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Cloud Accounting Podcast

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The Cloud Accounting Podcast is the #1 accounting and bookkeeping podcast in the world! Join Blake Oliver and David Leary at the intersection of accounting and technology for a weekly news roundup, plus interviews and demos with industry leaders.

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What price ethics? Auditors stand to lose earnings in exchange for integrity
Sponsors BQE CORE - http://cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/core  Rewind.io - http://cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/rewind Show Notes 01:25 – Happy Birthday, Blake!  03:26 – David takes QuickBooks Online Accountant for a spin the real world 05:30 – The new titanium-flavored Apple Card – all hype, no substance? | ZDNet  07:45 – A few of QBOA’s underperforming features - the Accountants Apps Program and Slack -  are getting the boot as Intuit keeps searching for a more perfect integration 12:04 – Xero’s Marketplace gets a new look, and some shiny new toys! | Digital First*Correction: Jonathan Misfud is the author of this Digital First article. Blake mistakenly credited Sholto Macpherson. Apologies for the mix-up!  14:03 – Is Square biting off more than they’ll eventually be able to chew?  Square is taking a bite out of the hassle of managing a multitude of third-party food-delivery orders with their new orders platform | Square  With constant development of new tools, APIs, and features, Square aims to be the middleman between everything from orders to accounting systems.  18:18 – Meet the winners of CPA Practice Advisor’s Tax & Accounting Technology Innovation Awards, which includes a win for BQE Software – one of our sponsors. If you missed it earlier this year, check out our interview with CEO Shafat Qazi, and an excellent demo of BQE’s award-winning Core Intelligence AI. 24:05 – No magic here, just smoke and mirrors – yet another AI startup, Engineer.ai, is less than straightforward about human v. AI workload | The Verge 27:14 – What’s behind the allure of hiring non-accounting grads at CPA firms? Expansion of services, requiring more skill-diversified staffs, or the declining quality of a formal accounting education? | Journal of Accountancy 30:29 – The high cost of being an ethical, and skilled auditor – an eight-percent reduction in fees? | Accounting Today  35:14 – “We” is getting people Worked up over their IPO, some wonky financials, and their standard operating procedure | LinkedIn Get in TouchThanks for listening and for the great reviews! We appreciate you! Follow and tweet @BlakeTOliver and @DavidLeary. Find us on Facebook and, if you like what you hear, please do us a favor and write a review on iTunes, or Podchaser. Interested in sponsoring the Cloud Accounting Podcast? For details, read the prospectus. Subscribe Apple Podcasts: http://cloudacctpod.link/ApplePodcasts Spotify: http://cloudacctpod.link/Spotify Google Play: http://cloudacctpod.link/GooglePlay Stitcher: http://cloudacctpod.link/Stitcher Overcast: http://cloudacctpod.link/Overcast TranscriptBlake Oliver: As reported in the journal, CPA firms are recruiting non-accounting graduates in record numbers. 31 percent of accounting-firm hires were non-accounting graduates in 2018. So, almost a third of people who are going into accounting firms now did not major in accounting. This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by BQE Core. As many of you know, I'm all about the niches and niche apps. Putting your business clients in the proper niche app is providing them with a 100-percent solution versus, at best, the 85-percent solution of a standalone accounting app. If you have clients that are architects, engineers, consultants, or lawyers, Core is the app for them to best manage their firm, increase their staff productivity, and ultimately increase their profits. You don't need to juggle between multiple apps. Core has it all in an easy-to-use all-in-one app for project management, including time and expense tracking, budgets, forecasting, client billing, and accounting. Even though Core is an all-in-one platform, it still works nicely with the apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, QuickBooks, Xero, and AccountRight, offering you and your clients the maximum amount of flexibility. Core offers a full-function mobile app and recently launched a cutting-edge voice-based assistant for your smart speaker of choice. To learn even more about BQE Core, head over to CloudAccountingPodcast.promo/core. That is Cloud Accounting Podcast dot promo forward slash C-O-R-E. Did I mention that BQE Core works great for bookkeepers, CPAs, and accounting firms, too? Blake Oliver: Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver- David Leary: And I'm David Leary. Blake, happy birthday this week. Blake Oliver: Thank [00:01:30] you. I wasn't feeling that old until I realized I'm only a year away from being Homer Simpson's age, and I started watching The Simpsons when I was Bart's age- David Leary: It's been a long time. You know how I found out it was your birthday? We got a review. Blake Oliver: Oh!  David Leary: The review wishes you a happy birthday. Blake Oliver: All right, well, I hadn't seen that!  David Leary: Let me jump in and read this. It's a five-star review. It's from theJuice711. Now, the Juice ... Maybe OJ Simpson wrote your review? I don't know. Blake Oliver: That'd be pretty cool. David Leary: It'd be really cool. Let me read [00:02:00] this out here. It said, "Great accounting story coverage! Blake T Oliver and David Leary do an awesome job at dissecting accounting related news and keep me abreast of what’s going on in the industry. I love the banter and each person's unique perspective. The show is so much fun to listen and I tune in every week. I highly recommend this podcast to anyone in this arena. Happy B-Day, Blake!"  Blake Oliver: Thank you so much for the birthday wishes and that nice review. Really appreciate it. David Leary: I like how he said "Blake T Oliver ..." He uses your middle initial- Blake Oliver: Well, that's good. [00:02:30] I've branded myself as Blake T Oliver on all of my social media, so, apparently, it's working. David Leary: It's working. That's good.  Blake Oliver: Yeah, I don't want them to confuse me with the other Blake Olivers. David Leary: Is there other Blake Olivers? Blake Oliver: There's like 12. I think one's a lawyer. David Leary: Do you follow all the Blake Olivers? Blake Oliver: No, definitely don't. David Leary: I do. I follow-  Blake Oliver: You follow all the Learys?  David Leary: -I follow every David Leary, yeah. Blake Oliver: So, David, I have a story for you. I was watching Mary Poppins Returns with my son, and I learned what "Leary" means. David Leary: Yes, yes! My kid ...  Blake Oliver: There's a whole song about it!  David Leary: Whole song, I know. [00:03:00] Blake Oliver: Leerie is a lamplighter. Is that true? David Leary: I don't know. My kids were losing their minds over that one, so maybe, I guess ... I've not seen the movie, but they were just like ... Yeah, they almost lost their minds, and fell outta their chairs. Blake Oliver: Like positively or ...?  David Leary: Yeah, but then they were even more excited because they are huge Hamilton fans, and to find out that Lin-Manuel [Miranda] wrote that song [cross talk] Blake Oliver: Oh, I didn't know that. Well, that's cool. David Leary: I think so, yeah. I think he scored the whole thing. I have some QBOA news [00:03:30] that personally involves me. I'm trying to be involved with the PTA at the school. So, I volunteered to do all the reconciliations in QuickBooks Online. I made them invite me as their accountant in QuickBooks Online Accountant. So, I get to experience the world now through the eyes of an accountant with a client. Blake Oliver: Wow. So, you've been in the world of QuickBooks Online for all these years and you've never used it, from [00:04:00] the accountant perspective. David Leary: Not in real life, if that makes sense. This'll be a learning experience. Who knows? Maybe I'll give ... I'll give an update on this, how it goes. Blake Oliver: Yeah, let me know if you need any tips and tricks. Happy to help.  David Leary: If I decide ... This is insane! I'm doing this for free! I should be charging!  Blake Oliver: You should be charging. Yeah, exactly. Well, that's good. So, I have some news. I got an Apple Card. David Leary: Is that the credit card thing? Blake Oliver: Yeah. Remember, Apple decided they're gonna offer their own credit card? They apparently were [00:04:30] sending out invites, and I got one of these invites via email. David Leary: Oh, it must be because you're an influencer. Blake Oliver: Maybe. I don't know. Anyway, I clicked the link and it opened up an Apple Wallet, the app on your phone that has all the credit cards, and all the rewards cards, and whatnot. I have to say, it is the most amazing credit card application experience you will ever have. You go through three screens, and you put in your information, and you get approved right there for an amount, a rate, and it [00:05:00] adds the Apple Card virtually to your wallet on your phone immediately, and you can start using it. You can use it anywhere there's Apple Pay. Then they send you a physical card that's made of titanium. The way you activate- this card is like literally indestructible. It's thick, and metal, and you activate it by touching your phone to the card, and then that activates the card. There's no number you have to dial. I have to give it to Apple; they've made a terrible experience, a really good one. But [00:05:30] the Apple card is gonna cause accountants and bookkeepers a lotta grief. You know why? No bank feed.  David Leary: No bank feed. I think I saw a tweet about that already. Somebody said, "This is ridiculous." I think somebody already tweeted about that.  Blake Oliver: There's no online banking. Goldman Sachs is the bank that is issuing the credit and the card. There's no way to go online and download your transactions. It's all in the phone. You get a summary of your spending and you can make payments and whatnot, but there's not even a way to export it that I can tell. So, [00:06:00] get ready, everybody. If your clients have Apple cards, it's gonna be a big pain in your butt. The interesting thing is it's gonna get more people to use Apple Pay, because if you pay with the card using Apple Pay, not the physical card, but the one on your phone, you get two percent cashback, which is not bad, right? David Leary: Yeah. Blake Oliver: If you pay with actual physical card though, it's only one percent. They're obviously trying to get people- David Leary: Oh ... Nice move, nice move. Blake Oliver: -to use the virtual card. If you buy an Apple product from the Apple Store, it's three percent. So, I'm gonna, of course, use [00:06:30] it to pretty much only buy Apple stuff, because ... I don't know, I feel like the rewards aren't that great for all the hassle you have to go through, especially if there's no bank feed or anything like that. Apple Pay has limited acceptance; it's MasterCard only, so it won't work at Costco; you've gotta have your phone to pay, if you wanna get all that benefit of the two percent. But, from experience perspective, it's pretty great. David Leary: It's a start. Blake Oliver: Yeah. David Leary: I can go to old tweets I have, from 2011, where they were saying Apple is the [00:07:00] new banks - Apple, Microsoft, Google. These are all the new banks. It's coming true. Why don't we jump into the news? I have a little bit of Intuit news, some California news. We have WeWork news ... I don't know, what kinda stuff you got?  Blake Oliver: I got layoffs, accounting layoffs at UPS. The AICPA is working to protect CPA licenses with a new initiative. David Leary: They must've listened to our podcast last week. Blake Oliver: Yeah, maybe. Who knows? Here's a study that found problems [00:07:30] with audit fees for good auditors. Apparently, if you're a good auditor, you get penalized financially. Then, a shift in accounting-firm hiring; accounting firms hiring fewer accounting majors and more non-accounting majors. David Leary: Do you wanna start out with Intuit news? Blake Oliver: Yeah, let's hear the Intuit news.  David Leary: It was in one email, but two pieces of news - two product lines Intuit is killing, and they both have to do with QuickBooks Online Accountant Edition. One was special app pricing. Essentially, the gist of that was if you were a [00:08:00] QuickBooks Online accountant, it was like having your own little smaller private app store, where you could subscribe to some apps, and you'd get a 20-percent discount on that. The way that model kind of worked was Intuit gets 20 percent of the revenue; the accountant or bookkeeper gets 20 percent of revenue or passes that savings to their client; then the app developer gets what's left.  Blake Oliver: You also got consolidated billing, right? David Leary: Yes, and then, that all would appear as a consolidated bill, correct. It was an experiment, and it was super-underutilized. I think they said like less than three percent of all the ProAdvisors were [00:08:30] using it. This is the third time, I think, the Intuit developer team, and Intuit has really tried to play middleman and offer billing. That's the dream, right? You wanna be like Apple. You wanna take 20 percent of every app- Blake Oliver: Well, and Apple gets 30 percent on the App Store- David Leary: 30 percent. That's the dream. But I think it makes sense ... I get that. If you're buying a bunch of $4 games on Apple, you don't want a bunch of bills, you just want one stupid bill and just see all that all at once, right?  Blake Oliver: Yeah.  David Leary: Think about this [00:09:00] from a bookkeeping standpoint - it's much easier to get separate bills from all your different SaaS vendors- Blake Oliver: It is. David Leary: -and to record those into the accounting system than to get one bill, or, mind you, one bill for lots of different clients, and then try to line-item that out? Fundamentally, it doesn't make sense from a bookkeeping standpoint. Never mind, I'm not sure small business owners, or accountants, or bookkeepers, or developers even want it. Blake Oliver: The model, like the App Store, with Apple, only works if you have to go through the App Store. You [00:09:30] cannot pay for these apps otherwise. What Intuit built, you could go both ways; you could purchase directly, or you could go through the Intuit Store. Of course, the developers are gonna want you to pay directly, because they make more money; they don't have to give Intuit a cut. So, they have no incentive to send you to that store. So, I think that probably would be a reason. David Leary: I think, for developers, the theory is it's right there inside of QuickBooks Online Accountant; it's right there in front of the accountant's eyes. They get 20 [00:10:00] percent off [cross talk] but I don't know if that ever happened. Blake Oliver: The question is how much was this actually promoted? How much did they actually put it in front of the ProAdvisors? David Leary: It's pretty in front, when you're inside of QuickBooks Online Accountant. It's pretty front and center. It's very obvious this program exists. So, it just didn't get the traction. It was an experiment. Blake Oliver: So, they're killing that. What else are they killing?  David Leary: They're also killing ... They announced this, I think, at QuickBooks Connect, last year, about a QuickBooks Online- or Online Accountant Edition that integrates with Slack. Blake Oliver: A Slack [00:10:30] integration for accountants to get their notifications sent from QBOA into Slack. David Leary: Into Slack, and their conversations with their teams. I think it may have even had some ability to possibly interact with clients. I don't remember the details on it, but less than one percent ... Less than 0.1 percent of the QBOA firms were using it, so it was completely underutilized. But if you remember a couple episodes back, we were talking about how Microsoft teams is bigger than Slack, now.  Blake Oliver: Slack- in that survey that CPA Trendlines did, that we talked about, on [00:11:00] instant messaging? David Leary: Yeah.  Blake Oliver: Slack didn't even show up. It wasn't even reported as significant. First of all, most firms aren't using IM, and then, the ones that are, are using primarily Skype and Microsoft, which would include Microsoft Teams. David Leary: Like we were saying, most firms are using Office 365, so Teams is naturally going to get traction. Blake Oliver: Yeah.  David Leary: It's kind of a mess, right? I get it ... Like 12 months ago, 18 months ago, the coolest kid in [00:11:30] the world was Slack. It's one of those, probably- a product manager or somebody chased that. It was a cool, slick, awesome attention-getting thing. But maybe if there was surveying of the customers, or really looking at the base, you probably would've built something for Microsoft Teams. Who knows? Maybe eventually they do. So, that's also getting pulled out of QuickBooks Online Accountant. Two experiments that Intuit did failed. The nice thing is they're communicating about it throughout there; they were very clear with the numbers, and really [00:12:00] justifying why they had to pull the plug. Blake Oliver: I got some news on the Xero side. They had an update. So, Xero- I think we talked about that they rejiggered their marketplace. They came out with a new version of it. The app marketplace they've got. Sholto McPherson over at Digital First did a nice write-up on what has changed and improved, specifically. So, it's easier now to search apps by industry vertical. It's also easier to see the up-and-coming apps, like the new ones that are really hot. The app partners [00:12:30] can now update their own profiles, rather than having to send them to Xero, so we're more likely to have more up-to-date information, because Xero is not gonna be updating on behalf of the apps-  David Leary: Oh, wow! I did not know that was ...  Blake Oliver: Yeah, they're using a content-  David Leary: -the process before.  