Welcome once again to our weekly accounting-related application roundup. This week we take a look a new integration between Sageworks and QBO, Xero’s new split-screen multitasking feature, and Finagraph is now free for accountants.
For those who don’t yet know, this is a weekly column whereby we’re not out to break news in the technology world – as it relates to you – but rather keep you informed and, where applicable, offer our take. Once again, here’s how we do App Watch…
News: Sageworks Integrates with QuickBooks Online
Financial info services company Sageworks has integrations between two of its key products -- ProfitCents financial analysis platform and the Sageworks Valuation Solution – and QuickBooks Online. Essentially, accountants who use ProfitCents or Sageworks Valuation Solution will be able to upload client data directly from QuickBooks Online without having to do any manual data entry. Customers will log into the ProfitCents or Sageworks Valuation Solution, and within the Sageworks platform, users will have the ability to log into QuickBooks Online and select which clients’ data should be uploaded into the platform. At that point, they’ll be able to run narrative analysis reports on that business, compare it to other companies in that same industry, or perform a valuation of that business, with no manual input required. Additionally, Sageworks’ users will have the ability to set up an automated narrative report for all of their clients that use QuickBooks online; this report will be emailed automatically every month to the Sageworks user, who can then share the insight and analysis with their business client.
Views: The myths and realities of integrations are a whole other discussion to have in more depth, but one to strongly consider whenever one sees an announcement like this. At its core, integrations work best when you can basically stay in the program or service that you are currently using and have it sync up seamlessly with whatever you are looking to integrate with. Also, whatever data you need as part of the integration should be automatically accessible. In fact, there should be little effort on your part, or any IT department’s part, to make that happen. When you start having to deal with multiple screens or log-ins or multiple entry points, even though there’s a connection between programs or platforms, then there’s a problem. I’m not saying that’s the case here, in fact by the description it seems that everything you need in such an integration should be right there and pleasantly received. In the QBO world, and any cloud product really, integration – true integration as I described – is a prime factor for advancing uptake.
News: Xero Offers Split-Screen Multitasking Feature
Online accounting and financial platform Xero is now offering users the ability to utilize split-screens, particularly aimed at mobile productivity for users running iOS9 on an iPad Air or iPad Pro. This new function was designed to enable iPad users to use two apps side by side at the same time; view an order from a customer that came through as an email side-by-side with the invoice you create in response; create an expense claim with the email or PDF open next to the Xero app; and Facetime or use online messaging with customers or clients within the app. Xero has also updated 3D Touch support on iPhone 6s devices so users can peek and pop into invoices, receipts and contacts in addition to the existing support for Quick Actions to create invoices and receipts.
Views: What can I say, if you use Xero with your clients and you’re an iPad or iPhone user this should be some pretty pleasant news. Sure, there’s other apps to help you do the split-screen function, but having it right in the product so you can go through everything side-by-side as you would like to be doing anyway is a pretty nice thing to have. Xero and other cloud and mobile players would do themselves well to keep an eye out for how users are working, or want to work and should keep their developers on their toes. Platforms is the name of the game now and while to win that game, working well third-party apps is still the key, that doesn’t mean developers get to rest and rolling out useful functionality like this, particularly for the mobile set, is a necessary move.
News: Finagraph Removes Price Barrier for Financial Intelligence
Finagraph is making their business analytics tool available for free to accountants and business owners. Finagraph is designed to instantly identify where a business is strong and where it can improve. Risk indicators, sales trends and industry averages are among the data presented to help businesses understand their financials and translate them into action. Based on accountant feedback, Finagraph also added a new print feature making it easy for accountants to print an actionable summary to share with clients.
Views: OK so out of the gate one has to wonder why any product suddenly becomes free. Are they in trouble, have there been any issues with uptake or awareness or are they just feeling particularly generous? All valid questions, but the fact remains we just don’t know. Now, you can go on the words of their CEO who says “Finagraph remains passionate about using technology to help businesses grow. By translating data into easy to understand, actionable information, we believe businesses will be more successful.” Or, you can essentially take this as an opportunity to check out a product for your clients that you may have either never heard of or thought the price point of business analytics tools was out of your range. Can’t go wrong either way, right? Oh and it does work with QuickBooks so client financial data should flow in pretty easily and you can create the reports you want.
Until next week, and as ever let us know if this column is of use to you or if you have any feedback whatsoever. Thanks!