AppWatch on AbacusNext, Right Networks and Thomson Reuters

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A lot has happened since the last AppWatch column, most of it the past fortnight, so allow us to delve into recent acquisition news from the likes of AbacusNext and Right Networks, plus a new integration from Thomson Reuters.

Once again, for those unfamiliar with this column, AppWatch is not out to endorse (paid or otherwise) any product or service. But as AccountingWEB is not a news service yet we can’t entirely ignore news from accounting-focused application and service providers, App Watch exists.

Our goal is to provide you with the basic news information as well as some analysis of what it may mean to you and your clients. So let’s go and do just that:

News: AbacusNext Acquires HotDocs

AbacusNext, a Technology-as-a-Service (TaaS) provider for the professional services industry, has purchased UK-based document automation company HotDocs, which claims to have customers in 60 different countries and a global user-base that exceeds one million.

This acquisition comes on the heels of AbacusNext buying CRM product maker Results Software, practice management application producer OfficeTools, and Cloudnine Realtime, a hosting platform for accounting firms.
In addition to core products, AbacusNext has also acquired HotDocs Market, an online ecommerce marketplace that allows clients to purchase and use HotDocs templates. Financial details of the purchase were not disclosed

Views: So in June when AbacusNext announced that it purchased OfficeTools to enhance its practice management offerings to accounting firms, they also noted that their purchase activity was not yet over and this buy is evidence of that statement. Another piece of the so-called “end-to-end” offering has been filled here, but it brings AbacusNext more than a document automation/management component it also expands themselves multi-nationally through the UK-based HotDocs, which again claims to have a global user base.

What is likely left and may or may not be a “final” piece of the total package for accountants is a tax platform. Again, as I stated in my last roundup about AbacusNext, how they plan to go to market and appeal on a broad scale and establish relationships in the accounting sector remains to be seen, but they are making it quite clear they intend to have practically all a firm would need to host products in the cloud, as well as manage the practice and the documents they need...possibly even more in the near future.

News: Right Networks Buys Xcentric

CPA-firm focused hosing service Right Networks has completed its acquisition of Atlanta-based Xcentric, a managed IT solutions provider for accounting firms. Both companies were founded in 2002, built businesses with a focus on helping accounting professionals grow relationships with their clients through secure, connected services. The expanded Right Networks will maintain its Hudson, NH headquarters while welcoming Xcentric’s two teams and offices in Atlanta, GA and Bozeman, MT. The company will continue to offer Xcentric’s complete cloud solution and plans to accelerate the growth of this customer base.

Views: No matter your thoughts on private versus public cloud, what is true cloud or you even care how you get your cloud; in the end it’s where firms and their clients need to be at some level and they need the vehicles to bring them there with hopefully some level of security as well. The combination of two hosting powerhouses in the accounting space like Right Networks and Xcentric should serve to make the decision to move, and move more, to the cloud even more compelling.

Granted, there’s still a silent war going on between having all of the tasks that a firm and their client do together already cloud-enabled, and actually paying a service like Right Networks or Xcentric (and of course others like Cloudnine, which is with the aforementioned AbacusNext) to do it for you. That is not for me to debate, and it has been occurring for some time. Regardless, hosting services like these are not going away any time soon and they, again, want to make it more compelling for you to use them. This purchase does exactly that, and possibly more.

Yes I ended this similarly to my last review but the dust needs to settle on both of these deals before we can have a better idea of if they’re necessarily “better” for the market or not.

News: Thomson Reuters Accounting CS Payroll Now Integrated with SwipeClock

Thomson Reuters has integrated its Accounting CS Payroll product with SwipeClock’s automated, cloud-based time and attendance solutions, providing accounting firms and their clients with the tools and insights needed for complete time and attendance tracking. Thomson Reuters Accounting CS Payroll, a batch-oriented, fully automated solution, performs much of the calculation of payroll processing for greater accuracy.

SwipeClock supports firms’ payroll process with a complete array of punch data automatically delivered for processing. Real-time punch data is collected through a number of different clock options, with support for remote work places, web interfaces and multiple hardware clock types.

Views: With all the talk of value pricing and mounting cases of firms moving away from time-based anything, there is still a need to track it. For clients, for certain firm functions, it’s still a necessary evil. And, when you are talking about payroll on behalf of your clients, time is a factor so this integration should help serve that greater purpose for, pardon the pun, as long as time allows.

About Seth Fineberg

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