Cloud Watch: QBO links to Google Calendar

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August ended with a blitz from US giant Intuit, which reported revenues up 10% to more than $5bn for its 2017 financial year. There was also news of an interesting integration with Google Calendar.

QuickBooks Online to integrate with Google apps

Efforts to connect QuickBooks Online to Google Calendar and other apps are beginning to bear fruit.

The Google Calendar App for QuickBooks is now listed on the QBO UK app marketplace and has been getting some positive feedback from early users. While it doesn’t do everything, the key feature is that businesses that schedule billable client appointments in Google Calendar will be able to access their calendars from the QBO invoice to raise customer bills.

In QBO, the user can select the events they want to include on the invoice and QuickBooks will extract the date, description, and hours worked to compile the invoice.

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QuickBooks Online breaks 100k UK barrier

In a set of bullish results for the 2017 financial Year, QuickBooks developer Intuit boosed its revenue 10% to $5.2bn and continued to grow the user base for its cloud accounting system

QuickBooks Online now claims to have 2.4m global users and surpassed 100,000 subscribers in the UK, Australia and Canada.

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Practice Ignition expands into Europe

22 Aug - Australian practice management specialist Practice Ignition is boosting its European presence from early September.

Adriana Amato will join Practice Ignition’s European operation in September from Valiant Finance. Her mission will be to increase Practice Ignition’s profile in the European market as well as the Middle East and Africa.

The appointment is part of a broader global expansion programme and follows the recent recruitment from Intuit of AccountingWEB blogger Trent McLaren as head of accounting and strategic partnerships.

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Clear Books introduces partner training scheme

21 Aug – Independent cloud accounting developer Clear Books has created a training programme that provides marketing training for its accountant customers.

The Clear Books certified partner programme emulates similar offerings from Sage, QuickBooks and Xero to help practitioner deliver better service to their small business clients. The main ingredient of the program is personalised training that can be delivered at the accountants’ office in an onsite training day or online as one-to-one tuition.

The programme includes software training, promotion on the Clear Books accountant directory and website and early sight of new products.

Where the other developers bundle up the cost of their partner programmes with the software (or offer discounts to accountants who deliver specified numbers of users), Clear Books will charge accountants between £199 (online training) and £499 (onsite training) to receive its training.

“Most traditional partner programmes provide the most advantageous aspects to the largest partners; the programmes are typically focused on sales of licenses or subscriptions. This works against the interests of the smaller accountancy and bookkeeping practices that serve a smaller client base but still provide excellent quality of service." said Clear Books sales director Phil Sayers.

“At Clear Books we believe that what's most important to clients is the expectation that their accountant or bookkeeper understands the software that they're using and can provide the best possible service, so the Clear Books partner programme focuses on the product knowledge of the partner, not their ability to sell software licenses.”

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Aqilla releases new version

14 Aug – Aqillla has released its latest edition, “1708”, featuring new workflow groups, better reporting and improved email support.

Aqilla version 1708 introduces the concept of workflow groups, where the administrator can define permissions and accessing rights to records within a group of users.

The transaction matching facility in Aqilla has been bolstered with a manual Split option that lets the user allocate amounts to different account lines.

For analysis work on old records, Lookup values can be disabled without affecting existing documents or reference data. Fixed assets can be supressed from analysis in a similar way.

Other enhancements include changes to the attribute wizard, which now helps avoid errors when configuring new attributes, the inclusion of FX rates when copying multi-currency documents and better PDF output options when printing documents directly from financial reports.

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AutoEntry links to accountsIQ

2 Aug – AccountsIQ has announced an integration with AutoEntry to capture scanned receipt and invoice data within its online accounting system.

Cloud-based accounting and consolidation software provider accountsIQ has partnered with OcRex, developer of the AutoEntry bookkeeping add-on to integrate the two systems and eliminate manual data entry.

AutoEntry uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology and artificial intelligence to scan and analyse paper documents. It is already a popular tool for users of bookkeeping solutions including Xero, QuickBooks, Sage One and Kashflow.

The tie-up with accountsIQ sees AutoEntry moving into more complex businesses and reflects a growing presence in the market.

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Xero partners with Stripe

2 Aug - Xero has partnered with the online payments platform Stripe to build a new automated reconciliation option.

Integrating with Stripe brings online payments with automatic reconciliation to Xero subscribers. Already a popular payment platform in North America, Stripe is beginning to pick up customers in the UK.

The partnership with Xero means that each line in Stripe payment statements will be automatically matched to transactions in Xero. If there is a discrepancy between the Stripe payment and the total found in Xero, Xero will search for relevant transactions and bring them back as a partial match.

Integration with Xero will help small business owners get paid faster by accepting credit card payments for online invoices, according to Stripe’s head of business development Cristina Cordova. “Sinking resources into needlessly laborious tasks isn’t a good use of time for any small business. We continue to develop tools and features that make starting and scaling an internet business easier,” she said.

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Expensify ReceiptBurner gets a Lyft

1 Aug - The online ride-sharing app Lyft has been added to the menu of partners for Expensify’s online ReceiptBurner service.

As part of the tie-up, the Lyft platform now includes Expensify as a user option within its settings. Once the user selects this option, any booking designated as a business trip will direct the electronic receipt to Expensify for scanning.

The ReceiptBurner platform now includes 15 partners. The alliance came about when Expensify noted that Lyft was one of the most common expense items showing up in its workflow. While the car service doesn’t yet operate in Europe, the same facility is already available for Uber.

Trainline is also supported for those who prefer to travel by rail.

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Karbon Academy open for classes

1 Aug - Innovative Australian practice workflow app developer Karbon has moved into online education with the launch of Karbon Academy.

Karbon co-founder and education and partnership vice-president Ian Vacin is already well known to AccountingWEB users for his articles on practice talent and technology. The Karbon Academy takes this missionary work a step further with classes devoted to strategy, management, efficiency and growth.

Explaining the rationale behind the project, Ian Vacin blogged: “The industry as a whole lacks key sources of quality education. You went to college and learned the technical aspects of accounting, and you go to courses to advance in technical skills, but where is all the business-savvy, entrepreneurial and leadership content that will help you advance your professional careers and make a dent in the way your firm runs?”

Karbon Academy will attempt to fill that gap with six-module courses typically running over 12 weeks. A raft of courses are scheduled to start in late August. Starting at $3,000 (AUS or US – not yet known, but c£1,800-£2,200) for a single course, with bundled packages available for AUS$4,500 and $8,500 for a four-part getting started bundle.

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03rd Aug 2017 10:17

Good to see that Stripe integrates with Xero. The two big payment platforms for me are GoCardless (which uses a direct debit mechanism) and Stripe (which uses debit and credit cards). I prefer GoCardless, as it is cheaper and easier, but this won't work where the payer is a larger organisation that has internal systems to fulfil before payments are made (and so they won't sign off on a DD mandate). For those companies, Stripe is great, as any staff member at the paying company can use their company or personal card to make payments.

Xero now integrates with both GoCardless and Stripe. QBO integrates exceptionally well with GoCardless (it is entirely seamless and even more integrated than the Xero offering) but does not yet integrate with Stripe. I urge Intuit to open up Stripe integration as a matter of priority, so that pretty much all payment types can be covered.

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