Blake Oliver: They're using a content management system called Contentful, now. My favorite thing, though, is the last item, or one of the last items that Sholto highlights, which is the profile of each app now shows you how it interacts with Xero and what data goes [00:13:00] which direction. The example is A2X, which is a tool that syncs Amazon sales to Xero and vice versa, so it shows accounts going both directions - that's a bi-directional sync, and then it shows currencies going from Xero to A2X. It shows invoices going from A2X to Xero; tax rates go from Xero to A2X; tracking categories from Xero to A2X. And I love that simple diagram, because it gives you such a good idea of what will actually be syncing through the API. David Leary: The interesting thing is, in [00:13:30] theory, a diagram like that could be automated - the creation of those, and every single app on every single app card could have those. What the platforms have the ability to do - QuickBooks Online, and Xero - is see the API calls an app is making and which way the data's going. In a way that should just be a default on app cards, instead of putting it ... I've seen some developers create a slide of that data themselves to try to show people what they do, but there's no reason that shouldn't just be kind of public information - here's the API calls this app makes. I have [00:14:00] app news about Square. Blake Oliver: Okay.  David Leary: So, Square- they've had an API, but it's very just a payments-type API. If you're a developer, you could use their API to take a payment in your app, essentially. Now what they've done is they actually now have an orders API. What that problem solving for- have you ever gone to pick up some Chinese food somewhere, and you get there, and the person at the front counter has 10 tablets? Blake Oliver: Yeah. David Leary: All right, maybe not 10 ... Seven tablets at the front [00:14:30] counter, because he has a tablet for his Uber Eats, and DoorDash, and Postmates ... All those services have all these tablets. Then he's gotta print out the order and [inaudible] it back to the kitchen, where he has to take those orders and type it into his Square cash register to get the order processed. So, they have an orders platform, so all these third-party delivery/ordering services now can just write their orders straight to Square, so you don't need any of those tablets anymore. It all just goes straight into Square [cross talk] point of sale.  Blake Oliver: Interesting! You know why this is really interesting to [00:15:00] me? Because when I was in public accounting, one of my clients was a company called Ordermark, which is based here in L.A. that was founded by the heir to Canter's Deli, which is an institution here in L.A. It's like THE deli. This guy, Alex Canter, started Ordermark, and it does exactly that. It ingests all of your orders from all of these different ordering platforms and spits them out onto one receipt printer in your [00:15:30] restaurant. David Leary: I think that's super important, because I was talking to a restaurant owner about this. It's bad enough all these companies are taking 20 percent off the top of the revenue, but then, it's super-inefficient for the restaurant owner to deal with this. To have it just go straight into Square is really, really, really efficient, and amazing.  Square has a developer blog post about this, but it's really starting to become a bigger play by Square, where they're moving beyond payments, and they're gonna be the center between orders and your accounting system. So, all the customer [00:16:00] interaction that takes place from the order to when you post to the accounting system, Square's gonna try to be the middleman on that. Think about your CRM a little bit, online marketing a little bit, the payment [cross talk]  Blake Oliver: -this is the thing about Square. I see new features coming out, like multiple new features, every single month and quarter from Square. They are developing so much stuff, so fast, and I'm wondering if they're gonna get to a point where they have simply built this bloated suite of offerings that they just cannot optimize [00:16:30] any- because they're just spread so thin. They're doing payroll. They're doing this order thing. They're doing online stores. It's everything. How can they keep up? David Leary: It's interesting- it's funny because the same person who founded Square founded Twitter, and Twitter's constantly trying to do other stuff, and the only thing it does well is Twitter. But Square's had some success doing other things and getting out of just that little Square payment-dongle thing. Blake Oliver: Well, I guess they can do other things, because they make so [00:17:00] much money from their payments platform; just huge amounts of volume. It's okay if they do a bunch of other stuff that doesn't actually make any money. It's like the Google model. Google makes, I don't know, 90 percent of its revenue from advertising, but then they go out and do all this other stuff that really doesn't actually generate profits for the business. David Leary: What Square's doing, by doing all of this, it's keeping ... If you're using Square as your payments provider, and you're paying ... I don't know what the Square rate is; is it 2.9 percent? [00:17:30] Blake Oliver: No, 2.75.  David Leary: 2.75. Then, the typical merchant account salesman comes by, and goes, "Hey, we're gonna give you 2.5 percent!" You're not gonna switch because that EDC terminal for scanning credit cards doesn't do zero percent of what Square does for you in your business, and people will never switch. Blake Oliver: That's a very good point. A very, very good point. I guess that's the same Google model, too, right? By offering all these other things, they keep you in their ecosystem, where they can advertise to you. David Leary: Yeah, like an [00:18:00] Apple credit card. Blake Oliver: Exactly. One last- I’ve got one last story on apps. David Leary: Okay.  Blake Oliver: We missed this. We didn't cover this. We were at The Accounting Show - Los Angeles, and CPA Practice Advisor gave out their 2019 Innovation Awards at the event. I thought we should mention the apps that won. David Leary: Oh, absolutely. Blake Oliver: Here they are. Biller Genie won. They're a full-time automated accounting assistant that helps small- and mid-sized businesses work smarter and improve cash flow by standardizing and automating invoice [00:18:30] procedures and follow-up initiatives. I have actually not seen Biller Genie. Are you familiar with them? David Leary: I have not. I mean, I have not used the app, but I'm familiar with ... I think I'm familiar with all these apps, because I helped launch them on QuickBooks [cross talk]  Blake Oliver: Got it. Automated invoicing ... BQE Software, sponsor of the show, won for BQE Core Intelligence AI, which we featured in a previous episode. If you haven't heard that interview with Shafat from BQE, definitely check that out. Chata.ai - an [00:19:00] artificial intelligence app for financial professionals that uses natural language understanding to find insights in their financial data - won. That's an interesting one. It's natural language processing across your business data. Have you done this one?  David Leary: Yeah, so think about like if you want to do a SQL query, you'd have to understand how to write the query in SQL language. Well, this way, you can just type it in normal language, or just say it out loud, [00:19:30] and then it's going to go and get that data out of your accounting system. Blake Oliver: So, speaking of searching, Checkpoint Edge from Thomson Reuters is a winner. They use "artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cognitive computing technologies to search Checkpoint, IRS.gov, AICPA, EY, and Deloitte, and other sources simultaneously." So, helping tax professionals find answers to their questions without having to do all those complicated searches.  David Leary: They're kind of offering a niche [00:20:00] search service, so you don't have to go to Google. You can use theirs, and it's just gonna be faster and more detailed. Blake Oliver: The way it used to work was you had to use Boolean searches, so you had to really know how to format your searches using syntax and whatnot [cross talk] that's how Google used to be, too, right?  David Leary: -this is by what I was talking about with Chata.ai. Blake Oliver: Exactly. Similar thing - natural language for searching, and then you get the guidance you need.  David Leary: Got it.  Blake Oliver: Jirav won for their Financial Planning and Analysis in the Cloud service, "which connects financial and operational data to [00:20:30] help accounting firms and finance professionals create tailored budgets, plans and models quickly. In a highly intuitive point-and-click interface. Jirav has kind of been hot at a lot of the accounting shows recently. It's like those dashboard applications. There's a number of them. You've got Spotlight, Featurly, Fathom ... But Jirav goes further in that it allows you to build these sophisticated financial models that normally you'd have to use Excel to build. David Leary: Yeah, so I think you're gonna ... If you compare and contrast LivePlan, which [00:21:00] was two episodes ago, we talked about LivePlan ... It's really in the language of a small business owner. Jirav's really going up bigger, and mid-sized, and-  Blake Oliver: Jirav is built for financial professionals. Actually, that's a very interesting contrast to LivePlan, which was built originally for business owners. Jirav does that modeling and planning, but at a very sophisticated level. You can create a model, where your number of salespeople drives your revenue, and you can say, "All right, if I hire [00:21:30] two salespeople in September, how is that going to change my revenue over the next 12 months, based on how quickly they ramp up? And, oh, by the way, every time I hire somebody, all these other costs waterfall through my expenses." You can build a really sophisticated model, where the drivers are like that. David Leary: You wouldn't drop a client there. You'd be in there doing that, either with client, or [cross talk] Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah. Clients would have no idea how to use it [cross talk] David Leary: -the CFO, at that point.  Blake Oliver: This is really for folks who are doing virtual [00:22:00] CFO/controller planning stuff. David Leary: For much bigger companies, or mid-sized companies [cross talk]  Blake Oliver: Yeah, but for CPA firms offering those services. David Leary: Services, got it.  Blake Oliver: The last winner of the 2019 Innovation Awards is XCManalytics as a Service, "which allows firms to measure real-time productivity to make business critical decisions and improve performance by using and aggregating real-time firm data into standard benchmarks, charts and graphs." David Leary: So, it's like a dashboard play just for accounting firms.  Blake Oliver: Yeah, the internal metrics like- David Leary: Internal metrics.  Blake Oliver: -realization, [00:22:30] all that stuff for firms that love the billable hour. David Leary: Got it, got it on that one.  This episode of the Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by Rewind. For years, Rewind has been successfully backing up thousands of small businesses' data that is stored in cloud apps like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Mailchimp, saving these small businesses from CSV importers, employee mistakes, and app integrations that didn't go as planned. Rewind has also been backing up QuickBooks Online company data, too. That's right, cloud accounting world, I did say back up QuickBooks Online company data. It only takes seconds to install what is essentially an insurance policy against major disaster, or just those small business owners that likes to get "creative" in the accounting system. Rewind works automatically in the background, capturing all the changes to your QuickBooks Online in real time. If something does go wrong, Rewind is the only service that gives you 100-percent control of what you need to restore, be it one transaction, multiple transactions, or all the data. To learn even more about Rewind and access a special offer just for listeners of The Cloud Accounting Podcast, head over to CloudAccountingPodcast.promo/rewind. That is Cloud Accounting Podcast dot promo forward slash R-E-W-I-N-D.  David Leary: I have a company that's not gonna get an Innovation Award. Blake Oliver: What's that?  David Leary: Here we go again, another AI startup fraud. Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah. We talked about this months ago - that venture capital firm in Europe, MMC, issued a report that found that 40 [00:24:00] percent of companies that claim to use AI are actually faking it, that they don't actually have AI. So, what's the latest? David Leary: This article was in The Verge, and there's the title of the article, "This AI Startup Claims to Automate App Making, but Actually Just Uses Humans." Essentially what this app did, they took in 40 million- I'm sorry, $30 million dollars in VC money, claiming that they had this AI that would create apps. So, if you need an app created, Blake, you could contact this company, fill out a website, and you'd magically get an app out on the other end.  Blake Oliver: Oh, that sounds great. Sign [00:24:30] me up! David Leary: When they pitched this, apparently, they said they were 80-percent there, and then, really, they don't have any AI at all. Blake Oliver: What's the name of it? David Leary: It's called Engineer.ai.  Blake Oliver: Engineer.ai. Okay, so I wanna create an app. I tell it what I want, and it uses AI to splice together the code. That sounds a little bit suspicious to me already. David Leary: Well, the process was like, "Hey, I need to hire an engineer to build an app. I don't need do that. I could just use Engineer.ai." That's the premise.  Blake Oliver: So, what were they [00:25:00] really doing? David Leary: They had basically a little bit of AI to customize, and just quote you a price, based on what features you wanted. Other than that, they basically were using human-powered engineers to do that. The nice takeaway in this article is he ... They do touch on all the stories we've talked about before - the Siri using humans, and Alexa using humans, and all that type of stuff. They had a nice conclusion at the end here, which I'll read. "But the point remains, humans are required to help AI improve, even when companies are loath to admit it and aren't always transparent [00:25:30] with customers when another person is, in fact, involved in the process. In this case, a whole class of new startups appears to be using AI hype to build new technologies they may not be capable of - or even intent on - actually providing, both because it may be too difficult and because it's easy to pretend otherwise. And these companies are getting more money for it as a result." That's the problem, I think. Companies know that they're gonna get [00:26:00] money if they claim they have AI, so they're claiming they have AI, when they don't have it. Blake Oliver: Well, and they're going to use the money that they're raising to build that AI, but then they find that, "Oh, it's a lot harder than we thought." I think that's what's happening a lot of the time. I don't think it's complete fraud. I think it's just they're ... It's aspirational. It's growth hacking, right? "We're gonna fake it til we make it." David Leary: But you'd think after the whole Theranos thing, VCs would just be more keen to this, at this point, or is it just this constant chase-  Blake Oliver: Oh, no, I think Theranos just made everyone feel like they can get [00:26:30] away with it, right, because- David Leary: Oh! The opposite happened. I believe you. Blake Oliver: Yeah.  David Leary: Got it. Got it. Got it. That's the model.  Blake Oliver: That's the model.  David Leary: That's what you wanna follow. Okay, got it. Blake Oliver: So, I've got some follow-up stories that are related to what we discussed last week with Ben Wann. If you haven't heard that episode, by the way, go check it out. Ben Wann reads a hilarious letter that he wrote in the voice of the AICPA, conceding that the CGMA was a mistake. We talked, on that [00:27:00] episode, a lot about the CPA numbers, the value of the CPA, the future of the CPA, why fewer students are going for the CPA license after they get their accounting degrees. I wanna follow up on that with some numbers. This is an article that appeared in the Journal of Accountancy called "Report Finds Shift in Accounting from Hiring," which I think is kind of a very understated headline for the stats in the survey. As reported in the Journal, "CPA firms [00:27:30] are recruiting non-accounting graduates in record numbers. 31 percent of accounting-firm hires were non-accounting graduates in 2018, which represents an increase of 11 percent from 2016." So, almost a third of people who are going into accounting firms now did not major in accounting, which I think is interesting, as somebody who majored in music, and then got into accounting. I think there's actually a lot of benefits to being a non-accounting major. David Leary: Diversifies the thinking, for sure, at these firms. Blake Oliver: So, [00:28:00] we've got more non-accounting grads. Meanwhile, those CPA firms hired about 11-percent fewer accounting graduates in 2018 than in 2016, and that's 30-percent fewer than in 2014. So, they're hiring fewer accounting grads, more non-accounting grads. My question that I posed on LinkedIn is what does this mean? Does this mean that academia, that the people running accounting programs in schools are failing, that they're not educating the accounting [00:28:30] students in what they need to know to be successful in CPA firms? Is that potentially what is going on? There was a lot of commentary on this post. I liked what Paul Meisner said. He said, "Interesting discussion. Not sure how the U.S. is, but we have had these studies in Australia. The studies have collected data predominantly from larger firms, which are increasingly becoming multidisciplinary. So by nature, these firms hiring outside traditional accounting grads reflects normal business rather than some worrying trend. A [00:29:00] reduction in grad hiring overall here has been attributed to automation of data entry and outsourcing." I'm still not totally sure what's going on. Is it that the accounting major is not as valuable as it was; that it's not preparing people properly? Or is it simply that accounting firms themselves are doing more than just accounting these days? I think it could be both. David Leary: No, I think definitely accounting firms are doing more than accounting. Blake Oliver: But then, the question is, if the whole point of majoring in accounting is to go work in [00:29:30] an accounting firm, or to do accounting, then maybe the curriculum needs to change. If CPA firms are having to go outside of the accounting majors to find who they need, then there's something wrong. We're not teaching people technology. We're not teaching people data analytics. David Leary: Isn't that what's your 150 credit hours to get your CPA should do is you go take a bunch of other disciplines? Blake Oliver: You would think that, but there is no requirement to study anything specific to get those extra 30 hours, [00:30:00] so a lot of people just end up, like me, doing bullshit classes to get the credits, because I don't have time to go major in data analytics or something like that. I'm just gonna go to a community college and get the credits I need to sit for the exam. David Leary: Got it.  