- 03:03 – Oh, my! What big FAANGs you have! These five tech players have a combined $4.1 trillion market cap | Investopedia
- 05:22 – Setting the accounting world on fire – well, at least part of it | Sawyer County Record
- 06:09 – Cash is still king in NYC | NYT
- 08:06 – How the Astros brought their C (for cheat) game | WSJ
- 13:49 – Sage Marketplace offers over 100 ways to customize Sage Biz Cloud | Sage
- 14:14 – Gusto Cashout service is now free for employees | Gusto
- 16:05 – Acumatica beefs up its payroll features and integrations | Accounting Today
- 18:04 – KPMG buys stake in LumaTax | Accounting Today
- 19:00 – Visor takes a new approach with Get Grid | Get Grid
- 22:47 – Etsy – "Mistakes certainly do happen ..." continues plaguing sellers with an array of accounting headaches | eCommerce Bytes
- 23:37 – Facebook and the IRS square off over a measly $9 billion | WSJ
- 28:31 – Pioneer Bank faces the music for its actions, or lack thereof re: MyPayrollHR | The Daily Gazette
- 30:42 – AICPA see deregulation as a huge threat to CPA licensure | Accounting Today
- 38:06 – Help Wanted – Intuit is looking for QBLive bookkeepers, and they're not afraid to advertise inside of QBOA | Facebook
- 41:28 – BOA could hit Intuit where it hurts | PYMNTS.com
- 42:30 – WePay – Scaling the Books? | WePay
- 43:30 – United Airlines takes a train-them-yourself approach to hiring | CNBC buys
- 43:45 – Try, try, try again - KPMG relaunches Spark | KPMG Spark
- 47:58 – Overruled - UpCounsel shuts down | LawSites
- 49:05 – Comings and Goings: Damien Greathead moves to Practice Ignition, and Jody Padar joins Botkeeper | Insightful Accountant/Accounting Today
- 49:43 – Jumping ship or business as usual? Intuit's Alex Chriss dumps a huge chunk of his Intuit holdings | Yahoo! Finance
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______________________ Blake Oliver: Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver. David Leary: And I'm David Leary. another week, Blake. Blake Oliver: Another week. The Ralph's across from me closed, David; our local grocery store. David Leary: Because [00:02:30] of Whole Foods? Costco? Blake Oliver: Apparently the rent is too damn high. That's what the employees were saying that there was a rent dispute. Apparently the rent on that grocery store is $200,000 a month. The owner, the landlord, wanted to raise it $50,000. So, Ralph's said no thanks, and the rumor on Nextdoor and all these neighborhood apps is that we're gonna get an Amazon store. David Leary: Wow. So, it is Amazon, then ... Blake Oliver: Yeah, so ... David Leary: It'll either be them, or Netflix, or Facebook, or Google, [00:03:00] or Apple, right? One of those five. I think I saw something this week that those five companies account for over 15 percent of the entire value of the tech value of all tech companies, now, or some ridiculous thing - those five companies. Blake Oliver: It's nuts. If an Amazon store does open, it'll be a grocery store, and I'm sure they'll have other things there, too. The thing that's really crazy about Amazon stores is there are no cashiers. They've completely - this is what I hear - automated the checkout process. You go in, you [00:03:30] scan a barcode on your phone that identifies you by your Amazon account - you have to have an Amazon account to shop there - then you go through the store, and you pick up your items, and a combination of cameras and barcodes help Amazon know exactly what's in your cart and what you've got. I mean, you could put it in your pocket, Amazon will know. Then you just walk out of the store when you're done, and it bills it to your Amazon account, just like you shopped online. David Leary: Now, have you been to one of those stores? Blake Oliver: No, no. I've heard about them, and I've seen walkthroughs and videos of them in Seattle. David Leary: We should [00:04:00] take a trip. It's gonna be a business expense. Blake Oliver: I mean, if one opens, then I'll definitely- I'll have to do a live video or something [crosstalk] David Leary: Maybe in New York City. I don't know if there's one there. Blake Oliver: I don't know. I was trying to do the math in my head on ... Well, if Ralph's thinks they can't afford the $50,000 more per month in rent, maybe Amazon doesn't care because what is $50,000 times 12? It's $600,000. Maybe they save that much in salaries, if they don't need 10 people working at the store. I have no idea what the [00:04:30] average salary is of a grocery store worker, but let's say it's $60,000, here in L.A.; then they can absorb that extra rent cost through automation. David Leary: Well, plus, I'm sure Amazon's much better at tracking you and what your purchasing habits are than Ralph's probably was- Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah, and they can use that data to make more money- David Leary: -yeah, they're gonna monetize that. Blake Oliver: So, anyway, what's new with you, David? David Leary: Nothing new with me, personally; just chugging along. I do have like 45 browser tabs, today, so we should get into the news here. Blake Oliver: Let's get to your top story. David Leary: Top [00:05:00] story. I'll read the headline: "Fire Damages Wall at Accounting Office." Blake Oliver: Where is this headline? Is it ... Is this the Tucson Weekly News? David Leary: No, this wasn't in Tucson. This is from the Sawyer County Record. Blake Oliver: Sawyer County? Where is that? David Leary: Actually, to be honest, I don't know. I read the article three times. Blake Oliver: All right. David Leary: "A structure fire at Anderson, Hager, and Moe CPA building on Windmill Square on Highway 27 in Hayward, Saturday, [00:05:30] February 1, caused a small amount of damage to the building." So, essentially, a wall caught on fire. But the good news is, in a Facebook post, they thanked the Hayward Fire and Police Department for their excellent response time and professionalism. They said the fire was very contained, and they said that- they added that the company ... It's now February 3, and all files and computers were not damaged. They're ready for the tax season. Blake Oliver: All right. David Leary: So, any of you who thought you had a bad start to your tax season, at least you didn't have a wall start on fire. Blake Oliver: Well, what caused the fire? Was it an on-premise server? [00:06:00] David Leary: It's undetermined. Blake Oliver: I got a story, a follow-up to the whole discussion around cashless stores that we've been having - last year in particular- David Leary: Like Amazon. Blake Oliver: Yeah, cash- exactly, like Amazon. Maybe this will affect Amazon stores. New York City last month, a couple weeks ago, banned cashless stores throughout the city. City council approved legislation that prohibits stores, restaurants, and other retail outlets from refusing to accept hard currency. They joined New Jersey, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, and [00:06:30] some other cities are considering similar moves. Massachusetts apparently - I did not know this - had a law requiring all retailers to accept cash and credit since 1978. But, yeah, it's burdensome