The time has come for cloud ERP, where top US banks are betting on FinTech, America needs more accountants in Congress, and more

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Show Notes

An unfortunate choice of stock photography to represent cloud computing in the Nov/Dec issue of CFO Magazine

An unfortunate choice of stock photography to represent cloud computing in the Nov/Dec issue of CFO Magazine

Chart from “Cloud ERP: The Time Has Come,” in the Nov/Dec issue of CFO Magazine

Chart from “Cloud ERP: The Time Has Come,” in the Nov/Dec issue of CFO Magazine

Cloud ERP: The Time Has Come - CFO Magazine - Low up-front costs, hands-off maintenance, and automatic updates make cloud systems deserving of a serious look

Why Blockchain May Never Benefit Corporations (Podcast) - Bloomberg - The Odd Lots podcast chats with Angus Champion de Crespigny, who formerly advised companies on how to use blockchain technology, but who now believes that ultimately it won’t get them anywhere. He explains the limitations of the technology, and where he sees actual opportunities.

Top 11 US banks by assets, ranked by fintech portfolio companies, via CB Insights

Top 11 US banks by assets, ranked by fintech portfolio companies, via CB Insights

Where Top US Banks Are Betting On Fintech - CB Insights - US banks are placing strategic bets across lending, payments, capital markets, data analytics, and blockchain.

T-Mobile is launching mobile banking solution 'T-Mobile Money’ - Engadget - The pilot program offers four percent APY on up to $3,000.

You’re Too Important for Multi-Factor Authentication - Network Alliance - Meetings, calls, contracts, emails…your day is chaotic from the first moment you check your phone in the morning until that last bedtime email scan under the sheets! You’re Captain Efficiency. Every second of your day is planned. When you’re this busy, you can’t possibly waste 10 seconds on multi-factor authentication, right? Quit dreaming.

America needs more accountants in Congress - The Hill - Lawyers make up exactly 40 percent of the newly elected 116th Congress, while the American Bar Association reports that attorneys make up only 0.4 percent of the U.S. population.

Have the Big Four lost their advantage? - Accounting Today - New research finds that national and regional firms are catching up to the New York giants in terms of technology adoption and deployment in audits.

70% of people globally work remotely at least once a week, study says - CNBC - IWG CEO Mark Dixon said established corporates were leading the charge into remote working, to boost productivity and job satisfaction.

Transcript

Cloud Accounting Podcast E48: The time has come for cloud ERP, where top US banks are betting on FinTech, America needs more accountants in Congress, and more (transcribed by Sonix)

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

David Leary: And I'm David Leary. So, Blake, where have you been? I know you were traveling again.

Blake Oliver: Yes, yet again; my final trip for 2018. I was in New York last week, for four days, which is perfect, because I got to experience Christmas in New York. Now, I'm back in L.A.; it's warm. I don't have to deal with the rest of the winter.

Blake Oliver: It was great. I was at two events. The first one was the CFO Argyle New York City one-day conference. Spoke on behalf of FloQast. The second was the AICPA CIMA Finance Transformation event, which is ... I think it's a two-day conference, also in New York. I don't own a top coat, so basically, I just took a Lyft, door to door, and actually that worked. I didn't have to go outside.

David Leary: I was there two weeks before that, and it was super-super cold. I think us West Coast boys are fragile.

Blake Oliver: The high was 45, and there was wind. I went to college in Chicago, so I'm not new to it, but I didn't ... It was tough walking around in a suit without a proper coat; but, again, ride-sharing saved me. Anyway, I do have an article, actually, that came out of the CFO Argyle event that I'm happy to share with you.

David Leary: It came from the event? There's a website, or something?

Blake Oliver: Obviously, CFO Magazine ... There's a CFO.com website. This is from the magazine, which I picked up at the event. Argyle is the parent company of CFO, and they put on these free CPE events for high-level managers, executives, CFO- finance people. Software vendors come, and sponsor it. It's really nice. They do a really great job. We must pay a lot of money.

David Leary: A throwback to a past - a real physical, paper magazine - this week.

Blake Oliver: Yes. I picked up a physical, paper magazine, which I haven't held in my hands in a little while, and I opened it up, and I see this article called "Cloud ERP - The Time Has Come." This is in the November/December 2018 issue of CFO. Cloud ERP - The Time Has Come ... Low upfront costs, hands-off maintenance, and automatic updates make cloud systems deserving of a serious look.