Blake Oliver: Yeah, don't get me started on the 150-hour rule. David Leary: That was last week's episode.  Blake Oliver: Yeah. That's interesting, right? That's a big change in the accounting world. I've got some more accounting-related stories here. There's a lot of news in the CPA world this week. There was a story [00:30:30] in Accounting Today, titled "Companies Penalize Audit Firms for Flagging Their Own Weaknesses." There was a study, a report that was issued or presented, I should say, at the American Accounting Association's annual meeting in San Francisco this past week. The report was entitled "Don't Make Me Look Bad - How the Audit Market Penalizes Auditors for Doing Their Job." This is the crazy stat. If you are a good auditor, and you do your job, and you [00:31:00] report a material weakness in internal controls over financial reporting for one of your clients - if you do that in the course of a year, you will see your average fee total in the following year grow by eight-percent less than it would have been if you had not issued a material weakness. So, if you overlooked the material weakness and just didn't happen to report on it, you would benefit with an eight-percent increase in revenue. David Leary: It's interesting, I saw a headline today, and I didn't really read [00:31:30] more of it, but apparently people are saying that G.E. might be a bigger fraud than Enron, and it goes back years, and years, and years, and years [cross talk]  Blake Oliver: -yeah, I saw that news, too-  David Leary: -how this happens ... Whoever was the auditor of G.E. just ignores it, because eight-percent revenue, your growth revenue ... Eight percent from G.E. is a lotta money. Blake Oliver: It's a huge client of KPMG. By the way, KPMG has been auditing G.E. for 110 years. A 110-year relationship [00:32:00] there. So, what do you think the odds are that whoever is managing that relationship at KPMG really, really, really doesn't wanna find anything wrong with the financials, or internal controls? Same thing with Enron, right? David Leary: Yep.  Blake Oliver: This is the crazy thing about auditing is the solution to all of this is always where it seems to be that the people in the profession say, "Oh, we need to take more ethics courses, or we need to put in an oversight board to make sure that auditors are doing their job." Maybe I'm stupid. I've never been [00:32:30] an auditor, but it seems kind of obvious to me that the problem is that auditors are hired and paid by the people they're supposed to be auditing. Auditors are also supposed to maintain independence in both fact and appearance. But you cannot be independent, when you are getting paid by somebody. You can't be independent from them. That's a financial relationship, and the bigger the financial relationship, the less independence you have. David Leary: And then the relationships are deeper and deeper. It's not just, "Oh, we're doing their audit." I [00:33:00] might have a whole team doing consulting with them [cross talk]  Blake Oliver: Yeah, it's possible. Well, there's limits now. Yeah, you may have other business, but even the audit engagement, itself, may be gigantic. This study doesn't even talk about all that other stuff. It just shows that if you are an auditor, and you find a material weakness in internal control, the word gets around and then you're less likely to get hired by other firms. There was a specific example cited.  They didn't name the firm, but they mentioned a firm in San Francisco. [00:33:30] It was a Big Four office in San Francisco. In one year, one office issued no material weaknesses in the 12 public audits it conducted, while the office of another Big Four firm in the same city reported one material weakness in 26 public audits. The following year, the former firm issued 14 audit opinions, an increase of about 17 percent. So, the firm that didn't find any weaknesses had 17 percent more audits. The firm that [00:34:00] found the material weakness? They had a drop in business of 20 percent. They only issued 21 audit opinions. David Leary: Of course, because if you're gonna go with - I'm gonna use the word - incompetent auditor, if you think you might have some problems of their books, because that guy's not gonna find them, of course, that guy's gonna get more business. Blake Oliver: I think of this as like what if teachers had students grading their own papers, or what if, as a student, you hired another student to grade your paper? Who are you [00:34:30] gonna hire to grade your paper? Your buddy, who's gonna go easy on you, right?  David Leary: True.  Blake Oliver: It's just a disaster [cross talk]  David Leary: It's so simple. It's actually so simple, it's insane. Blake Oliver: The system is just set up to fail ... Until we figure out how to fix this, nothing's gonna work. It's all incentives. It's just the wrong setup from- the foundation is flawed. David Leary: Just wait til Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren hear about this. Blake Oliver: I think this is one of those issues that should not even be politicized in the sense that it's a political- it [00:35:00] can be a political issue, but it shouldn't be ... It should go across party lines, because it just doesn't even make sense, you know? David Leary: Mm-hmm.  Blake Oliver: Yeah, so that's my CPA World- AICPA-auditor news for the week. David Leary: You wanna know what else doesn't make sense to a lot of people? Blake Oliver: What? David Leary: WeWork. So, are you familiar with WeWork? Blake Oliver: Yeah, I had an office at the WeWork on Hollywood Boulevard here in L.A. for at least three years. David Leary: I think maybe, for some of our listeners may not know, WeWork as a coworking space. They've actually changed [00:35:30] their name to just "We"- Blake Oliver: Which I find really, really weird [cross talk] That's like Alphabet and Google. I can't get used to calling Google Alphabet.  David Leary: A coworking space is a place for people- you pay a monthly fee. and you could sit down and use a desk, or you could have a permanent desk there, and you can work. There's, in theory, other like-minded individuals hanging out in that place, and there's coffee, and maybe there's a keg for a beer to drink on a Friday night. Blake Oliver: They got rid of the free beer, though. They used to have free beer on tap at the WeWorks, and they don't have that anymore. David Leary: There's a lot of local independent ones all over the country. WeWork is [00:36:00] the McDonald's. Would that be a ...?  Blake Oliver: They're just massive, right? They're gonna be going public. David Leary: Correct. There's a really interesting thread by Jason Andrews of Stark Naked Numbers. It's a LinkedIn thread, so we'll post it in there, because there's a big discussion about this. But the numbers just don't make sense. People are tossing out comments like, "Is this the next Theranos?" "The expenses are 2X the revenue." Blake Oliver: I haven't dug into the financials, but I took a quick peek at this screenshot of the financials [00:36:30] in the IPO filings. So they've got 2016, 2017, 2018 there. Then you can see the six months ended June 30, 2019. The operating expenses, the OpEx, is humungous! It's double- for the first six months of 2019, it's double the revenue. David Leary: Yeah, and they- half saying that they're a real estate company, but really, they're like a state of consciousness, or like a generation of interconnected, emotional, intelligent entrepreneurs. It's [00:37:00] just really weird speak. My two cents is I think they're super-disruptable. If you think about Starbucks- because, essentially, if you go to WeWork, you sit down, you get your coffee - you have unlimited coffee - you sit at a desk, you do some work, you have some Wi-Fi; maybe somebody you know, you talk to them; you run into somebody you know. It's like sitting in a Starbucks. If Starbucks offered, for 99 bucks a month, a coffee subscription, and had a few cubes, maybe with an extra monitor, maybe one soundproof phone-call booth, it's game over. I [00:37:30] feel like Starbucks could destroy WeWorks in two seconds.  Blake Oliver: I'm not so sure about the Starbucks idea, but I do agree with you that it's not a particularly sticky business model, because these are memberships. When I had my office at WeWork, I paid a monthly fee to have my dedicated office space. You could also just have a desk in an open area, or you could have a hot-desking membership, where you just go in, and you get assigned a different desk. They're all different prices. There's different sizes of offices. The key is their memberships that are month-to-month. I [00:38:00] could cancel this month and pay- I think I could just pay for September and be done, because it's August now, which goes to your point that it wouldn't be that hard for me just to go to some other coworking space and sign up there, because there's not a lot keeping me at the WeWork other than the convenience of it. David Leary: Yeah, and that's my argument, because I've rented desks at coworking spaces before. You're paying $300 a month for a desk. Sometimes, I'm like ... I don't know [00:38:30] if this experience is much different than working in a Starbucks or someplace else with Wi-Fi [cross talk] Blake Oliver: I had my own locked office. The Wi-Fi was gigabit ethernet, super-fast. They have a printer there that you can use on demand. There's a lot of benefits to it, and I really, really liked my WeWork experience. But these losses are crazy. I mean, you could argue they're acting like a startup, so they could, at any point, raise rents, or raise membership fees, and reduce operating expenses, and become more profitable. Regardless [00:39:00] of that, my biggest concern is- or the one that I brought up on social media is if these memberships are all month to month, and WeWork is signing 10-year, 20-year leases on these office buildings, if there's a recession and they lose their members, they're screwed, because the members can just- they can't afford their memberships anymore, they just cancel- David Leary: For sure, they'll go to Starbucks. Blake Oliver: Exactly. But then, Danny Crichton, who is the Extra Crunch Executive Editor at TechCrunch, was kind enough to reply [00:39:30] to me and explain that, in the S-1, which I didn't read, WeWork emphasized how they increasingly have large enterprise customers who sign multi-year deals, which is interesting, because when I was at WeWork in- I think I ended my membership in like 2015-2016. It's been three-four years ... When I was there, I don't recall seeing hardly any enterprise type customers; no Microsofts, no Googles. It was all small startups. It was all independent people. Apparently, WeWork says [00:40:00] that now up to 40 percent of their memberships is large enterprise companies that are renting space for their employees, and these companies have multi-year deals with WeWork. David Leary: It's kind of like what happened to South by Southwest. South by Southwest was young entrepreneurial people connecting. Then, all the enterprise companies discovered it, and now South by Southwest is a big festival of enterprise companies dropping millions of dollars, advertising to each other. Blake Oliver: That's a great analogy. So, that's all I got this week. David Leary: If any of you work at WeWork, [00:40:30] run your accounting firms from WeWork, be interested to know your thoughts on that, in comparison ... Could you do this at a Starbucks? Would it be more convenient? What happens if they double your rent tomorrow, because now that they're a public company, they're accountable to shareholders? Blake Oliver: And are you seeing, as WeWork claims, this larger enterprise segment using WeWork? Because, if that is true, then I have a lot more confidence in WeWork than I would if they were just marketing to small startups, and small firms. David Leary: If anybody has information about WeWork, and they wanna contact you, Blake, what's [00:41:00] the best way? Blake Oliver: I am on Twitter. I am @BlakeTOliver. And you're also welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn. If you do, just make sure you add a note to that invite, so I know who you are and where you came from. How about you, David? David Leary: Contact me @David Leary on Twitter. You can also contact me on LinkedIn. I'm totally fine with the blind connections with no notes. Blake Oliver: Yeah, you just accept all of them?  David Leary: I accept all of them. Blake Oliver: Well, that's how you build up those connections so that you can be defined as an influencer, David. David Leary: Well, this is how I know who all the [00:41:30] accounting coaches are. Alexa: Sorry, I don't know that one.  Blake Oliver: Oh, Alexa just decided to charm in ... Chime in ...  David Leary: And on that note, bye, Alexa-  Alexa: Sorry, I'm not sure about that.  Blake Oliver: Yeah, she has to work on her understanding of the podcast. David Leary: Well, a human has to go process what I just said now. Blake Oliver: Yeah, exactly. David Leary: And give you the response. Blake Oliver: Well, David, great speaking with you. And I'll see you again next week. David Leary: Later. Blake Oliver: Bye. 
Dear AICPA! I Wrote Your Concession Letter
Sponsors BQE CORE - http://cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/core  REWIND.io - http://cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/rewind  Show Notes 01:38 – Welcome Ben Wann, CMA, CPA, and MBA to the show! 02:39 – Notable industry departures: Matt Rissell exits TSheets amidst some corporate remodeling | BoiseDev Jennifer Warawa parts ways with Sage and the accounting industry | Accounting Today Blake Oliver departs FloQast | LinkedIn 07:46 – Seriously, you are not a tree. Move around! How career expectations have shifted from taking root in one job for decades to seeking new opportunities on the regular 11:08 – VC fundraising activity: FreshBooks raises "most significant investment so far" from JPMorgan Chase | BetaKit ScaleFactor continues to rake in some serious VC coin | Crunchbase 21:05 – Ben reads us a story: “Dear AICPA! I Wrote Your Concession Letter” and explains why he is bullish on the CMA versus the CPA after obtaining both 28:44 – Speaking of designations, where have all the CPA candidates gone? | CPA.com  33:53 – According to a June ADP survey, 25 percent of accounting professionals surveyed said they would not recommend young accountants get a CPA license, or seek some other credential or advanced degree 35:50 – Ben talks about cheese, business process improvement, finance business partnering, and how new technology drives him to educate and help people navigate the constantly shifting accounting landscape 39:00 – Yet another way to Crunch some numbers with the help of freelancers | SmallBusiness.co.uk  42:23 – Something’s phishy … More updates on the iNSYNQ ransomware snafu | Krebs on Security 47:41 – Armanino goes full crypto – first with a range of blockchain services, and now accepting payment via all forms of cryptocurrency | Armanino, LLP  Connect with Ben Website: The Numbers Guys Twitter: @BenWann_CMA LinkedIn: Ben Wann, CMA, MBA, CPA Udemy: Ben Wann | Process Improvement Specialist-Accounting/Finance YouTube: Ben Wann Get in TouchThanks for listening and for the great reviews! We appreciate you! Follow and tweet @BlakeTOliver and @DavidLeary. Find us on Facebook and, if you like what you hear, please do us a favor and write a review on iTunes, or Podchaser. Interested in sponsoring the Cloud Accounting Podcast? For details, read the prospectus. Subscribe Apple Podcasts: http://cloudacctpod.link/ApplePodcasts Spotify: http://cloudacctpod.link/Spotify Google Play: http://cloudacctpod.link/GooglePlay Stitcher: http://cloudacctpod.link/Stitcher Overcast: http://cloudacctpod.link/Overcast Transcript Ben Wann: “To the esteemed finance and accounting community, after much consideration and deliberation, it is with a heavy heart and misty eyes that we are announcing that we are pulling the CGMA certification from the US market, effective immediately.” This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by BQE Core. As many of you know, I'm all about the niches and niche apps. Putting your business clients in the proper niche app is providing them with a 100-percent solution versus, at best, the 85-percent solution of a standalone accounting app. If you have clients that are architects, engineers, consultants, or lawyers, Core is the app for them to best manage their firm, increase their staff productivity, and ultimately increase their profits. You don't need to juggle between multiple apps. Core has it all in an easy-to-use, all-in-one app for project management, including time and expense tracking, budgets, forecasting, client billing, and accounting. Even though Core is an all-in-one platform, it still works nicely with the apps like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, QuickBooks, Xero, and AccountRight, offering you and your clients the maximum amount of flexibility. Core offers a full-function mobile app, and recently it launched a cutting-edge, voice-based assistant for your smart speaker of choice. To learn even more about BQE Core, head over to CloudAccountingPodcast.promo/core. That is Cloud Accounting Podcast dot promo forward slash C-O-R-E. Did I mention that BQE Core works great for bookkeepers, CPAs, and accounting firms, too? Blake Oliver: Welcome to the Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver- David Leary: And I'm David Leary- Ben Wann: And I am Ben Wann.  