This episode is sponsored by Xero. Join us at Xerocon San Diego in June! Go here for a registration discount for podcast listeners.
(00:52) We got some more iTunes reviews! Leave us a review and we might read it on the air.
(02:09) New usage rules for Intuit's popular accounting software could mean some customers will need to move to a pricier plan. And some entrepreneurs say it's one tweak too many.
(06:26) The next "QuickBooks With Live Bookkeeping" test is up and running. Say bye bye to Claudell... and meet David! He's a "bookkeeper 17 years." The price has now doubled from $200 to $400/month. What's included in the new test of QuickBooks Live? Listen to find out.
(15:50) Cathy Iconis lays out the basics of what you need to do to start your own virtual bookkeeping business. It’s a lot!
(18:59) Companies that use Box.com as a cloud-based file hosting and sharing system might be accidentally exposing internal files, sensitive documents, or proprietary technology.
(21:30) Here’s a how a scammer used phishing emails to steal over $100 million from Google and Facebook.
(25:32) Zapier tested options for screen recording software ranging from minimalistic three-button windows to complex apps overflowing with tools, priced from free all the way up to several hundreds of dollars.
(30:34) No matter what anyone tells you, we’re not ready for the massive societal upheavals on the way thank to artificial intelligence.
Cloud Accounting Podcast E67: Small biz owners not happy with Intuit's new rate limits (transcribed by Sonix)
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-edge 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: We got some more reviews, David; three more.
David Leary: Three more. That's good. That's good, yeah.
Blake Oliver: NAS77Y said, "Forget the rest. This is THE podcast on cloud accounting you should be tuned into weekly. Blake and David are a perfect duo. Apart from being entertaining, they're also experts in the accounting, and accounting-software vertical. The updates they share are well-researched, and articulated. Every accountant, bookkeeper, and business owner should be listening to this regular shows so they can stay informed, and make smarter business decisions around accounting, and cloud software."
David Leary: And we got a review from the world-famous Brent Forbush, CPA: "Great content. On point. Five stars. Blake and David do a great job of keeping abreast of all the changes in the profession, and even more importantly, making sure to call out the parts of the profession need to change to stay ahead. With the ever-changing technology landscape, they help make sure we are evaluating our process, and technology stack to ensure we use the best of breed. Thanks for being a voice."
Blake Oliver: Finally, we've got Jimmy [Joette], who said, "Outstanding, five stars. I can't say enough about the job Blake and David do in discussing new trends, software updates, news articles, and everything relevant to the industry. I get excited every time I see a new podcast, because it means I'm about to learn more news relevant to our industry. Thanks, guys." Well, thank you, Jimmy, and thanks, Brent, and thanks, NAS77Y. I really appreciate those reviews.
David Leary: Yeah, this is great.
Blake Oliver: You know who isn't getting very good reviews this week? It's Intuit.
David Leary: Yeah, yeah.
Blake Oliver: Did you see the article in Inc. magazine?
David Leary: I did see that, and the headline in the article is, "Changes are Coming to QuickBooks Subscriptions, Again, and Small Business Owners Aren't Happy." When you tweeted this out, the day before, I actually went, and did a follow me home. I went to ... I drove to Phoenix, and I went to a small business, a T-shirts/sign-printing business. They're fairly, fairly big.
David Leary: Chatted about their business; how they're doing things. They talked about QuickBooks. Un-baited from me, they brought up the QBO list limits, and how they're gonna exceed the chart of accounts ones ... There's almost like eye rolling about it. They were ...
David Leary: My takeaway's yes, it feels like we're in a closet, in a vacuum, you and I, talking about these list limits. Then, the accountants, and bookkeepers are talking about it on social media, and all that, but it's obviously based on me doing that follow-home to a small business this week, and then, this article that this is really being chatted about, not just in our little Cloud Accounting Podcast circles. This is really being discussed, because this is Inc. Magazine.
Blake Oliver: Yep, Inc. Magazine ... The price increase is pretty substantial, if you do go over the limits on the chart of accounts. For those who haven't been following the story, starting April 10th, Intuit is imposing new usage limits on existing tiered plans. If you're a current customer, you might outgrow your plan sooner than expected.
Blake Oliver: For example, customers currently on the $60-per-month plan, which is $720 per year, might have to move to a $1,200-per-year plan - that's QuickBooks Online Advanced - which would be a 66-percent price increase, and that's only because you have more than 250 accounts in your chart of accounts, or more than 40 classes, and locations.
