Editorial Manager/US Team Lead
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App Watch on Xero, Intuit, and Fujitsu

Mar 7th 2016
Editorial Manager/US Team Lead
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Welcome once again to our weekly accounting-related application roundup. This week we find a mobile tax app from Xero, Intuit has a budgeting template for Google Sheets, while Fujitsu unveiled a new document processing platform.

As we regularly explain, 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 on what’s occurred over the past week. Once again, here’s how we do App Watch…

News: Xero to Offer Tax App for Freelancers

Cloud accounting and finance application maker Xero has made available TaxTouch, a mobile app aimed primarily at freelancers and independent contractors to make it easier to track income and tax liabilities.

Xero TaxTouch app allows a user to automatically download bank and credit card transactions from major U.S. banks and credit cards. The app generates a report detailing Schedule C data and allows users to separate business expenses from personal expenses by swiping right for business or left for personal. Xero TaxTouch continually tracks business-related earnings and can categorize expenses according to IRS-approved business deductions categories. The app is priced at $5.99/month, or $29.99 for the first year and will be available for download on iOS from the App Store on March 8, 2016. An Android app is reportedly coming soon as well.

Views: In the years I have been following Xero I had wondered if or when they were going to come out with a tax product, or perhaps strike up a third-party relationship with a tax application maker or service provider. Well, they’ve gone and done it themselves -- not that they still won’t have a third-party deal for other tax-related processes. What’s more is they kept this offering pretty simple, targeting the independent worker who is probably the most likely candidate to need help categorizing expenses for potential deductions. Does this eliminate the need for an accountant? On the contrary, Xero wants to include accountant partners in on TaxTouch, allowing them within the Xero application to check what their clients have entered into TaxTouch and verify the entries. It seems the aim here, as it concerns accountants, is also to keep an open conversation with their independent worker clients, rather than have the whole shoe box scenario or once a year (or quarterly) conversation on what they may owe or have spent. Not a bad idea, especially in such an increasingly mobile and connected world. As for the timing, releasing this product in the middle of busy season, you’d have to speak to Xero about that but again with the idea that this is a product to be used throughout the year, particularly for those quarterly estimates, the timing probably isn’t that much of an issue.

News: Intuit Adds Budget Template for Google Sheets

Intuit will now offer an annual business budget template in Google Sheets, giving small business owners and accountants quick access to data for better business insights. Intuit’s annual business budget template is an extension of Google’s template collection that initially launched in September 2015. The QuickBooks Online team worked to develop the template for Google Docs to help small business owners and accountants automate budgeting, tax time reports and payroll. All templates are available on the web and on Android and iOS.

Views: I’ll admit it, Google Docs and working in the Google-verse is not for everyone but having done so for a number of years now, I can say it’s just like anything new, once you get used to it you can’t really imagine working another way. So, for those who work with their clients in the Google-verse, or are thinking about it say…post busy season, this is another tool you have at your disposal. Staying connected with clients as often as possible, where it makes sense, is the name of the game these days so anything that is going to make it easier to do what you do can’t be a bad thing, right? Think of it this way, are you able to automate items like budgeting, tax time reports and payroll now or could the way you do it now stand improving? Just something to think about, again not that Google apps are the answer but there are an increasing number of reasons to consider it…this news notwithstanding.

News: Fujitsu Unveils New Document Processing Platform

Fujitsu has made available PaperStream Server, a web-based document processing platform that enables organizations to collect, enhance, process, index, and route business-critical content into Line of Business (LOB) or Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems. PaperStream Server was designed to enable each organization to customize their own processes and integrate easily with existing document capture or ECM applications. Users can import or ingest both scanned images and digital documents from multiple sources, process those documents, then send them quickly into business workflows. In addition to batch processing, the software can pull in existing digital documents from watched folders, emails, .CSV, .XML files or other client applications, such as PaperStream Capture Pro. In addition, built-in web indexing enables rapid processing of documents.

Views: It’s nice to see Fujitsu back in the document management news. They made a big splash in the accounting world some years back, with an entire accountant program geared around their ScanSnap product line. Obviously they have continued to offer document management solutions and this one on paper (no pun intended) seems pretty powerful. You always get wary when the term “integration” gets tossed about, so proper testing and questioning on how it will work with what need it to goes without saying. Free evaluations are being offered as well, so it seems well worth it.

This has been another edition of App Watch, feel free to offer you viewpoints or, if you happen to have an app or product offering of interest to accountants, then of course let me know. Until next week!

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