Cloud Accounting Podcast

Intuit settles the Free File lawsuit, H&R Block wins an injunction against Block for trademark infringement, Lord Sugar has a sad take on remote work in the UK, pizza accountant busted for insider trading, and more

Show Notes

Sponsors

FreshBooks:
https://www.cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/freshbooks
Canopy:
https://www.cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/canopy
Relay: https://www.cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/relay


Need CPE? 

Subscribe to the Earmark Accounting Podcast: https://podcast.earmarkcpe.com
Get CPE for listening to podcasts with Earmark CPE: https://earmarkcpe


Show Notes

1:46 – Intuit owes customers $141 million after it 'cheated' them out of free tax services
https://www.engadget.com/intuit-owes-consumers-141-million-after-it-cheated-them-out-of-free-tax-services-090115518.html
 
Intuit Will Refund $141 Million to Low-Income TurboTax Users - The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/04/business/turbotax-intuit-settlement.html
 
4:36 – Study: Nearly half of returns could be automatically populated
https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/study-says-nearly-half-of-tax-returns-could-be-automatically-pre-populated
 
8:09 – In-Person BNPL Coming Soon as Block Connects Seller, CashApp Ecosystems
https://www.pymnts.com/earnings/2022/in-person-bnpl-coming-soon-as-block-connects-seller-cashapp-ecosystems/
 
9:43 – H&R Block Wins Injunction Against Jack Dorsey’s Block Inc.
https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-tax-report/h-r-block-wins-injunction-against-jack-dorseys-block-inc
 
11:23 – Fireside chat with IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig
https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/fireside-chat-with-irs-commissioner-chuck-rettig
 
19:00 – Marcum merges in Friedman to create $1B megafirm
https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/marcum-merges-in-friedman-to-create-1b-megafirm
 
19:54 – Klean Books Offering Free Business Bookkeeping Services With New Promotion
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/05/04/2435980/0/en/Klean-Books-Offering-Free-Business-Bookkeeping-Services-With-New-Promotion.html
 
21:18 – PwC US announces $2.4B employee investment
https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/pwc-us-announces-2-4b-employee-investment
 
28:05 – Let's Mesh Other Business Buzzwords to Form the Next Big Accounting Firm Name
https://www.goingconcern.com/lets-mesh-other-business-buzzwords-to-form-the-next-big-accounting-firm-name/
 
31:11 – In KPMG Australia Cheating Scandal, Apparently Cheaters *Do* Win
https://www.goingconcern.com/in-kpmg-australia-cheating-scandal-apparently-cheaters-do-win/
 
32:58 – Why the Metaverse matters to you
https://www.accountingtoday.com/podcast/why-the-metaverse-matters-to-you
 
37:49 – What It Will Take for Augmented Reality to Become Our Reality
https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-it-will-take-for-augmented-reality-to-become-our-reality-11651844452
 
Law firm says employees can work from home full-time – but only if they take a 20% pay cut
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/05/workers-at-uk-law-firm-to-take-20percent-pay-cut-to-work-from-home-full-time.html
 
46:38 – Back In My Day, Accountants Had to Walk Uphill Both Ways In the Hot Sun to Get to Work, Says Crotchety Old British Guy
https://www.goingconcern.com/back-in-my-day-accountants-had-to-walk-uphill-both-ways-in-the-hot-sun-to-get-to-work-says-crotchety-old-british-guy/
 
51:41 – Pizza accountant to pay $2M for insider trading
https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/ex-dominos-accountant-to-pay-2m-for-insider-trading
 
55:34 – Stripe Offers Businesses Customer-Account Verification Tools
https://www.pymnts.com/news/security-and-risk/2022/stripe-offers-businesses-customer-account-verification-tools/
 
56:29 – Experiment finds RPA is 745% faster than manual processes
https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/experiment-finds-rpa-is-745-faster-than-manual-accounting-processes



Get in Touch

Thanks for listening and for the great reviews! We appreciate you! Follow and tweet @BlakeTOliver and @DavidLeary. Find us on Facebook and, if you like what you hear, please do us a favor and write a review on iTunes, or Podchaser. Interested in sponsoring the Cloud Accounting Podcast? For details, read the prospectus, and NOW, you can see our smiling faces on Instagram! You can now call us and leave a voicemail, maybe we'll play it on the show. DIAL (202) 695-1040


Need Accounting Conference Info? 

Check out our new website - accountingconferences.com


Limited edition shirts, stickers, and other necessities

TeePublic Store: http://cloudacctpod.link/merch


Subscribe

Classifieds

Future Firm: futurefirmaccelerate.com
GetW9: getw9.tax
Advisors for Change: https://www.advisorsforchange.com
Oh My Fraud: A True Crime Podcast for Accountants: ohmyfraud.com


Want to get the word out about your newsletter, webinar, party, Facebook group, podcast, e-book, job posting, or that fancy Excel macro you just created? Why not let the listeners of The Cloud Accounting Podcast know by running a classified ad? Hit the link below to get more info.

Go here to create your classified ad: https://cloudacctpod.link/RunClassifiedAd 

Full Transcript Available Upon Request - info@cloudaccountingpodcast.com

What is Cloud Accounting Podcast?

The Cloud Accounting Podcast is the #1 accounting and bookkeeping podcast in the world! Join Blake Oliver and David Leary at the intersection of accounting and technology for a weekly news roundup, plus interviews with industry leaders.

[00:00:00] Thank you to our sponsor, FreshBooks.

David Leary: Did you know that FreshBooks is the number two small business accounting software in America? Did you know that FreshBooks now does double-entry accounting? Did you know that FreshBooks offers accuracy, compliance tools, and reporting that you need to properly advise and work with your clients? Stay tuned to hear more from our sponsor FreshBooks later in the episode.

[00:00:22] Preview.

Blake: They're going expand parental leave from eight to 12 weeks and double the number of free visits with a mental health professional from six to 12. I would question why it's necessary for them to have so many free visits to mental health professionals. Maybe that's the work environment, that's the problem, right?

David: I feel I have personal things that I could kind of combine with that.

Blake: When you work at PwC, you really need to talk to a therapist at least once a month.

David Leary: Coming to you weekly from the OnPay recording studio, this is The Cloud Accounting Podcast.

[00:01:03] Introduction.

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

David: And I’m David Leary. Good morning, Blake. Let's start recording on Friday's turned into let's record on Saturday morning.

Blake: Well, I wasn't feeling so great yesterday, so I'm glad we are recording on Friday. I'm still a little stuffed up.

David: I'm feeling a little of that too. I think it's the... all the trees in Arizona are yellow. There's so much flowers flying around. It looks like snow.

Blake: I know.

David: You have to use your window wipers. It's crazy.

Blake: Oh yeah. It fills up your pool. Dunks it up.

David: So, it's allergy season. So, maybe people can detect that. Maybe you can edit it out later on if I sound a little wheezy. That’s all I kind of feel. Oh, what is going on this week?

[00:01:46] Intuit settles lawsuit.

Blake: The big news of the week is Intuit has settled the lawsuit about it’s free file where not... how do we say this?

David: Well, should I use Intuit's words from their website?

Blake: Yes, please.

David: Okay. So, this is from the official Intuit blog. Today, Intuit entered into an agreement with the 50 state attorney generals in district of Columbia that resolved these agencies' inquiry related to our advertising practices for free tax preparation. As part of the agreement, Intuit admitted no wrongdoing and agreed to pay 141 million to put this matter behind it and made certain commitments regarding its advertising practices. Intuit already adheres to most of these advertising practices and expects minimal impact to its business from implementing the remaining changes going forward.