Blake Oliver: Ben, thanks for joining us. David Leary: And Ben, where are you joining us from? Ben Wann: I am over [00:01:30] here in sunny Pennsylvania. David Leary: Sunny Pennsylvania. Other side of the country here for us. Blake Oliver: It's Friday afternoon for us, Friday evening for you. I'm excited to have you on the show, because you are a CMA, you are a CPA, and you are an MBA. Did I get all three of those right? Ben Wann: Correct. Blake Oliver: And in what order did you do those? Ben Wann: I did the CPA first, because that's the one everyone knows. What the cool kids are doing. Did the CMA to try and elevate my level of accounting knowledge. Then, the MBA [00:02:00] to round it out. Blake Oliver: But you list them in a particular order on LinkedIn, right? Ben Wann: I do. Blake Oliver: You are a big advocate for the CMA. Ben Wann: Yes. Blake Oliver: I'm eager to talk to you about that and also some of your thoughts about the AICPA and the CPA, since you've got both. That's gonna be really interesting to talk with you about that. Ben Wann: Absolutely. Blake Oliver: What else do we have on the docket today, David? David Leary: So, money. Lots of big raises and money going to companies. That's on the docket today. More ransomware updates, as always. Departures. [00:02:30] We have a lot of departures that have happened this- well, not a lot, but notable departures this week. Blake Oliver: Notable departures of - David Leary: We could start there. Blake Oliver: Yeah. Let's talk about that. David Leary: Matt Rissell is leaving Intuit at the end of the year. Matt Rissell of TSheets. Blake Oliver: Right. So, TSheets was acquired by Intuit, and then Matt Rissell became what, a VP there? David Leary: That's correct. It's been three years already, apparently?  Blake Oliver: Apparently, yeah. I couldn't believe it. David Leary: That's super-fast. Then Sage had news, right? That's it. Blake Oliver: Before [00:03:00] we go into that; I’m reading this article now. Since their acquisition by Intuit ... They were acquired for $340 million. Based in Boise, right? That Boise TSheets office became an Intuit office. It says that it's grown by 160 employees to 400 employees, the majority of whom work in the company's Eagle office. David Leary: Yeah. That changed Boise. Blake Oliver: Yeah. David Leary: Intuit going to Boise was a significant economic impact on Boise. He changed it. Blake Oliver: And [00:03:30] the growth of the customer base ... It seems like this acquisition really worked out, right, because their customer base went from 36,000 to 82,000 customers. Yeah, they're the largest employer in Eagle. David Leary: Wow, congratulations, Matt. It was a good ride. Blake Oliver: I wonder what he's gonna do next. Maybe he'll come on the podcast. David Leary: He had the bout with cancer a few years back, so he's really ... He spends a lot of time with his family. He has his kids and his wife. Maybe ... I imagine he’ll probably take a lot of downtime. He definitely likes doing all that outdoorsy stuff in [00:04:00] Idaho, as well. Blake Oliver: So, who else is moving on? David Leary: I'm gonna let you say it, because I always mess up Jennifer's last name. It's bad, because I've been saying her last name for a decade, and I mess it up. Blake Oliver:  Jennifer Warawa. I think I got it right. She's leaving Sage. David Leary: She's leaving Sage. Blake Oliver: Yeah. That's a big deal, because she's been there for, what, 12 years? David Leary: 11 or 12 years, I think, the article said, yep. She took a job with ... She's getting out of the accounting industry. So, she took a job- she's relocating from Atlanta to Dallas to take a job in construction. Blake Oliver: [00:04:30] For those who don't know Jennifer, she ... What is her role there, or what has been her role at Sage? David Leary: She is an executive vice president, I want to say, of accountants at Sage? Is that the official title? Blake Oliver: I don't know the official title, but I know that she ran that channel program - the accountants channel program, meaning selling, through accountants, the Sage products. David Leary: If I was to say that Matt Rissell is the face of TSheets, could I say Jennifer was the face of Sage? Me being an Intuit person, [00:05:00] if I had to say, "Who do I know at Sage?" I'm gonna say Jennifer. Blake Oliver: Yeah. I would agree with you. She was the face of Sage. At all the conferences, she gave the keynote speaking sessions. She was the representative that everyone knew. David Leary: Was this true for Sage's small business level, all through their enterprise products, as well? Was she at the Intacct conference giving keynotes, as well, or is she just really just the true Sage-branded stuff? Blake Oliver: She was at the Intacct conference last year, and she's been at ... She [00:05:30] used to go to Sleeter Conference, right? [cross talk]  David Leary: -she was there forever, yep. Blake Oliver: Yeah, so she kind of did the whole thing. She's leaving accounting for something completely different- David Leary: Construction, yes. Blake Oliver: Gonna be an exec in a construction company. David Leary: So, the last departure … Blake, you are leaving FloQast. There was a LinkedIn post that went out today. Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah. I am leaving FloQast. That's right. I'm departing at the end of this month, and I'm gonna be doing my own thing for a while. So, I'm [00:06:00] open to helping people with marketing or CAS operations - I ran a client accounting services firm - and just seeing what's next. David Leary: So, VP of Sage? That’s available.  Blake Oliver: The timing is really remarkable. So, who knows? If you want to know why I left, I wrote a short post on LinkedIn that'll be in the show notes, so you can check that out. It’s all about ... Things change fast in a startup, right? We've gotta be agile, and our marketing focus has shifted. [00:06:30] I am not a guy who's gonna go put on a suit. I've spent, unfortunately, too much time in Southern California wearing sandals. David Leary: So, you're not headed to the Big Four? There’s nothing … [cross talk] Blake Oliver: No. David, I think we should make The Cloud Accounting Podcast … Look how far this show has come with just part-time effort. We could really make this thing great or, at least, not terrible. David Leary: You might have time- we could get our Instagram account set up finally. Blake Oliver: Yes! David Leary: We could have some time for that. Blake Oliver: It will be an Instagram account of me in my pajamas every day, working [00:07:00] on the podcast. I think that'd be really successful. David Leary: Who would not subscribe? Blake Oliver: I think actually, Ben, you had a great picture of you and ... You have a partner in your content creation efforts, and he was wearing shorts in front of the camera or something. Ben Wann: Yeah. Everyone thought he was wearing his underwear, but they were actually just normal shorts. So, from the top up, we were all formal, with our hair done, and our jackets, but, from the bottom down, it's all party. Blake Oliver: Yeah, exactly. That's the way to do it, right? We've all been guilty of it on Zoom meetings, and when [00:07:30] we work from home. You dress up, up top- Ben Wann: That's right. Blake Oliver: -where people can see you, and you're nice and cool down below. It's good. Ben Wann: We were talking a little bit before the show about how expected transitions should be. We’ve shifted in the world, from where you go into a job, and that's what you do for five or 10 years at a piece. Now, it should be expected that you go to a job, and you should already be planning to leave that job as soon as you start it. You’ve gotta plan out what you're gonna improve, how [00:08:00] you're gonna automate, optimize. You should have an end path planned out. You shouldn't plan to park yourself. Just seeing people like yourself being able to move to different opportunities strategically, it's just really smart, and it's the trend that's really going on right now. Blake Oliver: You actually wrote about this a while ago, and I remember reading your post about how that's ... That’s how you've thought of your career is that "I'm gonna go into a company, know what I want to achieve, and do my best to achieve that in one, two-" Ben Wann: Exactly. [00:08:30] Blake Oliver: Ideally in a couple of years, right? And then you move on. That's way better than staying someplace for 20 years and not really doing anything or changing anything, I guess. Ben Wann: Yeah. Yeah. I did the podcast with Phil Yaeger, and I talked about how I see myself as an internal consultant. I'm constantly trying to learn, and get better, and be at the top of my game. There's this divide still between what we expect from normal employees and consultants. To me, that's outrageous. Why should your employees [00:09:00] not be held to the same standards? Blake Oliver: Yeah. Ben Wann: If you can get there yourself, you can write your own ticket. I've been fortunate enough to do that, and you're doing it. I hope more people hear this, and they also wanna do that. The world's your oyster. Blake Oliver: It’s nice, too, because I think that's reducing the stigma of shorter-term employment, right? It used to be that if you jumped around every few years, people would look at you funny, but, now, if you do it smartly, and you have a reason for it- Ben Wann: That's right. [00:09:30] Blake Oliver: -and you can justify these changes, then it's ... I feel like at FloQast ... I came out of an accounting firm, doing client accounting services, to go to FloQast to do product marketing, which I'd never done before, never studied product marketing. I view it as I got an MBA in marketing, and I got paid to do it. Now, I can take that skill and go do that either at a firm, or at another software company, or as a consultant. David Leary: I don't think it has to be a jump from a company to a company. When I was at Intuit, I [00:10:00] pretty much, like every two or three years, was at a new job, right? It's about not being stuck in any role- Blake Oliver: Yeah. David Leary: -and constantly evolving and taking on new challenges. One thing you said, Ben, that was interesting is that thought process of thinking about what your exit is on day one. Blake and I did an interview, which we'll be dropping here soon, about selling your firm. That was one of the takeaways from that interview, I remember, was to have your plan for the exit … Don't think about selling your firm 25 years [00:10:30] in- Blake Oliver: Yes. David Leary: -when you're six months away from retiring. On day one of starting your firm, think about how you're gonna sell your firm. Blake Oliver: We talked about significant departures. Let's talk about the fund raising. The money, right? Ben Wann: The money. Blake Oliver: There were two big announcements that I saw this week. It was FreshBooks raised a bunch of money from Chase, and ScaleFactor raised another bunch of money. I don't remember who that was from. David Leary: Let's talk about FreshBooks first, because, I think there's less insanity- Blake Oliver: Yeah. [00:11:00] David Leary: -and discussion on that one. We might have a half hour of chatting about the ScaleFactor race, so, let's jump into the FreshBooks one. Blake Oliver: The story about FreshBooks is that they announced an undisclosed amount of fundraising from JP Morgan Chase. But given this is JP Morgan Chase, I imagine, it's pretty substantial. They had previously raised CA$40 million in Series A 'round in 2014, and $57 million in series B in 2017. [00:11:30] Here's the thing that stuck out for me is that- David Leary: This might be a $100 million race. Blake Oliver: It could be. I know that Chase put a ton of ... I think they put that amount to Bill.com recently, so, I wouldn't be surprised if they were making similar-sized investments, right? David Leary: And it was stated "most significant investment" so far, in quotes-  Blake Oliver: So, it has to be at least $57 million, right? David Leary: $57 million and one penny. Blake Oliver: As part of the new deal, a Chase representative will be joining FreshBooks' board of directors. FreshBooks said it will use the new funds [00:12:00] to continue to expand operations and its business reach. So, having a banker on the board is gonna be interesting at a software company like that. For those who aren't familiar with FreshBooks, they kind of go under the radar sometimes with accountants, because they don't market to accountants, really. It's to small business owners, like owners of micro-businesses, in particular, meaning sole proprietors and all that. They're not like Xero, or Intuit going [00:12:30] after those accounting firms. They are the largest accounting software company in North America, maybe even the world, just by volume of customers. David Leary: I think they count their customers a little differently. What I mean by that is QuickBooks, and Xero will count small business owners that are paying for the subscriptions. FreshBooks kind of ... I'm using QuickBooks. I invoice you through QuickBooks payments. You pay. Blake Oliver: Yeah. David Leary: You're a customer. Then you invoice the other guy, and [00:13:00] Ben pays me through QuickBooks - that's a customer. So, if Xero and QuickBooks counted similarly, in a way, the numbers would not ... It's just they count their numbers in kind of a different way. Blake Oliver: Got it, but it's still millions and millions. David Leary: Oh, yeah. This is how they get to that "We've served 20 million customers." Going by that, Intuit has served hundreds and -300, 400, 500 million, possibly, right? Blake Oliver: Mm-hmm. It's an interesting question - how do you count those? But they're big. Whatever [00:13:30] metric you use, they're big. Let's talk about the ScaleFactor money. David Leary: Yes. ScaleFactor took another $60 million. This, in just 2019 now, in one year, they've taken on $100 million of VC money. Blake Oliver: Wow. That's a lotta money. Just for perspective, I think, at FloQast - I don't know the exact number - we, in six years, raised half that. So, this is a lot of money for any company, [00:14:00] software or otherwise. David Leary: Absolutely. Blake Oliver: What's crazy about this is that ScaleFactor is not just doing software. They are heavy professional services. They are- David Leary: They are an accounting firm, or bookkeeping firm with engineers under roof. So, this is gonna be in that same vein of, arguably, you could say QuickBooks Live is dancing in that space. You got the Botkeepers, and Ceterus, and Pilot, and ScaleFactor, and Bench - these companies we've talked about before in the past. Blake Oliver: The thing that blows my mind about this is that they're raising money as if they are a [00:14:30] software company, which is something where you can scale that really quickly. It makes sense that companies can be valued at many times- many times … 10, 20 times, 30 times earnings. But it's not just a software company. They are providing a service with that software and, arguably, one that's far more important than the software. Accounting firms are typically valued at anywhere from 1 to 1.25 annual revenues. This company ... [00:15:00] ScaleFactor is being valued at ... Well, we don't know ... What do we know, actually, about how big they are? David Leary: Some of the numbers in the article … They don't have 1,000 customers yet. Blake Oliver: Right. David Leary: It's very clear in the article. They say they don't have 1,000 customers, and they recently crossed 200 headcount. So, if you back out that math- Blake Oliver: Yeah. David Leary: Let's say they have 1,000. What's the number of clients per body in the office there? Blake Oliver: They only have 30 CPAs, though, out of those 200 headcount. [00:15:30] So, they’ve got 30- David Leary: But they're not ... Yeah, 30 CPAs, but what about bookkeepers, and people doing the work? Blake Oliver: We don't know. How many of those 200 people are engineers building software is another-  David Leary: Even if they are. Let's just assume they're all ... It's just headcount, right. So [cross talk] 1,000 divided by- Blake Oliver: Just 200? David Leary: 200. So, we're- Blake Oliver: Five. David Leary: It's five. Five clients per employee [cross talk]  Blake Oliver: -right. David Leary: Yeah, five clients per employee. I've talked to accountants, and bookkeepers that have ... They're pushing ... One bookkeeper's [00:16:00] handling 50 clients. Blake Oliver: Right. David Leary: I think you said you had a bookkeeper, in the previous episode, that pushed almost 40 clients a month.  Blake Oliver: Yeah. That's an all-star bookkeeper. It also depends on the size of the clients. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it's five clients per employee. That would make these clients enormous. David Leary: But they're going after that $400 a month QuickBooks Live customer. Blake Oliver: Right. David Leary: It’s right on the website, their pricing. Blake Oliver: Do we know their average price? What do you think their most popular package is? David Leary: Let's give them the benefit- it’s $1,000. Let's say they're selling [00:16:30] payroll and some add-on things, and it's a higher-end package, and they're getting $1,000 a customer. Blake Oliver: Okay, and let's just assume they have 1,000 customers, right? So then, that's $1 million in recurring revenue. $1 million in recurring revenue makes you worth $100 million in investment. Here's the other thing that's crazy is they said that- this is in the Crunchbase article that you shared, David. It doesn't say what their revenues are, but it said that they have 700-percent ARR growth in 2018, which is just insane, even for a software company ... [00:17:00] For an accounting services business, it’s insane. There's actually a mention in here that the CEO admitted that it was from a very small base, because, of course, if you start small, you can have 700-percent growth. When I had my firm, I pulled this trick, too, right? It's the oldest marketing trick in the book. You start with 10 customers, and you grow to a hundred, and you’re like, "I had 10 time …1,000-percent growth." It’s [cross talk]  David Leary: Based on my knowledge of this space, of these accounting [00:17:30] firms with engineers under roof, they have the smallest number of customers and have raised the most money. Blake Oliver: Here's the thing that's interesting, too. It says they haven't hit ... They expect to hit the 1,000-customer mark this year by adding hundreds of new customers per month. It's August right now, and if they're gonna add hundreds of customers per month to get to 1,000, then let's say it's 200 customers per month. We've got August, September, October, November ... That's 1,000 customers right there. Five [00:18:00] months. David Leary: Which means they're also gonna have to add 20 employees a month to do that [crosstalk] based on their current ratios, which ... That's what's confusing, because the whole bet of doing this engineering-based work with the accounting firms is that you have these insanely awesome ratios. Blake Oliver: Yeah. David Leary: That is not an insanely awesome ratio. I actually really … Think about the money, right? If ScaleFactor is built on top of QuickBooks, and Xero ... It's right on the website, it's very clear. They fully disclosed, right? Blake Oliver: They don't have their own GL. They are using ... They are leveraging in QuickBooks [cross talk] [00:18:30] David Leary: Off the shelf. Pilot, I think, uses QuickBooks. I think there's another service that uses Xero. A lot of these guys are using off-the-shelf. Bench is the only one that, I think, is not using off-the-shelf. They're using their own GL that they've built in-house. If you have $50 million, you should just put $25 million on Intuit, $25 million on Xero, and just ride that out. That's a guaranteed victory. If you believe they're gonna win, you gotta …  Blake Oliver: None of this makes sense to me. Hey, Ben, are you still there? Ben Wann: Yep, I'm here. Blake Oliver: Here, David and I are amateur-analyzing this. David Leary: He's the credentialed guy, right? He's the credentialed guy. [00:19:00] Blake Oliver: You're the credentialed guy. You're a certified management accountant. I know that you had no idea we were gonna talk about this, but I'm just wondering does this any of this make sense to you, just looking at it right now? I don't get it. Ben Wann: It sounds a little unusual. Knowing nothing, just hearing you guys talk, sounds like something's missing, or we're not aware of some type of information. Blake Oliver: My guess is that you've got a bunch of VCs who are looking at ScaleFactor like it's a tech company and that they're applying those kind of metrics, and valuations to [00:19:30] it. Maybe they just don't realize ... Is it possible they just don't realize how heavy the human component is? And that it's not ... Nobody has ever scaled an accounting firm this quickly, or as quickly as you would need to, to justify that valuation. David Leary: And it may not be them scaling internal processes yet. What they've been doing really well is Facebook ads. Half of all VC money goes to Facebook, and Google, and Amazon. If you really watch ... I [00:20:00] see it in my feeds. ScaleFactor is at the top of everything that’s small business, or QuickBooks-related that I search for on Google, I see a ScaleFactor ad. Even other accounting firms … I searched for a different accounting firm that's not even a software-based one, I get a ScaleFactor ad. Everywhere on Facebook, I get ScaleFactor … Lots of this money is going to Facebook ads, which helps you get 700-percent growth, because ... So, they're playing the startup game. There's no doubt. Blake Oliver: You're getting that growth at very high cost, because you’re-. David Leary: The cost per customer has gotta be the highest in all-time [00:20:30] industry. Their probably spending $20,000 a customer right now. Blake Oliver: Well, hey, if any of our listeners have any more insight into ScaleFactor, or how this whole thing works, I would love to know. You can please tweet at me, tweet at David. Let's figure this out, because it's a mystery. David Leary: Even ScaleFactor, yourself. I've reached to ScaleFactor via email before. I've reached out to ScaleFactor on LinkedIn in the past. I've tweeted at ScaleFactor and included this article. I would love to hear from ScaleFactor on how ... Why they're different from these other players in this space. Blake Oliver: Let's get somebody on to talk about it, because maybe we're [00:21:00] wrong. Maybe we're just not understanding it. So, Ben …  Ben Wann: Yes. Blake Oliver: Let's talk about why we brought you on today. Ben Wann: All right. Blake Oliver: I saw a LinkedIn post that you made, a LinkedIn article that you wrote this week, that I just ... I loved it. It's called "Dear AICPA! I Wrote Your Concession Letter." Ben Wann: Correct. Blake Oliver: You published this on the 7th. Actually, so it was two days ago, and then I was like, “We gotta get you on to talk about this,” because this is near and dear to my heart. So, I [00:21:30] was wondering if you wouldn't mind just taking a moment and just reading this for our listeners, because I think it's great. Ben Wann: I'll give it my best shot here. I put myself in the head of the- into the mind of the AICPA.  To the esteemed finance and accounting community, after much consideration and deliberation, it is with a heavy heart, and misty eyes that we are announcing that we are pulling the CGMA certification from the US market, effective [00:22:00] immediately.  With profit on our minds and lust in our heart, we, unfortunately, had entered into a foray that was far beyond our core set of competencies. Our initial estimation of the willingness of people to first purchase a certification to artificially inflate our member count was our first downfall. We had assumed that, after reaching a critical mass of paper certificates, that thousands upon thousands of professionals in [00:22:30] the accounting and finance community would then eagerly clamor to then pay for the privilege of actually studying for and then passing our exam. In addition, we have failed to recognize that the name given to our brand-new certification was not an original idea. It was - how do you say - heavily-borrowed from.  We can now admit, looking back, that we were so hungry to emulate the success of the CMA and how they were, in [00:23:00] fact, the leading global certification that we just couldn't help ourselves. We wanted to build on their success and add our own special sauce by cramming an additional letter into the mix; a 25-percent increase in the value to our members. We want to recognize that we have also disrespected dual CPA and CMA holders by creating this confusion in the marketplace. You have to admit, though, it was amusing to see our [00:23:30] certification pop up on real job postings for a while. We jokingly suggested adding it to the list of key job skills and education, and no one thought that we were kidding. So, well, we just kept running with it. Finally, our biggest failure was to not recognize the innovativeness, the creativity, and the flexibility of our main competitor, the IMA, or the Institute of Management Accountants. Buttressed by a passionate network of [00:24:00] Net Promoter members and a high-performancing board of senior professionals, the organization has only become stronger, and faster over time. In recent years, we've been trounced by the IMA in every market; even the US, our home. It is now time to recognize the foolhardiness of our decision. Each month, we have had to agonize by reading through our competitor's publication, 'Strategic Finance,' to painfully bear [00:24:30] witness to an ever-growing, and truly international list of new members and certification holders that we simply cannot compete with. We recognize that we have a rare window of opportunity now to bow out with dignity, and honor before we are completely ushered into non-existence.  Going forward, I promise you that we here at the AICPA will focus on the things that make us special - creating new rules for auditing, advocating for state-specific CPE courses, [00:25:00] and creating special interest groups to protect entrenched interests. Regretfully yours, the AICPA. Blake Oliver: You include the disclaimer that this is a satire article that was not written by the AICPA. Ben Wann: Correct. Blake Oliver: And should not be ... What’s the legal disclaimer they have at the end of all their podcasts? It should not be relied upon for legal guidance or any of that. I love that. Thank you for reading that, Ben. This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by Rewind. For years, Rewind has been successfully backing up thousands of small businesses' data that is stored in cloud apps like Shopify, Big Commerce, and MailChimp, saving these small businesses from CSV importers, employee mistakes, and app integrations that didn't go as planned. Rewind has also been backing up QuickBooks Online company data, too. That's right, cloud accounting world. I did say "backup QuickBooks Online company data." It only takes seconds to install what is essentially an insurance policy against major disaster or just those small business owners that like to get "creative" in the accounting system. Rewind works automatically in the background, capturing all the changes to your QuickBooks Online in real time. If something does go wrong, Rewind is the only service that gives you 100-percent control over what you need to restore, be it one transaction, multiple transactions, or all the data. To learn even more about Rewind and access a special offer just for listeners of The Cloud Accounting Podcast, head over to CloudAccountingPodcast.promo/rewind. That is Cloud Accounting Podcast dot promo forward slash R-E-W-I-N-D. Blake Oliver: David, I think you may be a little confused by this. David Leary: Yeah. I am all for stirring the pot. I love this. I'm all ... And I love some good satire. Absolutely, 100 percent, but in actually reading this, I was smiling. I was like, "This is great. This is really, really great.” You hit a level. But, to be honest, I am a little confused. I'm not in the loop of the inside baseball of what happened, where are you coming from, why you [00:27:00] wrote this? Any of those types of questions, I'd like to understand. They copied a different certification test, and they wanted to try to rebrand it and confuse the market? Can you give me some background on this, Ben? Ben Wann: Yes. Yes. So, a couple of years ago, can’t be more than three or four, they ... The AICPA partnered with CIMA, the UK accountant association, [inaudible], to create this new certification, the CGMA. What they did is ... Initially, all you had to do was [00:27:30] send in a check, and say you had some type of certification in an industry, and you got a brand-new certification. This cheapens and discredits kind of the whole process of the CPA and the CMA. These things take months of effort, sometimes years of studying. Being able to buy a certification to try and win the market is a terrible tactic, and everyone saw right through it. Blake Oliver: Was this motivated by the success of the CMA, like the [00:28:00] CMA was growing, and started, and then the AICPA decided to come in and offer their own credential to compete with it? Was that how it happened? Ben Wann: Yeah, because I guess everyone's seen these numbers with the number of CPA candidates in the pipeline. It's going down. So, the AICPA is looking abroad, trying to strengthen their product and their pockets. They noticed that CMA has really expanded to every other country, except the US, initially, and it's double-digit [00:28:30] growth, 27 percent. Now, they're back in the US, with 20 percent growth here, as well. That’s what they were chasing. Blake Oliver: Speaking of the number of new CPA candidates, the numbers have dropped. I posted a chart that I spotted in a CPA.com white paper on LinkedIn this week that shows, from 2005 to 2010, the number of new CPA versus accounting grads was-that line was trending upward at the same rate. [00:29:00] Ben Wann: Yep.       Blake Oliver: Then, somehow, something happened; between 2009 and 2010, all of a sudden, that dropped, and now, there's a much larger gap. The number of new accounting grads has grown. Ben Wann: Yep.  Blake Oliver: But it looks like the new CPA candidates just continue to drop. Ben Wann: Yeah. There are several things going on here. Blake Oliver: Let's talk about that. What's going on? Ben Wann: The big thing that has a lot of people annoyed is this 150-credit requirement. Before, I guess, 2010-2012, you needed 120 [00:29:30] credits. That's what everyone usually graduates college with, and you had to have two years’ experience working with a CPA firm, and that was your education. Now, they are saying everyone needs 150 credits. For many people, this is a master's degree. It might cost $20,000- $30,000 to complete. There's other paths to get around this. It's just a lot more work, and for what result? It's very unclear to people. Blake Oliver: Yeah. I was joking online that when [00:30:00] I sent my application in for my license, I found out that I was nine credits short of the 150 requirement. So, I went online to the cheapest community college that I could find that had an online program. I think was Oxnard Community College here in LA, and I registered for Intro to Philosophy and Intro to Management. I really enjoyed my Intro to Management class, given that I've already owned and sold a business. That was really, really helpful to me. That's [00:30:30] the thing that's funny about this 150-hour requirement, right, is you can take any- Ben Wann: Correct. Blake Oliver: I don't even understand the original logic behind it. What was the ... David, it sounds like you have something to say?  David Leary: Yeah. It feels like ... One thing, the bell went off for me a couple weeks ago. You said that ... The Cal CPAs- if you're a CPA in California, you have to join that membership. Blake Oliver: Yeah, I think you … Well, I think you have to, right, in order to …? David Leary: But the AICPA is 100-percent optional. Blake Oliver: Yeah, you don't have to be a member the AICPA [00:31:00] to maintain your license, because it's state-certified. David Leary: Okay, and then I've seen people online say, "Hey. I'm probably not gonna renew my AICPA membership." People aren't finding value in this. Some of these things, like, "Hey, we're not getting the revenue we want, let's have another certification. Let's spin up a commercial site like CPA.com," is it something … Does the CPE credit stuff kind of all fall in under that, like they're getting some kickback from the colleges by requiring more credit hours? Is it a revenue game? Ben Wann: Yep.       Blake Oliver: Yeah. It has to be, right?  Ben Wann: With state-specific CPE, this is another issue where people are furious, right? Each state has their own rules. The state of Delaware, where I’m certified, they have their own ethics course. To get certified every two years, you have to do their course that costs money. They're gonna get a cut of that, the state society. What's different from one state to another? Nothing. So, to have these hoops you have to jump through in order to give money to a [00:32:00] state society is ... Everyone’s seeing through it, and we’re tired of it. Blake Oliver: Just to put some numbers behind this conversation, if you look at the chart that I'm ... Obviously, our listeners can't see this chart. In 2008-2009, it looks like about two-thirds of accounting grads were going for the CPA, right? If you just divide the number of new CPA candidates by the number of accounting grads, it was about two-thirds. If you look at the latest data, which is [00:32:30] from 2017, that number has dropped to half. So, that's a huge, huge change, right? Ben Wann: Oh, yeah. Blake Oliver: And if it continues to go down, if fewer than half of accounting grads are going for the CPA, I'm concerned about the CPA's future. As somebody who invested the time and money to get it, I'm disappointed in that trajectory. Ben Wann: Yeah.  David Leary: Shouldn't that be the role of the AICPA to encourage people that are graduating with accounting degrees to become CPAs? Shouldn't that be their number-one most [00:33:00] important function? Blake Oliver: Probably, to get more members, right? Somebody on LinkedIn said that the good thing about all this is that with fewer CPAs, it creates more demand for CPAs, right? Ben Wann: Yup. Blake Oliver: But I don't think that actually is true, because it could backfire in that fewer CPAs mean that people aren't as familiar with it, which means that demand drops, right? In economics, if you decrease supply, you may increase [00:33:30] prices, but you also decrease demand. I've got another chart here, kind of related to this whole discussion. This appeared in the June 2019 issue of "Accounting Today," and it's a survey that ADP did. The question they asked 1,500 accounting professionals. They asked 1,500 accounting professionals the question: "Would you recommend that young accountant get their CPA license?" A full quarter of those accounting professionals either said no, or that they would recommend [00:34:00] something else. Ben Wann: Yeah, I'm one of them. I'm dual-certified. I'm one of ... There's not that many people who can talk on both sides, kind of unbiased. People ask me- Blake Oliver: Yeah. Ben Wann: Unless you wanna do tax or audit your whole life, I'll say, "Go bananas. Do the CPA,” but, otherwise, the CMA is so much deeper. It just prepares you for the job. A lot of people have said this, "The CPA has helped me get my job, but the CMA helps me do my job." Blake Oliver: That, I think, ties in with what I have heard from the community, which is that fewer [00:34:30] and fewer accountants are going to school, and graduating, and thinking, "I'm gonna make partner at an accounting firm someday." That dream of making partner, people just aren't that interested in it anymore. If you aren't buying into that dream, then why would you necessarily need that CPA, if you think, "Well, I'm just gonna go into public for a few years and then leave." Ben Wann: Yeah, it used to be it was a one-stop shop. If you were smart and you went to accounting, you had to do public accounting. You worked a [00:35:00] ton of hours. You got a lot of experience. You were better than the industry peers after two to four years. Then you see all these smart, driven people with a CPA. It’s like, "Okay. They're doing so well, because they're CPAs,” kind of, you know?  