for cashless stores because the whole point of not accepting cash is you don't have to have multiple employees monitoring the cash. You don't have to worry about your employees getting held up at gunpoint. All that stuff. Now, businesses have to bear that burden. David Leary: Well, the loophole's just gonna be like Amazon. [00:07:00] You have to be a- it's a membership thing, and they just bypass whole thing. Blake Oliver: Well, so the exception in New York is that if you have a machine that will allow people to convert their cash into a card and they can use that, then you're exempt. So, maybe there's a business here. Somebody should start this - really affordable ATM machines that'll just convert cash into like debit cards, or- David Leary: Well, those exist. I'm sure Ralph's had one. You take your coins, and you dump it in, and it gives you that little gift card and code, and you take it [00:07:30] up to the cash register, and you pay for your groceries with it. So, this does exist ... So, don't start that as a business! Somebody already has that market. It's done. Did you know that those guys also are the Redbox guys? Blake Oliver: The Redbox guys? David Leary: That's the same guys. Blake Oliver: Oh ... Well, it makes sense. They have expertise building those machines, right? David Leary: Yeah. Blake Oliver: Well, maybe little ones that go on the counter, next to the Square point-of-sale? Maybe Square should build one. David Leary: Little miniature ones. Blake Oliver: Anyway ... What else? Oh, baseball! David, [00:08:00] are you a baseball fan? David Leary: No, but I know it exists, and I heard there were some cheating recently. Blake Oliver: Living in L.A., it's hard to escape this. Apparently, the Houston Astros were cheating during the World Series and for a long time before that; they were stealing signs- David Leary: Maybe they were cheating against the Dodgers, right? Blake Oliver: Against the Dodgers, yeah, yeah. David Leary: That's why it's in your news. Got it. Blake Oliver: I'm not much of a baseball guy, but I do know that we have one of the best pitchers in the league, and why [00:08:30] were the Houston Astros hitters so good at hitting the balls he was throwing? Because they frickin' knew what was coming, because the Astros were stealing signs. The reason I bring this up is because an article in The Wall Street Journal detailed, recently, how they used Microsoft Excel as their code-breaking app. They literally called it Codebreaker. It was a spreadsheet. Get this, it was created by an intern. It was in Excel-based application programed with an algorithm that could decode the opposing catcher's signs, and it [00:09:00] was called Codebreaker. The way it worked was simple. Somebody would watch an in-game live feed and log the catcher's signs into the spreadsheet, as well as the type of pitch that was actually thrown. With that information, Codebreaker determined how the signs corresponded with different pitches. Once decoded, that information would be communicated through intermediaries to a base runner, who would then relay them to the hitter. David Leary: I love this! I'm smiling so much right now, and the reason why is, obviously, you paid attention- the Iowa caucus was Tuesday night, [00:09:30] or Monday night? Blake Oliver: The disastrous Iowa caucuses. David Leary: The whole time, I'm thinking, why didn't they just track this in a Google sheet, or an Airtable, or Microsoft Excel? Blake Oliver: I was thinking the same thing! They could have set up a Google Form. Everybody just goes to this URL, enters their email address to identify themselves as - whoever's in charge of that caucus; that particular one - and just fills out a form with the vote totals. David Leary: It's insane. So, the lesson here, for our listeners in your space- Blake Oliver: Wait ... Before we get to the lesson, [00:10:00] let's talk about this, because I don't think people know just how dumb it is. There was an app involved, right, David? David Leary: Yeah. They paid to have a custom-built app. Blake Oliver: They paid $60,000 to have somebody build an app, and the app had one job. All it did was- as far as I can tell, all it did was let you input your vote totals and report them, right. So, it's basically just a form with a spreadsheet. David Leary: Yeah. Blake Oliver: And somehow they [crosstalk] screwed that up. David Leary: Yeah, under the covers, it probably is just a spreadsheet. They're dumping [00:10:30] this to CSV file somewhere. We can go off and on about the ability install the app and all this other stuff, but the real lesson here is: if you can do something with Excel, don't build something else to solve it already. Then, the other part- or the same part of that thought that ties back to our industry is how come we always see like the Big Four- the Academy Awards are coming up this weekend, right? The Big Four, somebody - EY - somebody is gonna be there with their metal suitcases and their handcuffs on. "We counted the votes." How come they're never around for real vote counting? The [00:11:00] exposure would be just as good. Blake Oliver: Because the only reason they do it for the Academy Awards is because they want to hang out with celebrities. David Leary: Ohhh ... Blake Oliver: The Democratic party doesn't want to pay some- like three Ernst & Young partners $500 an hour to sit around tabulating votes. David Leary: That's true. I'm sure the- Blake Oliver: In Iowa. David Leary: If somebody at a Big Four was to quote them and build that app for them, it would work, maybe ... Possibly ... Maybe not. But it would probably cost $600,000, not $60,000. Blake Oliver: So, [00:11:30] I have a story kind of related to this. When I was in college, we had a ski club. Northwestern University- and it's a big ski club. It's like a huge thing, like a huge percentage of the students go skiing every winter break, and the ski club organizes it and decides where to go, and books like an entire resort, pretty much- David Leary: It's a big party. Blake Oliver: A good chunk of it. Yeah, it's a big party. David Leary: It's not skiing. Blake Oliver: We don't have spring break. We do the winter-break thing. The way they organized this was brilliant. For the room reservations, in the grouping, to sign up for it, it could be really complicated because [00:12:00] you could sign up by yourself, but then you'd be rooming with people you don't know. You wanna go with people you know, because there's like hundreds of kids going on this trip. So, you get your group together and then, the way that you make your reservation was just you go into a Google Sheet that was public. It was a Google Sheet that was public to the university; so, if you had an email at the university, you could use it. You'd just go in, and make your changes, and put in what your group was, and all this stuff. They simply had a rule- when they sent this out, they said, "We're gonna look at the audit trail, and if anyone [00:12:30] screws around with anybody else's reservation in the sheet, you're out. So, if there's any funny business, we're gonna know because we're gonna look at the