Blake: Well, we can agree that $144 million is.... $141 million isn't much in the big scheme of things for Intuit when they make billions of dollars. So, the financial impact is very limited. It's 4.4 million customers, according to New York Times, that are going to get refunds. 4.4 million customers who were eligible for the IRS free file program, who were manoeuvred to use TurboTax is free edition in the tax years, 2016, through 2018, customers are going to be notified automatically and sent checks amounting to roughly $30 for each year that they were compelled to pay for TurboTax. And Texas has the most customers. Over 460,000 customers in Texas are going to get their refunds.

David: Yes. It's interesting because the fee is not much. In the grand scheme of Intuit, 141 million. But it's also a little like a free commercial because every attorney general in every state and every local newspaper all has the picture of their attorney general standing up there, "Look at this." They're all using as a grandstanding. In a picture of TurboTax, TurboTax is… It's like TurboTax got all this press because of this free press, like free, free for 160, 140 million. Was it 140, 1 60? I forgot already. $141 million. But yeah, every state attorney generals, we got, the city of Colorado, 2.5 million back. Every attorney general is putting their little flag in the ground like," Look what we did, look what I did." That's what happens when you're number one. You're going to have a target.

Blake: We should say that Intuit did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement. You said that already?

David: Yeah. And this definition of a simple return. And at this point, does anybody have a simple return? Is it even possible?

Blake: Well, not if you bought crypto.

David: If you brought crypto or took out a student loan. [crosstalk] that are out there.

Blake: Yeah. If you did anything.

[00:04:36] Nearly half of all tax returns can be automatically populated.

Blake: Well, there are actually a lot of people with simple returns. And there was a study that came out as reported in Accounting Today that said that nearly half of returns could be automatically populated. This is from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The researchers examined a random sample of 344,400 individual income tax returns for 2019 that was provided to them by the statistics of income division at the IRS. And they checked those returns and figured out that, 41% to 48% of returns could be automatically pre-populated and the tax liability calculated within a $100 tolerance threshold.

Now, as income goes up, accuracy goes down, those failures are driven by higher rates, vitamins deductions, which cause a divergence between pre-populated and actual returns. But the pre-population would be really good according to the researchers if taxpayers who are young, single, and lack dependence. But in the 52% to 59% of cases where the pre-population is not accurate, the issue could be fixed with just one change or one additional schedule.

So, this is support for the idea that the IRS could build its own simple free file program where they take the information that comes from the employers and from all these third parties that issue you forms, instead of those parties sending you the forms directly, and then you having to go in and fill out your tax return, they're already sending them to the IRS in most cases. Like the W2 information goes to the IRS. So, the IRS could just put that onto a form on their website. You log in, you look at it, you add anything that's missing and then file your taxes.

David: Yeah. And I mean, in a way, that's the simple return then. And so that's what that makes it very black and white. So, even the third-party services could just go retrieve that for you and be like, "Hey, here's your simple return?" And then ask more questions like, "Did you buy a house? Did you do this happen to you this year? " And if they say yes, well guess what? You're not a simple return anymore, now there's going to be a fee. Yeah, it could make it very black and white for everybody.

Blake: Yeah. This is the solution to the backlog. Part of the backlog in the IRS is you don't need so many people processing returns if the IRS is generating them for you and you just go ahead and accept and change it if you want to. I don't know. This is how it's done in other countries. In Australia, I believe you just log in and this is how it's done. The tax office, the tax administration, whatever it's called over there, fills out your return for you and you approve and submit.

David: This part of the American way. We decide how much taxes we get to pay.

Blake: No, it's not us. It's companies like Intuit and H&R Block and all these other tax preparation companies that lobby Congress not to allow this to happen. And the whole IRS free file program was created, I think, as a way to avoid having to do this. They created-

David: Yeah. I mean it delayed the solution for sure

Blake: They worked with Congress to create the IRS free file program which they would run and then they deliberately misled all these people into using paid products. It's a lobbying thing. And they make billions of dollars from this. It's totally a scam on the American taxpayer, the low-income folks.

David: But there's options. There's other options.

[00:08:09] Square announced earnings.

David: So, Square announced their earnings in... There's not a lot of stuff that's interesting there, but the part I found that was interesting their earnings, they launched their third tax filing in January because they bought the Credit Karma tax product from Intuit. They launched that. They had 1.5 million people do their taxes through Squares, now Block’s free taxes. And I think it's been on Cash App. It's been on Cash App.

Blake: Well, they can't call it Block. They can't call it Block because there was an injunction.

David: That is true. They can't call it Block. So, it's Cash App taxes, I guess. Through the Cash App. And basically, the filers, you get your refunds directly deposited right to the Cash App platform. And so, what they're finding though, and this is a quote-unquote, and this is from their CFO. "We found these filers were more engaged with the broader ecosystem." And this is that bigger play. And if you go their conversation with IRS, this holistic view, the person that files their taxes with Cash App probably buys Bitcoin with Cash App and probably also has a Square Cash App card and they'd spend that at Square merchants and it's this big closing.

And Intuit’s building the same thing. We talked about last week. They're tying their QuickBooks payroll back to their personal finance side and the bank account. And so, there is big... It's their big ecosystem players or the people that are on the match with. And then even thinking about this, we talked about this last week with firms. Everybody's trying to constantly chase new clients. But if you just build like an ecosystem to where your client just buys lots of services from you, you try a lot easier.

[00:09:43] H&R Block wins injunction against Block INC

Blake: So, you mentioned Block, Inc. So, I got to mention this injunction, H&R Block, one, an injunction against Jack Dorsey's Block, Inc. It used to be called Square. Jack Dorsey renamed it.

David: We predict this. We predicted this within its second of them changing the name.

Blake: It's crazy. It's crazy that they even thought they could like do this. I mean, because H&R Block has used the term, "Block," by itself to describe their products and services for years and years and years. And they've got all these trademarks on words that use the word "Block" or phrases that use the word "Block." Yeah. So, here's the injunction. Square, or Block Inc now, can't use its new name in conjunction with its Cash App taxes service and that app's green square logo. Block even made a logo that's like a Block and it's green similar to H&R Block. I wonder if they just like didn't care or they weren't even aware of it. I guess they'd probably just didn't care because they're so big. So, H&R Block-

David: I think they just don’t care, they just probably didn't care. And the same way, I remember when they first started in like the Visa CEOs and actually people were all upset. All the big banks, Wells Fargo, "Oh, that thing's going to cure this little gadget you stick on your phone." They used to really go after them hard and now they're a serious player. And now they're probably maybe too big for their own britches possibly and just ignored. To everybody else, it’s so obvious. And I think that's how you know you're going to lose a copyright thing when it's so obvious to everybody else like it's going to add trademark issue.

[00:11:23] Chuck Rettig fireside chat with Mark Friedlich.

Blake: While we're on the subject of taxes, Chuck Retting did a sit-down long fireside chat with Mark Friedlich, who's the Vice President of US Government Affairs at Wolters Kluwer. And there's just some interesting quotes in here from the commissioner who is retiring from his role or leaving his role at the end of the year. This is a good one. Chuck Retting said, "It is inexcusable that the greatest country on the planet has an underfunded agency that interacts with more Americans than anyone else. 96% of the gross revenue of the United States of America flows through the IFRS. In fiscal 2021, that number was 4.1 trillion. Making the IRS successful, insignificant part helps this country be successful. And those aren't talking points. That's from the heart and I believe that coming in, and I know that today."

