PTO and resource assignment viewing; and increased financial control.
Views: I suppose as much as you can get excited about another time and expense app, this would be the case. It makes complete sense that all of these capabilities are mobile because whether you are doing this on behalf of your clients, or checking it, or they are doing it themselves – no one wants to have to open up their computer or, heaven forbid go into the office or call some admin to take care of it. Mobility has become almost a necessity in today’s business environment for whatever tools you’re working on.
News: LISCIO Releases Client Experience Platform
LISCIO, a cloud and mobile solutions company focused on technology to improve the way clients and accounting firm staff connect and engage, has officially released its eponymous client experience platform. According to the company, it was developed to simplify management of “front-stage” client tasks, including on-boarding, signature capture, client messaging, information requests and more. LISCIO was in beta testing through June and just released to the broad accounting profession this month. LISCIO pricing is based on firm size: Small (1-3 employees): $379/mo; Mid-sized (4-15 employees): $499/mo.; and Enterprise (16+ employees): Custom pricing.
Views: On first glance this may seem like CRM or practice management and you may say “yeah, I already have that” or “why would I need something like this?” From a practical standpoint, I’ve rarely heard anyone rave about their practice management systems, if they even have one. It’s an area of the firm, even small ones, that tends to get overlooked and yet when it comes time to look at things like WIP or how to better connect with the clients you have or even basic admin related issues within the firm, by and large what’s in place falls short. Usually for small firms what’s in place is: “someone is in charge of that” or it’s in a shared spreadsheet.
Well, for what it’s worth there are some familiar names associated with this newbie product. Darren Root (you know, of Rootworks, etc.) is its CEO and technology journeyman Chris Farrell (you know, the former CEO of expense management company Tallie) is its COO. It’s been tested among accountants and like many products, came out of professional need. How exactly it will perform, integrate, etc. is entirely up in the air but it would be interesting in the coming months to see what the uptake is. Let us know, too.