Is Intuit marketing QuickBooks with Live Bookkeeping to clients of ProAdvisors?

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This episode is sponsored by Xero. Join us at Xerocon San Diego in June! Go here for a registration discount for podcast listeners.

Show Notes

(01:21) We got some more reviews! Leave us a review on iTunes and we’ll read it on the air.

(02:33) Scroll to the comments of this review on The College Investor for some pretty scathing reviews of Visor, the $99 tax prep service we covered in the last episode of the Cloud Accounting Podcast (they did not have a good busy season).

(03:15) Ryan Lazanis says that the only way traditional accounting firms can compete with accounting startups like Visor, Pilot, Bench, and Botkeeper is personalized service.

(05:30) According to a stat published in the Journal of Accountancy, only 60-70% of small firms (under $1 million in revenue) accept credit cards as a form of payment.

(06:31) Here’s a story about a CPA who has partnered with other professionals to act as the single point of contact for all his client’s financial needs. It's a great example of how accountants can create plenty of value beyond compliance, which will become increasingly automated over the next decade.

(09:31) Henry Bloch, the ‘H’ in H&R Block, died at 96.

(11:44) Intuit appears to be marketing QuickBooks Live to clients of ProAdvisors.

(19:24) Here’s why there won't be an Uber for Bookkeeping — at least that’s what Blake thought three years ago. Has QuickBooks Live changed that?

(21:49) Jordyn Dahl, News Editor at LinkedIn, posted about the QuickBooks Advanced Rate Limits. The quantity of comments suggests this is a big deal.

(22:32) Businesses that invoice via QuickBooks Payments can receive next-day funding for both credit card and ACH transactions. It’s only available to QuickBooks Online and GoPayment customers for now. It costs 1% (max $10) per transaction. Next day is also available for credit cards, with no additional fee.

(25:19) Intuit sees uptick in TurboTax sales this year. Intuit reported a 5 percent increase in TurboTax units sold this tax season compared to last year, thanks to a 7 percent increase in TurboTax Online sales. Intuit CFO Michelle Clatterback said the company’s consumer group now expects full-year fiscal 2019 revenue growth to be about 10 percent, at the high end of its previous guidance range of 9 to 10 percent. It will be reporting its quarterly earnings on May 23.

(26:33) Here are the top 10 cities for accountants. A study by AdvisorSmith analyzed 399 small, midsized and large cities across the country based on accounting salary and job availability statistics from the Bureau of Labor, and on the local cost of living from Sperling’s BestPlaces.

(28:04) The Desktop Accounting Podcast is headed your way soon!

(28:55) Here are three ways to charge $25K to your customers, courtesy of Greg Kyte.

(32:15) Listen to “I’m not a Robot” on Planet Money to learn how scammers are paying humans to defeat CAPTCHA.

(33:28) Slack is bridging email to chat, improving calendar integration and search.

Thanks for listening! Follow and tweet @BlakeTOliver and @DavidLeary. Find us on Facebook and, if you like what you hear, do us a favor and write a review on iTunes.

Transcript

Cloud Accounting Podcast E71: Is Intuit Marketing QuickBooks Live to Clients of ProAdvisors? | Convert audio-to-text with the best AI technology by Sonix.ai

David Leary:
This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by Xero. As a listener of this podcast, you are probably keen on getting industry insights, staying ahead of leading technology, and boosting your network. Well, I have some good news for you

David Leary:
This June, at Xerocon 2019, Xero will bring together hundreds of tech-savvy, future-minded professionals just like yourself from across the Americas, and the entire globe. Come join Blake, myself, and this collaborative community in action, June 18th and 19th, in San Diego.

David Leary:
To receive a special discounted ticket to Xerocon 2019 in San Diego, head over to CloudAccountingPodcast.com/Xerocon. That is Cloud Accounting Podcast dot com forward slash X E R O C O N. Book your Xerocon ticket today, and we'll see you in San Diego.

Blake Oliver:
Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver-

David Leary:
And I'm David Leary.

Blake Oliver:
I don't know about you, David, but it has been a crazy week for me. We did three webinars Tuesday. Actually, no, it was two webinars, and one in-person event. Tuesday, I was downtown LA, and then we did two webinars, and I've got two more next week, so, I'm ready for the weekend.

David Leary:
Yeah, I feel like we just, two hours ago, recorded last Friday's podcast. I don't know what happened to the week, but we're back at it, and we're recording another episode.

Blake Oliver:
Yeah, I'm excited to hear ... I'm excited to do some follow-up on those stories from last week. What is-

David Leary:
We do have some follow-up, but we also got two reviews; we got two amazing reviews.

Blake Oliver:
Oh, got it. Okay, let's hear the reviews.