And for those who don't know Chuck Retting, he's a practitioner. He is not a bureaucrat. He came in from outside to run the IRS. And I believe him when he says that. Everything that we have talked about, everything that we've learned over the last few years as we covered this IRS situation, it's so clear that they are horribly underfunded. And he said something else in the interview that was interesting. He said they've got this money now to hire 10,000 additional staff over the next year. And Congress gave them authority to skip the normal hiring process, which anyone has gone through that knows that it takes a long time to get hired by the federal government, like months and months, and months. And so, they can hire directly, they don't have to go through the traditional channels. But even then, with the funding, they have, they're only able to pay $15 to $17 per hour.

So, they're competing with Amazon. They're competing with Walmart and Target who have also announced aggressive hiring initiatives. So, like the funding they've got to increase the personnel to handle the backlog of paper returns is not...

David: They’re not going to fill positions because it’s not a funding.

Blake: Yeah, and will they be able to keep these people and stuff like that. And they still don't have the long-term funding that they need to increase and do the technological improvement. And we've also talked about, in my opinion, it's not fair to ask them to modernize the technology when they don't have the personnel. You have to build capacity first, so they're not overwhelmed and then you do the technological improvement. And the same with firms too.

[00:14:01] CAP will interview 2 IRS workers at Accounting Web.

David: I'm really excited So, next week we are going to the Accounting Web. Actually, by the time you listen to this, we may have already been at Accounting Web, but we're going to interview two people that work for the IFRS.

Blake: I'm excited. Who are we going to?

David: So, the two gentlemen, it’s Jim Robnett. He's the Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations at the IRS. And the other one is Darren Guillot, G-U-I-L-L-O-T or Guillot-

Blake: That is French.

David: He is the Commissioner of Small Business Self-employed Division and Collections at the IRS. And I think if I remember on his bio, he leads 10,000 employees at IRS. So, we'll dig in a little bit and understand kind of the pains maybe he's having as a manager of the staff. This is exciting because we talk about the IRS a lot, and it's nice to finally talk to somebody at the IRS.

Blake: So, somebody in criminal investigations and somebody in the small business self-employed division. So, we have to do a Twitter survey, David. You've got to ask Tax Twitter, what we should ask these guys, because this episode that we're recording now isn't going to come out until after we do the interview at Accounting Web.

David: Okay. I can just put it on Tax Twitter, just like what we should ask. Because I think if I remember, Darren's, he's been in the IRS for a very long time, if remember looking at his... He's had many positions at the IRS, but just really pull back the covers a little bit. And he's legit because he wears a bow tie in his photo in front of the flag.

Blake: Bow tie? Like Tucker Carlson.

David: He has his official like employment photo in front of the American flag. He's got a bow tie.

[00:15:35] Thank you to our sponsor, Canopy.

David Leary: This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by Canopy. Accounting practice management software should bring together all your firm's machine critical functions in one place. Client management, document management, workflow, time and billing and payments to keep your team organized. Canopy knows that not all firms are on the same practice management journey or timeline. So, Canopy let you build your practice management platform as you need it. You start with client management as your foundation, then you choose the modules that your firm needs. And since nobody likes paying for modules they don't use, they offer modular pricing as well.

Canopy integrates with QuickBooks Online, Xero, FreshBooks, CRMs, form builders, spreadsheets, calendars, email, and Zapier. They have a mobile app centralized file management, fillable PDFs, a client portal, task management, and the list goes on. With their integration with the IRS, you can easily retrieve all your client’s transcripts, notices, and child tax care credit payments without leaving Canopy. To try Canopy free for 30 days, head over to cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/canopy. That is cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/C-A-N-O- P- Y.

[00:16:48] American Express under investigation for points to cash scandal.

Blake: While we're talking about the IRS, I'm just going to get all my news there. We've got to follow up item. It was a while ago. Remember we talked about American Express and their sales pitch.

David: Yeah. Like you could pay a bill with your American Express. And because of that, American Express will give you a rebate.

Blake: Yes. Yeah. So, American Express got in trouble because a while ago, a few years ago, they started telling business owners that you could pay your bills with American Express and then transfer your points from your business card to your personal card and cash them out as cash and thus escape taxation on those rewards. And they were doing it so much caught the attention of... I don't remember who revealed it.

David: But I think they we're using verbiage like that. Like escape taxation, avoid taxes. They were proud out saying that straight black and white.

Blake: Yeah. Yeah. I don't know if it was a whistle-blower. I can't remember, but they got in trouble for that. And then a bunch of people got fired at AMEX for doing this. And AMEX said, “We're not going to do this anymore.” Well, the Domino's are still following. The IRS announced that it is investigating American Express for this questionable tax break that it pitched to clients. The civil investigation has been underway for a few months, according to people that spoke to The Wall Street Journal. And yeah, that's the news. It's just they're under investigation. So, unfortunately, maybe those clients have American Express, so these customers are going end up getting audited. Because if I were the IRS, I would want to go find some of this money. Some of these customer-

David: So, the IRS took somebody in their staff and said, "Hey, go track down all the people." I don't know, I still see the audits happening. I think you're being very helpful on this.

Blake: We'll see. I mean, you know what? We can talk to that guy-

David: Are you going to go after the AMEX people? We could specifically ask that.

Blake: Yeah. I want to know. How do they decide… With the limited resources they have, how do they decide who to go after in the criminal investigations unit? How do you know where to spend your time? I'd be curious to know how they make that decision.

[00:19:00] Marcum and Friedman plan merger.

David: I have news about two different firms. Do you want to talk about a billion dollars or free?

Blake: A billion dollars or free?

David: Yeah, I have two stories.

Blake: In what contest?

David: They're not related to each other at all. I just...

Blake: Okay. Well, I like money. I'm going to say a billion dollars.

David: Okay. So, let's talk about that one first. So, I don't know if you saw this. Marcum is going to merge with Friedman and form basically a billion-dollar annual revenue accounting firm with 3,400 associates. So, Marcum's number is 15 of top of 100 list. Friedman is number 33. So, if Friedman has 100 partners, 760 employees, and they're emerging into Marcum with their 370 partners and 2,500 employees. And I guess if you were number 101 on the accounting list, now, you're a top 100 firm. You've just moved up because it's starting to emerge this summer. So, this is going to close out on this summer. So that's another billion-dollar accounting firm here.

[00:19:54] Klean Books offers 30 days free bookkeeping.

David: And then on the free side, I just picked up the story. There's a bookkeeping service called Klean Books, Klean with a K. Klean Books. They offer bookkeeping services, right? And even then, they go on to say like, their primary focus is remote online bookkeeping. They also support personal tax returns, business formation, financial planning. It's really a holistic everything, accounts payable, payroll, et cetera. But what they're offering is a hundred percent free service for 30 days for new businesses. So, you come on, you don't even have to give them your credit card, they'll do your bookkeeping for 30 days.

Blake: It sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

David: I don't know. That's what caught my eye. I was like, "Has any of our listeners tried this before? I mean, it goes right back to free, free.

Blake: I mean, I suppose you could do it if you had like an understanding of what your turn is going to be in those first 30 days, but you better be really confident in your ability to retain and convert those folks.

