Powerful Accounting on the Web, with David Thomas

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Session Moderator: Today we are joined by David Thomas, founder, chairman, and CEO of Intacct Corporation

David first developed accounting solutions in 1980, when he founded Cyma Systems, Inc., a leading provider of PC-accounting software. While there, he personally engineered the first PC-based accounting system and established a customer base of 45,000 companies. Later, he negotiated Cyma's acquisition by McGraw-Hill. He is also the creator of Capitalist Pig, a business-simulation game that became a top-10 best seller in 1992.

Today David is going to share with us his insights regarding the key features and benefits of Internet accounting.

Welcome David, the floor is yours!

Thanks for the opportunity to chat about web-based accounting and what we are doing.

Intacct is focused on providing a pure web-based accounting solution to small and medium enterprises and to high growth startups. Intacct is a private company financed by Hummer-Winblad, Panasonic, Deloitte & Touche and others.

The key benefits aside from the usual web features of anytime anywhere include:

  • Amazing low cost
  • No client software
  • Access for employees, customers, and vendors
  • And most importantly . . . integration with other web-based services through XML
  • We have a live service with over 25 CPA firms as hosting partners and over 2500 clients. Our service is priced starting at $50 dollars a month. We are committed to working with CPA firms as partners to provide a full service solution to their clients.

    Christopher Bonfanti: Is this workable for 401/k plans and retirement plans?

    David Thomas: We are currently partnering with a firm that provides 401k and retirement plan management over with the web. This partnership has not been announced yet.

    Mark Gilbert: When you get to it, does Intacct have a plan to implement direct deposit with payroll and a bill pay type of feature with payables?

    David Thomas: This month we will offer a fully integrated payroll service with CBS Payroll that seamlessly integrates with full payroll services.

    Christopher Bonfanti: Any idea on when this might be available for small plans?

    David Thomas: We expect the 401k features to go live this month.

    Intacct is focused on providing professional strength accounting. We offer a feature set that has the depth of a product like Great Plains not QuickBooks.

    Daniel Scarberry: Is that $50/month per company? What if I am providing full accounting services for 12 different companies? Do I have to pay 12 times $50/month?

    David Thomas: Our pricing is 50 dollars per company. however we are planning an ePractice client write-up service that will include a free GL and a special offer for CPAs that do in-house accounting

    Beatrice Graeber: How does Intacct compare to NetLedger?

    Mark Gilbert: For setting up a company, do you have the ability to import a chart of accounts, vendors, etc?

    David Thomas: You can import QuickBooks files today and will be able to upload CSV files shortly. We update our service every weekend with new features. This weekend we will add expense reporting. This month we will add online-auditing with a solution built by Intacct and Deloitte & Touche.

    Mark Gilbert: Can you add formatting to the reports, things like subheaders, etc?

    David Thomas: our financial report wizard allows completely customizable columns and subtotaling. You can compare any reporting periods with actual, budget, variances, differences, etc.

    Our service also includes a live help chat feature that will allow you to ask live questions as you use the service.

    Mark Gilbert: During setup, would it be possible to upload the entire company after testing something locally?

    David Thomas: I am not sure of your question. You can re-upload from QuickBooks at any time. You will be able to download - make changes - then re-upload by year-end

    Alioune Badara: If you did mistake in the bank rec can you come back after ok?

    David Thomas: You can save a bank rec in the middle and then come back later to correct it. Please come to our website and try our free 2 week trial.

    Christy Cowser: David, do you have any plans for customers who are not using QuickBooks? How difficult would it be to get that data into your system?

    David Thomas: You will be able to upload any comma-delimited files in a few weeks.

    Mark Gilbert: What are the security features? Can users be restricted from certain functions/modules?

    David Thomas: We have both system wide security for access as well as user permissions. The user permissions can be taken down to the function and report level and then designated as view, change, delete, etc. We use RSA 128 bit encryption and Cisco firewalls. We are hosted in a private vault with Verio, our application manages security at many levels.

    Todd Tonjum: David, when you made reference to online-auditing. Is this going to be like the audit softwares such as ACE, AuditVision, ATB, etc.?

    David Thomas: The online audit module will allow you to perform audits and reviews across the web using the methodology of Deloitte Touche

    Alioune badara: Let me come back to the bank rec, in QuickBooks if you go to done you can not easily fix the mistake afterwards…what about yours David?

    Mark Gilbert: What about backup/restore? Could I reload yesterday's data if I made a catastrophic error today?

    David Thomas: Once you have saved a reconciliation - - I am not sure what the procedure is for reopening a reconciliation. We perform a nightly backup of all companies. We are adding the ability for individual restores soon.

    Alioune Badara: What about payroll online?

    David Thomas: Our payroll solution is an integrated solution with our online interface tied into the payroll services of a 30 year-old payroll services company. This will go live this month. We also offer training webinars each month. These incorporate Webex and AT&T.

    Alioune Badara: Can we write checks like QuickBooks?

    David Thomas: We generate checks in PDF format ( we can even include the MICR coding on the bottom.) You can order the checks online.

    Alioune Badara: Can we customize the invoices?

    David Thomas: Currently you cannot. However, that feature is in the works.

    Alioune Badara: Can we print 1099’s?

    David Thomas: You will be able to in December. Our website has a fully functional free trial.

    Alioune Badara: Regarding QuickBooks in the interview they help you to set up a chart account…what about you?

    David Thomas: We have a setup wizard that takes you through questions including the selection of an industry chart of accounts.

    Session Moderator: David, can you give us some general guidelines for accountants interested in setting up an e-practice?

    David Thomas: You should have a website and a DSL or ISDN connection. You will need to attend our free training classes. We can set up a private labeled version of our service in a matter of an hour. By setting up your clients on this service they will see your logo and you will have web access to their books to help them. We believe that this will provide new revenue opportunities to the CPA.

    Session Moderator: What do the clients need to have in place to take advantage of this service? Any special computer equipment?

    David Thomas: We work on virtually any current browser platform. Including Macintosh and Linux browsers. We work in Netscape and Internet Explorer. There are no plug-ins or Java Applets. Nothing but a browser and Internet Access. Please use a fairly current version of the browsers. They are free you know.

    Session Moderator: Are there particular types of companies that are moving in the direction of web-based accounting? And are there any industries that seem to be shying away from this?

    David Thomas: Service companies and Retail and Wholesalers seem to be early adopters. The medical profession has very little presence.

    David Thomas: CPAs have reached over 64% web access. In general businesses are moving very rapidly to be part of the Internet economy

    Alioune Badara: David, can you give us the web address?

    David Thomas: www.intact.com

    Session Moderator: We have just a few minutes left - are there any other questions for David?

    Todd Tonjum: Who do you feel is your closest competitor in web-based accounting?

    David Thomas: All of the low-end QuickBooks type offerings are competitors. In the same way that QuickBooks is a competitor to Great Plains.

    Mark Gilbert: Is the general ledger chart of account structure fixed or does the user determine the segments and lengths?

    David Thomas: User determines the segments and lengths up to 24 digits.

    Thank you for attending. I appreciate the questions.

    Session Moderator: Thanks to all of you for attending!

    Workshop sponsored by Arthur Andersen:

    Arthur Andersen

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