David Leary:
All right. One was from Canada. "Don't miss this podcast!" Five stars ... "Any accounting firm wanting to keep up with the ins and outs of the cloud-accounting industry must [capital S] subscribe to this awesome podcast. David, and Blake do a great job of educating, and entertaining." I don't have a name on that one, unfortunately, but it is from Canada. Did you wanna read the other one?

Blake Oliver:
This is Double Jazz Hands. Five stars ... "Blake, and David approach today's modern accounting news, and trends like two kids in a candy store. As they gleefully bounce from one side of the podcast room to the other, you can tell how excited they are to share the next bit of news, however good or bad, to the rest of us, waiting with bated breath. These modern day green-visored Holmes-and-Watson investigative duo are awesome at what they do, helping to advance the conversation of cloud accounting, with all its complex layers. Three cheers to The Cloud Accounting Podcast!" Will Lopez@AdvisorFi.

David Leary:
Wow, thanks, Will. That's-

Blake Oliver:
That's almost poetic.

David Leary:
I'm not sure Blake read it with the enthusiasm that it comes through, when you read it. Pretty amazing. Thank you so much, Will. We appreciate that. Let's jump in.

Blake Oliver:
Yeah.

David Leary:
Quick update from last week. Everybody knows about the Visor story, last week. After the fact, I did stumble upon a website called TheCollegeInvestor.com. That website had a review of Visor's tax software, but then, in the comments are all the real reviews from all the users.

David Leary:
Even as of April 25th, so this is yesterday, somebody left to review; says, "Agreed, Visor's horrible. They prepared my taxes incorrectly, and they took forever to respond to my request to fix the problem. I now need to return money back to the state. I wouldn't use this service again, even if they paid me." It's a similar story ... I actually think the reviews on here are worse than it was on Twitter, because people have more space to write.

Blake Oliver:
I've got a follow-on to that story, as well. I don't know if you spotted this, but Ryan Lazanis wrote a great article on his blog, FutureFirm.co?

David Leary:
I have it open in my tab. I have the same article. Perfect.

Blake Oliver:
He does a really good job of summarizing the model and threat of accounting-tech startups, and the existential threat they pose to the traditional accounting firms. I'm gonna skip through all of that, because we've kind of talked about that; how the app-based interface with your accountant potentially could be disruptive to the industry. Obviously, people want it. That's why they were signing up in droves for Visor. Now, as to whether or not they can deliver it, that's a different question.

Blake Oliver:
Let's assume that, eventually, somebody figures out how to do it, whether it's Intuit with QuickBooks Live, or it's Visor with tax, or any these other modern accounting-tech startups, right? They're gonna figure it out. Then, Ryan says, "Well, how can we compete with that, as traditional firms? We can't compete on price. We can't necessarily even compete on tech. What we can compete on is personalized service, and that means getting to know your clients so well that it feels almost like advisory service, even if that's not necessarily what you would think of yourself as doing. Get to know them well enough, where you're creating value."

Blake Oliver:
I like that. That seemed a very simple, excellent way to differentiate yourself, and it's something that an app-based company just is not gonna be able to do, because they're going after a volume play.

David Leary:
Somebody wants to be the McDonald's of this, and you can't be the McDonald's, so you're gonna have to be a nice restaurant, your neighborhood diner that people are loyal to, because you provide that personalized service.

David Leary:
What I liked about his article is he really compares the ... He makes the argument that these startups are doing the 100-percent opposite of what the traditional firms have done for the last 60 years. Who knows if it's gonna work or not?

Blake Oliver:
Right.

David Leary:
But they are doing the exact opposite. It's almost like that George Costanza ... You know, when George Costanza's on Seinfeld, then he-

Blake Oliver:
His philosophy?

David Leary:
Yeah, he's just like, "I'm gonna be the Anti-George, and whatever my gut tells me, I'm gonna do the opposite." That's what these guys are betting on. They're betting ...

Blake Oliver:
Right.

David Leary:
Which tells you what they think about the existing industry.

Blake Oliver:
Yeah, there's a lot of problems with the way it's done now. I saw a stat in the Journal of Accountancy that something like 60 to 70 percent - well, in some cases, 80 percent - accept credit cards as a form of payment. The firms under $1 million, it's somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of firms accept credit cards today. That, to me, is anti-consumer. It's anti-customer. People want to pay with credit cards, and you don't let them? Am I crazy, David?

David Leary:
I think that's this stereotype of firms, and accountants being cheap, and they don't want that extra two percent being taken away from them by the credit card fees.

Blake Oliver:
It comes back to in terms of customer satisfaction, and then, they buy more from you. To imagine the accounting profession catching up ... The ones who are not taking credit cards right now, there's just no way they're gonna catch up. They haven't seen the light, and they won't. Hopefully, those who do, will.

Blake Oliver:
I have another story related to this. Along the lines of Ryan's argument, there was a article on the AICPA blog, "Your tax practice could be on the edge of greatness. Push." It's a story about a CPA who partnered with other professionals to act as the single point of contact for all of his clients' financial needs.