Blake Oliver: This article features business owners, both small, and slightly larger - a $100,000 business in New York; a $1 million annual revenue business in Boulder - talking about how they switched from Desktop to Online, and now they're upset, and they're not ... They're upset about being forced into price increases, while also, they don't perceive that there has been a lot of development in the product for new features, and benefits; talked about how QuickBooks Online has gone down two or three times in the last year.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, I think this just validates the commentary that you and I had a couple of weeks ago, talking about how it's not really wise to increase prices, when you haven't actually delivered new features.
David Leary: Well, yeah, and then, it's the ... I think the limits, themselves, they just feel low.
Blake Oliver: They're kinda arbitrary, aren't they? Why would you want to pay more for a product, just because you have more charts of accounts? That's like ... It's not a feature. It's not like I'm getting advanced inventory management, or something, which people would be happy to pay more for, right?
David Leary: Yeah. If somebody's extra-anal, or wants to over-organize things, it's almost like a punishment-
Blake Oliver: Like me.
David Leary: Yeah. I know we've talked about this in the past couple episodes ... Even myself, I use a lot of classes, and I'm like, "Oh ..." I'm kinda rethinking that now, because this could catch up.
David Leary: The interesting thing about this, like that business I talked to, they were paying a lot more for ... I think they were using a Sage Desktop product that they migrated from about 14 to 18 months ago, to QuickBooks Online, and then, add-on apps, right? They kinda moved to that ecosystem.
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: It's not that they're really upset about the price, but they just almost had that eye rolling about it, because, when it's all said and done, it's still gonna be cheaper per year than they were paying before, for their Sage product, but, it's just ... I think it's the sting of it, and then, kind of just eye rolling about it, like, "Are you kidding me? Because our chart of accounts hits 251 ..."
David Leary: They're not mad, it's just they're eye rolling, like, "This is unbelievable. That's the limit?" I suspect that eventually this will change. There's a lot of chat about this, outside of ... Obviously, outside of our circles, because this is now ... The small-business owners are talking about this with each other.
Blake Oliver: Speaking of Intuit, and QuickBooks, there's a new QuickBooks Live test going on. Number two is up, and running, and you and I were able to see the pricing page. It's pretty easy to get around the cookies that prevent you from seeing it, because you can just use an incognito window, right? I took a look at the new pricing, and it's pretty similar to the last pricing; although, Claudell is gone, David.
David Leary: That was the first thing I noticed, as well. I was a little heartbroken.
Blake Oliver: Say goodbye to Claudell. She has been replaced, in test number two, by David, who is also a very experienced bookkeeper. He's been doing it for 17 years. The big difference is that the price has now doubled from $200, to $400 per month.
David Leary: But one of the major things somebody pointed out is the other test, here, is the services offered, and the scope is different. Before, it was a little ... "Hey, some set-up help, and we'll do some categorization for you." Now. it's almost like a full-blown bookkeeping service.
Blake Oliver: It is, yeah.
David Leary: At the other end of it ... The other end of the pendulum has swung the other way, and obviously, Intuit's gonna test, because you have to do a test. You gotta go a little extreme, or you're not gonna learn anything.
Blake Oliver: Well, should I go through the scope of services?
David Leary: You know them by heart?
Blake Oliver: Well, I took screenshots, so I've got them listed out here-
David Leary: That'll work. Perfect.
Blake Oliver: First, your QuickBooks Live bookkeeper will customize your setup, which means setting up your books, and tailoring the product to fit your business; importing historical data, like customer, and vendor lists is included in this. Then, they will categorize, and reconcile transactions, which means categorizing expenses, income, customers, and checks. They will also reconcile accounts, and transactions to make sure they match.
Blake Oliver: Third is provide monthly insights on your business. That includes creating customized reports catered to your particular business; reviewing business reports to see how you're doing from month to month. They will also help ensure your books are accurate at month end, fix incorrectly posted transactions, so your books are correct, find any missing figures to keep your books balanced.
Blake Oliver: Then, finally, they will close your books on time, generate accurate year-end reports for your business, when it's time to file, walk through a year-end checklist with you, and even ensure you have a seamless hand-off to your tax accountant.
