David’s takedown of accounting social media “influencers,” Scaling New Heights adds Xero, Right Networks acquires Propelware, Plaid raises $250M, Expensify gets personal, & more

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Show Notes

Sometimes I feel like the entire accounting and bookkeeping industry is getting flooded by "social media influencers" that have no real legs to stand on and are out there "acting as an expert" pumping the latest product/app that writes them a check.

— davidleary (@davidleary) December 12, 2018

David Leary on Twitter: "Sometimes I feel like the entire accounting and bookkeeping industry is getting flooded by "social media influencers” that have no real legs to stand on…"

We thank @Xero for their sponsorship of Scaling New Heights Online. We look forward to joining you and small business advisors starting today for our first annual, state of the art, online edition of Scaling New Heights. https://t.co/3Fa3mBDFiM #snhonline pic.twitter.com/S6igySw69S

— Joe Woodard (@joewoodard) December 11, 2018

Joe Woodard on Twitter: "We thank @Xero for their sponsorship of Scaling New Heights Online…”

Right Networks Eyes SMB App Connectivity With Propelware Acquisition — PYMNTS — Small business (SMB) cloud accounting firm Right Networks has announced the acquisition of Propelware in an effort to connect its accounting technology to other areas of the enterprise.

Fintech startup Plaid raises $250M at a $2.65B valuation — TechCrunch — The company is today announcing a $250 million Series C investment led by famed venture capitalist and the author of the Internet Trends reportMary Meeker, who will join its board of directors as part of the deal. The funds were raised at a valuation of $2.65 billion, according to sources close to the company.

Intuit relaunches ProAdvisor program — Enterprise Times — Intuit has announced that it has launched a redesigned ProAdvisor program in the US, Canada and Australia.

[Newsletter] What we’ve been working on all year — Expensify Blog — Expensify has just launched new plans for individuals at $5 per month.

Upcoming Accounting Firm Trends into 2022 — Ryan Lazanis — Ryan breaks down key points from the The World Economic Forum's 2018 “Future of Jobs Report” and writes up four takeaways for accountants.

Transcript

Cloud Accounting Podcast E50: Davids takedown of accounting social media influencers (transcribed by Sonix)

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

David Leary: And I'm David Leary.

Blake Oliver: So, David, you put out a tweet that generated a little bit of controversy. I'm amazed!

David Leary: Yeah, probably should clear these past you before I tweet things.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, well, you know, you're a press secretary, maybe; you're a chief of staff. Hey, for those of you who didn't see this, because you're not always on Twitter all the time, I love what you said, David. I liked this on Twitter, and I like it now. You said, "Sometimes, I feel like the entire accounting, and bookkeeping industry is getting flooded by "social media influencers" that have no real legs to stand on, and are out there "acting as an expert," pumping the latest product/app that writes them a check."

David Leary: Yep.

Blake Oliver: Quite a few retweets, and likes there.

David Leary: Kind of exploded, between retweets, and likes, and e-mails, and private messages ... Everybody had different opinions on this, in many different directions. Then, people are speculating, like I was talking about somebody specific, or I was talking about this ... It really wasn't about anybody specific. It's just somewhere, things have tipped.

David Leary: Because I don't turn off ads, in re tracking, I'm kind of in the advertising demographic. On Facebook, and LinkedIn, and on Twitter, I'll get these feeds. Every week, I feel like it's somebody new has popped up that I've never seen, and never heard of before in our space. They're presenting themselves as some sort of high-level expert in our space. "I'm an expert on how to market your accounting firm." "I'm an expert on what apps you should use," and these types of things.

David Leary: Well, one of these I saw, somebody was talking about a fabulous product ... I'm not gonna name any names; this is just the latest example, this week. Some fabulous product. I like to keep track of the apps, so, I inquired - what's this magic product? This fabulous thing? I got the name of this product; I went out, I looked at the website for this product.

David Leary: The context of the post is this product is providing knowledge on how to secure your printers on Wi-Fi; printer security. I go to their website. Website's not HTTPS. It has a log-in on it, which means anybody that logs in could just ... Usernames, and passwords are being sent across the internet in plain text, and their homepage had Flash on it, which is a security risk, in and of itself.