Blake Oliver:
It's a really great example of how accountants can create more value beyond compliance. It fits in with Ryan's argument that accountants and bookkeepers have to swim upstream, if they wanna survive, because all that easy work is going to be automated; is going to be handled by apps, and the VC money is gonna pour in there, because that's the volume play, but, there's no way they're ever gonna be almost like a business manager, which is what this article talks about.

Blake Oliver:
The example is really good. The author's father-in-law passed away, and mother-in-law moved in with his wife, and daughter, and himself. Then she was diagnosed with cancer, and then a few years after that, she passed away. Then, his wife was the executor, which is a huge job, but the CPA, their family CPA, took on that role of coordinating with the lawyer, the investment advisor. Set everything in motion, and held the author's wife's hand through the whole thing. That, to them, was amazing.

David Leary:
It's almost like a even further step, because I know a lot of accountants, and bookkeepers are kind of, to some extent, the technology advisors of a small business, right? "Hey, use these apps. Get Microsoft Office ... Blah, blah, blah ... We're gonna get you all set up." How about I just advise you in all parts of your business.? I've got a lawyer that I can recommend. I have a website builder that I can recommend ... You're bringing a full suite, just not a tech suite, anymore.

Blake Oliver:
Yeah, and personal financial planning is part of that. Retirement planning. This actually really reminds me a lot of business management in Los Angeles, which is kind of its own unique space in the accounting world that not a lot of people know about, because it's limited to celebrities, and athletes, and whatnot. The only time you hear about is when these business managers steal money is when you hear about it; but most of them are really great, and they don't do that. I worked in a firm that had a very large business-management division, because we were right there in Santa Monica, right?

David Leary:
Yep.

Blake Oliver:
What a business manager does is they're basically an accountant who handles your taxes, and everything else financial in your entire life. They're almost like a fixer - financial fixer. They'll help you buy a house. If you want a new car, just call them up; they'll go figure it out. They'll do everything.

David Leary:
It's full service.

Blake Oliver:
Full service, and they take as much as five percent to do that, right? There is a opportunity now, with tech, to bring that level of service - maybe not quite that level, but some aspects of it - to accounting, and be a family office, or business manager lite, something like that.

David Leary:
Well, I know it'd be a great experience. Think of your client. If you made your clients feel like movie stars, that would be huge.

Blake Oliver:
Yeah.

David Leary:
I have an article that ties back to the same vein of this whole thing. Essentially half of all VC money goes to Google, Amazon, like hosting Google ads, and then Facebook, all these ads. If you really think about all those companies we talked about - the Botkeepers, and the Pilots, and ScaleFactors, and all those people taking that VC money - a lot of that's going into ads ...

David Leary:
Even, we talked about Visor last week - ads, Instagram models. It's all marketing. Some news that happened last week is Henry Block - he's one of the founders of H&R Block - he died Tuesday at age 96. Wall Street Journal has a good long-read article about his life. He actually started collecting Impressionist art.

David Leary:
The second part of the article is like full circle to what we're essentially talking about now. Him and his younger brother had a struggling bookkeeping firm. They weren't making strides. This is in the mid-1950s-.

Blake Oliver:
They were in Kansas City, Missouri?

David Leary:
Kansas City, Missouri. They actually saw their tax-prep part of their business as a headache, and they were gonna eliminate it entirely, but, one client of theirs, who was an ad salesman, suggested they should run some ads offering to do people's personal taxes for just five bucks. It created such volume of turn- of business, they changed, and pivoted to only focus on tax returns.

David Leary:
It's the same game that's happening now, with these new tech companies. They're advertising the hell out of something, and they're basically trying to be the next H&R Block, just different, right?

Blake Oliver:
Right.

David Leary:
Instead of having 12,000 franchises in hard stores, they're gonna be all virtual, and they'll have-.

Blake Oliver:
An app.

David Leary:
-12,000 people downloading their apps. Exactly, but I read it in this article ... It's the exact same thing happening, it's just from the 1950s.

Blake Oliver:
History repeats itself.

David Leary:
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Blake Oliver:
Wow.

David Leary:
It's worth checking out ... All of us should just pause. Even though H&R Block might be struggling in the grand scheme of things, but it's worth reading about the article, and knowing it's a huge part of the history of where we're at in this space.

Blake Oliver:
What's gonna be exciting is watching whoever becomes the next H, in the next version of H&R Block, whatever that is. That's obviously where all this money is going, to be the next H&R Block.

David Leary:
There's no doubt that's what this is.

Blake Oliver:
I think we've beat around the bush enough, David. It's time to talk about QuickBooks. It's time to talk about QuickBooks Live.

David Leary:
QuickBooks Live, the story that just keeps giving.

Blake Oliver:
The drama that doesn't seem to end on Facebook, in these groups.