Blake Oliver: Yes, David, I think that this is a rather full-service type bookkeeping offering, and at $400 a month, it might be a little- still a little bit underpriced, if you ask me.
David Leary: Well, I think it depends on ... Yes, from a bookkeeper's perspective, if you have a bookkeeping firm, it may be that $400 feels underpriced, but I think if you are a small-business owner, and you just need cash-basis bookkeeping, it may be overpriced, because I think ... I swear I saw a Google ad on one of my searches this week that said, "Bookkeeping - $89 a month."
Blake Oliver: Yeah [cross talk] there's all sorts of low-end bookkeeping services out there. Then, when you actually click through, and you get to the site, or you talk to somebody, you find out it's gonna be much more expensive than that.
David Leary: Yeah, as soon as you add in anything else [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: Unless they're using- Unless they're using offshore labor.
David Leary: Yeah, yeah ... As soon as you add in, "Oh, I need a payroll service, and I need this app, and I need an approval process," it does start to add up.
Blake Oliver: As we discussed last week, the big news is that they've hired 10 bookkeepers in Boise, and are moving forward within a closed beta of QuickBooks Live with various business owners, so it's not a test anymore. It's actually a beta. The public pricing is still in test mode, I guess.
Blake Oliver: I wonder ... What I'm really curious to know is, and this is what disappointed me, when I listened to some of the public interviews that the QuickBooks Live folks gave, this past week or two, and the blog post, is what are these QuickBooks Live bookkeepers getting paid? Because that's going to have a huge impact on ...
Blake Oliver: If this service actually goes live, and becomes big, and this is how ProAdvisors are now making money, and that they're working for QuickBooks Live, as bookkeepers, on their platform, we need to know what they're getting paid, to know if it's going to be good for them or not.
Blake Oliver: Nobody asked that question, so I really would like to know that- the answer to that. My guess is it's not gonna be much more than the TurboTax Live people, which is something like 20 bucks an hour.
David Leary: Is that public information out there? Has that been ...?
Blake Oliver: No, no, no, we don't know.
David Leary: What about the TurboTax Live people? Is that something that [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: That is something ... There was a blog post that Craig Smalley wrote. He talked about how he applied for TurboTax Live just to see what it was, from an employee standpoint. He said that he was told the pay rate was somewhere around that. Obviously, it depends on your individual situation, but that's what they're telling people.
Blake Oliver: The other thing that bothers me about all of this, or the big question I have in my mind is that ... Rich Preece was on another podcast, this week, talking about- answering questions from ProAdvisors; talking about what this really is. Is it competing with ProAdvisors? Of course, he says, "No, it's not designed to compete with ProAdvisors. We're actually going to use, or invite ProAdvisors to participate in this program ... We're not competing with you; you're gonna be able to use our platform, and join our platform to provide bookkeeping services to clients. This way, you'll get more clients."
Blake Oliver: To me, that's sort of like Uber saying to taxi drivers, "Yeah, we don't compete with taxis, because you have the opportunity to sign up with us, and drive for Uber." Everybody knows that the way Uber works is that it hasn't been exactly the best thing for taxi drivers, because when you have anybody able to join Uber, drive for Uber, and it's a contract relationship, and all that ... You're not getting the benefits; prices are getting- or hourly wages are being lowered. Platforms benefit the companies building the platforms, primarily; not the service providers that are currently being disrupted by those platforms.
David Leary: Yeah. I think that's kinda the history of platforms is that. Then, it's a double-edged sword, because I think even people ... It's been the politics, now, like, "Oh, Amazon runs the platform. They need to be broken up," or "Apple runs the platform. They're taking 30 percent of every developer's take, but developers are making money off of the App Store," and things like that.
David Leary: At the same time, I think there's a big bell curve of bookkeepers out there. I see this in the Facebook posts. There's bookkeepers that are providing exceptional services. They have their own bookkeeping firm. They've done the marketing; they've done the research. They have clients. Then, you'll see, in the other end, you see people ... They'll just post on to Facebook, "How do I get clients for my bookkeeping business?" or, "I just opened a bookkeeping business ..." They almost aren't doing any work, if that makes any sense.
David Leary: They're not putting in the effort to create their firm, and to go out, and do work. Maybe that's a good fit for those people who are like, "Hey, I just wanna do bookkeeping, but I don't wanna have to find the clients. I don't wanna have to spin up my own website. I don't wanna have to do any of these things. I just wanna become a bookkeeper, and I'll just do it for QuickBooks Live." Maybe there's a set of the population this is a good fit for.