Blake Oliver: Yeah.  Ben Wann: But now, there's all these alternative paths where you can be very successful without ever working in public accounting. I had never want to work in public accounting, and I haven't. I'm at the top my game, so I'm doing very well. There's so many opportunities out there. You don't have to do public [00:35:30] accounting to have a really strong career in accounting. Blake Oliver: Let's talk a little bit about your background and what you're up to, Ben. I'd love to hear ... I know that you are working on CPE courses. You may already have some available. You're a big advocate for the CMA. Tell us a little bit about what your projects are, and what you're up to, and where people can find out about that. Ben Wann: Talking about trends, technology is everywhere, and I don't think there's a discipline being more impacted right now than accounting by technology. What we do, how [00:36:00] we do it, where we do it is all changing. So, within 10 years, it's a complete shift. There’s a huge need for people to understand what skills they have to learn and to help people bridge that gap from where we've been to where we're going to go. In my career, I've seen so many people who are just stuck, and they're not gonna get it. What's driving me is I want to help fill those knowledge gaps between theory and practice. Right now, there's not that many sites [00:36:30] for information to understand, "Okay. If I wanna do this, how do I actually do it?" Not "I don't want to manufacturer widgets." That's what's kind of driven me. I'm really into the education side. In that regard, I have actually started producing courses on a site called Udemy.com last year, and now, I'm up to five courses. I have a YouTube channel. I have a website that I run with a team of people called The Numbers Guys. [00:37:00] The basis of that site is to provide the blogs, the really strong blogs that help people understand what a day in the life of an accounting professional- all these different avenues looks like, and how we get our jobs done, and what we're interested in.  I've also really focused on business process improvement, because if we're gonna go into the future, we've gotta get our houses in order. I see that to be a huge opportunity. Then there's also this shift in accountants transforming [00:37:30] from kind of like the stereotype of this boring, dull, introverted person to, now, someone who's not just reconciling accounts but working with the business to turn data into insights. There's a lot of communication. There's a lot of influencing going on. That's known as finance business partnering. My two big things right now are finance business partnering, and business process improvement. Blake Oliver: What's your day job? Because you do this ... You're a very busy guy. You're [00:38:00] doing this on the side at night- Ben Wann: Nights and weekends. Blake Oliver: Weekends. What do you do during the day? Ben Wann: Yeah, that's ... I do that, too. At my day job, I'm an operational controller for a company called Savencia. They make all sorts of cheeses. They're French-owned. We have four factories here in the US, and I run ... I'm in charge of the controlling department. I make sure that our cost accounting is strong, it's accurate, and we're getting good data out to help the [00:38:30] business know what they're doing to make good decisions. I report right into the CFO. Each day, what I love about this job is I'll go from working with the executive team to data entry clerks. I'm in the plant most of the time. It's a really boots-on-the-ground job. Blake Oliver: Sounds delicious, too. Ben Wann: Yeah. Blake Oliver: Hey, David, before we go, we got a little follow up on our ransomware stories over the last few weeks. You wanna touch on that? David Leary: Yeah. Before we jump into the ransomware one, there was the one that's kind of related to the ScaleFactor one. There's a British company called Crunch. It's [00:39:00] Crunch.co.uk. Crunch essentially, has - they're really going after the self-employed market, the freelancers - bookkeeping software. They have their own in-house bookkeepers, as well. So, it's a similar play, right? It's accountants with engineers under roof. But what they announced, they are now going to offer a freelance bookkeeping network – an Uber model – just like QuickBooks Live. This is the third week in a row now some other company is now gonna offer bookkeeping as part of their software package. Blake Oliver: It's gonna [00:39:30] be interesting reading all the reviews of these various services as they roll out. I don't know if anyone's really figured it out yet, right? David Leary: Do you think ... This is hypothetical, and Ben, please chime in on this, sometimes you get an Uber, and that guy's got an Uber light, and a Lyft light, and he's got both phones on his dashboard, or her - whoever's the driver … They're picking some ... One ride, they pick up a Lyft person. Next ride could be an Uber person. Do you think there's gonna be bookkeepers, and accountants out there that’ll, "Hey! I'm doing this …" Because chances are H&R Block’s gonna do this with Wave. [00:40:00] I'm gonna take a Wave customer this time, a QuickBooks Live customer, a Crunch customer. Is it just gonna be really like the gig accountants, or gig bookkeepers are just gonna work with all these services at the same time? Blake Oliver: Maybe, David, now that I'm gonna have some time on my hands, I should just sign up for all of these services and report back. David Leary: As a small business owner, or as a bookkeeper? Blake Oliver: As a bookkeeper. I could go be a QuickBooks Live bookkeeper. I could go be a Pilot bookkeeper. I could go be a ScaleFactor bookkeeper. Crunch bookkeeper. David Leary: It'd be an interesting [00:40:30] experiment. I'm sure there's people that have done driving for Uber, and Lyft and wrote a blog posts about that. Blake Oliver: Yeah, they have, and then they get banned for life, probably. Ben Wann: Blake, that's interesting [cross talk] in there. There's actually people who I talk with, who are making a business out of kind of doing what you just talked about. Trying to get a grasp for all of the apps and resources that are out there and then translate that into, "Okay. If I have this problem, what's really the best solution?" There's a need for that. Blake Oliver: Oh, [00:41:00] yeah, and not nearly enough people who are taking the time to build up that knowledge base. Even in specific industries, like manufacturing, knowing all the different tools available and going to different companies and modernizing their IT infrastructure from a financial accounting perspective. Really, really fascinating. David Leary: Or just cheese manufacturers. Blake Oliver: Just cheese. You could just specialize in cheese. I'm sure there's some very unique aspects to the manufacturing process that you have to track in your ERP, right, Ben?  Ben Wann: Correct. There is. The dairy industry. [00:41:30] Blake Oliver: Yep, dairy. Cool. David Leary: Let's talk ransomware again. Blake Oliver: Ransomware, yeah! Risks …  David Leary: The rewind ... It was yesterday or the day before, iNSYNQ ... Blake Oliver: Yesterday. David Leary: So, the CEO of iNSYNQ ... Remember we talked about it a lot on last week's episode that he was planning on joining us for an interview and then he canceled? We talked about that last week-  Blake Oliver: Yeah, he bailed on us, and now we know who he bailed on us for. David Leary: Then, I saw, two days later, an advertisement for him to go on the [00:42:00] Woodard, Joe Woodard's webinar. So, he was on the webinar and it was- Blake Oliver: Remember, it wasn't a webinar, it was a town hall. David Leary: Town hall. Okay. Yeah, it was a webinar platform, but it was a town hall for people to ask questions about the attack. He answered all the questions that came in. Some of the answers did feel a little prepared. It looks like Brian Krebs actually attended, and he has information. He really did a nice write up about it, and it looks like they [00:42:30] were in for almost 10 days, before they actually encrypted anything. Blake Oliver: Yeah, that's kinda scary that the attackers were in there for 10 days, and iNSYNQ didn't know until they unleashed their attack. By the way, for those who aren't familiar, Brian Krebs is a security researcher who has a blog called KrebsOnSecurity.com. Your entire goal as a software company should be to never show up on KrebsOnSecurity.com [cross talk]  David Leary: -on his blog- Ben Wann: -that’s the wall of shame …  Blake Oliver: Yeah, exactly. So, iNSYNQ, for [00:43:00] those who are not familiar with this whole saga, they were attacked in July 16th or something like that by a malware ransomware attack that shut down their QuickBooks and Sage hosting platform for two weeks. David Leary: My understanding, as of the thing yesterday, there are still some customers who are not 100-percent up. Blake Oliver: Yeah, it's only in the 90th percentile. It's 90 percent, in terms of customers who have access, which is kinda crazy. I know, David, you're gonna go through a [00:43:30] lot of this, but the thing that really stuck out to me is that the reason they couldn't give people backups quickly ... Think about this - if your network gets shut down and infected, that's fine. It can happen, but you should have backups of these QuickBooks files that you can just provide to the customers; but they couldn't do that, apparently, because the backups were not separated from that live environment. So, they could also have been infected with ransomware. I'm not clear on whether they were, but [00:44:00] it's possible that they were, which should never happen. David Leary: Some of this is the confusion caused by these hosting companies, right? With QuickBooks Online, or Xero, or true SaaS software, you don't have to make backups, right? Blake Oliver: Right. David Leary: You can backup … There's tools like Rewind, who's- actually, I think they're sponsoring this episode, right? There's tools like Rewind that will- for data entry errors, right? If you do data entry, and you need to rewind your data, and fix something, that happens. Fundamentally, you don't have to back up your data, [00:44:30] not in the same sense you used to have to … You go to a menu, "File Backup," and you make a true backup of your data on a removable drive. You take it somewhere else - network drive, or tape drive, whatever. These hosting providers, because it's in cloud, people kind of assume they don’t have to make that backup anymore. If people were making a backup and saving it to their own local hard drive, they could’ve just installed QuickBooks to a local computer, restored the backup, and moved on, and just wash their hands off this. Blake Oliver: Yeah. David Leary: There's [00:45:00] confusion on the marketing of this, which is really, really, really ... The worst part I hate about it all is just the confusion, and then the reluctance for them to not admit that the risk is higher on Windows-hosted machines of being ransomwared than a true SaaS play. Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah. Joe said something about how you're just as much at risk on a SaaS provider as a hosting provider, and that's just simply not true. David Leary: Not for ransomware. Now, there's been breaches. There are data breaches. There's no doubt. Breaches are at all-time highs, [00:45:30] but you could argue that those are ... They're getting either its names, socials, credit card numbers. It's marketing data that these huge companies have; it’s essentially, marketing data, but they’re not … If ADP got hacked, I can still run payroll tomorrow. I'm not locked out of my business files. That's the problem with iNSYNQ. Two other interesting [cross talk] Go ahead.  Blake Oliver: I was gonna say, the lesson here, for me, is go ahead and use hosting, but make [00:46:00] sure that you are managing your own backups in addition to whatever they are saying they're doing, so that if their backups fail, you've got your own local backups. David Leary: We went off on that last week, right? "You gotta backup. You gotta backup. You gotta backup." Two things that I thought Brian Krebs surfaced was, one, a Google ad from iNSYNQ. Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah. David Leary: It was pretty interesting. The Google ad says, "iNSYNQ, we're still standing." I'll read the text of the ad: "Competitors are offering empty promises about security to capitalize on the iNSYNQ attack. That [00:46:30] is not okay, but don't worry, we still are. Stick with the company who plays nice. Impacted by the attack? Call our hotline." Blake Oliver: I know why they're doing that, because I searched iNSYNQ on Google, and I saw ads from their competitors, saying, "Hey, affected by the iNSYNQ attack? Come to us, and we'll take care of you." Actually, I just searched, and I found one from TrapTechnology.com/iNSYNQ. "Impacted by the iNSYNQ attack? No contracts. Get a free trial." Ben Wann: Doesn’t hurt to try.  David Leary: And the other piece- Blake Oliver: Oh, NetSuite is doing it. "Affected [00:47:00] by the iNSYNQ attack? Switched to NetSuite today." David Leary: Switch off of hosting! Another thing he pointed out is that Alex Holden, the founder of Milwaukee-based cyber intelligence firm Hold Security, basically came out and pretty much said that if these companies can detect the infection before, they have some elbow room, because a lot of the times, these people will infect- they'll get on the network, and it'll be days before they do any encrypting of files. So, the key is to find the infection and stop it within seconds. Blake Oliver: Yeah. [00:47:30] David Leary: But you're right, if they've already started encrypting stuff by the time you discover it, obviously, we're seeing the repercussions of that. Blake Oliver: Well, speaking of encryption, I got one more story before we go. David Leary: Okay. Blake Oliver: From my old firm, Armanino: they are now accepting cryptocurrency payments. Press release came out yesterday, David, so you'll be happy to hear; that's another accounting firm that is modernizing their payments platform. Ben Wann: What is the angle there? Is that just marketing? I don't get it. Blake Oliver: Yeah. It's really great marketing, and I'm really confused why not every [00:48:00] big firm is doing this. They have ... Armanino started a blockchain cryptocurrency practice. Ben Wann: Okay. Blake Oliver: They've been promoting it, so, why not make an announcement? "We now accept every form of cryptocurrency. You can pay us with anything you want." Because, of course, the tech press are going to pick it up, right? [cross talk] David Leary: It's super-easy, right? It's just like getting QuickBooks merchant services. It's just you're adding a merchant service for 5,000 different wallets. [cross talk] Blake Oliver: -all you have to do is set up Coinbase or something, and [00:48:30] it just automatically converts whatever people pay you into US dollars, right? Just a great example of some easy accounting firm-type marketing stuff you could be doing. David Leary: I'm glad you brought that up, because it reminded me of a thought I had in the car, when I was driving earlier today, about ScaleFactor. I was like, "ScaleFactor's never once played the AI or blockchain card, and they're raising all this crazy money … They're not even playing the AI and blockchain card." Blake Oliver: That's true. Maybe that means they have some actual automation at work [cross talk] David Leary: -and on that note … [00:49:00] Blake Oliver: This was really fun. Thanks, Ben, for joining us. If people wanna follow you online, I know you mentioned that stuff before, but what's the best place for them to follow you personally, and then, your website for your project? Ben Wann: LinkedIn is the place to find me, and then The Numbers Guys is our website. David Leary: No Twitter for you, Ben? No Twitter? Ben Wann: I'm on Twitter. I don't know what I'm doing on Twitter. David Leary: Oh, we’ll have to get you on. We'll get you in the loop. Blake Oliver: That's good, because a [00:49:30] good rule of social media marketing is pick your platform and kinda own it, so you’re doing the right thing, Ben.  Ben Wann: Yep. Blake Oliver: David, where should people find you online? David Leary: I am on the Twitters- would be easy … It's @DavidLeary. Blake Oliver: I'm @BlakeTOliver. You can find me on both those places. David Leary: And, as always, please leave reviews on iTunes, but we have great news for all you not … All you iTunes, and Apple haters, like me, out there. You can finally write reviews somewhere else. There's a website called PodChaser.com. On there, [00:50:00] you can search for Cloud Accounting Podcast, or click the link in the show notes, and you can leave a review on Pod Chaser. What's nice about that is those reviews are starting to appear in other podcast players. It's one place to write a review, and in regards to the podcast player you use, it's going to populate across. Blake Oliver: They got some sort of API connection going on. That's cool. Ben Wann: I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I got turned on to you guys … In the last few days, I've just been listening to what you're up to. This podcast is really good. I've enjoyed it. You guys are doing really great work. David Leary: Oh, [00:50:30] thank you. Blake Oliver: Thanks so much, Ben. That's awesome. Really appreciate that. Now go write a review [cross talk] All right, that's it for me. Talk to you next week, David, and Ben, thanks for being on the show. Ben Wann: All right. See you later. David Leary: Bye, everybody. Blake Oliver: Bye.