David Leary:
The gist of the story is, if you go back to ... We've talked about this in the podcast, in previous podcasts, and Intuit even had that blog post out about ... It was last month. They really went out, and proactively communicated about QuickBooks Live. The message has been, "We're not going to market QuickBooks Live to any small-business owners that have accountants, or connected ProAdvisors.

Blake Oliver:
Right, and as a reminder/refresher, QuickBooks Live is the new assisted-bookkeeping service that Intuit is testing. Customers will be able to access inside of QuickBooks, very similar to TurboTax Live, where you can have an EA, or a CPA help you with your taxes. That's the idea for QuickBooks Live.

Blake Oliver:
This was naturally concerning to accounting professionals, and that's been what everybody's been talking about, but Intuit promised they wouldn't be marketing to businesses that were connected to an accountant, right?

David Leary:
Correct. So what happened was somebody on multiple... I think it was the same person on multiple Facebook groups put up a screenshot, and this screenshot essentially showed Live Bookkeeping, which, basically, it was an ad for QuickBooks Live, inside of QuickBooks Online, of their clients file.

David Leary:
Obviously, people's heads exploded. The huge chain went on, and on, and on. I was a little skeptical because, for me, I didn't totally believe it, because my take was that screenshot, the way it was taken, you couldn't tell for sure; you couldn't verify for sure that that QBO file was connected to an accountant.

Blake Oliver:
Right.

David Leary:
I actually asked to see the other screenshot, and then, actually, somebody else sent us a private message, so I actually have seen the screenshots. The reason I was skeptical before is because in QuickBooks Online, there's a tab called My Accountant. It uses an 'if' statement: if you're not a connected to an accountant, it shows you a screen with an email field that says, "Put in your accountant's email address, so you can be connected with your accountant." The rest of that 'if' statement is if you are connected with an accountant, it'll show who your accountant is at the top, and then give you a place to communicate with your accountant, and share documents, et cetera.

Blake Oliver:
Right.

David Leary:
I was like, "There's no way ... " Intuit already, or QuickBooks, and Intuit already has the logic to know who is connected, or not connected to an accountant. It's built into QBO. My initial gut reaction was there's no way possible Intuit launched this little ad for Live Bookkeeping, for QuickBooks Live, without doing that same check. I was very, very skeptical of this thread. It had 85-90 messages in it, and this screenshot. Finally, somebody sent me the screenshot, and my jaw kinda hit the floor. Absolutely, QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is appearing in a file connected to an accountant. Confirmed.

Blake Oliver:
How is that happening? Why is that happening? Intuit said they wouldn't do that.

David Leary:
Some people think they did it on purpose. I saw some comments like that. I don't necessarily know it's on purpose. I think it's going too fast; not sanity-checking. Nobody's stepping back, and being like, "Hey, let's be very careful, because there's been a lot of talk about QuickBooks Live, and it's been very sensitive for the last three months.".

Blake Oliver:
Right.

David Leary:
Where's the check of, like, let's pause ... Before we put that ad in QuickBooks Online, let's make sure it's working properly. I'm just very, very shocked that it appears like this. I am shocked, and I actually feel bad for Kim from Intuit's PR, Kim Asbaugh, and the communications team, because every time this story dies down for a week, something else happens that they have to go out, and do damage control, because this is not good.

Blake Oliver:
Well, there was another post that I spotted. An accountant received an email from a prospective client, so, not a not a customer yet, or not a client yet, saying, "I have decided to go with bookkeeping services offered by QuickBooks Online directly through their website. Therefore, please cancel our scheduled appointment. I'm sorry about this. I appreciate your time.".

Blake Oliver:
In this instance, it was a prospect of a ProAdvisor who saw the QuickBooks Live advertising, and decided to go with that instead. That's not anything that Intuit has promised not to do. There's no way to hide, to know the intent, or whether or not somebody is looking at a ProAdvisor as a potential service provider.

Blake Oliver:
My argument has always been that, no matter what Intuit promises, or tries to do to segment its marketing, it's not possible, and that prospects, and existing customers of ProAdvisors are going to find out about QuickBooks Live, and they are going to decide whether or not to use a ProAdvisor's services, and compare them to QuickBooks Live.

Blake Oliver:
Which opens up all those questions about is the pricing going to set an expectation, and hurt the ability of ProAdvisors to charge higher fees? Is it gonna still take business away from them? I think, yes, ultimately ... The whole point of QuickBooks Live is to grow their subscriptions with services. There's no way they're only going to be able to get people who aren't working with a ProAdvisor, or never intended to. It's just not possible.

David Leary:
This is the nightmare everybody foresaw weeks ago. "I can see it now. I'm gonna get an email from my client, saying they're gonna ... They want the price of QuickBooks Live, or they wanna just switch to QuickBooks Live.

Blake Oliver:
Yeah.