Blake Oliver: I would say that this is going to be great for business owners, if it's done right, because they'll have access to bookkeeping help for ... Directly, in QuickBooks Online, for much less than they would pay otherwise. It's gonna be great for bookkeepers who aren't really that good at running a business, because now they have access to as much work as they want, and it's all in a platform that's easy for them to work in.
Blake Oliver: Who it's not good for are the entrepreneurial bookkeepers, accountants who have created their own firms, or businesses, and brands because ... Does anyone really think that QuickBooks is gonna be driving people wanting bookkeeping services to the ProAdvisor directory, once this thing's up and running? No.
Blake Oliver: It's like we talked about what happened with GoDaddy, with the Do It With Me, and the Do It For Me services.
Blake Oliver: Ned from Spritz wrote that awesome post talking about what happened there. There was a total incentive for GoDaddy to drive people to its own platform, rather than to the third-party providers, because they made way more money on the Do It With Me ... The platform play. Once this goes live, I wouldn't expect for ProAdvisors to be getting a lot of leads through the ProAdvisor directory anymore. They'll have to figure out how to get them from elsewhere.
David Leary: Everybody talks about advising, and I've always talked about going niche ... I've always thought if you do niche correctly, you're gonna have conversations with small-business owners way before they even think about buying QuickBooks, or way before they go to the Find a ProAdvisor site.
David Leary: It's just gonna be, if you're an entrepreneurial bookkeeper, or accountant, you're just gonna have to do things differently, because a lead just falling in your lap because somebody went to the Find a ProAdvisor site may not be there, and you're just gonna ...
David Leary: People who wanna be lazy are gonna have a place in this world, and people who wanna work really hard in their firm, and grow it, there's a place for them, too. You're just gonna have to be a little bit more hustle, and innovative, I think.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: I have an article that kinda ties into that conversation a little bit.
Blake Oliver: Let's hear it.
David Leary: Cathy Iconis wrote a article on her blog site, QBO Chat, and it's, "How to Start a Virtual Bookkeeping Business." I think this is a good post for ... I know I just referenced those people that are just on Facebook: "How do I start a bookkeeping practice? I just quit my job," right? They're on that end of the spectrum.
David Leary: Cathy really goes into everything from ... Step one: I started with $1,000, my initial funding. How I got my business name; how I structured my company; the tools you need; the hardware; the storage; how to pick a package to build your practice on, and how to do training.
David Leary: I think this is just a good article for all those people that are at square one. They don't know what to do next. It's just a really good 'how do I?' article.
Blake Oliver: Reading through this, it really solidifies in my mind how difficult it is to actually go into business for yourself. A lot of people don't think about that when they say, "I'm gonna go start my own accounting firm," or "I'm gonna start my own bookkeeping practice.".
Blake Oliver: There's a lot that goes into it, from forming your LLC, to getting set up on your technology stack, to building our pricing packages. Then, your tech stack for actually delivering the services. It's hard. That's what a QuickBooks Live is going to solve for people who just don't have it in them, or don't have the time, and resources to go do that. That way, they can go work for themselves, and everything's taken care of.
David Leary: Yeah, that's a good point, because if I wanted to start a car service, tomorrow, I don't know, legally, if I'm allowed. Never mind, I have to buy a car, and all the sudden ... There's all this stuff that would have to happen; insurance, et cetera. I've gotta brand it. I've gotta find customers, or I install the Uber app, and I become a driver ... I have no clue how long that takes. I'm gonna say in 48 hours, I'm driving for Uber.
Blake Oliver: Probably.
David Leary: But, you're right, it's a complete difference from, "Hey, here's a bunch of work you have to do, if you ..." This is not even like ... She doesn't even get into, like, you gotta get customers; you wanna maintain-
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: This is just spinning it up. Okay, great; now you have it. Now, you gotta actually start making some money, and getting customers.
Blake Oliver: It's tough to set up your tech stack, and figure out how you're gonna use ... Are you gonna use QBO, or are you gonna use Bill.com, HubDoc, and Sitely, all that stuff. To actually go out, and get those customers, that's where a lot of people get stuck, because they're not salespeople. That's not why you go into accounting is to do sales. most of the time. So-
David Leary: Yeah, I think you're one of the exceptions, because you've always ... Early on, even when you had your bookkeeping practice, you always described yourself as like, "I'm a marketing bookkeeper," or something like that, right?