audit trail." They never had any issues because everybody knew, "If I mess with the spreadsheet, they're gonna find out, and I'm gonna lose my spot." It doesn't have to be complicated. They could have just done that at the caucus. They could've just given everyone- David Leary: I've thought about that, too [crosstalk] Just make the whole thing public. Everybody ... Then, it'll be 100-percent visible. There'd be no- This is what I like about Firefox and open-source code, right? Blake Oliver: Yeah. They could [00:13:00] have just actually made this spreadsheet public to the whole world. The only people who could edit it would be the heads of each caucus, the people responsible for reporting for that group. Why would that be a problem? You could look at the audit trail and see if anyone changed any numbers that they weren't responsible for. [crosstalk] I know! Maybe they shoulda used blockchain. That would've been great. David Leary: They coulda hired this- the intern from the Houston Astros. Blake Oliver: Yeah, I know. Isn't it great, though, that an intern wrote that spreadsheet? I feel like this will be a movie someday, and it's gonna be like Moneyball, but the [00:13:30] bad-guy version of Moneyball. David Leary: With Moneyball, I'm sure was all in Excel, as well. Blake Oliver: I'm sure it was, yeah. David Leary: [inaudible] download an app for that? Should we get ...? Blake Oliver: Well, yeah ... What's next? David Leary: Should we just run through a lot of app news? There's a ton! Blake Oliver: Yeah, let's do it. David Leary: So, Sage, they're relaunching their Marketplace. They built a new Marketplace on the AppDirect platform. It's gonna ... "Sage Marketplace gives more than 2 million Sage customers access to hundreds [00:14:00] of trusted apps. They're all tested and verified by Sage." Blake Oliver: Which GL is this, though? All of it? David Leary: It seems like it's kind of all of them. Blake Oliver: Okay. David Leary: Yeah. Blake Oliver: So, whatever Sage system I'm on, I can go find apps that work with it. David Leary: That's what it looks like. Blake Oliver: Oh, cool. What else is new? Gusto sent me an email telling me that Gusto Cashout is now free. We've talked about this. Cashout is the service they have now for employees, where employees can 'Cashout' their [00:14:30] earnings in advance of their paycheck. So, it's like a payday loan, but it's totally free. David Leary: Not really like a payday loan. Small businesses used to always do this for employees. They would give an employee an advance and then deduct it out of the paycheck on payday. Blake Oliver: Right. So, Gusto is ... What I love about it is that an employee, instead of having to go to the business owner ... It's a little bit humiliating, potentially, and it's also annoying for the business owner to have to keep track of this. They can just go into Gusto, and Gusto will let them take, I think it's up to, $1,000 per [00:15:00] paycheck. Then, as soon as their paycheck actually is issued, it is deducted. It used to cost a fee, and now they've made it free. David Leary: What I love about this, from an innovation standpoint, is remember way back in the day, I used to do tech support for QuickBooks Payroll, and customers ... Small business owners had a hard time wrapping their head around this because you have to basically create a pair of payroll items - one to give the loan, and one to deduct the loan. That'd have to go out to a watch account, so you could track what each [00:15:30] employee's doing. Then, you'd have to create a custom report with different targets, so they could actually see how much was left on the loan they gave the employee. It's just a lot of burden to do, and it's very mistake prone. So, if they can take this off the small business owner's back, I think it's really cool that ... It's a really smart, well-thought-out feature. Blake Oliver: Well, and then, God help them if they accidently made one of those items taxable; they didn't do it. David Leary: Yep. Blake Oliver: Yeah, it's much easier. I got another one. Are you familiar with Acumatica? David Leary: Yeah, they [00:16:00] play in the space, like Sage Intacct; they're in that space. I think, actually, they were acquired by private equity recently. Blake Oliver: They're a cloud ERP system, and they specialize in manufacturing; a lot of manufacturing on Acumatica. They released a new payroll module. It allows controllers or accountants to run their own in-house payroll. You can do salaried and hourly workers, integrated taxes and tax forms, deductions and benefits, certified wages, union wages, timecard integration with overtime rules, and flexible payroll periods. They [00:16:30] also have updated their Manufacturing edition, which makes sense given the emphasis on manufacturing. Something that really was interesting to me, that they announced also, were new integrations, including Smartsheet. David Leary: What is Smartsheet? Blake Oliver: Smartsheet! It's like ... I thought you would know this one, David. David Leary: Oh!!! I thought ... Okay, yeah ... Yeah, Smartsheet, the app. Blake Oliver: Yeah. David Leary: Yeah, I guess I thought they were creating their own thing and that was their branding. I got it. Sorry. Blake Oliver: Yeah, no, so this is the original ... Smartsheet's been around [00:17:00] forever. They're the super-powered spreadsheet app where you can build your own really crazy database, essentially - custom - that looks like a spreadsheet. It does a lot of other stuff. Now, you can integrate Acumatica and Smartsheet to, I guess, update stuff- like give access to update stuff outside of Acumatica and then sync it in and stuff like that. David Leary: So, that makes sense because I think Smartsheet, their sweet spot is CFOs and finance departments. That's really who loves- who really [00:17:30] utilizes it a lot. They even use it to manage their workflows; they manage data and create reports. So, that would make sense that if an ERP that's at that level, if they were gonna pick an app to integrate with, it would be Smartsheet. Blake Oliver: Also, integrations with big commerce - for e-commerce - Adobe; you can work with Adobe Docs inside of Acumatica now. They also announced an alliance with BDO. So, BDO is gonna provide advisory and consultation services, in addition to the Acumatica resellers that already do the [00:18:00] integration and selling. David Leary: Want me to jump in? Blake Oliver: Yeah. I mean, have you got anymore app news? David Leary: KPMG bought a stake in LumaTax. It's in that same group with TaxJar, or Avalara. LumaTax is attacking a little bit differently. They're really trying to attack it almost like from a bank feed's perspective. You connect it to all your stuff, your e-seller shopping carts, et cetera, and it just goes and pulls the data in and then works backward to create your sales tax liabilities, so you can pay them. That's the gist of it. Obviously, it's probably a bit more complicated [00:18:30] than that. KPMG invested in them and bought a stake of it. Blake Oliver: Visor Tax. We haven't talked about them in a while. Really, it might have been over the summer that we talked about them. No, in the fall, right? David Leary: I think we did talk about them in the summer because I think sometime mid-summer people were finding out they got audited., and they can't get ahold of anybody at Visor Tax; I think we talked about them once mid-summer, but essentially we talked about them a lot last April because it was tax deadline date, and they weren't filing people's taxes. [00:19:00] Blake Oliver: Yeah. So, Visor, for those who aren't in the know, is one of those hot - or at least they were hot - modern tax startup/tax with an app. You pay $100; you take a picture of your forms; and they do your taxes. Well, it didn't quite work out. A lot of people apparently never got their taxes filed, or it was late, or just massive issues. Kinda makes sense given that it's really hard to imagine anyone making money on doing taxes for a hundred bucks. Well, [00:19:30] it looks like the owners of Visor have pivoted to something new. It's called Get Grid, and you can check it out at getgrid.app