David Leary:
Right, and now, somebody had an email like that. They posted it on Facebook. Everybody loses their mind. The ad showing up in QuickBooks Online, people are gonna be upset. It all makes sense now.

David Leary:
Intuit's also trying to figure out, from the pricing ... I believe they're really trying to figure out how do they do this, so they can employ ... "Employ's" kind of a loose term. Connect; play that middleman, Uber-style, right? They'd play the middleman between the current ProAdvisors, and small-business owners.

David Leary:
It just feels rough how this is being tested at Intuit. Maybe this is one of those ... It has to be rough. The Band-Aid's just gotta get ripped off, and everybody's gonna get over it. Six months from now, it'll be like, "Yeah, that was no big deal." I don't know, but it's shocking. I was shocked, myself, that this showed up like this, after they kinda have been promising they wouldn't do it.

Blake Oliver:
My feeling is that this is not going to be a Band-Aid that gets ripped off. This is not gonna smooth over. This is permanently changing the relationship of ProAdvisors, and Intuit, forever. It's-

David Leary:
You blogged about that 12 weeks ago.

Blake Oliver:
Yeah, and you can see it in the commentary. People are very upset about this, who have been very loyal for a long time, and are talking about switching to Sage, switching to Xero, switching to Accounting Suite; looking for other options, because they don't wanna be partners with a company that's offering a competing service.

David Leary:
I still subscribe ... I don't even know switching is the answer, because I really, truly believe that - based on your article, and the success of TurboTax Live, and the demands of being a public company, and The Street, and Wall Street's demands, and shareholders demands - that the other players - Xero, Sage, et cetera - are gonna have to do the same thing, because they're gonna have pressure from The Street.

David Leary:
There's no way, if they're charging $39 for a subscription, and then, all the sudden, Intuit's getting $199 a month for a subscription, those other shareholders, or investors are gonna be like, "That's okay, just leave 150 bucks a month on the table; don't go chase it." They're going to have to do the same thing. There's no doubt.

Blake Oliver:
Well, I'm not convinced that Intuit will actually be able to succeed with this service. I previously wrote an article called, "Why There Won't be an Uber for Bookkeeping," that I posted on LinkedIn; that was a few years ago. I'm gonna go back, and read that again. It's really, really hard to scale a services business for small-business owners. It's hard enough to make software for them, right? To actually-.

David Leary:
Visor was an example, last week.

Blake Oliver:
Yeah, Visor completely, and miserably failed to scale their service operation for tax season, which is what they're ... That's their one job, right? You had one job to do. We'll see.

Blake Oliver:
Here's the risk of QuickBooks Live for Intuit: it's that they're pissing off their ProAdvisor community, which has been so good to them, for so long, in helping them obtain market share, and gain mindshare among business owners. Yet, there's no guarantee they'll even be able to scale QuickBooks Live enough to make up for that. The damage that they do, if they fail, is potentially humongous.

David Leary:
It's a huge gamble.

Blake Oliver:
It's also giving Xero an inroad into the United States that is, thus far ... The beachhead for Xero is very tiny, still, and this is giving them that opportunity to win hearts and minds of former-

David Leary:
That's correct ... I don't think, if I look back at the last ... Xero's probably been in the States now, what, seven to 10 years? Maybe a full decade now?

Blake Oliver:
Yeah, I think maybe-.

David Leary:
But there hasn't been a crack in the dam. They can't penetrate anything. There's not a leak. Now, there's kind of a leak.

Blake Oliver:
Yeah, because people have been so happy with where they are, so, why switch? Now, this is the opportunity. This is the crack, and I think if different software companies take advantage of it, they can get in, and they can start chipping away at that wall, and the dam will break.

David Leary:
I don't know. That's tough.

Blake Oliver:
I actually think that would be good for everyone, if there was more diversity, and if there were more firms using different products, because that would increase development, and would ... It's always good to have multiple players in the market. 80-, 90-percent market share is not a good thing for the customer.

David Leary:
You also have to look at Intuit's point of view on this, right? There's six other startups that all took VC money that are coming after the same customers. At some other level, you can't blame Intuit at all, because they gotta do things like this to survive in the future. They've got people clawing at them, right?

Blake Oliver:
Yeah, but, I understand there is this impetus, because you need to make profit; you've gotta do something new, but sometimes, doing something new isn't always the right thing.

David Leary:
That's true..

Blake Oliver:
You can see this with the new QuickBooks Online Advanced limits. I saw a post last week, from Jordyn Dahl, on LinkedIn. She's a news editor on LinkedIn, and she did a long post summarizing the QuickBooks Online Advanced limits, the new limits. She's not an accountant; she's not in the accounting world. She's talking to business owners, right?

David Leary:
I know. A bunch of people outside of our little closet are talking about this, yep.

Blake Oliver:
She got a hundred comments on this post, a hundred comments, which, to me, indicates that there's a lot of people worked up about it.