Blake Oliver: Yeah. Well, it's funny, because I never thought I would be good at marketing, and then, it was when I started my own practice that I found I really enjoyed it; that I liked blocking, and I liked getting out there online. I wouldn't call myself a sales guy, because I don't like doing calls all day with prospective clients - I get a little tired from that - but I love the online-marketing stuff. That is really fun. Most bookkeepers, probably that's not the thing they're interested in. If they were, they'd be doing marketing. What's next? What should we talk about next?
David Leary: I think that "leaking sensitive files via Box accounts," is an interesting one.
Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah. Let's talk about that. All right, David, so speaking of your tech stack, and how you're gonna store documents, this is an important thing. One thing that you might do, when you're starting a bookkeeping practice, or an accounting firm, is set up your online storage, your cloud storage - Dropbox, or Box, or Google Drive, or OneDrive, right?
Blake Oliver: Well, an article popped up on ZDNet this past week, talking about how there are lots of companies that use Box.com, which is a very, very secure file-storage system, but they are ... Because they're not configuring it correctly, they may be accidentally exposing internal files, sensitive documents, and proprietary tech.
Blake Oliver: Here's how they're doing this. Box has this ability, where you can create what's called a vanity URL for a file. Instead of it just being a random string of digits, and numbers that links to the file, you could say something like my-social-security-number, and-
David Leary: Well, hopefully you wouldn't do that. It would just be like David's Cool Download or something.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, or like Passport, or something like that. You could customize the URL. What people have been doing at some big companies, like Apple, is they've been creating vanity URLs for internal documents, and then they've been making those documents public, because they don't want people to have to log in to view them.
Blake Oliver: What that means, though, is that, if you're a hacker, you can just basically search the web for vanity URLs; use dictionary attacks, searching on the Box domain for these files, and then you can find them that way. It's like having an unlisted phone number ... People can still find you, because they can just dial all the numbers, and find you.
David Leary: So, somebody who's a little enterprising, and smart, they could be like, "Box. com/newestAppleiPhone11."
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: "11, version of the iPhone ..." and they just keep searching, and eventually, you just find some docs is basically what's happening.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, yeah, and it's a cautionary tale that whenever you set up ... Whenever you're using cloud-based storage, where files are permissioned, and accessible via URLs, you really wanna make sure that you've set up your policies so that that sort of thing can't happen; that your staff, out of convenience, don't accidentally expose documents by using a vanity URL on a document that is public, that shouldn't be public' that sort of thing. That's the security lesson for the week.
David Leary: Wow. It's kinda funny, that carelessness of companies; not knowing they're doing these things. Here's one, and I know we've talked about this before; not so much with companies, but I think we talked about how the IRS was just cutting people refund checks for over a million ... They don't check, unless it's over- how much was that again? $10 million or $5 million?
Blake Oliver: If the refund check is under $2 million, it doesn't go through human review. Although, I imagine that's probably changed now, given what happened.
David Leary: There's an article that came out. It was on CNBC. A scammer just sent fake invoices to Google, and Facebook, which is a scam people have been doing for years, and years, and years. He $100 million from them.
Blake Oliver: How ... Wait ... Over what time period? I mean ...
David Leary: In 2016-
Blake Oliver: It looks like 2013, between 2013 and 2015. Wow ... He was just sending fake invoices to these companies, and they were paying them?
David Leary: Yeah, he created a fake company that posed as another company. It's a total scam-
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: On the Facebook, and Google side of things, do they not have any accounts-payable controls? Nobody's sanity-checking this stuff? I even know ... I'm pretty sure there's apps that are off the shelf that will validate companies before you pay them.
Blake Oliver: Yeah. This seems like a perfect application for artificial intelligence; having some sort of AI review all the documents, and look for inconsistencies, and create a risk profile for every single invoice. I guess that's not a priority for Facebook. That's the problem; when you have so much money floating around, your internal controls go a little lax, because you're not too worried about it. Isn't $100 million like a rounding error for Facebook?
David Leary: Yeah, the sheer number is just amazing, and in a two-year period [cross talk] that's basically a million bucks a week he's pulling out of those companies; half-a-million dollar each, a week-
Blake Oliver: Wow ...