. It is apparently a service where you enter how much you make- you enter your paycheck details, how much you make, and your withholding, and some other information. Then it tells you whether or not you are eligible for a "Payboost," which [00:20:00] is the extra money that you could be getting out of your paycheck that is normally withheld. Then, you can choose how much extra you want to receive every pay period. Payboost will work with the payroll provider to adjust your withholding so you get that extra money. So it's basically like doing a W-4 for you, I think. David Leary: Like every single paycheck, or every week, adjusting it real-time, based on- Blake Oliver: Well, you have to go in the app and update things, I guess, but [00:20:30] I don't know if it syncs with your payroll. I don't think it does. I think you just do this once and then it ... It's not clear to me. So- David Leary: This has been done before. You know that, right? It's already been done. Intuit purchased a company years ago called GoodApril. Two guys did this startup, and that was the whole play; like, "We're gonna help adjust your taxes during the year through your W-4, essentially, so that way you have a good April, when you do your tax return. Intuit purchased it, and I don't know what ever happened to it. I don't know [00:21:00] if it was gonna be a feature or a tool for TurboTax. But it makes sense. The payroll companies should do this. We just talked about Gusto ... If you have an employee-facing portal for your payroll app and you have an employee-facing portal, you could just have a tool like this. Blake Oliver: Well, right. David Leary: Then, some part of me feels like I've seen ADP talk about something like this for their portal login. Just like they have wizards to help you maximize your 401(k) contributions; the same type of wizard. I've seen it. This is not a new product. Now, they're marketing in a very [00:21:30] interesting way with this Payboost concept, which kind of goes after those people that either want to be paid early, or payday loan ... Blake Oliver: Right- David Leary: The target market they're going after [crosstalk] Blake Oliver: That's the part that I find a little confusing is that they say here that the average family ... A family that makes $30,000 per year gets an average tax refund of $3,000. That's an extra $250 a month that the government holds on to, and you could get that by using Payboost. You pay [00:22:00] a dollar per paycheck to access that $250 a month. You could just do this yourself by using the IRS calculator to change your own withholding. You could just choose to have less withheld ... David Leary: We've talked about this before, though, even with the survey about people, their confidence, doing their own taxes. Even though, logically, it's completely illogical, right? Like, "I'm gonna give the government [00:22:30] a loan ..." But for a lot of people, in a weird way, that's the only savings- the way they save anything, and then they get that check once a year. But you're right - if somebody wants to do this, they could just do this automatically. David Leary: Speaking of people that have made mistakes over the past year, do you remember about nine months ago we talked about how Etsy screwed up in the way they were posting the fees? The seller fees for each sale was posting incorrectly to the bank accounts and then it was trickling from there into the accounting software packages [00:23:00] incorrectly. Blake Oliver: Yeah, there was some big mess up. David Leary: So, apparently, nine months later, it's still not fixed. The other is these people that don't reconcile all year. Right. And then they show up to an accountant or a bookkeeper. Right. So if you're an account or bookkeeper and you have an Etsy seller and you have not heard about this problem, you better be very careful when you're reconciling and doing their books and their taxes this year because they probably have this issue, and it's been happening every single week, and if they're not manually correcting it, it's there. They have a big mess. Blake Oliver: So, Facebook [00:23:30] and the IRS are going to war, David. David Leary: War? Blake Oliver: Maybe it's not that dramatic, but they're going to court anyway. So, Facebook and the IRS have this disagreement that has been going on for years, apparently. A trial is scheduled to start this week, this coming week, in tax court. It's been going on for nine years, and it's a dispute over how Facebook's transfer of profits to an Irish subsidiary worked. This is a very common thing that U.S. multinationals do, where they [00:24:00] will license their IP to a foreign subsidiary, where they'll sell their IP to a foreign subsidiary and then license it back. David Leary: I thought Trump fixed this three years ago, and everybody was bringing that money back in. Apple brought the money back; everybody brought the money back. Blake Oliver: Well, this is from before 2017. David Leary: Okay, okay ... Blake Oliver: So, anything before 2017 was subject to a 35-percent tax rate at that time. So, this is what the argument is about - did Facebook pay the right amount of tax in those nine years or something that it was operating [00:24:30] before the new tax law. It all hinges around - it's coming back, David, intangible assets, the valuation of intangible assets. When it filed its tax returns, Facebook put a $7 billion value on the intangible assets in question. So, the value of these intangible assets has a correlation to the royalties paid to the U.S. parent by the Irish subsidiary. So, Facebook had an incentive, when it valued those assets originally, [00:25:00] to go low because then the royalties would be lower, and there'd be less income coming to the United States; less revenue - less profit, and more of it would stay in Ireland where they had ... I don't know what it is. It's like 10-percent tax rate; something really low. Facebook put a $7 billion value on the intangible assets, and now it's actually saying that it should be even lower, and it should get a refund. Well, the