How FreshBooks Successfully Replatformed

Cloud Accounting Weekly #41

I'm fascinated with this feature in the latest issue of Forbes about how FreshBooks founder Mike McDerment struggled with modernizing his wildly successful, but aging cloud accounting app — until he took the unusual step of creating his own competitor.

Also, I'm finally at liberty to announce that my firm, Armanino LLP, is merging in two other firms to our outsourced finance and accounting practice, tripling the size of one of our fastest growing service lines. The new teams will provide needed payroll, HR, and temp CFO resources to the team.

Finally, don't sneak up on Patti Scharf at your next Xerocon, because I hear she's both a CPA and a ninja.

Top Stories


Starting Over: How FreshBooks Reinvented Its Online Accounting Service On The Fly

Forbes — Successful but speeding toward obsolescence, FreshBooks desperately needed to reinvent its online accounting service. It was almost as if it had to start an entirely new company.

How Top CPA Firms Are Adapting to Emerging Trends

AccountingWEB — Jim Boomer on the the future of CPA firms: “The biggest threat to the profession is an inability or unwillingness to change ... most firms simply haven’t felt enough pain to initiate meaningful change. Kodak and Blockbuster didn’t feel enough pain, until it was too late.”

More than Half of SMBs Haven't Adopted Digital Technologies

CPA Practice Advisor — More than half (56%) of all small business owners interviewed have yet to adopt digital technologies, preferring to maintain their business with traditional methods, signalling a massive opportunity for the cloud accounting and business management software market in coming years.

Sales & Marketing

Are You Capable of Changing Your Price Depending on Your Customer?

Thriveal CPA Network — The latest from Greg Kyte: "At any time during busy season did you say something like, 'I wish I didn’t have to do these little measly tax returns for $250'? Well, you don’t."

Practice Management


5 Business Lessons I Learned While Becoming a Ninja

Catching Clouds — Patti Scharf of pioneering e-commerce accounting firm Catching Clouds shares the business lessons she learned while earning her black belt in karate.

10 Key Steps to Starting a Bookkeeping Practice

AccountingWEB — Certified Bookkeeper and QuickBooks consultant Jody Linick offers 10 key things to consider before starting your own bookkeeping or consulting practice.

7 Tips to Get the Most out of Your Next Accounting Technology Event

AICPA Insights — Consider these tips to get the most out of your next accounting technology event.

7 Tips for Keeping Client Data Secure

AccountingToday — Here are seven specific things you can start doing now to help you protect client data:

  1. Audit your data protection practices 
  2. Make sure your clients know about email security 
  3. Don’t ignore physical security 
  4. Is your WiFi secure? 
  5. Are your files regularly backed up? 
  6. Prohibit employees from accessing client data on their personal computers 
  7. Encourage your clients to take an active role in monitoring their data security

5 Tasks Your Finance Team Should Be Automating By Now

Chaser Blog — Five tasks your finance team should be automating and five tasks your cloud accounting practice must be offering: 

  1. Processing purchase invoices and expenses 
  2. Bank reconciliation 
  3. Tax 
  4. Management accounting 
  5. Chasing customers to pay invoices

Recruiting & Hiring

The State of Accounting Recruitment and Talent Shortages in 2017

Going Concern — "More and more professionals are choosing to stay in public up to and even beyond the three-to-five-year mark, putting extra pressure on industry accounting departments, which up until now relied on their unhappiness to serve as a pipeline straight into corporate’s loving embrace."

Industry News

Armanino Acquires HR and Financial Staffing Firms

CPA Practice Advisor — My firm, Armanino LLP, which is one of the top 25 largest accounting and business consulting firms in the U.S., announced deals to acquire Team Jenn Corp and integrate The Brenner Group, tripling the size of its outsourced financed & accounting practice.



Now Accounting Goes Invisible – Sage Talks AI and Machine Learning

Digital First — Sholto MacPherson interviews Sage’s 29 year old VP of bots and artificial intelligence, Kriti Sharma.

An Algorithm Summarizes Lengthy Text Surprisingly Well

MIT Technology Review — Training software to accurately sum up information in documents could have great impact in many fields, such as medicine, law, and scientific research.


Why Americans Need To Care About Digital Currency Accounting, Especially At Tax Time

NASDAQ — With the recent price surges in Bitcoin, and alt-coins, more Americans are likely to be turning to cryptocurrency as an investment. The IRS developed laws for handling mining/trading of cryptocurrencies, and it's important for you to stay on top of the possible tax implications for your clients.

Tips & Tricks

6 QuickBooks Tips, Tricks, and Hacks You Need Today

TSheets Blog — TSheets interviewed top QuickBooks Online experts, and they shared their top six tips, tricks, and hacks you can use today. 

App Reviews

InvoiceSherpa, the easiest way to manage accounts receivable

StacyK — Stacey Kildal says that is the easiest way to manage accounts receivable. Here are four examples of its features & how four industries can benefit.

App Spotlight


Flowrev is an online cost and revenue recognition/deferred revenue lifecycle management system that works seamlessly with cloud accounting software such as Xero and QuickBooks Online.


Scalus, an all-in-one practice management solution offering process automation, workflow efficiency and project management, has officially launched out of beta with new product features for the modern-day accounting firm.

App Updates

Abacus — Free-Form Custom Expense Fields

Abacus Blog — Looking to track expenses by a unique identifier? Abacus has launched a new type of custom expense field that allows employees to enter free-form text.

QuickBooks — TSheets Now Embedded in QBO

TSheets Blog — TSheets is now available inside of QuickBooks Online, meaning "you never have to leave QuickBooks to enter employee hours or approve employee timesheets. You can create invoices, run payroll, and bill clients — all without toggling back and forth between apps."

QuickBooks — Changes to Navigation in QBO

QuickBooks Blog — The navigation is changing in QBO over the next few weeks to make it more intuitive and easier to find things. Here's what's new.

Xero — Direct Bank Feeds with Capital One

CPA Practice Advisor — Capital One has joined other major banks in partnering with Xero to provide direct, secure bank feeds.


Thanks for reading! Looking to catch up on the news? Check out the previous issue, Cloud Accounting Weekly #40.