David Leary: I just lost my mind. I'm like, You're telling me about this fabulous company that does security stuff, and they have a horribly secure website." I just kind of lost my mind, and that was the genesis of this tweet. I really feel like it's been something that's bubbling inside me for months. I feel like, in the last 18 to 36 months, things have tipped. People have seen this in every industry, this social-media-Instagram-influencer thing.

Blake Oliver: Matt Paff, he pointed out, in response to your tweet, he said, "This is far from unique to our industry. In fact, ours is probably one of the least affected. #influencermarketing is leading to a strong desire for authenticity across the world. #Authenticity wins."

David Leary: What's scary, then, if we're just getting a little bit of this, it's only gonna get worse.

Blake Oliver: It is, yeah.

David Leary: The way I look at it is, and I'm gonna use Michelle Long as an example - she's been in this space for a long time - but Michelle Long became an accounting celebrity, if you want to call her that, or a QuickBooks celebrity not because she's decided to become a celebrity, or a star, or an influencer.

David Leary: She put in the work, and what I mean by that ... For six years, she just answered thousands - actually, I think close to 20,000 or 30,000 questions on the old QuickBooks community forums. She just answered them; just answered them, just answered them. It wasn't where she set out to be a star. The work she did made her a star.

David Leary: I feel like, in this day and age, if you want to be a star, you can just get some fake followers, which leads to you getting speaking engagements, which leads to you getting more YouTube views, which you get fake YouTube views, as well, which leads you to get book deals. It just goes on, and on, and on.

David Leary: There's a formula to do this. The formulas are out there, and it's very, very obvious. It just disturbs me a little bit, and I just feel like it's worse than it's ever been. Every week, there's somebody new that's using this same kind of formula of just pumping up what they have, but they haven't done anything.

Blake Oliver: The thing that bothers me the most is what you originally pointed out, which is that we have influencers ... It doesn't even matter to me if you have credentials or not. When I started having a social media presence, or writing articles, I was not a CPA, and I got a lot of crap from people who said, "Well, you're not a ... You don't have a CPA. Why should we listen to you?"

Blake Oliver: Over time, I built up credibility. I had my own small firm; sold it; was successful; got into a large firm. Now, I have experience, and I can talk more authoritatively about what I'm doing. I think you should have some basis for that, but that's not what bothers me, because you can have a good idea, and be new, and we shouldn't discount that just because you haven't been around for a long time.

David Leary: Totally agree.

Blake Oliver: What really bothers me is when people are hocking ad products, and you can tell they don't know anything about the product. They don't use it, and they're probably just getting paid to rep this thing, and , like you said, it's a terrible product.

Blake Oliver: If they don't use it ... That's the thing that really bothers me ... I was out there, being a Xero ambassador, promoting Xero, because I used it for years, and I loved it. That's very different than if Xero was just cutting me a check. I view them as supporting what I like to do, which is I like to spend time writing, and blogging.

Blake Oliver: Well, you can't do that ... Unless you're independently wealthy, you can't just do that for free. Somebody's gotta pay the bills. There's some integrity that goes along withthat. You've gotta believe in what you're doing, and if you're not ... People were joking on your thread about, "Oh, I'd love to take a check. I'm happy to take a check, and hock the product," but would you really? No. If you have integrity, you should believe in what you're selling.

David Leary: Yeah, and I just think maybe this is like buyer beware. I think I brought this up once; I made a blog post, before, about paid-for-play articles. It was an Accountex blog, and there was an article that was very clearly paid for play. Basically, an app could go get a PR company that says, "Hey, we'll get you media," and then, they go out, and they write a blog post somewhere. Then, the blog post was from somewhere ... It was stolen content, actually. They wound up taking it down, Accountex did, once I kinda raised the issue on this.

David Leary: Everybody should step back, and when they see somebody, or they see an article, or they see a tweet, or they see some LinkedIn video, or an Instagram, step back and kind of ask that question - who is this? Why are they pumping this? Kind of work backwards a little bit, and don't just take everything for whatever the face value is. Including myself. Check my ego. Absolutely.