David Leary: If you start averaging this out for a two-year period. That is-
Blake Oliver: This not just a scam that big businesses fall for; medium-sized, small businesses, even, fall for this stuff, too. We gotta be vigilant.
David Leary: Yeah, and this is where I think you have to have some approval processes around things. It could be a Bill.com type situation, where it's ... Really, there's an app involved. You do the approval through there, but, it could be as simple as a Google checklist, or a process, or anything like that, where two people have to both say, "Okay, it's time to hit send on that bill payment," before they just get paid.
Right. This is another area where human ... The humans are the weakest part of this chain, in the internal controls, because a lot of times, even when you have that, people will just go in, and they'll see a bunch of bills for themselves to approve; they won't really take the time to look at them. They'll just hit approve, approve, approve, approve.
Blake Oliver: I had this happen with clients all the time. They just were too lazy to approve, or to actually look at the documents. Then everything would get paid; then, we'd find out later that, "Oh, I didn't actually wanna pay that. What am I supposed to do. I had an approval process in place?" You're the one who didn't actually look at the document. I don't know what to do in that case.
David Leary: In some level, I think these guys were geniuses; another level, they're morons because Facebook recovered the bulk of the funds, after it was reported. If you're gonna steal $50 million from a company, don't you do a better job of hiding it? How did Facebook recover this money? That's beyond me. I don't know. I'm a little shocked by it ... It's people being quick, being careless. It's the same thing with that Box article. [inaudible] paying invoices that you didn't take time to make sure it was real. It comes back to bite you. Everybody has to be careful out there.
Blake Oliver: On a totally different subject, I found ... Do you ever read the Zapier blog, David? I love their blog. It's so good-
David Leary: I have never read it, actually.
Blake Oliver: I don't know when they started doing this, but they hired ... They must've hired some really good writers, because they're putting out great content, like every week; really helpful stuff that's not about Zapier, but ties into it. It's a perfect example of content marketing.
Blake Oliver: This one that I saw is from February 11th. It's called, "The Best Screen-Recording Software in 2019." It's a roundup of all the screen capture software that's out there for small businesses [cross talk]
David Leary: So, Loom, and stuff like that, is that one you [cross talk]
Blake Oliver: Yeah, Camtasia, ScreenFlow. If you wanna create a demo video of your product, or if you want to create a training video for your clients, these are the apps use. They picked the top 10, and then they say which is the best to use for each use case. Do I wanna quickly share videos, or do I wanna live-stream webinars, or do I wanna create high-production recordings? You can just go through the list, and find the one that's perfect for you. I highly recommend anyone looking to create that kinda content, take a look at this.
Blake Oliver: I am a big fan of Camtasia. I've been using that recently to create some on-demand demo videos for FloQast that we're gonna be putting up on our website, so people can actually see the product, without having to book a live demo.
Blake Oliver: I can do really cool things, like I can highlight stuff on the screen; I can add text; I can create arrows. I can even show a thumbnail of the person running the demo that's captured from their webcam. It's really cool. That's the number-one app on their list, but there's a lot of other ones that are really good. I don't know if you've used any of these, David?
David Leary: I have not, but I've heard a lot about things like Loom. I think it's really popular with people ... Maybe you're documenting your processes, and instead of you typing, "Here's how you run payroll in QuickBooks," instead of you documenting the click-by-click steps to do that, you could actually ... A lot of people, the popular way to do it is Loom. Then people just record the video, and then somebody ... You have a new employee; you just tell them to watch that video, and that's how they go do the process.
David Leary: I think even Mike Michalowicz talked about this in his book, "Clockwork." Then you just put that person, whose ever using the video, as the person responsible for shooting a new video as soon as the process changes. It's a quick way to keep your processes up to date. I think a lot of people have used Loom to do that ... Actually, of this list, I've heard of Camtasia, and Loom; that's it. The other eight, I'll have to go in and take a peek at.
Blake Oliver: I also use a tool called Snagit; Snagit's another tool made by the people who make Camtasia, and it's for quick screen grabs. They don't have the same editing features, but it lets you grab your screen, and send it to somebody.