David: Because then they do have monthly subscription after that. It starts at like 190 bucks a month or something and they have a secondary, slightly bigger plan. And they also, actually at 189-month plan, they include a personal tax return at no extra cost.

Blake: So, what's the firm called?

David: it's called Klean Books.

Blake: Klean Books. Is it like kleanbooks.com?

David: That's right. With a K. But anyways, the point is, I just saw that they're offering bookkeeping services for free. Free, free.

Blake: Free, free, free.

[00:21:18] PwC US announces a $2.4 billion employee investment.

Blake: Well, you mentioned Marcum and Friedman emerging to create a $1 billion mega-firm. But let's put this in context, everything after the Big Four is tiny compared to the Big Four. So, PwC revenue is-

David: So, you're saying they should not be using the word mega-firm like that?

Blake: Well, it's just funny because you always have to remember just how massive the Big Four are. So, when you type in PwC revenue into Google, you get 45 billion US dollars. So, think about that.

David: Yeah, it's 45 mega-firms.

Blake: So, why did I bring that up? It's because PwC US just announced a $2.4 billion employee investment. They do this every now and then. Get a big press release about how much money they're going to spend on their employees, and it goes into Accounting Today and they do some sort of interview, and blah, blah, blah. So, the announcement here is they have created something called, "My Plus," a new three-year $2.4 billion program to overhaul employees benefits and professional experience on Friday. I just want to read to you the press release language or the PR speak, "The move would prepare PwC for a future where our people make customer-like choices supported by consumer-grade technology to build a personalized experience at every stage of their career, with the ability to continually make adjustments as their lives evolve."

David: Is it half a sentence using AI in the blockchain and automation.

Blake: It gets better. Kathryn Kaminsky Vice-Chair and Trust Solutions, co-leader at PWC US, tells Accounting Today. "The pandemic has changed the wants and needs of our people. And we want to meet them where they are. We are reimagining a future that has personalization, that puts our people's individual needs and well-being front and centre by making the largest investment, a professional services firm to date has made in its people all supported by easy-to-use technology. They can expand how flexibly they work, picking when, where, and how they work. And our people can focus on development and up-skilling through opportunities to grow, practice, and learn new skills and work on different teams and assignments." Like what does that actually mean?

David: But some of the things they're doing is real. Some of the things they listed is real. There's more in mental health days. There's some benefits in there. It is just with all this crazy talk? I don't know.

Blake: Here's the four areas. Wellbeing. So, this is the option to choose in-person virtual and hybrid roles and/or expanded options for reduced schedules, paid leaves of absence and the potential to work from anywhere, even internationally.

David: So basically flexibility.

Blake: Yeah, flexible work arrangements. They're going to shut down the firm for two weeks every year, once in July, once in December. Then they're going to do some sort of benefits portal, it sounds like. I mean, they're going to expand parental leave from eight to 12 weeks and double the number of free visits with a mental health professional from six to 12. I would question why it's necessary for them to have so many free visits to mental health professionals. Maybe that's the work environment, that's the problem.

David: I feel I have personal things that I could kind of combine with that.

Blake: When you work at PwC, you really need to talk to a therapist at least once a month. They're going to have a simplified tech-enabled, personalized learning platform, whatever that means, for modern skillset building. And then they're going to help staff members pursue career paths that support "well-being development, sense of purpose ambitions, whether that's inside or outside our firm." Like what does any of this actually mean? And I think the cynical take is that it's a way to say that we're doing something without actually just raising compensation. Because notice how compensation is not in here at all.

David: Yeah. And that's part of the total compensation path. But you're not saying, "Hey, we're going to offer the ability to become partner faster or options or new ownership model or anything like that." The fun thing I just noticed, now that I'm going back, I pulled this article I was reading, is they're calling it "My Plus." Since everybody does that, everybody does. Now, it's Disney Plus, it's this plus, it's this plus, everything. We should have Cloud Accounting Podcast Plus, like some service, Earmark Plus. But all the big firms are doing this because remember, KPMG launched their accounting plus in Canada. So, we have KPMG Spark here in US, but then in Canada, they did their cloud accounting cast stacked and they are calling it Accounting Plus. Now, you have My Plus here at PwC. So, it's kind of interesting where this... The other two have got to use plus now on something.

Blake: So, the one thing I think they're doing right here is offering flexible work arrangements, remote work. I think you have to do that these days. But the thing they're missing is that the big problem with retention in accounting is too many hours for too little pay. It's very simple. And none of these talks about reduced actual work. The overwork in accounting is why people are avoiding the profession and it's why they're leaving the profession and you're not getting paid enough for it. It's kind of amazing to think that so many jobs now have overtime protections.

Over the last hundred years, we have changed work in this country so that many, many professionals, many jobs, except professionals actually, get overtime wage protections and stuff. But for some reason, accounting is excluded from that. We're professionals. So, we don't get the benefit of those Labour Laws. It's crazy when you think that most starting salaries for accountants can be like $40,000 to $60,000 a year, which is not that much. That doesn't make me think professional salary. So, I don't know what to say. Until we fix that problem, it's all just icing.

David: And they're trying. They're trying.

Blake: They're not really trying. They don't want to raise the wages. That's what they're doing. Everything they can not to raise the wages.

David: But they're going to raise $160 million in salaries.

Blake: Right. But you spread that over 40,000 people and it's not that meaningful a difference. That's just like keeping up with inflation. And that's the same thing KPMG did, they made this big announcement and then we calculated it. And I'm like, well, it's not keeping up with inflation. And that's the problem with accounting. It's not that wages have dropped, it's just they've stagnated. And then you take into account inflation and the real purchasing power of a staff accountant has dropped dramatically over the last 10 years, 20 years.

[00:28:05] BKD merges with DHG to become FORVIS.

Blake: So, another big merger happened recently. It was BKD merging with DHG. And instead of becoming BKDHG, they wisely decided to rebrand. But I'm not totally sure if they chose the right name. So, the name they went with is FORVIS, F-O-R-V-I-S. A combination of the words forward and vision. And Going Concern had a great take on this.

David: FORVIS.

Blake: FORVIS. Yes. Which kind of makes me think of a robot butler.

David: FORVIS. Bring me my coffee.

Blake: Yeah. Bring me my coffee.

David: FORVIS. Play The Cloud Accounting Podcast.

Blake: Yeah. Or MARVIS, the name MARVIS.

David: Yeah. MARVIS. [crosstalk].

Blake: It sounds like a little bit... Yeah. But anyway, Jason Bramwell over at Going Concern had a few ideas for alternative names for the next merger of a big firm that doesn't have a good name itself. Synerage, a combination of synergy and leverage. Enagile, a combination of engaged and agile. Innoruptor, innovative and disruptor. Pivoptimize, pivot and optimize. Scaledigm, scalable and paradigm. Oh, that would be paradigm, Scaledigm. And then Holtuitive, holistic and intuitive. So, I think Synerage is actually... it might be better than FORVIS.

David: Well, have you seen all the memes going around? Elon Musk bought blah, blah, blah. Well, I saw one that is said Elon Musk bought BDO and RSM, and they're going to combine the name to BDSM.

Blake: BDSM? Yeah.

David: Yeah. That was pretty funny.

[00:29:54] Thank you to our sponsor, FreshBooks.