Blake Oliver: Accountants, we are good at using our professional skepticism, when it comes to accounting, and finance, and we should do the same thing, when we are listening to somebody promote a product. Let's be professionally skeptical about it. Maybe we can be the profession that doesn't fall victim to this influencer-marketing crap that ... Unfortunately, there's a lot of venture-capital money going into software companies, and sometimes it's easier for them to buy influence through influencers than to do real marketing, or to have a real product.

David Leary: With that said, Casper mattress, and beds, UNTUCKit shirts, any of you who would like to sponsor The Cloud Accounting Podcast, I'd be more than happy to talk about what a great night's sleep I got on your Casper mattress.

Blake Oliver: I think my entire wardrobe of dress shirts is UNTUCKit shirts.

David Leary: Oh, really?

Blake Oliver: David, go out there, and get them to sponsor us, because I love them. If you see me at a conference, I'm usually wearing an UNTUCKit shirt, untucked, with a sport coat on top, because I find that to be the most comfortable conference attire.

David Leary: All right. With that, let's move on to the news, the real news.

Blake Oliver: Real news. Speaking of tweets, Joe Woodard.

David Leary: Joe Woodard on ... This was earlier this week. He tweeted, "We are very excited about Xero's involvement in Scaling New Heights Online. Unlike the on-premise Scaling New Heights, where the [show floor] is only focused unintentionally on Intuit, and its ecosystem of developer partners ..."

David Leary: Scaling New Heights Online has a wider reach - Xero, Accounting Suite, Gravity Online ... They're all in the show. Historically, Joe, for those who maybe don't know about Woodard, or Joe Woodard, historically, Joe's always been an Intuit conference guy. Now, he has his conference online, and now it looks like it's platform-agnostic, and I didn't see it coming.

Blake Oliver: I've never been to Scaling New Heights, but I did understand it to be basically an unofficial QuickBooks conference, right? Was that what it is?

David Leary: Yeah, exclusively, it was always QuickBooks. No other accounting platforms were there.

Blake Oliver: Got it. This is interesting. I'm curious to know how this is going to impact Scaling New Heights' relationship with Intuit. Intuit probably won't be all that happy with it, but maybe he can thread the needle, and have an online event that is more open, and an on-premises event that is exclusively QuickBooks.

David Leary: It's interesting to see the transitions. There's lots of transitions still happening in our space. That's the 2018 [inaudible]

Blake Oliver: Personally, as somebody who was both a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and then a Xero advisor, and uses both products, at this point, personally, think it's a great move. I think more openness is better. Again, as accountants, we need to be aware of all the options available to our customers, and to our firms that we work for.

Blake Oliver: We shouldn't allow software companies to muscle other ones out of the shows. I've always had this beef with Intuit, in terms of like, yeah, you're a billion-dollar company, but that doesn't mean you have to be mean to the other developers. I don't think that, in the long run, builds goodwill [cross talk] What do you think, David, as somebody who worked at Intuit for 20 years?

David Leary: I could see how you could say the word 'bully,' but I think that's a little bit harsh. That was already running before these other players existed, so it's kinda hard to say.

Blake Oliver: I know it happens. I'll tell you ... Here at I like I hear here FloQast - I work at FloQast, now - we have a large public competitor that is many, many times bigger than us, and we have actually ... I actually had a partner, an accounting firm, bail on one of my webinars, one of my events, because our competitor called, and threatened their relationship. We have also been pushed out of conferences, because of behavior like that, so I know it definitely happens.

David Leary: With all the apps, and everything else, I've heard stuff like this. Yes, that, it totally happens; not justifying it, but that happens a lot, yep.

Blake Oliver: Unfortunate. You also sent over this link to a Payments.com article about Right Networks acquiring Propelware? What's that about?

David Leary: Propelware historically has been in the QuickBooks ecosystem, as a company. They have a product called Autofy. Joe Dwyer, who runs that company, he's been building QuickBooks integrations, especially QuickBooks Desktop, for maybe 15 years now. He does a lot of custom integrations for other apps.