Blake Oliver: I was, of course, very excited to see this, because I've been preaching cloud, and cloud accounting, cloud ERP. You, David, have been doing far longer than even I. When would you say that you started?

David Leary: With cloud, specifically?

Blake Oliver: Yeah, really preaching cloud.

David Leary: Really preaching it was probably five-six years ago, now. Maybe a little ... There was that gray area, where you're still doing desktop, and you're starting to get your feet wet in cloud, and there's lots of overlaps. Then, I think it was just all heads down, maybe five-and-a-half, six years ago.

Blake Oliver: Okay, so five-and-a-half, six years ago. I would say I would agree. That's when a lot of us early adopters went all in on cloud, and we said, "We are no longer doing desktop." Well, it seems like, in midsize enterprise - the type of companies where the CFOs ... type of companies that have CFOs that read CFO Magazine - they are starting to make that leap, as well.

Blake Oliver: The early adopters are in on cloud ERP; for those who are not familiar with the acronym, ERP, it means enterprise resource planning. It is basically just fancy business systems that include accounting, like NetSuite, and Sage Intacct, and Oracle, and SAP - those big, giant accounting, and business-operations tools. Everything goes in there. That is starting to hit mainstream.

Blake Oliver: This article is great. Unfortunately, I couldn't find an online version of the article to link to, but I will include a picture of the spread in the magazine. because the is great, but the featured image that they chose to represent this article is really unfortunate.

Blake Oliver: It's a bunch of business people, and it looks like just people walking in the street, but, on this sort of featureless plane of existence, they are casting shadows. You can't see their heads, because their heads are completely ... Their upper bodies are completely enclosed by storm clouds, or what could be smoke.

Blake Oliver: I'm wondering if this illustration, it's from Getty Images? I'm wondering if, actually, it was associated with smoking, or vaping, or something like that, because it doesn't give a pretty impression of the cloud, unfortunately.

David Leary: I think I saw it quickly. We took a photo of that graph, and posted it. I thought it was ostriches. It's just like legs sticking out of this bushy, feathery cloud.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, so, not the best imagery, but a great article. Get your hands on a copy of CFO Magazine. There was one article, or, I should say, there was one image in particular, a chart, in the article that I thought was really interesting that I'd like to share with you. It's titled Off-Site Exodus. The subtitle is Which Best Describes Your Organization's Overall IT Approach and Strategy?

Blake Oliver: It's a survey of 931 technology professionals from this year, asking them: what is your focus? Is it on-premises, or off-premises? Right now - now, remember, this includes a lot of big businesses - the on-premises is about 60 percent, and the off-premises is about 40 percent. 60 percent of IT professionals ... 60 percent of organizations, I should say, are focusing on on-premises; only 40 percent on cloud, off-premises.

Blake Oliver: Then they asked them what's that gonna look like in two years? Are you planning to switch that focus? It completely inverts. 40 percent are on-premises; 60 percent are saying, "We're gonna be off-premises." That, to me, says that we are at the tipping point in cloud ERP, in the bigger organizations. Same way that, five years ago, we hit that tipping point with cloud desktop in the small-business market.

David Leary: I think what's interesting about this question is I think it's asked in an open way. It's not asked in: how many of you are going to move your servers, or you're gonna go off-premise? It's really like, "Is this just your thought, and your approach, and strategy?" [cross talk].

Blake Oliver: It's not just accounting, it's overall.

David Leary: I think it's interesting that, still, 40 percent think, in two years, their approach, and strategy's still gonna be on-premise-

Blake Oliver: Well, you've gotta remember that this is a ... It's a shift that takes time, and enterprise folks, they do not move fast [cross talk]

David Leary: I would agree. Yeah, I agree. I think if you don't stay mentally as ready in a big enterprise, it could take two years just to accomplish it, right?

Blake Oliver: The big takeaway here is when it shifts to the majority, they're going off-premises with their overall IT approach, that's when the rest will pull get pulled along.

David Leary: Yep. Like it or not, it's coming; like it or not.

Blake Oliver: Like it or not. That's one of my takeaways from the CFO Argyle conference. Of course, I could talk all about my trip, but I really would love to hear, David, what you have been reading over the past week or so.