David: This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by FreshBooks. For those of you that know Twyla Verhelst from her video, "Per Day Experiment" on Twitter, you remember the one where she encouraged hundreds of accountants and bookkeepers to get out of their shells and post videos on social media. If you do remember, you'll probably agree when I say Twyla is about community building. Now, Twyla and our team are building FreshBooks' exclusive online accounting partner community. Be it sharing experiences, venting with peers, collaborating, ideating, supporting, and elevating others, I like to define community as conversation. And nothing beats a face-to-face conversation at a conference.

In fact, Twyla is going to be an AICPA Engage 2022. And if you find her and have a conversation and tell her what community means to you, she'll give you a sweet FreshBooks hoodie, and all toss in The Cloud Accounting Podcast shirt. If you want to learn more about the benefits of working better together with FreshBooks, head over to cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/freshbooks. That is cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/F-R-E -S- H -B- O- O- K -S. FreshBooks, Work Better Together.

[00:31:11] KPMG will discipline only 12 out of the 488 employees involved in cheating scandal.

Blake: More Big Four news. I'm just going to get this stuff off my chest now. Remember the KPMG cheating scandal where they were cheating on their ethics exams?

David: Yes. Yes, yes.

Blake: Yeah. For five years, KPMG partners and staff around the world, cheating on courses that covered independence, audit, and accounting roles until early 2020. It involved 18 partners and more than 1,100 staff at the firm. And the PCOB issued a report in September and fined $450,000 over the behaviour. I guess this was in Australia. I don't know if it was worldwide.

David: Yeah, I think it was in Australia.

Blake: Yeah. Well, the Chartered Accountants ANZ group has ruled that only 12 of the 422 members from KPMG who took part in the systemic exam cheating will be put through the professional bodies' individual disciplinary process. Only 12 out of 422 cheaters are going to get disciplined.

David: Because the other ones were just like, "Oh, they started it, so we just went along with it." Which is almost the worst kind of guilt. Like empathy. They cheated first, so I guess they'll pay for us.

Blake: I mean, ethics are core to the audit profession, and we're only going to discipline 12 out of the 488? It's 2.5%?

David: Yeah.

Blake: You wonder why people have lost faith in audits, why audits have lost value.

David: Everybody’s about the brand. CPA brand.

Blake: You can just go shop for an audit these days just like shop around for an audit, just get the audit. You can't get the audit opinion from one firm, go get it from another firm. Every audit opinion is the same now. Investors don't care. Not like they used to; I don't think.

David: So, you want to stay on top of a hundred news? Since we're-

Blake: Yeah. Sure

[00:32:58] Update on the Metaverse and virtual land purchase by Prager Metis.

David: All right. So, remember that firm, Prager Metis? They bought their building in the Metaverse.

Blake: Yes. And they did a big press announcement. And they spent like tens to thousands of dollars.

David: The press tour is still going on. So, Jerry Eitel, E-I-T-E-L, he is The Chief Metaverse officer at top a hundred firm Prager Metis. He joined the Accounting Today Podcast and talked about the Metaverse and them doing this. And we'll put a link in the show notes. Go listen to this podcast. Because the whole time I was listening to him, I was like, there is no way the partners were on board on this. It comes off as a little crazy.

Jerry: it's like any other real estate. So, we had to go buy the land. So, to buy the land, remember, I'm novice. So, I go to Coinbase, I transfer to... You have to buy the currency to buy the land, and then you have to hire kind of a designer to design the building on the land. But the land itself does have value.

Blake: I got to go listen to this now.

David: He's just so like... Well, of course, just like real land, people are going to develop the land, and somebody is going to move in next to you, then your house is going to be worth more.

Jerry: So, you could buy a lot of land and you could develop some of that land and that's somebody who moves next to you. And all of a sudden, the value of your land can go up. So, there is an investment opportunity in this land.

David: It's a little bat shit crazy from a partner at a firm. In my theory, you would just have some junior person go do this. Like, "Hey, here's some money, go play around in this universe and see what happens." But this is like a partner. I don't know. He did say that he had to buy the land with his own money first.

Jerry: Remember, as crazy as it sounds, I personally bought the land that absolute land design. I personally went to my wallet; I purchased the land. So, I mean, that's how crazy this thing is.

David: So, I don't know if he sold it back or just this is just experiment of his own.

Blake: He went, and he did this and then he got the firm to reimburse him for it?

David: That's not really clear on that either, but I just... It's worth listening to because it's just like... The whole time I'm listening to it, I'm like, "How is this possible? Who is on board on this?" It does seem very far-fetched in it. Crazy.

Blake: So, I have opinions on the metaverse David. As somebody who's experiencing it firsthand because my son is obsessed with Roblox right now. So, Roblox is a company that makes a video game where you can make... it's like a platform for video games. Think of Minecraft at the 3D world kind of low-res graphics. It really reminds me of like the games that I used to play as a kid. It's not super sophisticated graphics, but it's a platform. And anyone can go and make a game in Roblox using their platform and it's a 3D world. And so, people have built-

David: Yeah. It kind of levelled up because the beauty of Minecraft is kids could get in there and do anything they wanted.

Blake: They could build anything they want in their world.

David: And then Roblox took it to that next level where you almost have like a character avatar that can jump in other people's games and its sub-worlds within the worlds.

Blake: And it's got its own programming language. Not only can build a world, but you can design games inside of it. So, like for instance, you can play a hospital. And you can have different roles. Like one person can be the patient, one person could be the doctor. Think about how when you were a kid, you played Pretend. Well, now these kids can play Pretend in the metaverse. And this is attracting kids from 7 to 14. This is that-

David: Yeah, it's a platform people pay money, the developers make money.

Blake: Oh, yeah. You can make a lot of money. If you make a good game, people will pay to access it or pay for in-app purchases. And that's how they make all their money, is the kids just blowing up your credit card buying stupid things in the Metaverse. But anyway, the reason this ties into the metaverse is because I think the Metaverse will be big, virtual reality will be big because the kids now are getting conditioned to play in it.

And so, in a way that we never were, they're going to be very comfortable in virtual environments. And so like, long-term, I'm very bullish on this. Now, VR equipment has to get a lot better before it becomes comfortable. Right now, if you buy an Oculus headset, which I bought to try it out, it's very heavy, you can only wear it for a short amount of time. The resolution is low. You are looking through goggles. So, it's like looking through swim goggles at everything. And so, it's not the ideal experience. But long-term, that's all going to get fixed. They're going to figure out how to make these things like glasses that you wear, like normal glasses eventually. And a bridge to that be augmented reality.

[00:37:49] Future of augmented reality and VR with remote work.

Blake: And there was a story in the Wall Street Journal about a company that's been around for a while called Magic Leap. Do you remember Magic Leap?

David: Magic Leap? Let me google this.

Blake: Yeah. So, they were one of these hot, hot start-ups that was making, I think it was like a bar that you would put in front of your screen on your desk, and you could control the screen with your hands. And that never went anywhere. It didn't really work. But they had a lot of investment and they kept building augmented reality-type products. And they've got one right now that is a headset. It's like glasses that you wear, it doesn't block out the rest of the world, but it allows developers to layer on top of what you see in virtual reality.