David Leary:
Yeah, and it's sad, because it offset some good news from Intuit this week [cross talk]

Blake Oliver:
Oh, yeah, we have some good news about Intuit. I'm actually glad that we do. Let's talk about that.

David Leary:
Two things that were big. One is they enabled one-day ACH. If I need to pay ... I'm a small-business owner, and I need to be paid, I will get that money in my bank account the next day-

Blake Oliver:
That's exciting.

David Leary:
-which is huge, because they added some stats in here that 44 percent of small-business owners are reporting they're not paid on time ... That barrier of not getting cash in their accounts causes them to have insufficient funds to pay somebody else. This just- it really ripples across.

David Leary:
The interesting thing, though, in this survey that Intuit put out is 66 percent ... I'm sorry, 160 ... 60 percent of small-business owners surveyed said they're still paid by check, particularly when the payment value is high. That's a lot of checks still being passed through the [cross talk] still.

Blake Oliver:
Well, it's because ACH has been so slow; two days, right? Now, I was looking into this, because I had the same article on my list this week, and I was curious to know whether or not this change was due to the new same-day ACH rules that NACHA, the organization that governs ACH, has been moving forward on.

Blake Oliver:
I actually found out, after doing a bunch of research, that it doesn't, because the way that QuickBooks payments works with ACH is these are debit payments - I'm requesting to take money out of your account. That has not been sped up by the new same-day ACH trials, because there still needs to be a two-day window, in which a account holder can contest a debit, since they didn't initiate it.

Blake Oliver:
It turns out that it's not using the new technology, or the new processing windows. Intuit is financing this, so that's why they ... It was hard for me to find this, but that's why there's a charge of one percent for this new service. It's one percent of the transaction, with a max of $10 per transaction.

David Leary:
Yeah, and I think I remember, if we go back to QuickBooks Connect, when they announced next-day payments, and same-day payroll ... They announced three different instant-payment things. I think that's correct. They even mentioned that they're floating that difference. You can choose not to do next-day, and then, it's the standard ... It's either free, or it's 50 cents, or whatever that nominal fee is, or you can choose to do next-day for a fee. I think I remember them saying that Intuit is footing this; floating the money for these transactions.

Blake Oliver:
Right. They're clearly hoping to make a lot of money, if they're taking one percent of everything, up to $1,000, and then, 10 percent per- $10 per transaction, after that.

David Leary:
Intuit's TurboTax numbers have came out.

Blake Oliver:
Let's hear that. How'd they do?

David Leary:
Their TurboTax numbers are up again. I think you even mentioned that last week, with the amount of people not just doing online, right- or not using brick-and-mortar stores, right?

Blake Oliver:
Yeah.

David Leary:
TurboTax, obviously, is a huge benefactor in that. They had a five-percent increase in TurboTax units across the board, with a seven-percent increase in TurboTax Online. They saw a three-percent decrease in TurboTax Desktop. TurboTax just continues to roll forward, roll forward, roll forward. They've adjusted their guidance, so they'll be at the high end of their previous guidance range of nine to 10 percent for revenue growth.

David Leary:
The thing this article didn't have, and they did not release yet, which would be, I think, the most interesting is how did TurboTax Live do?

Blake Oliver:
Right, but are they gonna break that out?

David Leary:
That's gonna be the ... Well, they broke it out in the conference call, previously, right, last year?

Blake Oliver:
The actual performance? I think they just said that they had really good growth. I don't know if they actually gave the numbers.

David Leary:
Good, okay ... That'll be interesting, so tune back, May 23rd, because I think that those numbers we see for TurboTax Live is going to tell a lot of the story of QuickBooks Live.

Blake Oliver:
Well, hey, I've got a story here from Accounting Today. This is kind of a fun one. "The Top 10 Cities for Accountants."

David Leary:
I'm trying to think ... This is like, hey, if you wanna go and hang out with accountants, there's a bunch of them living there, or is this like top 10 cities where, if you're an accountant, you're gonna have a good quality of life?

Blake Oliver:
It's not that there's a lot of accountants hanging out there. It's two factors. This is a study by AdvisorSmith. They analyzed 399 small, mid-sized, and large cities across the country, across the United States, based on accounting-salary, and job-availability statistics from the Bureau of Labor.

Blake Oliver:
How many accounting jobs are there, and what is the cost of living - balancing those two things. You wanna be in a place that has lots of jobs, and good salaries, and local cost of living. Even if the salaries are lower, you might have lower cost of living, which makes up for it.

Blake Oliver:
I'll go through the list. 10 - Jefferson City, Missouri; 9 - Trenton, New Jersey; 8 - Birmingham, Alabama; 7 - Denver; 6 - Dallas; 5 - Midland, Texas; 4 - Wilmington, Delaware; 3 - Houston; 2 - Parkersburg, West Virginia, and 1 - Springfield, Illinois.