#Xerocon San Diego: LivePlan's Sabrina Parsons, CEO, and Kathy Gregory, Director of Strategic Development
SponsorLivePlan: http://cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/lpbootcamp Show Notes  00:31 – A personal word of thanks to our sponsors  01:00 – Sabrina and Kathy define advisory from their perspective   03:05 – Finding the why - Asking the right questions to help build a strong advisory service  07:01 – Another model of combining bookkeeping and advisory - former guest, Kenji Kuramoto  10:22 – Worth repeating: Bookkeeping is not what creates value in the mind of the business owner   11:37 – Adapt or die ... Stop fighting AI and get creative   13:29 – Sometimes Kool-Aid is good. Sabrina breaks down the myth that strategic planning is not a small-business imperative 15:14 – Want to take your client-advisory skills to the next level? The LivePlan Client Advisory Services Boot Camp is just what you need!   16:41 – For small businesses that don't have the budget for CFO-level help, there are endless opportunities for accountants skilled in strategic planning and advisory  19:10 – When you've got the 'who, what, where, and why,' LivePlan gives you the 'how'   19:53 – Kathy shares the inspiration behind LivePlan and describes some key features  22:08 – LivePlan is launching a new QuickBooks Desktop Beta. If you're interested in taking part, visit LivePlan.com/strategicadvisors to learn more 25:16 – LivePlan offers tools that remove the complications and make it easy for small business owners to work alongside their accountants  27:15 – Why Palo Alto transformed from desktop to cloud, and how they found the method to their madness within their own method - LivePlan   31:53 – How does Palo Alto Software stay profitable, and continue to reinvest in its own growth? Strategic planning   34:07 – Sabrina give a brief glimpse into her side gig - advocating for working moms and working families and how it took her to the White House more than once Connect with Sabrina and Kathy  Email: accountants@liveplan.com Website: LivePlan.com Twitter - LivePlan: @LivePlanSA Twitter - Sabrina: @mommyceo LinkedIn - Sabrina: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sabrinaparsons Twitter - Kathy: @KathyGregory1 LinkedIn - Kathy: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathy-gregory-821525112/ Get in TouchThanks for listening and for the great reviews! We appreciate you! Follow and tweet @BlakeTOliver and @DavidLeary. Find us on Facebook and, if you like what you hear, please do us a favor and write a review on iTunes, or Podchaser. Interested in sponsoring the Cloud Accounting Podcast? For details, read the prospectus.  Subscribe Apple Podcasts: http://cloudacctpod.link/ApplePodcasts Spotify: http://cloudacctpod.link/Spotify Google Play: http://cloudacctpod.link/GooglePlay Stitcher: http://cloudacctpod.link/Stitcher Overcast: http://cloudacctpod.link/Overcast TranscriptBlake Oliver: Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast, I'm Blake Oliver. David Leary: I'm David Leary. Kathy Gregory: I'm Kathy Gregory. Sabrina Parsons: I'm Sabrina Parsons. David Leary: Sabrina and Kathy, where are you guys from? Sabrina Parsons: We are from Palo Alto Software, makers of LivePlan and also Outpost. But I think, for today, it's really makers of LivePlan, because we're here to talk to you guys about all kinds of things related to LivePlan and advisory. David Leary: There's the word - advisory. We're in the Summer [00:00:30] of Advisory. We were talking about this last night- Blake Oliver: Yes, yes ... Oh, and before we get into that, though, thank you so much for sponsoring and making this whole event possible for us. Sabrina Parsons: Oh, absolutely. Blake Oliver: We appreciate it!  Sabrina Parsons: We love Cloud Accounting Podcast. David Leary: Thank you. Blake Oliver: So, yeah, let's dive right into it. Let's do it. Advisory. David Leary: It's everywhere. We actually had an interview earlier today, where they're starting to ... People are getting scared by the word advisory, because it's like- Kathy Gregory: Being overused.  David Leary: Do advisory or die! What does it mean to you two? [00:01:00] Kathy Gregory: To me, you can't advise a small business or client. You can't advise your client unless you're doing strategic planning. For me, right away, you better be doing some planning, and broad-level strategic planning should be included and then the follow-up to the planning, but it can't be just ... I've heard people talk about advising on IT solutions, and advising, obviously, on tax. I completely understand that, and I think all of that can be included, but you're not gonna help a small business get [00:01:30] to where they wanna be - either grow or retain where they are, or even scale back ... Sometimes a business is trying to slow down, and a person's trying to retire out, or they're trying to just take it down and end it. Whatever it is, whatever the plan is, you're not gonna be able to do that unless there is strategic planning involved. David Leary: There's no plan, there's no map. What are you advising? Kathy Gregory: Right. Sabrina Parsons: Exactly, and I think that's ... I know, people get scared about it, and I think 'The Summer of Advisory' ... They're hearing all these things. There's a lot [00:02:00] going on right now, but I think the reason they get scared is because it is so undefined, and people define it in so many different ways, and it feels overwhelming. But, at the end of the day, really what you're doing ... What we all say by advisory, we all mean helping small businesses. That's what I like to kind of reframe and help people understand that it doesn't have to be this big, scary word that means 500 things. Really, what you're doing is helping a small business client. [00:02:30] How do you help a small business client without understanding their strategic roadmap, and where are they going, and really interpreting their financials for them? Because if they need IT help, maybe they'll come to you, but they're already there with you because you know numbers. If you're an accountant, that's why a small business client is with you. I think sometimes I see that disconnect, where, sure, you can learn IT, you can advise on IT, but your [00:03:00] strength as an accountant is your- the way you know numbers and embrace them. Blake Oliver: One thing I see, and I'm guilty of this, is people will ... When I was in practice, they'd come to me and they'd want a service. They'd say, "I need bookkeeping." Then I would just jump in and start doing that for them. Or maybe they would need some controller-type services. It was always best if I stopped for a moment, and I asked why. Not just "Why do you need my services?" Which I got better at asking that ... From a sales perspective, that's really important. But also, it's like, "Why are you in [00:03:30] business?" Sabrina Parsons: Yes.  Blake Oliver: We fail to stop and think about that. It could be, like you said, for strategic planning, Kathy. Maybe they wanna sell the business; they wanna retire, or I don't know, maybe it's just like they wanna quit their day job ... Everybody has a different reason, right? Financial independence- Kathy Gregory: I think, in the accounting industry, and in the public accounting industry, for so long, because of compliance-based services, a public accountant can literally sit back and wait for the client to come to them, because [00:04:00] they need whatever compliance-based service they need. But if you're going to work at a higher level with a client and help them grow their business, or help them achieve their goals, you have to lean forward, and you have to ask those questions that are different, and new, and more broad. Then, know how to apply that information. If the client tells you, "I'm trying to really just make enough money to send my kid to college," or, "I'm trying to purchase a new piece of capital [inaudible] company," or whatever it is, all of those are [00:04:30] business goals, and you have to be able to translate those into whatever financial plan that will help them achieve that. It's just it's a different type of work. Blake Oliver: Yeah. How do we get comfortable with that as accountants? Sabrina Parsons: You know, I think the first place is to also realize - and Blake, I don't know how much- whether you'll agree with me or not - but I feel like if you ask those questions to a small business, "Why do you need the bookkeeping?" I feel like we hear a lot from small businesses. We work directly with them. We started, and still [00:05:00] to this day, more than 80 percent of our revenue is direct from small businesses. We interact with millions of small businesses ... When they have the money to hire a bookkeeper, they don't understand what bookkeeping means. What they think to themselves is, "Whew ... I finally made it. I have enough money for somebody else to do the financials.". Blake Oliver: Right.  Sabrina Parsons: They don't understand that bookkeeping is literally compliance, and you're not helping [00:05:30] them analyze what's going on. You're just recording what happened. I think that's part of the disconnect. When accountants are afraid of advisory, because they don't know how to sell it, the biggest message I want them to hear is you don't have to sell it. You just have to do it, because that's why a small business owner is coming to you. I think it's a huge disconnect-. Kathy Gregory: And be able to know what the right price is for your firm and your ecosystem for that, too. Make sure you charge for it. But [00:06:00] yeah, just do it, because they expect that. Blake Oliver: Yeah, a lotta times, we give it away, right? Kathy Gregory: Yes!  Blake Oliver: We charge for a tax return, but we're doing a ton of advisory that's way more valuable to the owner. David Leary: And the owners will pay for it, because they'll understand the value- Kathy Gregory: If they understand it. Yeah, and I think that seems to be the next step for the accounting industry as a whole is to decide what it is, and then be comfortable with systematizing it, because I think it's ... I hear two things said a lot at conferences and at places, that advisory is knowledge [00:06:30] work. I hear that a lot. It's knowledge work ... It is, 100 percent, but you can still systematize knowledge work. You can still do that. You can set up for yourself a process and a system. Then, once you have that, then it's defined, and then you know what you're doing, and you can train your staff on it, and everybody knows what their piece of it is. Then, you can price it easier, and you can market it easier, and you know what that is. They need to embrace both - the fact that it's knowledge work, but that you can also make it a system. David Leary: Yeah. I think, this summer, a couple things I've [00:07:00] observed is Kenji ... Say Kenji's last name for me.  Blake Oliver: Kuramoto.  David Leary: Kuramoto ... Who was actually at The Accounting Salon. He was ... If you go back a couple episodes, listeners, you can listen to his interview. It was interesting, because he started 100-percent virtual CFO advising only. He's worked his way backwards into bookkeeping, because he realized he can't do any advising if their books aren't accurate-  Kathy Gregory: Oh, yeah. You've gotta have that.  David Leary: What's interesting, you guys have an app, LivePlan, and that connects to the accounting systems, but then also helps do the advising, right? There was a slide last week on Twitter. It was at the AICPA, and somebody was ... It was like, "Stop [00:07:30] doing bookkeeping and do advising!"  Kathy Gregory: Oh, boy.  Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah.  David Leary: How is that possible? Kathy Gregory: No, it's not possible.  David Leary: How do you do advising if you don't have good numbers? Kathy Gregory: No, no, you gotta have good numbers and a very clean month-end, or at least having it happen quickly. Sabrina Parsons: And if you can control that ... Kenji working his way to bookkeeping and understanding that, then your advising is gonna be better, because garbage in is garbage out. If you've got terrible charts of accounts and someone isn't doing the bookkeeping correctly, it's gonna be really, really difficult. But there's [00:08:00] an opportunity there, whether you wanna do all the bookkeeping or not. This is also where I think people have to not be afraid of what technology is bringing to the table.  I know a lotta people are afraid of all kinds of online services now, including Intuit, that are offering bookkeeping, right? I really want an accountant to look at that and say, "Okay, is that work that I wanna do - that work that's commoditized that I [00:08:30] can no longer charge as much for, because it's so easy for people to go online, and find services, and package services at ridiculous rates?" If it's well done, and you can then do the advisory, the value is not in the bookkeeping.  At some point, it's even gonna be ... I mean, technology, automation, IA, is gonna continue to work on the bookkeeping side and continue to make that an automated artificial-intelligence [00:09:00] process. That's fine. Let that happen, and use that, and then build your advisory services. Wouldn't you rather do super-interesting work, help a business grow, or sell, or add a partner, or add a location? Really be that entrepreneurial catalyst for your small business. That's so much more invigorating. You can bring passion to that. Don't be afraid of all the online services, because there's only gonna be more, and more, [00:09:30] and more of them, and that's okay. Kathy Gregory: You get to keep playing with numbers, too. It's not like you don't get to keep playing with numbers. You just do them in a different way; you analyze them in different way. Knowing that each metric that comes off of your standard P&L balance sheet and cash flow ties back to something going on in the operation that's working, either well or not well? That's a super-fun job. I nerd out over that all day. I think it's so fun to dig into those metrics and try to figure out [00:10:00] what's happening in a small business operation that's working, or not working, then asking the right questions of the business owner. There's nothing more fun than that, and there's nothing more fun than seeing their eyes light up, when you hit on something, you've uncovered something. They go, "Yeah ... Yes, that's not working right, and I don't understand it, but I didn't get the numbers to be able to know it." You know what I mean? It's like these two brains coming together. It's so fun. David Leary: Something you said, Sabrina, and I think this is the problem ... People hear some of the sentences, but maybe not the whole conversation. You said bookkeeping is not the value, but I [00:10:30] think people hear that, like, "Bookkeeping is not valuable," but you can't do the valuable stuff without solid bookkeeping. Nobody's saying bookkeeping is not valuable. Blake Oliver: Well, it's not what creates the value in the mind of the business owner. David Leary: Correct. Yes. Blake Oliver: It's essential to do the work, right? Sabrina Parsons: Exactly. Exactly. I think that's exactly right. Blake, you should repeat that again.  Blake Oliver: It is not what creates value in the mind of the business owner. Sabrina Parsons: Exactly. You also can't fight ... I believe you shouldn't [00:11:00] fight that technology battle. You should embrace it. I don't mean that bookkeepers aren't smart, that they aren't doing valuable work, that what they do today is somehow lesser. I just mean this is the reality. This is what's happening, and they can't stop that. Right? It's the same way where, if you're a taxi driver, at this point, you've probably stopped fighting rideshare, right?  Blake Oliver: Yeah, probably. Sabrina Parsons: Ten years ago, it didn't exist; five years ago, taxi [00:11:30] drivers fought it; at this point, they've given up fighting it and they've either joined or moved on to do something else-  David Leary: We've talked about that on the podcast, in the past. There were some articles, because we brought this up ... There's taxi drivers, and taxi associations, in taxi people that are doing very creative additional services. It's forced them to step up their game. Blake Oliver: Yellow Cab, I think, created their own app now. They are being forced to improve, I think, and the same thing's happening in our industry with these software plus a service type of offerings - the Botkeepers, the ScaleFactors, the- [00:12:00] David Leary: QuickBooks Live-  Blake Oliver: QuickBooks Lives. That's forcing us all to up our game, but it's also creating a bigger market for these services. Now, people are aware, "Hey, this is not just a niche thing. I can get this." Sabrina Parsons: The other part that I think, to Kathy's point of this can be exciting work, is that we've lived in an environment in the U.S., where small businesses understand they need bookkeeping. As soon as they can afford it, they want somebody else to do it. They've understood [00:12:30] that they can't run a business without bookkeeping software. That's why you've got all these big players and lots of players in this market. They embrace that. They know that. But they're still failing. If you start a business in five years, 70-percent chance that you're outta business. 60 percent of the ones that fail were actually profitable. They ran out of cash. They're not managing their business, and this has been for years, and years, and years. What I think is the super-exciting [00:13:00] opportunity is that if all of these services online and all of this technology really pushes bookkeepers and accountants to innovate and to be really thoughtful about what they bring to the table and bring real value with their experience, their knowledge, their human mind that technology can't do, we actually have a chance in the U.S. of changing the economy. Small businesses drive the economy, and a rising tide lifts all boats. I [00:13:30] know I sound like I'm dispensing Kool-Aid, but I find it to be super-intriguing to look at those numbers and think about could we really affect the economy by getting accountants to do this sort of advisory work? It is good for small businesses. Intuit does strategic planning. Xero does strategic planning. All public companies do. When we know and we see all those reports from Wall Street ... Did [00:14:00] Google make their numbers? How's Microsoft doing? How's Intuit doing? What they're talking about is their forecast, and what they're doing is saying, "Here's the forecast, here's the actual. Did they make their numbers?" Startups do strategic plans.  Small businesses are kinda told this myth that business planning is for startups only, and for raising capital, which is a total myth, because even large [00:14:30] private companies, they do planning, and they have a board, and the board has to approve the plans, and they look at it every month. It's almost this myth that small businesses have been told, and then accept, because strategic planning is hard, that they don't need it yet. Yet, everybody else that's successful and bigger does it. Kathy Gregory: Even without the board, even ... I spent years in a fairly large engineering firm, and we did it just for middle operational management, pulling data [00:15:00] out of the accounting system, because the accounting department wasn't doing that; massaging it in a way that made sense, building forecasts, so that operations managers could make decisions; could make strategic decisions. This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by LivePlan. This has been The Summer of Advisory. Everyone at every conference, and every session is telling you to become an advisor, but the fact is, a 50-minute CPE session at a conference does not make you an advisor. [00:15:30] Some of you even took to Twitter to vent about this fact. Well, I have some good news for you. Believe it or not, Twitter led to the creation of a three-day course, or should I say a boot camp on advisory? Yes, that is right. You can now really become an advisor by attending the LivePlan Client Advisory Services Boot Camp on October 2, 3, and 4, 2019. The three-day event in Eugene, Oregon, will include deep learning, and hands-on workshops to learn the LivePlan method for strategic advising, and how to market, sell and deliver this vital client [00:16:00] advisory service to your small business clients. To learn more about attending the LivePlan Advisory Bootcamp, head over to CloudAccountingPodcast.promo/lpbootcamp. That is Cloud Accounting Podcast dot promo forward slash L-P-B-O-O-T-C-A-M-P.  