So, it's a combination of your real reality and virtual reality, and that's called augmented reality. And if you ever played Pokémon Go, that's augmented reality where you're seeing the real world through your phone, and then there's a game going on top of your real world. And this is something that could end up being big because imagine this solves a lot of the remote work issues. Because instead of going on a Zoom call, I could put on my augmented reality glasses which aren't big and bulky at some point. And I could sit across the table from you. So, I'm sitting in my own office and there's a hologram of you right there across the table. And we can actually-

David: You see. This is where I see this whole work thing wrong. I think the reason people like working from home is, so they don't have to fucking see their co-workers. They don't have to go to meetings. I don't think people actually want this. I think they would rather go to the office and do this face to face than try to put on some technology because the joy of working from home is like, "Yeah, I got this freedom. I don't have to interact."

Blake: Well, the hassle, but that's actually... I've got some data here.

David: But these look more like steampunk-style goggles. I'm looking at these and they're a bunch of cameras on them. They're definitely big.

Blake: Yeah. I mean, they're big and bulky and you got to wear the computer on your arm. Right now, the applications are medical if you're a robotic surgeon, for instance. Which they're already using screens to do surgery with robotic instruments, this way they can wear the glasses and they could see it in 3D. So, you could see like-

David: Yeah. I could see where this makes sense. Manufacturing, you're assembling something, and you don't have to turn your head to look up the instructions. You're putting together your IKEA desk and the instructions are right there as you're just putting in the screw.

Blake: Or imagine in accounting, let's say you're doing an inventory audit and you put on these augmented reality glasses, and you walk around the warehouse, and you can see what's inside of each box or you can... It pulls from the ERP system. You just look at a box and it scans the barcode, and it tells you what's in there or what should be in there. Stuff like that is really. Or actually, my ideal situation is you wear the augmented reality glasses and then you're at a conference and it scans people's faces and tells you their name.

David: This is where we're at. We're right after that.

Blake: Yeah, I mean, I would pay for that. Just that. Just that alone. Remind me.

David: Get on eBay and order yourself some of those Google glasses, and you can wear those at a conference.

Blake: Yeah, that's right. I don't know if they do that yet. They should.

David: I think it does. That was its only use case.

Blake: So, you're right. Well, no, you're wrong. You're wrong about-

David: Okay. You said you have data. You said you have data.

Blake: Okay. Well, so younger workers, in particular, are losing out by not going to the office, business experts say. This is a CNBC article that was like back in January. When people were still more concerned about remote work because of the pandemic. It's full of quotes from people who are like, "We have to go back to the office," like AOL CEO, Tim Armstrong. He said, "If I had one piece of advice for younger people in their thirties, "Go back to work. Even if your company doesn't let you come back, create your own working environment, and invite some people over.'' And JP Morgan, Chase CEO, Jamie Diamond said that working remotely "Does not work for young people who are "those who want to hustle." And I get it. I get it because there are things that are hard to learn remotely.

But I think those can eventually be overcome. And that's what the augmented reality could do is instead of having to drive to the office, you could be there in a place that feels like you're with other people, even if you're at home. The best of both worlds. And here's the stat. So, PwC did a study of 1200 US workers at the start of 2021 and found that 34% of respondents with less than five years of work experience were more likely to feel less productive while working remotely compared to 23% of all survey respondents. So, if you're younger, you're a lot more likely to feel less productive, which makes sense because-

David: Feel less productive, but it could be because you've never experienced the office where you're like, "I'm zero productive in the office and I'm more productive at home."

Blake: Now, what's funny is if you-

David: What are they basing against? Just the feeling.

Blake: It's their feeling. And it's funny because it's how they feel about it. They feel less productive. A third of young workers feel less productive, but what's funny is if you invert that, that means that two-thirds of young workers feel more productive working from home than in the office.

David: Or it could just be they had no opinion either.

Blake: Yeah. Now, a different poll of more than 500 college students and recent grads from July, from Generations Lab. They track youth trends. They found that 40% of college students and recent grads prefer completely in-person work 40%. So, there is a big chunk that does want to be in-person. And here's the important stat. In the same poll, 74%, three-fourths, three-quarters of respondents said they miss having an office community while working remotely while others listed mentoring and in-person manager feedback as unique benefits of going into the office.

So, these are the things that we have to overcome, especially when it comes to new employees, younger employees when it comes to working remotely. And that's why when I talk to firms, a lot of the ones that are having success working remotely, they don't have entry-level staff, they only hire experienced staff because those are the people who have learned what they needed to learn in the office, and now they can go remote.

David: They don't need that guidance.

Blake: So, that might be a way to do this is have an office. And that's where you train your younger people. And then once you've been in there for a certain amount of time, you can earn remote work. But the key is you got to keep paying them their market rate. You can't do this one law firm did, and they got a headline out of it. This law firm in the UK said that their employees can work from home full time, but on the condition that they take a 20% pay cut. It's Stephenson Harwood in London. They offered its employees a hybrid model also, but if you want to go fully remote, you've got to take a 20% pay cut. I mean, I think that's just-

David: I think that's insane. Because in theory, you're going to save probably not having to rent as big of an office. I think that that game is kind of ridiculous. And all the big tech companies try to pull it here early on in the pandemic.

Blake: But I haven't heard anything about that recently. So, I wonder if they've pulled back from that.

David: Yeah. Because people are just quitting going into their jobs. You can't afford to lose any bodies.

[00:45:20] Thank you to our sponsor, Relay.

David: This episode of The Cloud Accounting Podcast is sponsored by Relay Financial. For those listeners that haven't been following along with my drama caused by PNC when they purchased BB VA and botch the migration, to quickly summarize, PNC bank feeds won't work with QuickBooks Online, the website had all my old BBV transactions just listed as debits and credits with no vendors or payees. And to top it all off, the June bank statement was just missing. Like June never happened. Let's just say my 2021 books were a mess. So, for 2022, I made the commitment to stop using PNC and switch everything to Relay.

Relay is a no-fee online banking platform built for you and your small business clients. Relay understands and solves all the things we as accountants and bookkeepers care about, security, bank feeds, automation, reconciliation. I invited both my interns to my Relay account, they created their own user ideas and passwords, and within minutes, they were using Relay to create virtual debit cards, physical debit cards, download statements, and reconciling. Now, the bank feeds and my QuickBooks Online are reliable and my 2022 books are in order. To stop fighting with an unreliable bank that doesn't care about you or your small business clients, head over to cloudaccountingpodcast.promo/relay. That is cloud accountingpodcast.promo/R-E-L-A-Y.

[00:46:38] Lord Sugar's take on remote work.

Blake: So, here's another Going Concern article. I love this stuff. They found a tweet. The headline of the Going Concern article is, back in my day, accountants had to walk uphill both ways in the hot sun to get to work, says a crotchety old British guy. And it's just basically a repost of a tweet from a Twitter user named Lord Sugar. Is that really his name? I mean, he's in the UK. Is he actually-

David: Could be, could be.

Blake: He's the chairman of the Arms Hold Group.

David: Oh, wait, hold on a second.

Blake: So, Lord sugar.

David: This guy wasn't Cooper's connect maybe?

Blake: Really?

David: Is it Alan Sugar?

Blake: Alan Sugar. Yeah.

David: Yeah. Yeah. He's-

Blake: Do you think his girlfriends call him sugar daddy?

David: He's the apprentice guy. He's like the Trump of the UK.

Blake: Oh, really?

David: Yeah. He helps Cooper connect in the UK. Yeah. He is the real deal.