David Leary:
Wow, no Boston on that list. For some reason, my brain always thought Boston had a huge accounting firm/Big Four presence, or something.

Blake Oliver:
I just think it's just too expensive. I liked seeing Denver on that list, because I love Denver. I could live in Denver. I don't know about Dallas, or Houston. The humidity thing is a problem for me. What else do we got this week? Anything else, David?

David Leary:
I have one thing - a tweet - but I don't know if you have any news articles, before I talk about that tweet?

Blake Oliver:
Well, how good is your tweet?

David Leary:
It's super-super-breaking news.

Blake Oliver:
Oh, well, let's hear it.

David Leary:
There was somebody tweeted that there is, coming soon, the Desktop Accounting Podcast, believe it or not.

Blake Oliver:
Oh, wow. I've always wanted to listen to a Desktop Accounting Podcast. I'm excited about that. Is this for real?

David Leary:
Yes ... As far as I know, it's for real. This is not me. I didn't set this up; you didn't set this up. We didn't set this up as a gimmick, or anything like that. Some of the comments were a little bit funny. Somebody said that they were going to distribute it on CD-

Blake Oliver:
I like that.

David Leary:
-which I thought was a little bit funny. Those of you who are open-minded, and you listen to The Cloud Accounting Podcast, but maybe you still have some clients on desktop, there might be a podcast for you to listen to, as well.

Blake Oliver:
Speaking of entertaining ways to spend your time, there's a great article from Greg Kyte, on the Thriveal blog. It's called, "Three Ways to Charge $25,000 to Your Customers." I always love Greg's articles, because he makes it both entertaining, and educational.

Blake Oliver:
I'll give you the three ways. He uses some stories from his own experience. As a little bit of background, Greg is a corporate controller, so he outsources work; utilizes the work of an accounting firm. He interacts with that firm, and he uses that experience to understand better, as a customer ... He talks about his experience as a customer of that firm, and gives advice to accountants looking to sell to guys like him.

David Leary:
But he's an accountant, who's also a stand-up comedian.

Blake Oliver:
Yes, he's also stand-up comedian-

David Leary:
Okay. You can't leave that out of his bio [cross talk]

Blake Oliver:
I just figure everybody knows who Greg is, at this point. Here's the three ways. Way number one is, "I would gladly pay you $25,000, if you find me $25,001 of tax savings."

Blake Oliver:
This has always amazed me ... If you're a tax firm, and you have tax experts, and you figure out how to save somebody a bundle of money, why are you charging them hourly for that? The ROI is easy to understand.

Blake Oliver:
If you save somebody $25,000, charge them some sort of percentage of that, or charge them a fee that expresses the value of that savings. Don't just charge them your hourly rate. That's a good one. In the article, the story was all about the qualified business income deduction that was new this year, and the fee was way under what they coulda charged, he said, on an hourly basis.

Blake Oliver:
Number two, "I'll gladly pay you $25,000, if you create a retirement plan that will earn me butt tons of money." This had to do with a special type of retirement plan that Greg's employer could setup for him, so that he could invest in real-estate properties that the employer is invested in, and that helps out Greg personally.

Blake Oliver:
Your customers will, even if they are not the actual customer, if the firm is the customer, the people working there will wanna pay you more, if you help them out, right? That's another example.

Blake Oliver:
Three is, "I'd gladly pay $25,000, if you help me automate to the point where I can fire an employee." That one's pretty easy these days. I think most of the listeners of the podcast would understand that one. A lot of us probably did that, or do that, where we say, "Outsource your AP automation, or outsource your AP work to me. I'll use automation to do it, and you can get rid of that AP clerk you don't like very much.".

Blake Oliver:
It's funny the way he says it. Usually we try to sugar coat it by saying, "Oh, well, we'll help you re-purpose that person into a better role, where they can add more value to your organization," but, honestly, what're you gonna do? Most the time, you're just gonna let 'em go, right?

Blake Oliver:
That's an easy way to justify value-billing for technology initiatives with your customers. If you are gonna put in an AP system that allows them to reduce their staff, price it in terms of how much of a staff reduction- how much they're gonna save on salaries. Don't do it hourly-

David Leary:
Yeah, frame it that way.

Blake Oliver:
Yeah, frame it that way. I like this article because it's actually an article about pricing, and selling that is entertaining. Thank you, Greg, and go check it out.

David Leary:
I did listen to a good podcast that could be interesting for everybody. It's from Planet Money. It's called "I'm Not a Robot." It's the history of reCAPTCHA. Everybody's done that. You have to check-mark the box that says, "I'm not a robot," or you have to type in-

Blake Oliver:
I hate that thing.

David Leary:
-the thing from the book. This kinda gives you the history of it, so you understand why it exists, how it's evolved, and where, arguably, v3 is gonna be in the future.

Blake Oliver:
Wait, so, what is the podcast about?

David Leary:
It's about reCAPTCHA, the history of it-

Blake Oliver:
Oh, the history of it.