David Leary: He just has a lot of expertise in integrating with QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online, and ecosystem-type integrations. He may even have an integration with Xero now, I think - his Autofy platform. I'm not positive, but I think he connects to Salesforce, too. He has a technology stack, Propelware does, that connects to lots of apps. He's an API-connector expert, if you wanna think of it that way. I just find it very interesting that a desktop-hosting company, Right Networks, is acquiring an API-integrator product.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, this makes a lotta sense to me. I can't remember if it was last year, or year before, I went to an event that AbacusNext had down in San Diego. They are a competitor of Right Networks. They are a hosting solution.

Blake Oliver: Let's say you're an accounting firm, and you don't wanna have your server in your office anymore, but you still wanna have your desktop apps, because you're reliant on a lotta those? You can have Right Networks or AbacusNext host all that for you, and your staff log in, via, basically, a virtual terminal, through the internet, to get to their desktops. A lot more secure, because you've got AbacusNext, or Right Networks managing all the security remotely.

Blake Oliver: Abacus has made a business model out of buying legacy desktop applications, like CRM tools, and other desktop apps, like legal software, and then using their developers to connect those in new ways.

David Leary: It feels like a suite, or [cross talk]

Blake Oliver: Right, so they're piecing together a suite of separate applications, and their hosting is the glue. This, to me, I'm thinking, "Oh, maybe Right Networks [I'm just speculating] is doing this, because they say they are pursuing the same model." It's interesting because, as a guy who's cloud-first, and SaaS, a believer in SaaS, I think this is such a backwards way to get to that, but it works, and it can work ...

Blake Oliver: If they do it right, and you really need the features in those apps, they can actually integrate those much better than a lot of the third-party API integrations that we have now in the cloud-accounting ecosystem, because they end up owning all the apps, and they can integrate them perfectly. They are maintaining those, and you're just dealing with one developer doing all of that, instead of three or four separate ones, so, things tend to break less, which is really an interesting play.

David Leary: Okay, I'm in 100-percent agreement; you're probably dead-on correct on that. That's gonna be where they're headed, because their acquisition just before this ... A few months back, they acquired Transaction Pro importer, which is ... I don't know if everybody's familiar with that product?

Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah-

David Leary: That product's about getting Excel, or table data shoved into QuickBooks, or the accounting system. Now you have kind of a product that takes table data from .IF files, .CSV files; lots of desktop apps export to that format, so you have this tool that can shove those into accounting systems. Now, you have this acquisition of Propelware to get data from lots of different places, and shove it into the accounting system. You might be right. Now, their next thing is going to be actual products they'll start buying.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, so, it may shift, in that it might be less of a debate between desktop, and cloud. Well, that's over, right? Cloud has won, but it will become a fight between public cloud, API ecosystem, and private-hosted cloud ecosystem, and what is a better fit for your firm.

David Leary: [inaudible] I actually tried to help a customer ... They were on somebody's desktop-hosting platform, and trying to connect, like do something on that platform, because the customer really doesn't have control over it.

Blake Oliver: Right.

David Leary: The only way those platforms, those desktop-hosting platforms will probably exist in the future is they're gonna have to be everything out of the box. Everything you need needs to be on that platform. Really, with those platforms, if you need to add an app, like, "Oh, we're gonna use Slack, now," good luck getting that installed [cross talk]

David Leary: They're gonna have to really ... You're right, everything under one roof, all in-house; you get everything in one stack, and it just all works together. It may not be the best of breed, but you're getting something that all works together.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, and for accounting-firm partners who don't have- like a small firm that doesn't have IT expertise, and doesn't wanna deal with piecing all these things together, taking something that works 90 percent of what you want, or 80 percent, even, and is fully managed, and guaranteed to work is a good deal, especially if you get to keep using that one desktop app, like QuickBooks Desktop, or some legal software that you've been using for 15-20 years, and you really don't wanna switch off of that, you might take that offer [cross talk]

David Leary: -yeah, that makes sense. Wow, we spent a lot of time talking about desktop hosting on The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I got one other quick small one. WELS, it's not small. It's huge. This is in TechCrunch, "Fintech Startup Plaid Raises $250M at a $2.65B Valuation."