Blake: Okay. So, in response to a Telegraph post about how PwC told its accountants that they can take Friday afternoons off also, Lord Sugar wrote, "This is a bloody joke. The lazy gets make me sick. Call me old-fashioned, but all this work-from-home BS is a total joke. There is no way people work as hard or productive as when they had to turn up at a work location. The pandemic has had long-lasting negative effect." But all the evidence to the contrary, all the evidence is to the contrary that people are more productive when they work from home. And I feel like there's probably a lot of partners at firms that are older, that just cannot handle it. They cannot get even all the evidence. They can't do it.

[00:48:28] Bad Vegan.

David: I don't know. I'm starting to get old. There's a thing everybody should watch on Netflix. So, Chris Masti, his website is-

Blake: I bought Netflix shares, so, I want everybody to watch Netflix. So, yes, I like this story.

David: Watch the shows. So, he wrote a blog post about how good accountant would have saved bad vegan, Sarma Melmgailis, maybe it's her last name. Her first name is Sarma to make it easy.

Blake: I have no idea what you were saying. That was all nonsense to me.

David: M-E-L-N-G-A-I -L-I -S. Anyways, long story short, I was never going to watch this documentary on Netflix. But Chris wrote a blog post about how, if she would have had an accountant, all this fraud, none of this would've happened.

Blake: Wait, what is this documentary?

David: The documentary is a four-part series. She had the hottest vegan restaurant in New York City. All the celebrities went there. It's like a lasagne, which is cucumbers, sliced between slices of tomato. You know what I mean? All vegetarians. I think it was bringing in $7 million a year in revenue. She was this darling. She met a guy on Twitter and start playing Words with Friends with them, minds up marrying this guy. And she starts wiring him money.

Blake: Wiring him money.

David: My money. And to the tune by the time, it's all said and done, it's pushing almost six and a half million dollars that they've... And then she brought the money and then she can't make payroll. She goes to investors and gets some more money. And no accountant ever hit the brakes on this. Where were the accountants in this story? And he just brings this up. They're not in the credits. They're not anywhere in the story. It is worth watching this.

Blake: So, she had a business, a successful vegan restaurant. She meets a guy on Words with Friends. Who's a scammer.

David: He's a habitual gambler, essentially. Essentially [crosstalk]-

Blake: Okay. She falls in love with him and starts sending him money and it gets out of control. And she's using company funds?

David: Well, yeah, so she would take money out of the company and then send. Then it just-

Blake: How long did it go on for? Does it say?

David: Six years maybe.

Blake: Six years? And were they audited? Maybe they weren't audited.

David: Well, that's what doesn't make it. Yeah. The way that they'd take control and new investors, it closed down. And then they got new investors to reopen the restaurant. The police didn't get paid. It's got everything you want. How did he had to describe it in the first sentence here? He said it checks all the boxes, cult of personality, fraud, gambling, angels, Domino's pizza, and accounting.

Blake: Well, you wonder where the accountants who were in the business or advising the business, where were they in all of this?

David: That make an in-house bookkeeper, it looks like. But it's worth watching. You can knock it out in one night. It's four episodes. I think I even tweeted while I was watching. I was like, here's a pro tip. Never wire transfer money to anybody. Nothing good ever comes out of this. You will be on a documentary if you start wearing transferring money to people.

Blake: Well, hey, I think we've gotten to the-

David: Ad portion.

Blake: Well, I think it's too late for that. We'll have to save it.

David: More random.

[00:51:41] Domino's employee busted for insider trading.

Blake: I got random stuff. Here's the headline. Pizza accountant to pay $2 million for insider trading. A former accountant at pizza giant Domino's pizza agreed to pay almost $2 million to settle allegations of insider trading at the securities and exchange commission, or from the securities and exchange commission. Between 2015 to 2020, Bernard L. Compton traded ahead of a dozen Domino's earnings announcements on confidential information he acquired while working as an accountant in the company's corporate office. He tried to hide it by spreading the trades across a number of different brokerage accounts that belonged to himself and various members of his family. And he made almost a million dollars doing it. And I guess, word of warning to folks who are thinking about doing insider trading, the SEC knows how to find this stuff because they use analytical software to find suspicious trades and then trace them back to the owners. And even if you use friends and family, they will find you.

David: Yeah, because there's historical volume and unless there's a reason. Yeah. It's thing that happens with gambling. They can spot [crosstalk] a bunch of bets.

Blake: Casinos catch cheaters. Yeah, exactly. So, interestingly, Compton, he doesn't have to admit or deny the allegations. He's not admitting guilt. He just has to pay $1.9 million, and he agreed not to practice before the SEC has an accountant or participate in the financial reporting or auditing of public companies. But he's not going to jail. Why don't we send people to jail for insider trading? I mean, this seems like a slam dunk case.

David: We did. We sent Martha Stewart barely $1,800.

Blake: We're not sending the pizza accountant.

David: Yeah.

Blake: What the heck?

David: Martha Stewart went away for what? 1800 bucks, 2400 bucks.

Blake: I mean, I guess his life is ruined in some sense, and that he can't practice. I mean, he can't work for a public company anymore, and he's going to owe all this money, but still, it seems kind of like he got away. I mean, the penalty doesn't seem it is going to discourage other insider traders. You know what I mean?

[00:54:00] The SEC doesn't really care about fraud.

David: Yeah, because you kind of get off of the slap on the wrist and then you go on the talk circuit, and you make hundreds of thousand dollars speaking at accounting conferences about how you committed crimes.

Blake: I mean, this is the problem too. I was listening to, "Oh My Fraud," and Francine McKenna... One of the latest episodes of Oh My Fraud is an interview with Francine McKenna who follows the SEC and public auditors and all this stuff. And one of her big points was that the SEC doesn't really do a great job of enforcing the rules, and bad actors, it's very easy for them to come back and start new businesses, and commit fraud, and do it over and over and over again. Because the penalties are not that bad. So, you do it once, you get caught, now you go back, and you try not to get caught the next time.

It's nuts. And she had a really good point in an article in... I forget where it was, but I was reading it about Elon Musk. She basically said, "Elon Musk should never have been allowed to buy Twitter because the SEC should have stopped him a long time ago when he tweeted about [crosstalk] at 420. Because that was a clear violation. And they could have, if they'd want it to, they could have stopped him from being the director of a public company or CEO. They could have done it. And they didn't have the guts to do it. And now he's buying Twitter. And I think it's just a giant F-you to the SEC. That's what he's doing.

David: That's the bigger play, but we'll see.

[00:55:34] Stripe is entering bank feeds.

David: Speaking of Twitter drama, I'm going to look more into this article for next week, but Stripe is getting into the bank feeds game. They're going to partner with Finicity.

Blake: I don't know.

David: Finicity, who actually recently announced they're partnering with Intuit on some of their bank feeds stuff. And Plaids lost their mind. Because Plaids, like you, did due diligence with us four or five years ago and blah, blah, blah. It's a little bit of drama involved and there's a little bit of Twitter spat about this. But it's very obviously Stripe. This makes sense. And Plaids getting into payments on the other side. Not one person is going to dominate this, but I need to digest it more and figure out where it's going to affect what we care about, which is bank feed data. Getting into the accounting systems and where that falls through. The good thing is it could make it cheaper for third-party developers to get data.

[00:56:29] RPA study pits human vs. machine.

Blake: Well, I've got one last story. It's a really neat stat. We've heard a lot about robotic process automation in recent years and just how game-changing it is for big businesses. And UiPath, I mean, they were doing fantastic until recently. And then their stock price just cratered. They're down.

David: I think I know the article you're talking about. I think I saw that. But yeah.