David Leary: Since I got all caught up, I really only found three things, and one's only-

Blake Oliver: Only three? Only three?

David Leary: Only three, and one's almost a follow-up to last time. We talked about, last time, there was that article about how blockchain may never deliver the promises in the accounting industry. This is a podcast from Odd Lots, Bloomberg Markets Odd Lots Podcast. The title of the podcast is Why Blockchain May Never Benefit Corporations.

David Leary: It's very similar to that article. They go into a deep conversation about how there is just a lot of complications with small business ... Sorry, with enterprise, and just businesses adopting blockchain.

Blake Oliver: Oh, yeah.

David Leary: A lot of it's just a reconciliation, versus the promises of blockchain, versus the realities of actually adopting it, but the one takeaway, which is interesting is, if you're working for a big company, you have to take ... Or an accounting firm, or what have you ... You have to take the time to go learn about blockchain, because you don't want to be the CEO, or tech leader, or CPA who didn't take the time to research it. Then, tomorrow, the whole industry changed, and your whole firm is dead.

David Leary: Right now, everybody's in that research phase, and that's why everybody's talking about it, and everybody's educating themselves, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's coming, or it's gonna get implemented, but you can't afford not to educate yourself on it, if that makes any sense. That's kind of the premise of that. I would argue ... I wrote a note here. I'm like, "This is a must-listen." Everybody should get to the show notes, or search for Odd Lots Podcast, and listen to this one.

Blake Oliver: All right, check that out. Well, hey, speaking of FinTech more broadly, and blockchain, I found an article; it's called "Where Top US Banks are Betting on Fintech." It's a summary of all of the investments that banks have been making in FinTech startups over the last few years.

Blake Oliver: I did not realize this, but actually, I thought that most US banks were kind of sitting this out, but that couldn't be further than the truth. They're not developing the technology, themselves; they're actually doing equity investments in startups.

Blake Oliver: The big takeaway is that, in 2018, the top 11 US banks, by assets, participated in a total of 49 equity rounds to FinTech startups. That compares to 19 in 2017 - from 19 to 49 investments.

Blake Oliver: There's a chart in here that shows all of the investments by bank, which is kind of interesting. Goldman Sachs has the largest number of investments. They're ranked first, followed by Citi, then J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, B of A, PNC, TD Bank, Capital One, BNY Mellon, and then, US Bancorp.

David Leary: It's very skewed, obviously, up high, especially with Goldman Sachs, because they lead people's IPO, and they're kind of in that game a little differently. The interesting ones, I think, are really your typical banks that ... The Wells Fargos, the Bank of Americas; the ones that could get disrupted by these startups, and the fact that they're making those moves, now.

Blake Oliver: A great example of an investment that is to head off that disruption is Chase investing ... Was it this year, or the year before? They recently invested in Bill.com, a lot of money; something like they led a round that involved $100 million with Bill.com. People talking about Bill.com disrupting banks, well, not really, because both B of A, and Chase are invested in Bill.com. Glancing through this chart, I see Wells Fargo invested in Canopy-.

David Leary: Which is interesting, because it's really a tax play, right? [cross talk]

Blake Oliver: -we were just talking last week about how Intuit and Turbo Tax are giving them access to all sorts of information that allows Intuit to become basically like a bank. Maybe that's a play for information.

David Leary: Yeah, and I saw another article this week. It was teeny; I didn't know if I should bring it up, but there was one interesting quote that, of the top 12 banks, the vast majority of small businesses do business at those banks, on a day-to-day to day basis.

David Leary: They're just moving volumes of transactions through them, and those banks hardly give them any loans, at all. They just aren't even tapping their own data, and their own customer base. It's really interesting how disconnected these bigger banks are from small-business owners.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, it's really weird, and I think one of the reasons that small-business owners use these banks ...I used B of A. I would always tell my customers, if they didn't have a local bank, that they should just go with Chase, because ... The reason I did that was because the online-banking tools were excellent. It was easy for me, as the accountant, to get the information I needed. Easy for them to do what they needed to do.

Blake Oliver: The online banking is excellent with the big banks, but they just haven't caught ... They haven't added- figured out how to do the lending thing online very well. Perhaps some of these investments will help that happen. For instance, Citi is invested in BlueVine. I didn't know that. That's one of those lending platforms that you can access through QuickBooks, right?