IRS is saying that those assets are $14 billion, but it could be as high as $21 billion. So, apparently, we have [00:25:30] a range of anywhere from $7 billion to $21 billion because nobody can figure out how to value these intangible assets that are critical to calculating Facebook's tax liability. We've been talking about intangible assets, when it comes to GAAP, and FASB, and goodwill accounting - it's a problem there. It's also a problem in tax because it's really hard to value intangible assets. So, I think one of the arguments is that we should just dump this whole way of allocating revenue and just say that multinational corporations should just tally [00:26:00] up how much revenue they earn in each country in the world and then just allocate the profit that way. Kinda makes sense. If you earn 20 percent of your revenue in Ireland, then, 20 percent of your profit should be there. David Leary: I think I heard a podcast this week that had that argument about it – figuring out how to divvy that up across the board. Blake Oliver: Rather than trying to do an individual P&L and all this transfer-pricing stuff. The only people who benefit from this situation are, well, the Big Four accountants who figure [00:26:30] out how to do these schemes and valuations and save a bunch of money for corporations- I guess the shareholders, also. I find it really unfair to small businesses that don't have armies of accountants and lawyers to set up these complicated tax schemes. If you're just a small business here in the U.S. and you operate here, you've no choice but to pay the U.S. tax rate. You can't get around it. So, I think it's a question of fairness. That's my opinion, for what it's worth. David Leary: Make sure you go out and vote. You've gotta vote. [00:27:00] That's the way to solve this- Blake Oliver: But nobody's talking about this stuff. No politician is talking about international-transfer pricing. David Leary: Bernie Sanders, kind of, I guess, but yeah, it's hard to say [crosstalk] Blake Oliver: No, no, no. He just wants to give everyone free healthcare and eliminate college tuition, right? That's his platform. David Leary: And all the dirty stuff which companies do - he wants to stop all that, as well. Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah, right- David Leary: Should we move on ... Should we stay on court-related stories?
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________________________ Blake Oliver: Legal? [00:28:30] Yeah, let's do it. David Leary: Legal? Okay. Remember MyPayrollHR? Blake Oliver: Oh, how could I forget? David Leary: Story keeps on giving. So, Pioneer Bank - that was Michael Mann's bank, and his company, MyPayrollHR, and his 27 subsidiaries or whatever ... They were the bank where he did all his money transfers out and he was doing all his kiting at. So, Pioneer Bank is sued over its actions ahead of the MyPayrollHR collapse. Berkshire and Chemung Banks, they've lost millions, and they're basically saying it's because Pioneer didn't disclose the fraudulent activity [00:29:00] properly. Two months after MyPayrollHR began to collapse, in August 2019, Pioneer disclosed to Berkshire that there'd be 35 overdrafts by the borrower totaling $121.8 million from January to August 2019. Blake Oliver: So, this was happening way before the collapse. How did this not get caught sooner? David Leary: Well, do you remember Pioneer was like- right around the collapse, Pioneer- they were due to have an IPO, right? Blake Oliver: Mm-hmm. David Leary: So, I imagine somebody tried [00:29:30] to hide this; maybe not hide it, but, you know, hope it went away, possibly? Blake Oliver: Well, here's a clue: Pioneer Bank Vice President David Blessing had been a friend of Mann since graduate school, and he brought Mann, and ValueWise to Pioneer, when he joined the bank 10 years ago and served as their relationship manager with the bank. He's the guy who reached out to Berkshire about buying into this line of credit, which is why Berkshire is suing Pioneer. David Leary: Yeah. Yeah, he encouraged them to buy in ... You remember [00:30:00] they were in the same building? They were in the same office plaza, or whatever- Blake Oliver: Yeah, yeah. David Leary: [Inaudible] we thought that. We're like, "That's interesting that they just happened to be in the same plaza, and maybe there is more connections to each other than we once thought." I don't know what went through Berkshire's side of the- before they invested, but ... Michael Mann had 37 deposit accounts under his name at Pioneer. It's messy. Either it wasn't disclosed or Berkshire. And this other bank, Chemung, did not do their own due diligence. Blake Oliver: Yeah, maybe they relied on personal [00:30:30] relationships and didn't really look into it and nobody told them. So, do you wanna talk about the threats to CPA licensure, David? David Leary: Yes! I saw that article. Blake Oliver: Yeah. So, this is an Accounting Today. AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon gave a speech at the meeting of the Accountants Club of America in New York. I've never heard of the Accountants Club of America before; I have to be honest about that. Sounds pretty cool to me. David Leary: We're not invited. I'll tell [00:31:00] you that right now. Blake Oliver: I guess not. I'm picturing wood-paneled- David Leary: You don't have to picture it; that's in the picture! Blake Oliver: Oh, is it in the picture? Yeah? It's like the ... I'm thinking the Explorers Club - elephant head on the wall, and the giant fireplace - that's what I'm picturing. So, Barry Melancon gave a speech at the meeting of the Accountants Club of America in New York, and Accounting Today covered it. He covered a lot of issues, a lot of things that are really important in the profession, but one thing that [00:31:30] got a ton of coverage, and it seems to have gotten the greatest emphasis, was threats to the profession from deregulation efforts. So, Melancon, when he talks about deregulation efforts, he's talking about efforts at the state level to reduce licensure requirements for lots and lots of different jobs- David Leary: A lot of professions because- and we've talked about this before. If you wanna put braids in somebody's hair, you have to get a hairstylist license that you probably don't [00:32:00] need to because you're not actually cutting hair. Blake Oliver: Right. In some states, it's pretty burdensome. So, I'll just read this part of his speech: "There's a lot of action in The States. There are major forces at work and lots of big money to unwind in The States. The basic licensing regime that exists in this country is not just targeted to CPAs, but it's targeted to all licensing. Now, that doesn't mean it's manifested itself in every state, but it's manifested itself with attempts in probably about 35 states over the last four years. We actually lead a coalition, today, [00:32:30] and we've brought together the learned professions. There are forces both on the Conservative and the Liberal sides that would like to see state licensing regimes unwound for different reasons, but