Blake: They're down 75% over the past year. But it was really, really hot for a long time, but I feel like it's going to come back. Are you talking about this experiment that finds RPA?

David: Yes.

Blake: So, there's an experiment, tell me what you think about this, that finds that RPA is 745% faster than manual processes. So, they've actually quantified this. It's an Indonesian study from the... I'm not going to try to pronounce the university. It's an Indonesian study that used UiPath software, specifically a UiPath tool-

David: UiPath funded the whole thing.

Blake: They use UiPath studio to develop a set of RPA solutions with drag and drop features. So, they built eight robots developed to process invoices for a hypothetical telecommunications company based on a major provider in that country. They didn't pitted these solutions against humans to see who could process an invoice the fastest from the moment the vendor sends the payment application to when they ultimately receive payments and all the steps in between. So, specific tasks. Record a payable, extract invoice data, and store it in a payables table, send a rejection notification based on an incomplete document, make the journal entry, send an email to the tax department, prepare a transfer letter, create a postponed payment report, print a payment receipt, and prepare the cast realization report.

And humans, to do all that, took two minutes and 41 seconds, which is actually like really fast if you think about it. I mean, if it's a process though that you've done over and over and over again, I could see how you could do it in two minutes and 41 seconds, I suppose. By contrast, the robots did it in 19 seconds, 745% faster, seven times faster. And the RPA produced no errors versus occasional errors from the humans. So, I thought that was interesting. It's not just talk. Like you said, I wonder who funded the study, but it's unbelievable.

David: No, I mean, there's no doubt. Once it is automated, it can save time. There's no argument on this whatsoever. It's interesting. That was why UiPath, if this is the data they have, in theory, their customers are getting those types of results that you probably could raise the prices on their software and their stock wouldn't be down. It makes you kind of wonder what's going on there. Why are they not performing from a financial standpoint if they're truly saving all these enterprises all this time?

Blake: Yeah, I really wonder.

David: If you went to any enterprise and say, "I'm going to make you 700% more efficient," you probably have some elbow room to charge a lot of money for that skillset. So, it kind of makes you wonder is this one of those, all the enterprises went out and bought it, we're going to automate and again, just like everything else in the real world, implementation, the time, the training, getting your staff buy-in and rolling this out is much tougher and then people are like, "Maybe I don't want to renew my contract with UiPath because we haven't rolled it out yet."

Blake: Maybe that's it. And it requires a very specific type of task to automate these really manual tasks where... The better situation actually versus RPA is to just replace all these old systems with one that automates it internal. So, RPA is a stopgap. It's a way to connect disparate systems that used to require people to manually move data around and process data. So, that's the question is, long-term, is RPA really going to be around as a big deal if we all switched to cloud-based tools where the developers just build in the automation. But I feel like for big businesses, they've got a lot of systems. It's sort of like companies for a long time. They would just build on top of the existing infrastructure because it was too hard to rip it out. That's why I still have copper wires going into my house. I was looking at the other day, the side, I'm like, what is this box on the side of my house?

David: Phone wires.

Blake: I opened it up and it's all is copper. Somebody must have had like eight phone lines or something at some point. It's like all these two fax machines. And we relied on that infrastructure all the way through the era of DSL. I mean, it must've been like what, 80 years?

David: Yeah.

Blake: Well, that's all I've got this week, David.

David: Yeah, I have some about KPMG, but we can push it out to next week. I don't think there's any time left.

Blake: Save it for later.

David: That means we're going to start on Big Firms.

[01:01:18] Thank you for listening, heading to Accounting Web in San Diego.

Blake: So, this week, this coming week, we are headed to Accounting Web in San Diego. Accounting Web Live. We're doing those interviews.

David: I'll see you Monday night

Blake: I'll see you Monday. And it's going to be really fun to see everybody and-

David: On the island there in San Diego, which should be fun. It's Accounting Web first conference, so, that should be interesting to see how that goes. Yeah. I need to start booking travel for these other ones. So, come see us. Go to Accounting Web, go to Scaling New Heights, go to ACPA Engage. See us at Xero Con, see us at QuickBooks Connect, and maybe someplace else.

Blake: We'll be in all those, for sure.

David: We'll be around. All right.

Blake: And if you want to catch me online, I'm at Blake T. Oliver. You can send me an email at blake@blakeoliver.com. And David, how about you?

David: I'm just in all the socials @davidleary.

Blake: Send us your voicemails if you want to like make a voice memo.

David: Oh, that's it. I think you had two voicemails. Did we not play them?

Blake: So, I had two listener emails and I forgot about them. So, we will get to those next week. And send me your other messages about anything we talk about on this show. I will talk about it on the air. Just be sure to let me know if you want to stay anonymous. Otherwise, I'll use your first name. I'm media now, you got to understand that.

David: Got to protect the sources.

Blake: I got to protect my sources. All right, David, have a great one. See you soon.

David: Awesome. All right. Goodbye. Time for the classifieds.

[01:02:42] Future Firm.

David: If you're looking to quickly grow a scalable, systematic seven-figure accounting firm without having to work 50-plus hours per week, check out Ryan Lazanis' online coaching membership, Future Firms Accelerate. Sign around Ryan's experience taking his cloud from scratch to sale so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You'll get online learning and topics that help you automate and systemize all aspects of your firm. You'll get coaching when you need help with implementation. And you'll also join a collaborative community of hundreds of other forward-thinking firm owners. For more details, head over to wwwfuturefirmaccelerate.com.

[01:03:18] Get W9.

David: Tired of clients not remembering to Get W9? Get W9 automates and streamlines, the collection and storage of W9. Get W9 has a QBO integration, and they have a partner program that pays 25% commissions. Get W9 plans start at only $19 a year. Visit getw9.tax today to get started, that is G-E-TW9.tax. Are you looking for a dream job? We have the job for you. Advisors for change delivers cloud accounting systems to small and medium non-profit organizations. Join our team of friendly and collaborative non-profit accounting professionals while working from home. Our systems associate will join our experienced systems manager to implement and support cloud accounting systems such as QBO, bill.com, DV, Sasson, and others. To learn more, head to our website at advisorsforchange.com/join-our-team. That's advisorsforchange.com/join-our-team. You will find a link to the full position description on Indeed.

[01:04:19] Oh My Fraud: A True Crime Podcast for Accountants.

Blake: Hey, podcast listeners. It's Blake, and I wanted to let you know about a new show I'm working on with CPA/comedian, Greg Kyte, and blogger/former CPA, Caleb Newquist. It's called, Oh My Fraud, and it's a podcast all about financial crimes. That's right, a true-crime podcast for accountants by accountants. Caleb and Greg are going to come together every couple of weeks to unpack their favourite frauds and explore the circumstances, psychology, and interpersonal dynamics involved. They also fully indulge in victim-blaming the defrauded widows, orphans, infirm, and feebleminded because who can resist? If you fancy yourself a trusted advisor or prefer your true crime with spreadsheets instead of corpses, listen to this show to learn what to watch out for, and to keep your clients, your firm, and even yourself safe. To subscribe, go to, ohmyfraud.com, or search "Oh My Fraud" on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

[01:05:17] How to advertise in these classifieds.

David: Want to get the word out about your newsletter, webinar, party, Facebook group, podcast, e-book, job posting, or that fancy Excel macro you just created? Why not let the listeners of The Cloud Accounting Podcast know by running a classified ad? Hit the show notes for the link to get more info.