Editorial Manager/US Team Lead
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App Watch on Receipt Bank, Xero, and FreshBooks

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Dec 9th 2016
Editorial Manager/US Team Lead
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App Watch is back!  Did you miss us? It’s only been a week or so, but we have another round of non-paid, never promotional information from the accounting-related application world to bestow upon you.

This week we will find out what’s new from Receipt Bank, Xero and FreshBooks. As ever, we strive to be informational and insightful with this column, in the hope that it will help you make better technology decisions for your practice and your clients. That said, let’s get on with the proverbial show, shall we?

News: Receipt Bank Unveils SMS Client Invite

Bookkeeping productivity tool Receipt Bank has released a new feature whereby accountants and bookkeepers can now invite new clients to use the Receipt Bank app by SMS, reducing setup time to under two minutes. This feature is also available to small businesses adding new team members within their own organizations. When adding new users, accountants and bookkeepers, or admin users, can now just tick the SMS invite box. The new user will then receive an SMS with a download link, taking them straight to the appropriate app store for their device. When they download the app, their login details will be pre-populated, meaning all they need to do is create a unique password. This allows new users to start using the app within minutes, with all submitted information going straight to their accountant.

Views: Apps of all kinds were created with one core goal in mind: convenience. They’re not as rich as what you’re able to do on a computer, but they serve key functions, offer necessary alerts, and allow you to connect and perform certain tasks with a swipe or a press. Some functions, are also more automated. Having the ability to easily invite clients on to the product you’re using for them, to me, seems a no-brainer and once they’re on board, the proposed ease of use with this new function also seems quite attractive. The expense management and productivity app market is heating up quite a bit so any edge they can have over their competition, or to keep pace, is essential. Let’s see where it takes them.

News: Xero Adds Chatbot to Advisor Directory

Xero has upgraded its Advisor Directory, which is now powered by a Facebook Messenger chatbot service, connecting Xero’s global network of more than 100, 000 business advisors with even more small businesses to help them grow.  The new Advisor Directory will help connect Xero-certified partners with small businesses searching for an advisor. Whether based on industry expertise or location, the Advisor Directory will enable a small business to find the right advisor, and help the advisor to be matched with the right client for their business expertise and the industries they serve.

Xero’s Advisor Directory’s new chatbot feature will have the potential to connect millions of small businesses to advisors using social media. The Advisor Directory is also designed with new geo-sensing features to showcase partners that operate within the area the small business is situated, while other features like the sophisticated search function, detailed listings, and richer profile pages equip partners with the tools to market their businesses and grow their client base.

Views: We mentioned a few months ago how Xero seems to finally be getting things in gear with their accountant partner outreach here in the US. It appears they are stepping up those efforts in very modern fashion by adding a chatbot feature to allow Xero customers to find an accountant or bookkeeper to fit their specific business needs that much easier. Expect chatbots/artificial intelligence to become a more regular part of, well, nearly every business application you have.

News: FreshBooks Now Connected to Apple Pay

Self-employed professional focused accounting product FreshBooks is now linked up with Apple Pay, allowing customers to pay for invoices in an easy, secure and private way without having to enter their credit card details. Using the Safari browser from a MacBook, iPhone or Apple Watch, a client can pay through Apple Pay simply by using Touch ID or entering their secure passcode. No credit card details to enter, absolutely no fees, and no setup needed for the FreshBooks user. When using a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on the device. Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique dynamic security code.

Views: Ok so while FreshBooks may not be a true accounting product, if you have clients who are sole-proprietors, freelancers, etc. you know that they still need to invoice and track expenses every month. They also, of course, need to get paid. This is what FreshBooks is set up to do and now linked up with Apple Pay it’s another feather in the cap of convenience as more people are preferring to pay via Apple Pay and its ilk.

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