Blake Oliver: Yeah, that blew my mind, when you shared that number with me, and I remember hearing about Plaid, but I don't even know what they do. What makes them so valuable?

David Leary: Plaid is essentially a bank-feeds API; most of these apps that you use ... QuickBooks has their own bank feeds. I think Xero builds their own bank feeds, but almost all those third-party apps-

Blake Oliver: Actually, in the US, Xero uses Yodlee for most of their bank feeds.

David Leary: Oh, they use Yodlee. Okay, which is a competitor to Plaid.

Blake Oliver: They are building their own, but very slowly.

David Leary: Where this is really a big player ... You've probably seen it in apps, especially a lot of the loan apps that want to connect to your bank account, and read the data, themselves. I only have like seven apps, [counting] my QuickBooks, and I think three of them are using Plaid somewhere in their app. They have huge adoption across our ecosystem of cloud accounting. If you're listening to this show, I guarantee you, you've used Plaid, and don't even know it.

Blake Oliver: In the article, they mention Venmo, Robinhood, Coinbase, Acorns, and LendingClub are all using Plaid.

David Leary: Even our ecosystem ... Brex, Spritz Card, Divvy, they all use Plaid.

Blake Oliver: Interesting.

David Leary: Hundreds and hundreds of apps in the cloud accounting ecosystem are using Plaid.

Blake Oliver: It's crazy to me that what is simply really an API tool to connect banks to apps is worth $2.65 billion. Maybe it is. It is very difficult for a developer to build their own connections, so, if Plaid manages to get all the banks on board, and build all the connections, and it's really easy for you, as a developer, to go, and then connect the Plaid, it's kind of a no-brainer. Maybe that valuation is justified, or it could just be hype.

David Leary: My experience, coming from a team commissioned [inaudible] built platforms, to me, who's experienced ... Because Intuit actually used to have a bank-feeds API. I think we talked about this before on the platform. There's a lot of maintenance; it's a lot of work.

David Leary: This is why I'm very skeptical of all these banks that say they're gonna have their own API. Building a platform, building APIs, supporting developers, it's just a lot of work. It's a ton, and ton, and ton of work to do it correctly. If Plaid can figure out how to service developers perfectly, but, at the same time, keep the banks happy, that's gonna be amazing, if they can manage to do that.

Blake Oliver: Well, you mentioned Intuit, and I have a story about Intuit, here. This is in Enterprise Times. The title is, "Intuit Relaunches ProAdvisor Program." It caught my attention because I feel like I see an article about the ProAdvisor program getting relaunched about every six months. Am I wrong, David? I don't know why, but maybe this is just it's constantly getting relaunched, every year?

David Leary: Could be. New product managers ... I feel like, this time, though, the redesigned notice will be different, because they have a point system [cross talk] almost like air miles, if you wanna think of it that way. They also have a store, now. People can order QuickBooks-branded merchandise for their firm, or for their clients.

Blake Oliver: A lot of the Xero folks complain that Intuit likes to steal all their ideas, and this looks very familiar to me, based on the Xero point system, where you have tiers of bronze, silver, gold, et cetera, but in the new ProAdvisor program, you have silver, gold, platinum, and elite; they just took out bronze.

Blake Oliver: One thing that's interesting about this article in Enterprise Times, by Steve Brooks ... He likes to ... I like his writing because he doesn't just regurgitate press releases. He does a little analysis. His take on this is that the Australian accountants are getting penalized, compared to US accountants.

Blake Oliver: In the US, you can get 25 points for every QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription that you have through your ProAdvisor account. You don't get that in Australia. In the US, you also get 200 points for advanced certification for every employee. You only get that in the US, not elsewhere in the world. Another thing is you get 50 points for every QuickBooks Online subscription for a client in the US, and Canada, but Australian firms only get half as much - 25.

Blake Oliver: I wanna know why is Intuit penalizing Australian accountants?

David Leary: I have no idea.

Blake Oliver: Let's hear from the Australians. Some speculation in the article is that it's the cost of the subscriptions, because Intuit is discounting significantly to gain market share in Australia. Kinda makes sense, if the firms are paying less for the subscriptions, they'd get the fewer points-.

