(This post originally appeared on Accounting Today)
A first-ever online integration for QuickBooks, robot restaurants, ‘One Outlook,’ and seven other developments in technology you may have missed, and what they mean for your firm and your clients.
1. Plastiq announces first end-to-end QuickBooks online integration in payments
Plastiq announced that Intuit QuickBooks Online is now completely integrated into its payment system. With the new integration, your firm and clients will be able to save money and time thanks to a more efficient, automated, and seamless approach to settling bills, invoices, and payments without the need to enter information into their system manually. Invoices will be able to be directly imported from QuickBooks, allowing important information to be identified and populated quickly and efficiently. (Source: CPA Practice Advisor)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Plastiq is a client of my company, but I have not been compensated to include this news here. I am including it because Plastiq is one of many great fintech platforms that are making it easier for small firms and clients to pay their bills — whether via credit cards or by other digital means — to suppliers, both domestic and foreign, regardless of whether those suppliers accept those forms of payment. Many of these fintech payment providers already integrate with accounting software like QuickBooks, and we’ll see these options expand for small firms and clients in the months to come.
2. Expensify upgrades invoicing feature to help manage AR
Expensify, known for its expense management applications, rolled out updates and improvements to its invoicing feature. (Source:Pymnts)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: The company’s new SmartScan technology will allow users to create and send invoices and receive payments through the platform. Using the same infrastructure that drives expenditures, firms and clients will also be able to transmit information from supplier bills both to approve and send payments. Is Expensify going to take on its accounting software partners? Will general ledger and payroll be next? My take: If it makes life easier for a small firm and clients, then I’m all for it.
3. Venmo’s mobile app can now cash checks
Venmo announced that they are rolling out a Cash a Check feature for both their iOS and Android apps, allowing users to deposit checks directly without having to use bank mobile apps or visit a brick-and-mortar bank. According to Venmo, the majority of checks will take moments to be approved, though some may take an hour. While fees will be required to deposit most checks — due to COVID-19 — Venmo is going to be waiving fees temporarily in order for users to deposit stimulus checks without having to pay. (Source:Engadget)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Venmo generally can’t be used for firms and clients, but that doesn’t stop countless small contractors, freelancers, firms and clients from doing just that. If you’re in that group, then you can now accept actual checks in addition to electronic Venmo payments.
4. Microsoft to replace mail variants with ‘One Outlook’
Microsoft is in the process of replacing its Windows 10 Mail Calendar apps in addition to the Legacy Win 32 Outlook client through developing a single version of Outlook that will operate both on Mac and Windows. Microsoft’s “One Outlook” rollout will be developed out of the current web version of Outlook and all users could potentially see a preview of “One Outlook” by the end of this year. However, Microsoft shared that fully replacing the Windows 10 Calendar and Mail apps that are built in will not happen until 2022. (Source:ZDNet)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: This move will create headaches for some of your Outlook users, but overall it’s a good thing. With a consistent, common platform support, upgrades and training will be easier for everyone in the long run.
5. Citrix acquires project management platform
Citrix confirmed that it will acquire Wrike — a work management platform — for $2.25 billion. Created in 2006, Wrike is sold as a project management platform using a SaaS model. The platform provides teams with the ability to track items like projects, deadlines and workflows, to name a few. Citrix is a software company that gives companies an array of tools from networking to cloud computing. (Source:Venture Beat)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Citrix says that the acquisition will allow them to provide cloud-based work management capabilities that focus on collaboration, which is particularly useful as many companies continue to work from home. That’s good news if you’re a Citrix customer — or considering a move to the networking company.
6. Fintech startup matches contractors to financing
A fintech startup in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, was able to add 100 employees throughout the coronavirus pandemic thanks to $2 million they raised in seed funding. PowerPay — a startup that assists home contractors in providing financing to their customers — was hit by the pandemic only three months after launching. Rather than going out of firm and clients — as they anticipated— the startup began this new year with 110 employees. Thanks to a network made up of over 7,000 contractors, PowerPay was able to originate over $1 billion in loans and make a profit just a half a year after launching. (Source:PHLBizJournal)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: An old idea that leverages new technology — and what a great model. Contractors who need financing options in order to close larger projects now have a great resource to offer their customers. Given its growth, the idea is clearly catching on.
7. Amazon set to buy podcast maker Wondery
Amazon shared that they will be acquiring podcast platform Wondery. Wondery — which was founded five years ago — has created many well-liked podcasts over the last several years and has over 10 million different listeners month to month. The move will allow Amazon to grow its library of audio material and more strongly compete with podcast giants Apple and Spotify, all who have been adding podcasts to their platforms in order to secure a dominant spot in the competitive market of podcasts. (Source:CNBC)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Podcasting continues to grow in popularity and has created a big opportunity for brands and small firms and their clients to get their messaging out and help establish credibility. Amazon’s entry only underscores this growing trend. Perhaps you’ve got a podcast to start?
8. Yelp now shares feedback on restaurants’ COVID-19 practices
Yelp has announced that those using their platform to review restaurants will now have the opportunity to share their own feedback on how well those establishments are following COVID-19 safety and health guidelines. At the moment, those providing reviews are only able to share feedback regarding mask-wearing and social distancing, since those are easily observable by patrons. While the new review category will not impact a restaurant’s rating, the reviews will be easily accessible, similar to the way that restaurants can be categorized as being “romantic” or “kid-friendly.” (Source:Nation’s Restaurant News)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: If people can leave Yelp reviews for a restaurant, retail or service firm and clients, then they better make sure they’re practicing Covid-19 safety. Otherwise, they could find yourself with fewer customers willing to visit.
9. LG’s ‘rollable’ phone will arrive this year
According to LG, consumers will be able to purchase their new rollable phone by the end of 2021. The new phone — formally known as the LG Rollable — has the ease of a traditional phone that folds, but without the nuisance of a crease. It is predicted that users will be able to adjust the size of the phone in order to better fit the aspect ratio of a video but that the phone will still need to have a screen made of plastic, which raises concerns about screen protection. (Source:The Next Web)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Samsung has already released a foldable phone and, with LG’s “rollable” offering, expect our phones to be looking much differently in the future.
10. ‘World’s first’ AI-based robotic restaurant
According to Nala Robotics, they will be opening up the first ever robotic restaurant in the world. The company plans to use artificial intelligence in the restaurant, which will be located in the Mall of India in Naperville, Illinois. This particular location will essentially embody 10 different restaurants by providing pizza, burgers, chicken wings, Italian, Portuguese, Mediterranean, Indian, Chinese, Thai and Mexican food. The various foods will be cooked up using “Chef Nala,” an AI-driven robot. The hope is that the new robot will help rectify many of the obstacles that have come up for restaurants throughout the coronavirus pandemic, such as completely negating any human contact when it comes to preparing food and delivery. (Source:NCTV17)
Why this is important for your firm and clients: Robot pizza makers, robot sushi, now it’s robot … everything. As minimum wages rise and other costs increase, innovative restaurateurs are going to invest in technologies like these to keep their overheads under control.