David Leary: Yep, and it's very small-business focused ... Small-business-focused loans.

Blake Oliver: Chase is invested in Square; so is Goldman; so is Citi; they're all invested in Square. Interestingly, Goldman is invested in Oscar Health. That's health insurance. I could see, as these companies grow, as perhaps they go public, being invested in these companies will help these banks figure how to integrate their services into their online platforms.

David Leary: Yeah. I think that Citi has an investment in Plaid, and so does Goldman Sachs. Plaid can provide big bank-feed data to other developers. It's kinda that, "Who's working on APIs, right now?" Citi, Chase ... They want to build their own internal APIs. Some of these types of investments could eventually turn into an acquisition, just for talent, and head down other paths.

David Leary: It's funny, as you see an article like this, I think I saw T-Mobile just created a bank. I don't know if you saw that.

Blake Oliver: No-

David Leary: You can get a checking account, now, through T-Mobile. You can take photos of your checks. You can do deposits. It's all mobile banking through T-Mobile. Last week, we were talking about Intuit becoming a bank, possibly; T-Mobile could become a bank. I think Starbucks, Google, Apple - they all could become banks.

Blake Oliver: Wow.

David Leary: It's interesting to see. Maybe that explains why these investments these banks are making are so diverse, because they just don't know where they're gonna be soon.

Blake Oliver: It totally makes sense to me [cross talk]

David Leary: -what defines a bank.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, totally makes sense to me that a mobile-phone company would become a bank. If you look at emerging economies, a lot of people in Africa, for instance, don't have access to banking, so they do it through their mobile phone, through apps on their phones. That's how they store, and send money. Totally makes sense. Maybe they'll figure out how to crack it, here, for folks who are under-banked in the US.

David Leary: All right, so banks are important. Let's talk about us. This is about just us, as people. NetworkAlliance.com have an article, and the title the article is You're Too Important for Multi-Factor Authentication. This is November 27, 2018.

David Leary: The premise is all of us are over-scheduled; we're overbooked. We're just so, so important that we don't have time for 12.5, 20 seconds to do a multi-factor authentication. I kinda get it. Now that I've really set up every single site on multi-factor authentication, it's kind of a pain. I gotta pull up my phone, I gotta go, and get the code, I have to type in the code, when I sign into the site.

David Leary: I get it, but the way to ... There's a great quote in this article that is a way to think about this. 25 times a day, you have to use multi-factor authentication; maybe 10 times, after hours. You're looking at about 35 times a day. That's basically six minutes of your 1,400-minute day. If you ever get hacked, or you ever have a problem because of being hacked, that's gonna take up way more than six minutes of your day. It's an interesting premise. The other thing is it has a really good-.

Blake Oliver: Here's the thing, David. I totally understand your argument. I also experience the frustration of dealing with multi-factor, here at FloQast. We use OKTA, which is a multi-factor tool/single-sign-on tool.

Blake Oliver: In order for me to log into my everything, every day, I have to pull out my phone, and put in a multi-factor authentication code the first time I log in. I can check a box that says, "Don't prompt me to do this for another 12 hours," but then I do it 12 hours later. Basically, every day, I have to do it. I don't know, I just hate it. First thing, I've got my coffee; 'm ready to work; Where's my phone? Gotta go find it.

Blake Oliver: The problem is that people are too lazy to even come up with unique passwords. We can't even get them to use password managers, which is super-easy, because it's almost automatic at this point. I don't know, I feel like human laziness is the biggest barrier to security, right now.

David Leary: You say it's not people thinking they're too important, they don't have the time; it's just their just lazy, fundamentally?

Blake Oliver: Yeah, well, they justify it by saying, "I'm too important." Especially executives, they're like, "Oh, I'm not gonna deal with that crap. I need to get work done." Of course, then, they're the biggest security hole, because they're the ones who get phished.

David Leary: With it, there was a tip in here about you don't have to do it cold turkey, just do it to your Facebook profile. Start with that. Then, from there, start putting other sites on it.

Blake Oliver: Here's the other problem. My problem with multi-factor, and in particular, these authenticator forms of multi-factor, where you scan the QR code, and then you get a code in your phone, and you have to type in the code, and it changes every minute.