David Leary:
The podcast title [cross talk]

Blake Oliver:
-that sounds awful. Why would I wanna spend my time on that? Sell me on that.

David Leary:
Here's what you'll like about it. There's farms of people that can be hired by spammers to click the box that says, "I'm not a robot.".

Blake Oliver:
Oh, God ...

David Leary:
There's human-powered automation in clicking through that message.

Blake Oliver:
Right.

David Leary:
Maybe that would be a reason for you to listen to it.

Blake Oliver:
Maybe that's the job I can get, once my job has been automated, is I can click ... I can help the robot; my new employer, which will be a robot, I can help it get through the reCAPTCHA, because it won't be able to do so, itself, you know? That's what we'll be doing?

David Leary:
Apparently, yes. It's worth a listen. It's kinda cool.

Blake Oliver:
I've got one last story here-

David Leary:
Yeah.

Blake Oliver:
-and this is gonna be music to the ears of any Slack users out there. If you're using the team-chat wunder-app Slack, you'll be so excited to learn that Slack has built a new bridge between its service, and email. In the coming months you'll be able to @ mention people in channels, or send them a direct message, and it will route those messages to their email inbox. These are people that aren't in your Slack, as users, but you still wanna be able to communicate with them.

Blake Oliver:
You can message them like any other user. That message will go to them via email. They can respond to that email without having to go into Slack - they're not even in Slack - and those replies will come into your Slack, and the back-and-forth exchange will also transform into a full Slack history, if the person ever does join Slack.

David Leary:
Congratulations, Slack you became email. Thank you.

Blake Oliver:
Well ...

David Leary:
We can stop using it. It's done. It's over. I'll just switch back to email. What's the point?

Blake Oliver:
The reason I think this is awesome is because there are lots of accounting firms that are starting to use Slack to communicate with clients. I did this, too. I had ... Some of my clients, I was able to get communicating with me in Slack, but, half, I couldn't. They just wanted to stick with email. I ended up ultimately abandoning Slack, because I didn't wanna have two different places for them to contact me.

Blake Oliver:
Why this is great is because now, if I am running a firm, I can work with all of those users, in Slack, or not, all from Slack. Slack is almost becoming good enough to use as a practice-management-communication tool. I think this is gonna give all the apps, like Carbon, and Client Hub, and - what's the other ones, the communication apps for accountants - a run for their money, because, why wouldn't I just do it in Slack?

David Leary:
Now, isn't there some risk to this? What I mean by that is, in theory, Slack is secure, right?

Blake Oliver:
Uh-huh.

David Leary:
As soon as you send that Slack message, and it goes out as an email, it's a postcard. I think you just have to be very aware of what you type in that message, because the rest of the messages ... If you're used to everything being secure in Slack, and you've just been, I'm not saying careless, but because you're confident you're in a secured location, sharing secure information, if you type that into an external one, it becomes a postcard, as an email. You just have to be very, very ... It's the warning out there, for anybody who tries to do this.

Blake Oliver:
One of the security measures is that these email-only Slack users have to be added by an administrator, manually. You can't just had add somebody's email, and start communicating with them, because that would create a bunch of security problems for a company. Hopefully, the administrators, whoever owns these Slack instances, will understand that risk.

David Leary:
Until people can Slack with us, what's the best way for them to get a hold of you?

Blake Oliver:
I'm on Twitter. I'm @BlakeTOliver, and how about you, David?

David Leary:
I'm @David Leary.

Blake Oliver:
Follow The Cloud Accounting Podcast on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our emails. Just go to CloudAccountingPodcast.com, click on the blue Subscribe banner at the top, put in your email address, and you will get the show notes emailed to you the morning after an episode drops.

Blake Oliver:
That way, you've got all the links to all the articles right there in your email inbox, with all the time codes, so you can skip right to that story in the podcast, if you're really excited about it. Great way to follow up on anything that you found interesting in our show.

David Leary:
Then you get 'em instantly. The second Blake is done editing the podcast, the email goes out even faster than I can make the artwork. If you want the episodes faster than I get them from Blake, get on the email list.

Blake Oliver:
Give us a review on iTunes, and we will read it on the air. We really appreciate those reviews. They're the number-one way that you can help us grow our audience. Really appreciate that. We're a Top 50 Business News podcast, David. It's really exciting-

David Leary:
Congratulations.

Blake Oliver:
Yeah, congratulations to you.

David Leary:
We are beating Marijuana Daily, as of right now.

Blake Oliver:
Help us get higher than Marijuana ... Daily Podcast, and climb the charts, and reach the accounting world that remains stuck in the ways of desktop. Do not let the Desktop Accounting Podcast win. We have to grow our numbers.

David Leary:
All right. On that note, Blake, I'm out.

Blake Oliver:
Great talking, David. See you next week.

David Leary:
Bye, everybody.

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