David Leary: It could just be other roll-outs. Obviously, if QuickBooks Self-Employed is not rolled out there, you can't get points for that. If there's some level of advance certification that's not rolled out globally yet ... And, in a lot of other regions, there's partnerships with other products. In Australia, for example, they're a partner with KeyPay. Maybe it should be offset, like, if you put somebody on KeyPay, you get 25 points. I don't know. I'm just throwing that out there.

Blake Oliver: Who knows? Anyway, if you're an Australian accountant, and you have some opinions on this, let us know.

David Leary: Yeah, it's good that somebody took a different take on this. It's interesting.

Blake Oliver: More news in the cloud accounting ecosystem. Expensify announced that they now have a plan for individuals, at only $5 per month. It's one of their most commonly requested features. What this means is that, when you sign up for Expensify, as an individual, you can now pay $5 a month, and get all the same features that a team would get.

Blake Oliver: I think this is really big for self-employed people. I have actually often recommended that people use Expensify to track their own expenses, just for their side businesses, because the app is probably one of the best, when it comes to scanning receipts, and converting those into expense reports.

Blake Oliver: If you think about it, what is a side business, but a year-long expense report. When you go to your accountant, they fill out a Schedule C; it's really just tallying up, here's my revenue, and here's all my expenses broken down by category. You can keep track of the revenue pretty easily, if you just deposit everything into a separate business bank account - all your customer fees, and whatnot. Then, really, you just need to track your expenses by category. An expense app can actually do that a lot easier than a full-fledged accounting software, like QuickBooks, or Xero.

David Leary: When this e-mail came through, I was like, "They've been doing that forever," because their whole play was if you're an employee, just go get Expensify, and use it, but that was really ... You didn't get the extra tools. Now, I understand where they're coming from on that.

David Leary: Now that you've kind of laid it out the way you have, it really makes me think of QuickBooks Self-Employed. Xero released kind of a Self-Employed product. Now, really, in those Self-Employed products expenses and mileage is the vast majority of the functionality. It sounds like that's kind of the play here is to get into that space more.

Blake Oliver: The crazy thing is that the $5 per month gets you unlimited smart scanning, so you could you could have used Expensify for free, before, but you would have had to manually enter all the details about your receipts. Now, you can get unlimited smart scanning, where you take a picture of the receipt, and it automatically populates the amount, the vendor ... It tries to do the category, using AI, that sorta thing. This is a really good deal. No one offers this kind of automation for just tracking expenses.

David Leary: You said you get all the other features j... I think they have a deep integration with Uber [inaudible] those just show up automatically in Expensify. You get all that now.

Blake Oliver: You get a GPS-mileage tracking. They say they're gonna add tax export to your favorite systems, so that should be big for accountants. I would expect to see them going out to accountants, tax accountants, saying, "Tell everyone who has a Schedule C business to use Expensify ..." or even just for their personal stuff, like their charitable deductions; anything that you need to track for your taxes, personally, you could do that with Expensify really easily.

David Leary: [Rent a little Lyft ...]

Blake Oliver: Let's see, how are we doing on time? Maybe one more story? Let's do something future-forward; let's look into the future, David. This is where we need our sound effect, right? [makes noise] No?

David Leary: We need more professional sound effects, I guess [Harp music]

Blake Oliver: Join me, David, we are peering deep into the future. Put on your future goggles. Get ready.

David Leary: How deep are we going? How many years?

Blake Oliver: 2022.

David Leary: 2022, okay, yeah, gotcha.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, so not that far, actually. This is an article by Ryan Lazanis, on his personal blog, RyanLazanis.com. He took a look at the latest World Economic Forum Report for 2018, their Future of Jobs Report, and he dissected it for accountants. Let's see what Ryan had to say.

David Leary: He took that report, and then he's summarizing what the trend is, and why it's important for your firm.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, specifically for accountants, because this is the Future of [All] Jobs Report. One of the stats he calls out is that, in 2018, an average of 71 percent of total task hours across the 12 industries covered in the report are performed by humans, compared to 29 percent by machines.