Blake Oliver: The problem with that is every time you get a new phone, you have to set all that up again, which is not a problem when you've only got one site that you use it for, but when you have 10 sites that you've got a multi-factor authentication codes for, and you get a new phone, you have to go in and reset your multi-factor authentication on every single website that you use it for. It's like whoever invented this didn't think about the gigantic hassle that it creates.

David Leary: That might be a security feature, because if I remember correctly, I used to be able to have it running on my tablet, and my phone, like Microsoft Authenticator, or Google Authenticator. My codes would just show up on both. Now, I can't even install it on my other device, when it's on the one device. There's no account-migration/transfer-syncing of some type. There might be a reason for that, because I guess, if you could, somebody could spoof you, and just [cross talk]

Blake Oliver: No, definitely, but still, it's not a scalable solution, because ultimately, the ideal situation would be that every single website ... Every single password that we use also is associated with one of those multi-factor authentication codes. Then, if you ever got a new device, it would just be the biggest hassle in the world to update everything.

Blake Oliver: I don't think it's an ultimate ... I don't think it works as a final solution. Ultimately, the only thing that's gonna get people to actually do real multi-factor for the important things that they log into every day is biometrics.

David Leary: I'm too busy to put my eyeball up against something; that's ridiculous; or donate blood.

Blake Oliver: I got the iPhone XR, and it has the facial recognition. I was very skeptical as to whether or not that would be any good; if I would actually care, versus having to put in a passcode. So much better. It's amazing. It works so fast.

Blake Oliver: If somebody can figure out how to do that for a retina scan, it's more secure than just the facial-recognition thing, then, it's great. I'll just hold up my phone to my eyeball, and that can be my signature, and nobody can fake that.

David Leary: Well, hopefully, that works a lot more reliably than those infrared sinks, paper-towel dispensers at the airports, because ... I put my hands under there, and they just never, never seem to work.

David Leary: I put my son on it, because I get notified when there's a log-in to his Gmail account from some other location. It could be stored God knows where. I always have to text him, "Is this you this time?" I put him on it, installed the app. I've had this, now, ease to knowing that it's him, when he's logging in. I don't have to monitor it as closely. If an 11-year-old can do it, I think everybody can do it.

Blake Oliver: How can how can partners in accounting firms, or IT folks, how can they actually convince everybody to do multi-factor authentication, and not become the bad guy for making everybody do this huge hassle? How do you sell it?

David Leary: I think maybe you educate them on their own personal accounts, first, to where they ... Like I said, get them to use it on their Facebook, their Twitter. their personal Gmail.

David Leary: Chances are, if you can just get them to secure their personal stuff, that's already eliminating some risk at your company, because everybody's checking their personal stuff on your company's network, or on, possibly, your company's devices.

David Leary: If you can get them to do it with their personal stuff, first, they'll start doing it for other things [cross talk] at your company, I think. Then, until somebody gets really hacked, or has suspicion that, "Wait a second ... Somebody logged in," they're usually not gonna do it. That's another thing. You could pretend to fake-hack all your employees [cross talk] and then they'd be like, "Oh, crap ..."

Blake Oliver: We're trying to not become the bad guy. Freak everyone out, and ...

David Leary: It's effective, right?

Blake Oliver: Yeah.

David Leary: If you scare somebody, you can get them to do things. You could make everybody get really scared that they got hacked, and then be like, "Just kidding, but you should probably get some multi authentication so this doesn't happen in the future."

Blake Oliver: I love it.

David Leary: All right. We've beat that story to death. Okay ...

Blake Oliver: I got a story here. This is called "Have the Big Four Lost Their Advantage?" in Accounting Today, by Ranica Arrowsmith. It asks the question: have the Big Four lost their advantage, when it comes to audit?

Blake Oliver: It's based on a recent paper called Information Technology in ... Oh, that's such a boring title; I'm not even gonna say it. Anyway, it appeared in The Journal of Information Systems, which is a magazine even more boring than the Journal of Accountancy, so I hear.

Blake Oliver: It finds that Big-Four auditors are, today, not significantly more likely to use information technology than non-Big-Four auditors, suggesting that the dominance of the Big-Four firms' use of IT has lessened.

