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App Watch on SmartVault, TurboTax, and Zoho Books

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Jan 12th 2017
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Welcome back, App Watchers, to the new year’s first edition of your favorite nonsponsored, never promotional column about the latest accounting-related applications and services.

Over the past week or so SmartVault launched an e-signature solution, Intuit rolled out some updates to its Turbo Tax line, and Zoho Books added a document feature. Without further adieu, let’s find out a bit more about this news and, in typical App Watch fashion, we’ll offer a few words on what it all means.

News: SmartVault Launches e-Signature Solution for Professionals

Online document management and secure client portal solutions provider SmartVault has launched of its e-signature solution for professionals. SmartVault’s e-signature solution is powered by RightSignature and gives SmartVault users a way to request signatures on documents directly from the SmartVault Connected Desktop and SmartVault Portal. Users can simply right click a document and send it out securely to be e-signed. Documents sent using SmartVault’s e-signature solution are secured with 256-bit SSL encryption, and all signatures are legally binding. Once the document is signed by all parties, SmartVault customers receive notification and the document is returned directly to SmartVault from RightSignature for permanent storage and retention.

SmartVault’s e-signature solution enables e-signing to be completed from mobile devices and can be used for all documents, including IRS forms 8878 and 8879, which require Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) for compliance. In addition, SmartVault’s e-signature solution allows customers to capture credit cards and securely process payments directly on documents.

Views: As long as electronic signatures have been a thing I’ve wondered why more people don’t use them. The fact that there’s still states that don’t accept them for certain signature-required documents also baffles me, but here we are. To me, this new feature is a no-brainer. If you have a document management system, whose whole point is to reduce the paper in your life and make everything as convenient as possible for you and your clients, e-signature ability is the only way to go. Good on SmartVault for getting this going.

News: Intuit Makes Upgrades to TurboTax Line

Available now, new features to this year’s TurboTax Online Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed products include:  SmartLook, a feature that allows customers to connect live to a TurboTax expert, CPAs and Enrolled Agents on-demand using one-way video technology to get their tax prep questions answered when they need them at no additional cost. Also new this year, customers can schedule an appointment with a live tax expert at a time and date that works best for them, complete with on-screen confirmation, reminder emails, texts and the ability to add the appointment to their calendar. Finally, a new feature called CompleteCheck allows customers to get the green light to file with a comprehensive review of their returns for missing, incomplete or conflicting information. CompleteCheck also guides customers to easily fix errors before they file.

Views: Well, ’tis the season, right? Look, I’m sure you have plenty of clients who use TurboTax and will for a long time to come, and as such, Intuit will continue to make necessary (or requested) improvements. The CompleteCheck feature should be probably the most welcome to accountants who have to look over their clients’ work, too. Will the product have its problems? Sure, they all do, but it seems the company is listening and making noteworthy additions. We’ll see how this season goes.

News: Zoho Books Rolls Out Document Module

There is now a new document module within Zoho Books through which users can scan and push documents in Zoho Books. The Documents module in Zoho Books allows you to upload and attach your business related files to your transactions. It also acts as a storage platform for your business documents.

You can upload multiple formats of files like Images, PDFs, Docs and Sheets to your Documents module and attach them to your financial transactions as and when you need to send them out.

Some of the key features include Auto Scan, which lets you scan your documents to the inbox and readily converts them into an invoice, sales order, purchase order, estimate, expense or a bill; An Inbox folder where all of your uploaded files fall into. You can also use the Drag & Drop Files option to upload your files; the ability to gather receipts and other documents, match those documents to transactions in the bank feed, and also attach those to previously created transactions, if any; and easily organize and manage your files and classify them into different folders.

Views: While not quite in the spotlight as much as accounting systems from Intuit, Xero, Sage, FreshBooks, Kashoo and others, Zoho continues to plug away and think of their user base. There’s even a bunch more features to the Documents module that I didn’t mention, as I thought I’d focus just on the key ones, but the point is, and with any accounting/bookkeeping system, while it’s difficult to truly revolutionize accounting systems (though AI features are looking more interesting by the minute), you need to continue to improve on what matters. Handling documents in a multitude of ways within an accounting system may not be “revolutionary,” but it’s essential and convenient, and that’s what all of this is about. Otherwise we’d go back to paper ledgers, right?

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