Blake Oliver: This was one of the ways that I really differentiated myself, as a bookkeeper, with my clients is when they had a complex question, they wanted to know how to do something. Instead of sending them an email, and telling them how to do it, or having to call them on the phone, and walk them through it, I would just record a quick video, showing them exactly how to do it, and I would send that to them. They freaked out. They loved it, because then they could go back, and watch the video anytime.
Blake Oliver: If you have a firm, teaching your staff how to do this, it's great for, like you said, David, documenting internal processes, but it's also a really cool way to record personal videos for clients, whenever they have questions about how to do things. Loom is a great example of that. It's super-easy-
David Leary: How formal do you get with these?
Blake Oliver: Well, not formal at all. I'd be like, "Oh, hey, David, I'm just responding to your email asking how do you deal with a loan repayment on payroll. You gave an employee an advance, and now you wanna withhold that from their paycheck. I'm gonna go into Gusto, here, and you can see that I click on the employee, and then I go down to deductions, and I create it this way ... I'm like loan repayment; it's gonna be after tax ..." Then, that way they know how to do it every time.
David Leary: Okay, got it, got it. It's okay to use video, professionally done, or really informal that you can scale it, and utilize in your firm.
Blake Oliver: Yeah.
David Leary: That's the lesson here.
Blake Oliver: Really, really powerful. I think it goes to that whole idea of this is how we, as service providers, can differentiate ourselves in a world in which QuickBooks Live is coming. We need to figure out ways to be luxury service providers, not just people helping do compliance activities, because that whole compliance stuff, it's gonna ... The price is gonna go down on that; we aren't gonna wanna be doing that. If we can be the person who does these really cool videos for our clients, that will set us apart, and people will wanna pay for that. That's all I got this week.
David Leary: Cool. I just have one more article titled ... It has a very good click-bait title: "Tech companies should stop pretending AI won’t destroy jobs." This is the MIT Technology Review.
Blake Oliver: Mm-hmm. Great magazine.
David Leary: It's a little bit of a long read. The takeaway I got from it is, yes, there's this disagreement between AI companies. At some level, they refuse to acknowledge that maybe people are going to lose jobs; or they have this other argument, which is like this, "Eh, we'll just supplement those people with a universal basic income." There's this almost convenient argument that's out there.
David Leary: I think the secret thing in this guy's article that is really the scary thing, and he doesn't actually ... He just provides the data, but he doesn't provide the conclusion, so this is me applying my own conclusion to his article. He really compares about AI in China, and how China has a chance to win the whole AI game.
David Leary: For one thing, they have more data. Then, the other thing, they have 2X the amount of people working on a AI stuff. Ultimately, you need data. Who has the most data is going to win AI.
David Leary: The ironic thing of this whole thing is what if AI eliminates all the tech jobs in the US, too? It's not just the mundane jobs - customer-service-level jobs. What if a bunch of engineers that are working on AI are completely displaced because China wins?
David Leary: I think that's the really interesting thing, here, from a numbers standpoint. Right now it's 50/50 chance, going forward in the future, that we stay on top of the technology revolution with AI - we, as in the United States.
Blake Oliver: Wait, what's the ... The 50/50 number, that's whether or not we win the AI race, or China wins it?
David Leary: Yes. Right now, it's ... He basically has three points. First, China has a huge army of young people coming into AI. It's basically doubled over the last decade. Second, they just have more data; that's just- there's more data. There's more people; there's more data being thrown around in the cloud; they have access to more data.
Blake Oliver: I guess I just don't understand that link. Why is it that having more data makes you more likely to develop an AI faster? That's like saying that I have more bricks, so I'm more likely to build a house, right?
David Leary: It's not that you can build it ... It's not that the more data builds it faster, it just makes your AI more robust, and the more robust it is, it can learn faster on its own. If you don't have data, how does your AI work, or learn?
Blake Oliver: I don't know. I don't know anything about actually how AI gets built.
David Leary: If nobody went to Amazon, and bought deodorant, Amazon would not have any data to be able to say people who bought this deodorant also bought this toothbrush.
Blake Oliver: Right.
David Leary: They can do that because they have data. Regardless of how genius their AI scientists could've been to put together the deodorant, and the toothbrush, if they don't have the data, they can't say that. That's what his argument is: you really have to have this tremendous amounts of data.
David Leary: Then, his third argument really is the whole Chinese companies, specifically AI companies, have kinda passed what he calls the 'copycat phase.' 15 years ago the startup scene in China was just copying every product that was made in the US, and now, they've matured to a point where they're just building their own cool stuff; they're not really copying, knocking off whatever product is successful in America next.