Blake Oliver: The question is are mid-sized regional firms going to close the gap between the Big Four, given that they no longer have an advantage with tech? Interestingly, local firms are not really catching up, but local firms, they don't do a lot of audits these days, do they?

David Leary: No, I don't think so. My question is ... I think we had an article months ago talking about ... I think EY was gonna spend $200 billion on cloud technologies, or something, right? Maybe it was $200 million, not $200 billion, right? Where's all this money going, if they're not investing in technology?

Blake Oliver: Well think they are [cross talk] it's gonna take a little while for them to see the results. Actually, no, you make a good point. I think that, when it comes to audit, most of the technology that the Big Four are investing in is not actually gonna pan out. It's not really gonna help that much, necessarily.

Blake Oliver: People are talking about, "Oh, if we figure out how to integrate IBM Watson, or AI into our audits, then we can eliminate all these personnel." Well, the fact remains that you still gotta have people on the ground, in the office, doing the audit, simply because there's no substitution for in-person interviews, or going through actual files, if there are files. Seeing people in person is really important in figuring out if there's fraud going on, which is part of the audit. You've gotta be looking for it.

Blake Oliver: It's pretty clear that information technology is democratizing. I, as a independent CPA, now have access to all these tools that make me able to compete with larger accounting firms that have all these staff. It used to be you had to have an office, because you had to have all these people running around, pushing paper. We don't have that anymore.

Blake Oliver: I think the same principle applies, when it comes to audit. You might be able to, as a smaller audit firm, regional firm, just do the same work that a big firm is doing, leveraging the cloud to make up for your lack of people. You just don't have a bunch of people to throw at the problem. This makes sense to me. I'd be interested to hear what our listeners think about this.

David Leary: It's the smaller, more nimble firms who can implement technology. They could use a start-up app. They could use things like Canopy's tool, and way faster than the Big Four can. I believe the argument on this is correct. I think the title's very lengthy. They've lost their advantage, but I think this is a [cross talk]

Blake Oliver: -if you think about it, the advantage that the Big Four have isn't really technology, and I don't think it has been for a while. It's simply that they have the massive workforce to be able to do huge audits that no regional firm could ever handle. A regional firm is never gonna be able to audit a global multinational Fortune 500 company.

Blake Oliver: When half of our economy is dominated by something like 3,000 businesses, those 3,000 companies are gonna have to go to the Big Four to audit them. There's nobody else that's that big that can do it.

David Leary: I have a good one that's very a tangent to us, but not really about our industry. It's from TheHill.com, so, getting into politics here-.

Blake Oliver: Uh-oh.

David Leary: The title of this article is "America Needs More Accountants in Congress."

Blake Oliver: I think we can all agree with that.

David Leary: Maybe possibly. She quoted some really, really ... The author quoted some really good stats in here. Currently, lawyers make up 40 percent of the newly elected Congress, but lawyers only make up 0.4 percent of the entire US population.

Blake Oliver: Oh, God.

David Leary: Our representatives are not representative of us.

Blake Oliver: David, I think you just explained all the dysfunction in our Congress, right there. That's it. That's the problem. We just need to set a ceiling on the lawyers that can be in Congress.

David Leary: Yeah, and we should ... There should be a tow-truck driver. There should be a plumber. Maybe we should really go representative of all the professions. Her argument is the key requirement for lawmakers is budgeting. They're collecting $3.3 trillion in taxes, and spending $4 trillion, and none of them have any experience.

Blake Oliver: Anyone who's done accounting for a law firm knows that lawyers are the last people that you should have making a budget.

David Leary: Are they bad clients? [cross talk]

Blake Oliver: Well, I don't wanna get into it, but let's just say that if you go to anybody who serves the legal profession, in accounting, you will get some interesting responses.

David Leary: There are some more scary stats about this. She goes on to talk about it's the largest financial institution in the world. Then, of all the 535 voting members, between the House and the Senate, only 11 have received professional training as accountants. There's more medical professionals, 30, and more pilots, professional pilots, 12, than there are accountants in Congress.

Blake Oliver: It is no wonder that the national debt continues to rise, year after year. That makes sense.

David Leary: Exactly.

Blake Oliver: How do we get more accountants in Congress?