Blake Oliver: By 2022, which is only three years away, this average is expected to have shifted to 58-percent task hours performed by humans, and 42 percent by machines. Machines are going to pick up another 13 percent of work that humans are doing right now, in the next three years. That's a big one.

David Leary: Then, [inaudible] read his takeaway, here, because I think you may have ... You jumped into the stats, but his trend takeaway number one is automation needs to be central to your accounting firm's strategy. That's his number-one takeaway.

Blake Oliver: Probably shoulda gotten to that first, yes. He also says, in a second takeaway, that emphasis is gonna need to be placed on professional development, and technology, and soft skills. He points to today's bookkeepers, who, if they are using technology, do zero manual data entry. They're basically a hybrid between a bookkeeper, and a technology manager, where they let the technology handle the work, and verify what's being done by the technology is accurate.

Blake Oliver: I completely agree. When I had my cloud bookkeeping firm, that's what we did. I started out as an hourly bookkeeper, keying in transactions into my QuickBooks Desktop account. By the end of it, I was using bank feeds, and automatically coding 90 percent of the transactions.

David Leary: Yeah, you just start to become a data plumber, if you wanna think about it-

Blake Oliver: I don't like the term plumber. I just think of butt cracks. I do like information systems manager, or what was the other one that that Sholto Macpherson came up with? Maybe it was data plumber. We have to come up with a better term for this, David. I'm putting you on the assignment.

David Leary: Cloud automation expert?

Blake Oliver: Let's get through the other takeaways quickly. Trend takeaway three: the shift towards the gig economy means that a lot of workplace flexibility needs to be provided. It was interesting to me, I've been talking about remote work being a big thing, and flexible work being a big thing with accounting firms.

Blake Oliver: Apparently, it cropped up in the Jobs Report from the World Economic Forum. The quote is, "As employers are deconstructing traditional job roles and re-bundling work tasks in response to the new technologies, how can they minimize the risks, and best leverage new partnerships with resources, such as online freelancers, and talent platforms?".

Blake Oliver: That's a question we all need to be asking ourselves. How do we work with freelancers, contractors, online talent platforms? Because, as we've talked about many, many times before on this podcast, there's a talent crunch. It's just gonna get worse, and if you wanna be able to handle all the work coming to your firm, you've gotta be able to leverage non-traditional sources of work, or labor, right?

David Leary: Yep.

Blake Oliver: Trend takeaway four: accounting firms will need to start hiring for roles that have not been typical. Specifically, he mentions data scientists, process automation specialists, software developers. A lot of accounting firms are hiring software developers, themselves, to build integrations for their clients. That's gonna be a big thing.

David Leary: That's just gonna create even more shortage. Software developers, and engineers are already short, and now, accounting firms wanna hire them, as well.

Blake Oliver: Yeah. Actually, that was the four trends in Ryan's blog post. I recommend you check it out for all the details. It is in the show notes.

David Leary: It's a good article. He summarized a 147-page report into one nice, concise blog post, so [cross talk]

Blake Oliver: Thank you, Ryan, for doing the hard work for us. Very much appreciated it.

David Leary: It's great.

Blake Oliver: If folks want to attack you, David, for your Twitter post, where should they do that?

David Leary: All the good stuff's on Twitter. You can find me @DavidLeary, and follow me there. What about you, Blake? If somebody wants to follow your political aspirations that have bubbled up [cross talk]

Blake Oliver: I have zero political aspirations, I'd just like to comment. My twitter handle is @BlakeTOliver. Connect with me there, or on LinkedIn, where I am slightly more professional.

David Leary: Wow. Just a little bit-.

Blake Oliver: Just a little bit.

David Leary: All right, I think that's a wrap. We'll talk next week. Next week's not the holiday week, right?

Blake Oliver: Not yet [cross talk]

David Leary: -just gonna slow down. I think it's gonna get even slower next week, so-

Blake Oliver: Check in with us for our holiday-themed episode, next week.

David Leary: Yeah, send us some controversial tweets, so we have something to talk about next week, when the news really dies down here.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, let's keep stoking this fire.

David Leary: All right, have a good one, Blake.

Blake Oliver: Talk to you next week. Bye.

David Leary: Bye.

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