with the same objective. The Liberal side argues that the licensing regime is just a big conspiracy to deny access to certain types of jobs to underprivileged people. They'll use, as a sort of poster child for that, certain trades — as opposed to professions — like hairdressers and things of that nature.” Then he mentions Arizona as a state that passed a bill; [00:33:00] one of the houses in your legislature passed a bill saying that anyone could do anything; didn't have to have a license, as long as the person who you're providing the service to signed something in writing saying they understood you weren't licensed. Does that make sense, David? So, if- David Leary: That would make perfect sense. I went to a roller skating rink the other day and a very clear sign on the door said they didn't have insurance. Blake Oliver: They can do that in Arizona? David Leary: Even doctors who don't carry- there's doctors that don't carry malpractice insurance, and [00:33:30] basically, they can charge lower rates because nobody's ever gonna sue them; because that's all that's for is being sued. If you know that they don't have insurance, you're not going to try and sue them. They don't have anything. Blake Oliver: So, Arizona is one of those states that he mentioned. I guess there was some movement in Florida on this. But here's what I don't like about this. I think it's a red herring because I asked NASBA for their spreadsheet. NASBA, and the AICPA worked together on this threat to the CPA licensure, and they [00:34:00] keep track of it. So, I said, okay, well ... I emailed the person who's in charge of this over at the NASBA, and I can't remember who it was. I said, "Would you mind sending me the information you have on all of these threats? Because I hear there's threats in 35 states to the CPA license. People wanna deregulate us." I got the spreadsheet, and I looked through it ... I'm sorry, but these are not serious threats. Either it's legislation by a fringe group that never got out of committee - most of it never gets out of committee - or it's not really targeting the CPA license. It's just targeting [00:34:30] what we were talking about - licensure for stuff that we wouldn't even call necessarily a profession; braiding hair, or a variety of other kinds of work that's not what we would call white-collar work, or professional work. This, to me, is just a way to distract- it's a distraction. I'm not gonna put intent on this, but it's a distraction from the actual threat to the profession, which is irrelevance, which is that we just aren't keeping up, and maybe people won't even need CPAs. It doesn't matter [00:35:00] if we have the license. David Leary: We talked about it the last couple weeks, right? What's the value? People do not think a CPA is valuable from a ... The free market, themselves, don't care. What value is a CPA bringing? [crosstalk] CPA and people that have it, and the organization- they're gonna protect that, but let the free market decide. Let people- a bunch of people say they're accountants, and then let the free market decide if they're gonna give their money to people that have the CPA or somebody who just says they're an accountant. Blake Oliver: That's the situation [00:35:30] for some designations, such as the CMA - Certified Management Accountant. There's nothing that you can do, as a CMA, that you can't do as a non-CMA. It's a certification, not a license; also, the CFA, the Certified Financial ... Or CFP? I can't remember, but those ones, there's no franchise, right? CPAs, we can sign audit reports if we have that on our license, but that's pretty much it. That's the thing I understand about this, too. It's like you don't actually [00:36:00] need a CPA license to do much of anything these days. And in most states, you can be an accountant. You'd have to call yourself a CPA. So, why are we talking about this? David Leary: Well, I mean, that's their job, right? The AICPA's job is to protect the profession, correct? Blake Oliver: Yeah. That's one of their jobs for sure - protect and advance it. I think there are other things that we could be doing with our money that we pay to the AICPA than defending against licensure threats that are not realistic or that don't really affect CPA licensure. David Leary: But [00:36:30] just the way that was phrased and written or the way it was said, his quote, it's good politics. He's gonna get his base, who doesn't know better, that have been a CPA for centuries, and they're just like, "No! You can't do this!" And they're gonna donate more money to the AICPA; they're gonna support this. This is to fire up the base; this is just a voting game. This is a political play. Blake Oliver: Now, I have to give him credit for acknowledging a big problem, which is that hiring of accounting graduates - over [00:37:00] the last four years - at public accounting firms is down 31 percent. You could look at that as not as many accounting graduates are getting hired in accounting firms; or you could look at it as accounting firms are just hiring more non-accountants; non-CPAs. I think that really is a threat, actually, to CPA firms, because, as Melancon says, if you have firms that are not 50-percent owned by CPAs, at least 50-percent owned by CPAs, people are gonna start asking, "Well, you know, why do we need CPA to do our audits, if most of the people on the audit team are not CPAs [00:37:30] these days?" That's a really legit question. There is that CPA evolution- David Leary: Let's just be honest. People aren't gonna start asking that, they're already asking that. It's not something that's gonna happen in the future, once the ratios change at firms. People are already asking, you know, what's the ... They're arguing - what's the point of the audit to begin with? People are arguing that; this is already happening. Blake Oliver: What else we got? David Leary: We'll get plenty of emails for that. They can send them to you on that one. I can see it already. Blake Oliver: Okay. Send them to me. That's my beef. David Leary: Just in case. What did we ... Let's see, flip [00:38:00] around here ... Wanna talk QuickBooks Live? We could jump over to that, maybe? Blake Oliver: Yeah. What is- what's new with QuickBooks Live? David Leary: So, there's a Facebook post that I saw this week and looks like it's a screenshot of an email from the communications team at Intuit regarding QuickBooks Live. It looks like what they're doing is they are going to identify ProAdvisors through QuickBooks Online Advanced. So, if you're using QuickBooks Online Advanced, Blake, and you're a sole practitioner, [00:38:30] if that's the word, you might see an ad that says, "Hey, would you like to do some QuickBooks Live work?" Blake Oliver: Did you mean Advanced, or Accountant? David Leary: Accountant. Did I say Advanced? Blake Oliver: Yeah. David Leary: I'm sorry. Blake Oliver: It's confusing because it's both QBOA [crosstalk] right? David Leary: Yeah. Blake Oliver: So, Advanced ... QuickBooks Online Accountant is- David Leary: Accountant. Blake Oliver: -the Accountant version of QuickBooks Online. David Leary: Yes, the