Blake Oliver: I really like what he says at the end. He talks about those who deny that AI has any downside, which is most of the tech community. Most people who are developing AI don't want to admit that there is a likelihood that it will automate a significant percentage of the work that we're doing now, and that it's ... Even if new jobs are created, it's gonna be hugely disruptive to the people who lose their jobs to AIs.
Blake Oliver: He says at the end, "These changes are coming, and we need to tell the truth, and the whole truth. We need to find the jobs that AI can't do, and train people to do them. We need to reinvent education. These will be the best of times, and the worst of times. If we act rationally, and quickly, we can bask in what's best, rather than wallow in what's worst."
Blake Oliver: I think that's great. I just don't have any confidence that at least the United States will figure out how to reinvent education quickly enough to catch up with the change that is coming. I think we're in for a huge social disruption, once AI gets good.
Blake Oliver: Right now, we're in the world of sort of crappy AI. Siri, on your IOS device, can't really do all that much. You have to be very explicit. As soon as we pass across that barrier where the AI gets good enough to answer most of our requests, to be able to do a lot of basic work without a ton of guidance, which we're almost there ... How many millions of truck drivers do we have in this country? We've been talking about self-driving trucks for a long time. It will eventually happen. It'll get there.
David Leary: I don't think we know what the world's gonna look like 50 years from now, or even going back 30 years from now ... You and I have jobs that didn't exist; when we were in high school, they didn't exist. There was no such thing as a web programmer. These things did not exist.
David Leary: If you really look back at the history of ... There was a time in United States, when 90 percent of every single person in the country was farming, and now, hardly anybody farms. There wasn't this chaos, and breakdown, and collapse of society. I think-
Blake Oliver: Well, it was pretty disruptive. There was a lot of ... I'd have to go back, and remember my US history classes, but the Industrial Revolution was not exactly a peaceful time to be alive.
David Leary: Yeah, it was ugly. It was hard. Yeah, I agree ...
Blake Oliver: The cities were disgusting. That's where we got all these cholera epidemics. That's what we need to realize is that we are on the brink of ... You've talked about this before, David - the fourth Industrial Revolution, right?
David Leary: Mm-hmm.
Blake Oliver: Where, like you said, we're gonna go from ... We went from a primarily agrarian economy to an industrial economy, and now, we're going from an industrial economy to whatever is next, and-
David Leary: I think that's the proper take on this is I don't think any of us really know what's next.
Blake Oliver: No, but we're definitely not prepared for it. That's for sure. I mean, you look at the state of education, and, I don't know, maybe it's changed a little bit. My son is only four, so I haven't seen what public education looks like in the elementary-school setting just quite yet. I will, but I'm betting it's not that much different than the education that I received. I went to public schools in California, and it was not designed in any way to prepare me for this economy that we're in now. I had to ... I've spent more time teaching myself how to do stuff than I ever learned in school.
David Leary: Well, I think in the new economy, there's gonna ... My kids wanna be YouTube stars. Everybody and their brother wants to be a podcaster, now. This is the new jobs: Instagram star, podcaster, YouTube star. That'll be the new jobs, and you and I-.
Blake Oliver: Not everybody can be an Instagram model. That's the problem. There just aren't enough.
David Leary: That's why we have to go into podcasting.
Blake Oliver: Yeah, exactly.
David Leary: Perfect. I think, on that note, if people really wanna find out about podcasting, or wanna connect with us about our podcast, what's probably the best way?
Blake Oliver: Well, they can reach me on Twitter. I'm @BlakeTOliver. How about you, David?
David Leary: I'm @DavidLeary, and you can also ... Cloud Accounting Podcast is now on all the socials. We're not on Instagram, but we are on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, so, if you find us, like us. We'd love that.
Blake Oliver: Stay in touch, and write us a review on iTunes, and we will read it on our upcoming episodes. We really appreciate that. It's a great way to help other people discover the podcast, because that's how Apple decides whether or not to show The Cloud Accounting Podcast to somebody who might be interested in it. Really appreciate that. Thank you everybody who wrote reviews, and we hope that they keep coming.
David Leary: Awesome. See everybody later.
Blake Oliver: Thanks, David. Bye.
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