David Leary: You could run, Blake. You seem well-rounded. That seems like a way to go. I don't know how to get more in, but I also think the bigger question is ... She posed this question ... She didn't poses it as a question, but she makes a statement at the end, like, basically, if Congress had 214 accountants, instead of 214 lawyers, there would be comprehensive reviews of some of the accounting rules that have not been updated for more than 50 years.

David Leary: My question, really, to you Blake, if you're asking me how to get accountants in Congress, is ... You know how accountants run their firms, and you know how accountants do things. What would happen to Congress, if we had 215 accountants in that?

Blake Oliver: I think it would be a lot more civil, that's for sure.

David Leary: That's true.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, accountants are nice people, generally; at least compared to attorneys. I'm not afraid to say that. Well, I think, for instance ... Did we talk about the Pentagon audit on any of these episodes? I don't think we've talked about that.

David Leary: No, because I felt it was so ridiculous [cross talk] We could talk about that [cross talk]

Blake Oliver: -just a brief mention of it ... The Pentagon went through its first-ever comprehensive audit, this year, and failed miserably. If there were 214 accountants, instead of 214 lawyers in Congress, you can bet that that audit would have completed a long time ago, and that we wouldn't be allowing the Pentagon to get away with plugging holes in their financial statements with bullshit numbers. It's insane, actually, how bad the accounting is over at the Department of Defense.

David Leary: Do you think it would be harder to pass budgets, and things, because everybody would be meticulously looking at every single line? Lawyers are out there negotiating, like, "All right, I'll sneak this in. I'll accept that [cross talk] thing here .." but the accountants are like-

Blake Oliver: I think that's a good thing, because that's really honestly one of the few things that Congress still does is pass the budget. All this other stuff has been delegated to bureaucracies, all the actual decision-making. Yeah, they haggle about the budget. We should have accountants in there. That's my take. Thank you for sharing this, David.

David Leary: The one thing for me, personally, I believe ... I'm gonna jump on this bandwagon - let's get some more accountants in office - but I actually feel like we really need just more people that understand tech. If you watched those Facebook hearings, it's very, very scary.

Blake Oliver: It's bad.

David Leary: We have leaders that do not understand any tech at all, and that's very, very scary. I guess if we're gonna put accountants in, we want cloud accountants to be in the Congress.

Blake Oliver: Yeah.

David Leary: Can I only support cloud accountants to be in Congress, people that understand tech?

Blake Oliver: Let's try to get one [cross talk] Let's find one. If you are a cloud accountant, and you want to run for Congress, let us know, and David and I will help lobby for you. It's not called lobbying, it's ... What do you call it, when you try to help somebody get elected? [cross talk] canvass for you.

David Leary: Canvass. I will go knock on some doors.

Blake Oliver: I would do that-

David Leary: -and help you out.

Blake Oliver: -but only if I could do it virtually, in the cloud.

David Leary: Virtually. You'll make some phone calls, yes. It'd be interesting. Let's track down these 11 accountants, and put them out there on Twitter. I wonder who these 11 are. They should be recognized.

Blake Oliver: Hopefully, it doesn't turn out they're the ones causing all the problems.

David Leary: Yeah [inaudible] that premise, and move on.

Blake Oliver: A few more stories just to finish this up. Speaking of government, the state of Ohio says that you can now pay taxes with bitcoin.

David Leary: Okay ...

Blake Oliver: I brought this in here, David, cuz I know you love bitcoin, and you love talking about it, and I thought it was interesting. This is a story in The Wall Street Journal, called "Pay Texas with Bitcoin? Ohio Says Sure." Basically, Ohio has set up a website called OhioCrypto.com. That's OhioCrypto.com, where you can register and pay for everything from cigarette sales taxes to employee withholding taxes with bitcoin. That's for businesses only, at this point. Eventually, it will expand to individual filers.

Blake Oliver: It's the initiative of Treasurer Josh Mandel, who has held the office in Ohio since 2011, and started taking an interest in bitcoin several years ago. Guess what? He's only 41 years old, so he actually knows what bitcoin is. I congratulate him for this. I think it's kinda cool.

David Leary: It's very forward-thinking. Is this kind of a play to get people that maybe are in ... A lot of bitcoin's been used for illegal businesses that just give ... It's that whole like, "Hey, if you're doing something illegal, at least still pay your taxes. Don't do two illegal things," right? Is this kind of a way to get people that maybe are doing some illegal things on the Dark Web to just pay their share, so they don't get in trouble for tax fraud, as well?