Accountant version. Blake Oliver: Okay. David Leary: If you're in there, and you're a sole practitioner, like, basically, you don't have any other bookkeepers working for you, they'll know that - knock on wood, right? They're gonna [00:39:00] know that, and they're going to really target you with, "Hey, do you wanna take on some QuickBooks Live work?"But they're also aware that ProAdvisors that have firms and have multiple bookkeepers all in the QBOA, if that messaging shows up, that looks like Intuit's trying to poach those employees. They're kinda giving a heads up in that they're gonna try not to expose this to the wrong buckets of people, right, but [crosstalk] Blake Oliver: But we saw this before, right? [00:39:30] Intuit was saying that they weren't going to message QuickBooks Live to clients of ProAdvisors, and they were gonna somehow know that. If somebody, if an end-user was connected to a ProAdvisor in QuickBooks Online, if they had them on the account as an accountant, then they wouldn't get the messaging about, "Hey, sign up for QuickBooks Live, and get your bookkeeping done by a live bookkeeper." But then, it happened anyway. David Leary: Yeah, and [00:40:00] that's because of either mistakes, or bugs, or ... Not bugs, but just not good testing that didn't go on. It's probably gonna happen again. That's what everybody's focus is, if you read these chains about this. But if you step back and really read what this is, what this is telling me - the demand for QuickBooks Live is so large that Intuit cannot hire fast enough; that they're now taking these next steps to try to get more QB Live bookkeepers in there. Blake Oliver: That's possible. It also just makes a lot of sense that they would be trying to recruit [00:40:30] current ProAdvisors who are working for themselves because those are people who you don't have to train. They already know how to use QuickBooks. It's like simple onboarding. It's exactly the people they want working for them. David Leary: Actually, the messaging could make sense, as well, if they do the targeting right, right? Because you- if somebody has- they're a sole practitioner, and they have 200 clients, they're not gonna have time for QuickBooks Live; but if they have four clients, they probably need work. It might make sense to target them, and they could see that through QuickBooks Online Accountant version. So, people are very, [00:41:00] obviously, upset about this because they think QuickBooks is just coming for their business, right? But it's also, I think, a sign of the times a little bit. Blake Oliver: It is true, though. It's a legit concern that, now, Intuit is competing with me, as an accountant, for bookkeeper's. I'm going to have to offer at least what Intuit's offering in order to get a ProAdvisor to work for me. So, there's that. That's what's going on. David Leary: Yeah, it's happening. At same time, Intuit's getting competition from another side. So, [00:41:30] Bank of America has their Business Advantage 360 that about a million small businesses have used now. That's now tying into other apps. So, it's gonna now tie into QuickBooks. It's gonna tie into Google Apps. It's gonna pull data ... The banks are trying to keep everybody inside of the software. Blake Oliver: Right. David Leary: They don't want people using other software packages. So, in a way, Intuit's gotta ... They have new competition they've never had before. There's more people doing the GLs, and Intuit's changing their business model. It's very obvious they are going to head towards becoming kind of an accounting firm, right? We talked about this- Blake Oliver: Services; software [00:42:00] and service- David Leary: Software and service, right? It's not just- Blake Oliver: It's more being a platform. They're connecting those ProAdvisors with those clients who want bookkeeping done, and Intuit's in the middle, and they earn a profit by doing that. They create value. David Leary: We talked about Square, right? Had that blog post from the engineer talking about how Square has a GL tool they're using in-house, blah-blah-blah. Well, have you ever heard of WePay? Blake Oliver: Yeah. That's the one that's big in China, right? David Leary: No, I think that's different. That's [00:42:30] [inaudible] or something [crosstalk] WePay is a payments company that was- Chase Bank brought them about a year ago. Well, their engineer wrote this big old blog post about balancing the books at scale. It's just very similar, in a way, to the Square post talking about double-entry accounting, and how they move money, and they're building these micro-services to post these transactions to Chase's bookkeeping. Now, it's not- a lot of it's internal-type stuff, but engineers at banks are bragging about how they're building GLs. We are in a whole [00:43:00] new world. We've talked about this before. There's banks buying GLs; there's banks building GLs. Tech companies are trying to become banks. It's all getting very gray, and Intuit's trying to differentiate. Because if you go to the Bank of America website and there's a GL, and your payments, and everything else is there, but a human's not there to help you do your books ... Intuit has a differentiating factor. The market's getting very messy right now for everybody, and it's not just accounting. I have two other articles that are kind of related. United [00:43:30] Airlines bought a flight training school because they need 10,000 more pilots, and they can't ... The free market's not training them fast enough, o they bought their own training academy to just train their own pilots. Blake Oliver: Classic vertical integration. David Leary: It's the same game. KPMG Spark re-launched. Blake Oliver: Really? Yeah. David Leary: Remember, they launched; they killed it. [inaudible] launched now in the U.S.; very similar model. You're getting books and a person. It's that's same model everybody's running right now. Blake Oliver: So, yeah, KPMG [00:44:00] Spark - the fixed-rate, on-demand bookkeeping for startups and small businesses - what everybody else is doing? Interesting. What's their pricing? I'm really curious. I didn't know they were back. David Leary: I had the tab open; let's see- Blake Oliver: Here, I'm opening it right now. Plans and pricing. David Leary: So, they're pricing it based on clients, but it's like 175 bucks a month. Blake Oliver: Oh, here we go; additional- okay, so they have Starter, Essential, and Enterprise. Onboarding fee for starter - $100; $300 for Essential; $400 for Enterprise. Okay, let's say I'm [00:44:30] Essential; I'm in the middle. I've got four to six bank accounts on a cash basis, and I need payroll and tax prep. David Leary: Oh, did you go to just their regular website? Blake Oliver: Yeah, KPMGspark.com. David Leary: Oh, that's not the good one! I have- the link that's in the show notes, they actually have a page now targeting this at accountants and bookkeepers. So, you can put your clients- KPMG'll do the ... You outsource your bookkeeping division to KPMG. Blake Oliver: Wait, wait ... Why- David Leary: Yeah, their in-house team [00:45:00] Blake Oliver: Okay. Why would I, as a CPA, outsource accounting to KPMG? David Leary: Because you don't want to do it in-house, but you want to charge clients for it, so you either outsource it to them ... Maybe you're to capacity [crosstalk] Blake Oliver: -this is the Botkeeper argument, or the whatever argument, right? Like all these other services. But those services aren't the Big Four. KPMG could just market to my clients now; they could just steal them. David Leary: But, isn't it- [00:45:30] Isn't it valuable to have it quality assured by a licensed CPA? Blake Oliver: Right, and that's what they've got plenty of at KPMG. David Leary: It says it right there. Blake Oliver: Yeah, right. So, why couldn't they just do everything? Why couldn't they just take my clients and do everything? That's crazy. Interesting. So, now it's re-launched, and it's available to CPA firms as a service to do the bookkeeping. Okay, so my first instinct was they're leveraging offshore resources that they already used for KPMG. Maybe they've got an India office that they're using for this; but it says that it's in Salt Lake City, [00:46:00] and it never outsources its bookkeeping to third parties. So, maybe they've got a delivery center that they use for regular KPMG work that they are now basically filling up with more work from KPMG Spark. They can max out the- to keep that office always busy. David Leary: Everybody's getting into this game because I think the demand's there; the market demand is there. We had an episode in the summer ... Intuit thinks it's a $10 billion opportunity that's not being served. Blake Oliver: I have to say, the pricing on this is kinda scary, if I were in competition. [00:46:30] So, like, I'm on the direct side, and the middle-of-the-road plan is four to six bank accounts. If I click on Cash, and I click on Payroll ... I have four to six bank accounts; cash basis; and they're doing payroll for me - it's only $495 a month. That seems really low. If it's accrual, it's $1,095 a month. I wonder what the quality is like. Even if I choose the biggest plan - seven to 10 bank accounts; accrual-basis accounting with advanced [00:47:00] insights, whatever that means - it's only $1,345 per month. $1,345. At my last firm, we started at $1,000 a month. David Leary: I think some of the pricing we're probably seeing, as well, is a market share price; people are trying to grab shelf space and market share- Blake Oliver: I just wonder, yeah, if you actually sign up ... If you actually went through a scoping, if it would actually come out to this, or if this is just super-low for the website, like for marketing. David Leary: Maybe they're trying to experiment – Intuit - [00:47:30] the way QuickBooks and everybody else is, right? Everybody's prices are changing a lot on this, across the board. Blake Oliver: All right. David Leary: But on a related note, though, other industries ... Have you ever heard of UpCounsel? Blake Oliver: Is this like Upwork for lawyers? David Leary: Essentially, yes, for freelance lawyers - a similar model. There's people looking for law- Blake Oliver: Services? David Leary: Services; and there's lawyers looking to fulfill those, just like there's bookkeepers looking to get clients, and there's clients that need bookkeeping service. It's all the same model. Well, UpCounsel shut down this week. [00:48:00] Blake Oliver: What happened? David Leary: It didn't really say what happened? They- Blake Oliver: How long have they been around? They've been around for a little while, right? A few years? David Leary: 2012, they started. So, they've been chipping away at this for a while. They've taken on $26 million total in VC money, and they've been chipping away, chipping away, chipping away, but they finally pulled the plug on it. It didn't really give reasons - reasons why; they were kinda sad that they had to do this. They've really tried to legitimately build a real business here. My impression is they probably ran out of money, and nobody is gonna give them more money because Clio just took $250 [00:48:30] million to basically build the same thing, right? Blake Oliver: Right. Clio is the law firm practice management solution, and they're adding in this kind of marketplace. Is that what's happening? David Leary: Yes, it's the same verbiage that Intuit had in their stuff about QuickBooks Live. It's very similar verbiage. Blake Oliver: Clio doing that is exactly like Intuit doing QuickBooks Live. It's amazing the parallels. Well, that's all I got. David, what about you? David Leary: Some people are on the move here. Blake Oliver: Yeah? David Leary: Two are for sure confirmed, and one is- a listener [00:49:00] sent in something that is arguably a speculation. So, Practice Ignition, I don't know if you saw Damien Greathead, who was a vice president at Receipt Bank, he - about two weeks ago, said he was leaving Receipt Bank. Now, it's been announced that he is now joining Practice Ignition- Blake Oliver: As their head of marketing. Congratulations. David Leary: Damien got to move back home; back Down Under. So, obviously, it probably sounds like a professional move, and a personal move, as of both ... We just talked about Botkeeper. [00:49:30] I don't know if you saw Jody Padar- she's now ... I think, before, she was on the board of Botkeeper, and an advisor at Botkeeper. She's now going to take a full-time job as the VP of Strategy, it looks like. Then, somebody emailed an article from Slater [inaudible] covering, really, inside sales of stock for Intuit. This person who sent this in noted that Alex Chris, who's the leader of the QuickBooks Division at Intuit, he sold ... I'll just read it: "EVP James Alexander Chriss sold 21,543 shares [00:50:00] of the company's stock in a transaction dated Monday, November 25. The shares were sold for an average price of $258.78 for a total transaction of $5.574 million. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 126 shares in the company valued at $32,606.28." Blake Oliver: So, he sold basically almost all of his stock. David Leary: Yeah. So, last November ... Obviously, this is three months later, he's still there; but people are wondering is he gonna leave if he sold that much? Blake Oliver: I [00:50:30] want $5 million of Intuit stock! That's pretty great. David Leary: Because insiders sell all the time, because they have to rebalance their personal portfolios. There's lots of reasons why, but to sell - what is that? - 98 percent maybe? I mean, that's a lot- a lot to be sold. So, somebody was wondering, you know, hey, is there- is Alex Chriss leaving because that's a huge major move. Blake Oliver: We'll see. Well, that's all the time we've got today. David, if people want to get in touch with you, tell you what [00:51:00] they think/send you stories, where should they do that? David Leary: Easiest way is on Twitter: @DavidLeary, but a lot of people have been doing it on LinkedIn, as well. So, you can track me down on LinkedIn. Blake Oliver: And I am @BlakeTOliver. I'm on LinkedIn, and you can email me, if you like: Blake@blakeoliver.com
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