David Leary: I suspect small businesses do wanna make plans, but they get caught up running their business, and that's where partnering with somebody who could actually come in and just ... In a way, it's advising- just [00:16:30] holding them accountable a little bit is just gonna help them. Sabrina Parsons: Also, if the accountant does the advisory, because the small business owner is doing a million things ... Really, it's like Kenji being a CFO for hire. That's what they need. They just, they can't take on that role. They don't have that knowledge. They don't have the expertise. They need that value from somebody else, and they will welcome it. Once you do it correctly, they'll be addicted. They are not gonna drop you. Your [00:17:00] retention with that client is gonna be as long as they have their business. If you're charging them $2,000 a month, you're not getting a CFO for $24,000 a year. That is not happening. You can't get that sort of strategic level of experience for that sort of money. So, if an accountant can do that, there is room for thousands of dollars a month that are still completely doable [00:17:30] for a small business, and the value is there. Blake Oliver: So, I'm an accountant. I'm ready to make this leap. I want to get started in advisory, but I don't know where to get started - that's the classic problem. I wanna do it ...  David Leary: You just go to conference. There's lots of sessions. Blake Oliver: How does LivePlan create that starting point for me. How does it work?  Kathy Gregory: From soup to nuts, if you do it [00:18:00] all, you would start with a broad conversation with your client to understand their big goals and begin doing real strategic planning with them that would include everything from looking at their market, and looking at how they're selling, and who they're selling to, and why they're selling it, and having a fairly deep discussion with them about that. Then translating those things into a forecast. There are simpler ways to start, if that is work that is new to you. In our software, you can dive into those- yes, I'm sorry?  Blake Oliver: Sorry, I'm just trying [00:18:30] to picture it in my mind. I'm creating a strategic plan. It's like a business plan. Am I thinking the same terminology?  Kathy Gregory: Yeah, we call it a Lean Plan. Blake Oliver: Lean Plan, okay-  Sabrina Parsons: I will just interject, before Kathy describes it, because you asked how LivePlan helps. I think the number-one thing, to David's joke of just go to conferences, because they have all these sessions, is that I think part of the problem for accountants is they all get talked at about why, and they [00:19:00] don't need that. They already bought it. They know why-. Blake Oliver: This is the classic problem of conferences, all high level. Sabrina Parsons: Exactly.  Blake Oliver: "You need to do this." Then you go home, and you wonder like, "Well, how do I do it?" Sabrina Parsons: Exactly. Exactly. This is what we've learned over the years. Our tool is a tool for small business owners. It is a platform and a system for accountants, and it's two different things. What we've really understood that what accountants needed is not to be convinced. They're convinced. They buy it. They [00:19:30] nod their heads. Then they go home, and they don't know what to do. What Kathy's really built, and then I'll let her describe it, is the 'how,' and in a way that makes sense to someone who's been doing tax and compliance work. It is a system and a process with tasks that you can learn how to do. We've really gotten into the weeds to show accountants, and train them- Blake Oliver: Yeah, we like checklists, so this is-  Sabrina Parsons: Yes, yes-  Kathy Gregory: It is a checklist. Yeah, my background is in a lot of things, but business process design [00:20:00] is one big piece of it. So, it was realizing- it was coming to these conferences, when I first came to Palo Alto Software, and realizing, oh, this industry doesn't have a business process for this, and that really is what's needed. Then, once there is a master kind of business process, then firms can adopt that in whatever way makes sense depending on the things they focus on, or the skills they have. If they focus on only bookkeeping, there's pieces of it you can do. If you're sort of CFOs for hire, then it's different; but you have to have the master plan first and then be able to [00:20:30] pick apart pieces of it you like- Blake Oliver: Got it.  Kathy Gregory: -and deal with capacity planning, and resource allocation, and all of the things that you have to think about when you roll out a new service. Blake Oliver: So super-high level, just overview for those who are not familiar at all with LivePlan ... I think I used LivePlan actually, myself, as a business owner. Kathy Gregory: Great. Blake Oliver: I don't know if you know that. When I started my firm, I created my business plan, that one-page pitch to get an investor with LivePlan-. Sabrina Parsons: That's awesome. Blake Oliver: Now, of course, I was bad, and I didn't follow through with the forecasting, and the [00:21:00] budget-to-actuals, and any of that-. David Leary: That's because he was a bookkeeper, and he was too busy. Blake Oliver: I was too busy. So, that I'm familiar with. I could create that business plan and try to get investment or just really distill in my mind what it is I'm doing, which is actually just a great exercise. Can you explain your business in like-. Kathy Gregory: Isn't it great? Blake Oliver: -in one sentence? Kathy Gregory: And how it limits you to those characters? Blake Oliver: Yes!  Kathy Gregory: Because it seems like a nothing thing, but it's important, because you strip out all the words that don't matter, and you get down to the words that ... It really is powerful. Blake Oliver: So that part I did. Then, if I had actually continued, I would then [00:21:30] create a financial forecast? Kathy Gregory: Yeah. Blake Oliver: I wanna hire employees; I wanna expand ... It's building out a forecast. Kathy Gregory: Yeah, and then really thinking through the things to forecast. That's a critical piece of it. The software helps you think through that. If you already have maybe a chart of accounts with a ledger, you've got codes already, but the things you wanna forecast should be strategic to your business, and they should roll out of that Lean Plan. Blake Oliver: Got it. Then, once I've created that, I can pull in the actuals from my accounting software. What GLs do [00:22:00] you support? Xero, obviously, because you're here at Xerocon. You're also doing ...?  Kathy Gregory: And QuickBooks Online-  Blake Oliver: QuickBooks Online. I pull in those numbers ...  Sabrina Parsons: We are also going back to ... We used to support QuickBooks Desktop. The Sync Manager went away. We were hesitant to build our own sync manager, waiting to see what Intuit was gonna do; but it's clear that QuickBooks Desktop, at this point, still has a lotta usage, and it isn't [00:22:30] going away. So, we are launching our beta for accountants next week. If anyone is curious and they want to be part of the QuickBooks Desktop beta, they can contact us. If they just come to a LivePlan.com/strategicadvisors, they can find the information, but we are back to supporting QuickBooks Desktop.  Blake Oliver: All right. Well, the folks who are signing up for Right Networks, for their Always On feature, which claims to make QuickBooks Desktop just as good as QuickBooks Online, now [00:23:00] they've got LivePlan integrating with it, too. Sabrina Parsons: We are actually using Right Networks, their ...  Kathy Gregory: Autofy.  Sabrina Parsons: They just purchased Autofy, and-  David Leary: Yep, yep, that's what we were talking about [cross talk] Sabrina Parsons: Autofy is who's actually doing our Desktop integration-. Blake Oliver: You don't have to be logged into as a user, too, for the sync to work, all that stuff?  Sabrina Parsons: Exactly. Exactly.  Blake Oliver: We oughta talk about this more, David. I'm actually more bullish on hosting than you might think. Yeah, yeah. Well, that's great. Okay, now it's kind of making sense in my mind. Kathy Gregory: Yeah, so you [00:23:30] connect the accounting solution, and then LivePlan's dashboard is going to present you with the metrics - each individual metric. It was built, remember, for small businesses. That's the cool thing about it, for accountants, that they don't have to now reconstruct and build reports that makes sense to small businesses, because they're already built; they're already done. Blake Oliver: Got it. Kathy Gregory: Then it shows me very clearly the difference between plan and actual; really simply, like with green arrows up mean good, and red arrows down mean bad. [00:24:00] Again, it's cool for the accountant, because it's a talking point. Have you ever been in an advisory meeting or any a meeting with your client, maybe at month end, and you've got the talking points. You know what you're gonna tell them, but your brain just breaks down in the middle of the meeting, and you kind of forget the points? This is nice, because it helps guide you through- Blake Oliver: It's that agenda for that meeting.  Kathy Gregory: Yeah, it is. Then our business process that's outside of LivePlan comes with meeting agendas, and scripting, and all the other things that help you- that support you. Sabrina Parsons: Initially, if you're [00:24:30] afraid, or you don't know, the scripting is great, right? We kind of prompt you with, "Here's some questions you should be asking." When people actually start doing this, then they build their own questions. They get more comfortable. They understand their style and the style of the client. It goes back to that whole idea of everybody gets the why; How? How?  We've realized that getting down to even providing you with scripts really helps people get over that hurdle and that fear, because the other part that I think is really vital, and [00:25:00] I would say is a competitive differentiator for LivePlan versus other reporting analytics apps, is that we didn't build this first and only for accountants, who then put stuff together and presented to clients. That's fine, and other people have chosen to do that, but we built it so that the small business owner works with the accountant; so that the small business owner's also using the dashboard, and so that the reports make sense to the small business owner, because what we heard from accountants [00:25:30] is they stop using a lot of these other tools because they send stuff to their client, and the client never responds, doesn't look at it month, after month, after month. They don't, because it's too complicated, because it wasn't built for them.  David Leary: And essentially, because you guys have a 25-30 years’ experience servicing small businesses, and you attacked it from that direction. It reminds me of Intuit; years ago, in my career at Intuit, with TurboTax. They, at one time, hired an editor from People Magazine to basically go in and change all the text in TurboTax, because it [00:26:00] was easier to use then, because it was written with all this accounting language, and nobody could understand it. It's kinda the same thing. If people are coming from the accounting dashboard side, trying to push down the other direction, you're probably not gonna communicate to the small business owners. You guys already had that DNA in you, and then came the other direction. Sabrina Parsons: Exactly. We actually started working with the accountants because they came to us. We got to a point of critical mass of having LivePlan out there in the marketplace, that the small business owners were taking LivePlan to the accountants. We started hearing [00:26:30] from accountants saying, "What is this? Do you have trainings? How do I use it? My small business clients have it, and now I have to learn how to use it." We really were pulled by the accountants to come into this market because of our DNA with small business owners and the fact that the small businesses were already using it, which I think was appealing to accountants. They don't have to position, or sell, or market this other tool or these other reports. David Leary: Could you speak to ... It's [00:27:00] not really advisory related, but I think it's a cool story, because everybody's in this transition still, constantly - desktop to cloud. We just talked about desktop a couple seconds ago. But, tell the history of LivePlan, and Palo Alto software, because it was a desktop company, and now you've changed it into a SaaS cloud company. You've made the transition yourself. Sabrina Parsons: Yes, we have. I took over the business in 2007, and we were basically a Windows desktop company. Our flagship product was Business Plan Pro. A lot of people have used it; millions of entrepreneurs. [00:27:30] But the writing was on the wall, and we understood, as a software development firm, what the cloud had to offer in terms of usability, in terms of development, getting away from that Golden Master, and installations, and the support side; also, the ability to iterate more quickly and really bring customers what they want consistently and not once a year with this big release. We started, [00:28:00] at that point, planning. I think what is interesting to me is for people to understand that the way LivePlan was born was really saying, yes, we've gotta go in the cloud, but also recognizing that Business Plan Pro wasn't doing the ongoing management the small businesses needed. We were using Business Plan Pro. Every year, we'd create our strategic plan, and every month, we would compare plan, versus actual, versus previous period, versus previous [00:28:30] year, because those data points tell you a lot. If you're a retail store, and you're looking in January, you look at previous period December, and the numbers are not gonna look ... You're gonna look, like, "Oh, my God, I'm doing so much less ..." but that's obvious, right? Seasonality. You want previous period, but you also want same period last year, because that tells you even more. That was the way we managed Palo Alto Software every month, but it entailed exporting from Business Plan [00:29:00] Pro, exporting from Accounting Solution, massaging data, and so- David Leary: Because you were using your own product, you realized all the things it sucked at.  Sabrina Parsons: Exactly. Exactly, and the ongoing small business management ... We built LivePlan, and the methodology that's behind that process and system that Kathy has built for accountants is what we used to build LivePlan. There is a management methodology to LivePlan. When you take a company and you switch it from Windows development [00:29:30] software to cloud, you have to have whole different developers. There's a lot of resources there, and there's a real big push on cash. All of a sudden, you need to hire all these other people for a product that's not bringing you revenue yet. We changed technologies. That's hard. It can be very difficult for a company. We also changed business models. We had a piece of software that we were selling, and it was more transactional. You bought it ... Yes, we got some upgrades, but you bought it, and you didn't [00:30:00] keep paying us, right? You bought it, and, on average, we were making 160 dollars from every user, because we had a couple of versions - $99, $199 - different things that you could buy, but we were getting all the money at once.  So, not only did we have to switch from a resource perspective and hire all these new developers, but we also, all of a sudden, were in a situation, where we were gonna be getting $20 a month ... We didn't know, were we only gonna get $20? Were we gonna get $300? Were we [00:30:30] gonna get $160? Were we gonna get more people but less money? That's kind of a scary thing and a huge cash flow implication, because all of a sudden, we're getting 20 bucks, and it's taking us over a year to get to that average transaction that we already had.  The only way we were able to do that is using the LivePlan method. That's exactly how we used it, right? We forecasted. We understood our cash. What [00:31:00] we did is that we saw our runway, and we slowly introduced LivePlan, while still selling Business Plan Pro, so that we were able to really strategically ... But there's no way we coulda done it without managing-. Blake Oliver: You did a cross fade. Sabrina Parsons: We did ... Obviously, I'm proud of it, because I love LivePlan, but I also want people to know it's how we manage the business. We are privately owned. No debt. Cash-flow [00:31:30] positive. We've never taken on an investment, and we continue to grow. We've done that, and we're able to do that because we eat our own dog food, because we do strategic planning, because we don't spend money we don't have. Blake Oliver: That's interesting. That's kind of a rarity. You are profitable, cash-flow positive, and not interested in taking on investment money?  Sabrina Parsons: No.  Blake Oliver: Are you planning to stay private, and just ...?  Sabrina Parsons: You never know what happens in the future, but it works for us, and we don't need it. We've built up cash that we can [00:32:00] reinvest. We've built up enough cash that we've launched a whole 'nother product. We've been able to invest in that product. We have a team of 20 people and that product is just barely launched. We've done that all with using our own revenue and profits from our existing product line, but it takes a lot of super-careful planning. Blake Oliver: That's very refreshing. David Leary: It's very hard for companies to get off the desktop model to a cloud model. We actually did an interview last week with Shafat from BQE- Blake Oliver: Similar [00:32:30] story. David Leary: Similar story. Instead of how you cross-faded it, to take Blake's term-  Blake Oliver: He did a hard cut off. David Leary: He just stopped. The second it was done, it was launched. You couldn't buy his desktop product anymore. He went for it. Maybe he didn't use LivePlan. He just jumped right in.  Sabrina Parsons: Maybe he had a credit line, or he had some investors. You have to have some cash to do that, right?  Blake Oliver: You've got to have a lotta cash to take that kinda risk. David Leary: I think it was private, but, see, they were an existing desktop app that had an established base for a long time. Blake Oliver: If people wanna find out more about LivePlan [00:33:00] and connect with you, and your company online, where can they do that? Kathy Gregory: If you're an accountant, the best way is you can email us at accountants@LivePlan.com. That's the first way. Our website is LivePlan.com. Then, in the upper right-hand corner, it'll say Solutions, and there's a dropdown, and you can pick Accountants. That'll get you to the site that has all the resources. There are tons of resources on our site. Blake Oliver: Are you two on the social medias? Do you like the Twitter- Kathy Gregory: Oh, yeah, I'm on the social medias. My Twitter handle, I'm supposed to know that, right? I think it's @KMGregory1. I [00:33:30] believe that's what it is. Yeah, that's what it is. I have fun on Twitter all the time with accountants, but I can't recall ... [cross talk]  Blake Oliver: It's like knowing my own phone number. Kathy Gregory: Yeah, right, but I do have-  Sabrina Parsons: Kathy also helps manage our LivePlan Strategic Advisor Twitter, and that's @LivePlanSA.  Kathy Gregory: Yeah, @LivePlanSA, and there's a blog that I think is fun and good on the site.  Blake Oliver: All right, great.  Sabrina Parsons: And my Twitter handle is @mommyceo Blake Oliver: I love that. And as always, I am @BlakeTOliver. [00:34:00] How about you, David? David Leary: I'm @David Leary. I think this is interesting, because I don't think we've had anybody on our podcast that has spoken to a president before. Sabrina Parsons: In my spare time, I do a lot of advocating for working moms and working families. I have been lucky enough to be invited to two summits during the Obama presidencies, and, yes, was able to have some really cool experiences because of that and speak at a White House summit-. Blake Oliver: Wow. [00:34:30] Sabrina Parsons: -and bring two of my three boys to come ... One of them was has been too young to also be able to experience that ... Being a CEO, woman, working mom in a technology software company, there's not a whole lot of us. I am hoping that 20 years from now, that's different, but I am definitely a big advocate of working parents, and working moms, and try to do a lot [00:35:00] of political advocacy to actually make change. David Leary: Nice.  Blake Oliver: Wonderful. Thanks so much for joining us [cross talk] Yeah, great to talk to you.  Sabrina Parsons: Thank you.  Kathy Gregory: Thanks so much. It was really fun.  David Leary: All right, bye.  

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Steve Chase reviewed this podcast about 18 hours ago
"This is the podcast to listen to if you are a bookkeeper or accounting firm owner. I enjoy listening to so many great tech news, accounting discussions, and interviews. It's great content and I'm very excited to be tapped into this podcast as we journey together in the knowledge economy. Thanks Blake and David!"

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#Xerocon San Diego: LivePlan's Sabrina Parsons, CEO, and Kathy Gregory, Director of Strategic Development
Curated list of1 episodebySabrina Parsons
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Podcast Details
Started
Nov 3rd, 2017
Latest Episode
Aug 19th, 2019
Release Period
Daily
No. of Episodes
105
Avg. Episode Length
29 minutes
Explicit
No
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