Blake Oliver: Yeah, I'm curious to know if that's at all part of this. I wonder if it will work at all, because, yes, if you have been making profits in bitcoin, you probably haven't been paying your taxes like you should, because it's so difficult; most people don't even know that they needed to do it. If you went, and you paid your Ohio taxes in bitcoin, maybe you'd open yourself up to a whole lotta trouble, because now they know who you are.

David Leary: Yeah, so, we'll have to watch this [cross talk]

Blake Oliver: I'll keep you updated on this, David.

David Leary: Then, I think you had one more fun thing?

Blake Oliver: Yeah, last one. I was working remotely last week, from New York, and I saw this article on CNBC, called "70% of People Globally Work Remotely at Least Once a Week, Study Says" and yes, that is the stat. A study released Tuesday, by Zug, a Switzerland-based service-office provider, found that 70 percent of professionals work remotely, at least one day a week; while, 53 percent work remotely for at least half of the week. That means that more than two-thirds of people around the world work away from the office, at least once every week, according to this study.

David Leary: This is real work, right, not pretend work, like the "working from home ..." I'm putting air quotes up here, for everybody, so you can see them. "I'm working from home ..."

Blake Oliver: It's a survey, so hopefully, it's not ... People aren't misrepresenting themselves in anonymous surveys. It was a survey of 18,000 business professionals across 96 international companies for that study. This is an international study. It's not just the US market. They do mention-.

David Leary: Starbucks would know. They could audit their logs, so they would know this for sure.

Blake Oliver: They do mention a US Gallup survey done last year that found that American employees working remotely rose to 43 percent in 2016, from 39 percent in 2012. Of course, that does mean they're working remotely all the time, just at least part of the time. It's a lot of workers that are working remotely.

David Leary: Bill.com founder, René Lacerte, I think a few years back, I saw him say this on stage once: the leash is longer, but the noose is tighter. You kinda have this freedom to work everywhere you want, but a noose around your neck is just tighter. You constantly have to work-

Blake Oliver: Well, that's true [cross talk] Yeah, absolutely. The thing is that all these people are working remotely, part of the time, but only a small percentage of the US workforce gets to actually work remotely, full time, if they want. Only something like 3 to 4 million people in the US work 100-percent remote. Everybody else has to still have an office that they go to.

Blake Oliver: It's weird. I think companies wanna have it ... They wanna have their cake, and eat it, too, and that they want their employees, like you said, to be working all the time, so they let them work ... They give them the tools to work remotely, but then they're afraid to let them work at home all the time.

Blake Oliver: I don't know; this is gonna change. I think we're gonna see a lot more people working remotely, 90 percent the time, all the time, as we move into 2030.

David Leary: 2030? Wow, we're really ... You're done with 2020; you're projected out to 2030 now. You jumped a whole decade. Wow!

Blake Oliver: I'm thinking long-term here, but, yeah, my 2019 prediction is that that trend continues. That's all I got.

David Leary: Awesome. On that note, we've covered all the news this week. If those of you that want to hear about all the news next week, be sure you subscribe, so you can hear this every week, automatically, in your favorite podcast player [cross talk]

Blake Oliver: David, I'm so sorry to interrupt you, but could you start that again, because I heard you thumping stuff.

David Leary: Oh, sorry, I was physically hitting my hand on the desk to tell people to subscribe. I don't know if you should cut that out, or not, Blake. Yes, people, I'm banging my hand on the desk-.

Blake Oliver: That's how much David-.

David Leary: Don't forget to subscribe for next week.

Blake Oliver: Yeah, that's how much he wants it. All right, well, that's great, yeah. Wait, did we say where they can reach us on Twitter? I'm @BlakeTOliver.

David Leary: I'm @DavidLeary. If you have any comments about any of these articles, you have a new article, you have thoughts ... If you're one of these magical 11 accountants that are in Congress, please tweet at us. We'd love to figure out who you are.

Blake Oliver: Yep. Have a great week, David-.

David Leary: And the cloud accountant for 2020.

Blake Oliver: Bye.

David Leary: Bye, Blake.

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