Saturday, November 8, 2014


I am SO EXCITED to finally be getting this blog post together! The QuickBooks Connect Hackathon was the highlight of the event for me. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of the ideas that the developers came up with, and it was great to be able to offer some extended feedback to those who I was able to meet up with later in the event. I was sooo tired afterwards, but when I got back to my room to lay down I was suddenly wide awake trying to process all of the information that I has just taken in! I literally had dreams about apps that night.... which is when I realized I may have an accounting technology addiction (that may be why I had to take a break before diving back in to write this!).

I have notes from the Hackathon and wanted to share my thoughts about some of the contestants. I have more to say about some than others, but everything had potential in its own right. Let's also remember that each team only had 3 minutes to present and up to 2 minutes for judges questions, so there could be much more detail about these apps that I know nothing about.

This app is for pre-paid tabs with gift marketing. I LOVED IT. It enables shop owners to offer rewards to frequent customers as well as letting customers pre-pay for their tabs from their phones. SUPER COOL. My only concerns were the security of someone else not being able to use your tab, along with how that information is going to sync into the accounting platform. You would have to have the tabs sync in as a liability (like a gift card) and have the sales deplete from that. For this to be super successful I would recommend adding it on to a POS that syncs up with QB by posting a daily sales summary via sales receipt.

Pay Deal
Rewards/loyalty program app with a cool beacon thingy for customers to check in via Bluetooth on their phones. Allows for customer activity monitoring and discount/rewards offers to be sent out via mobile device. Unique part was the beacon and monitoring.

Linqto ProAdvice
This one was an emergency button from your phone that hooks you up with a ProAdvisor. I had many thoughts and ideas about this... My first thought was any PA who can answer a Facetime call at will was probably not busy for a reason... and my second thought was this would be so badass if it were specific to me and all of my clients could download it! In my opinion, this whole concept would be way more successful if it were targeted toward contacting a single ProAdvisor, then we as PA's could have our clients download the apps and they would connect to us from the button. It could even have availability settings for call/text/email. Run with that and let me know how it goes!

MonthEnd Apps
This was an awesome tool to consolidate QBO company data for reporting. Awesome for creating personal financial statements or consolidated reports for clients who own multiple companies. They said it would pull from different international versions of QBO as well, it would be cool if it synced up DT and imported data too.

Tree Ledger
Hole, Ee. Crap. This thing was cray cray! I had data overload. It looked like a REALLY awesome way to pull and manipulate data. I was disappointed that we only had 3 minutes for this one, I probably could have looked at it for an hour. The 'judge' in me was asking what does this do that I cannot already do in Excel? It was much better looking than Excel, but realistically I wasn't sure if it was just taking the spreadsheet and making it prettier and easier to manipulate.

OpStarts / Big2Small
Looked like a comparable solution to Finagraph, Essential CFO, etc. My notes say 'projections and forecasting'... The biggest problem I see with SMB's is lack of cash flow forecasting and projections. OpStarts should take the best of LivePlan and Finagraph to make an awesome white label solution that we as accountants can roll out to all of our clients.

I really enjoyed the time that I was able to spend chatting with the Hubdoc guys on Wednesday! If you are a developer who has a hard time figuring out your target demographic, these guys know how to ask the right questions and take in answers. I loved their solution - it is a super clean interface and I foresee them being a potential competitor. Their new feature was 1-Click Bill Pay which I believe allowed you to upload/pay bills in Hubdoc and have that info sync back in to QBO. Hubdoc with bill pay looks like a great solution for small team clients that so not require an approval process for A/P. LOVED IT!

I had the pleasure of already knowing about these guys prior to the Hackathon. The bottom line is that if you make international payments via wire, you should be using TransferMate. There is no better solution for wires, just do it.

Debbie/Voice/AllConnect for QuickBooks
There were a handful of 'Siri for QBO' apps at the Hackathon. They were all fairly equal in my eyes, only one (Voice) had pulled in the 'filters' field to make it more valuable and malleable once you do a voice search. I liked 'Debbie', but I think it would be cooler if you marketed to accountants to push the product and white labeled it with their name... Actually you could hook up with Linqto ProAdvice and make a nice custom app for PA's to use with their clients!

Social InsightInsights CentralAutofy
The surplus of apps that were trying to make a KPI out of social media posts in relation to sales was a turn off. They were all great in theory, but the fact that there were so many took away from the 'originality' of the whole idea. I'm not sure how these comparisons even really ring true, unless you have a link from the post to the purchasing site that can directly link a sale to a social media post. This is not really a key indicator for brick and mortar as you cannot really correlate the date of the post to the date of the transaction (unless of course you are offering a discount code that can be cross references with the post). Good idea- needs some work to be valuable from an accounting perspective.

NoBrainer Rev Rec
Looked AWESOME. We all know that recognizing deferred/unearned revenue SUCKS. This app supposedly fixes that! I would love to learn more than the 3 minute special about this one and share it with the world.

Easy Assets

Basically a fixed asset manager for QBO. Looked great, my notes say that it should pull in asset postings from QBO so that you can map them in Easy Assets (this would prevent the client from making a manual posting and not enter the asset details in the asset manager). You're welcome for the free advice ;-)

Clariti by SalesPad
This was basically a process outlining app that (from my understanding) would enable you to structure workflows with notifications, rules, etc. Basically you setup the workflow so that when 'x' happens the system notifies 'whoever' then 'z' happens after that... It would be awesome if you could structure these workflows between different apps, but that would probably take a lot of work and collaboration with way too many people ;-). I'm excited to see where this one goes.

This one was basically a client stalker app so that you can get leads based off of your existing customer list. My understanding is that is syncs your customer list, finds them online, then combs through their networks to report back with more potential clients. Could be great for the right company - only QBO integration is pulling the customer list, so no room for accounting errors.

I had the pleasure of meeting with this developer the next day to share my insights. This is a great app with many potential applications, so my advice to him was to widen the branding or have multiple branding options to apply his measurement calculation tool to more industries (like flooring, paint, etc). I suggested that he take a hint from Jobber and their industry specific advertising on their website (which really all goes to the same product).

This app is crazy for automated hiring. It is pretty awesome, though it could 'robustified' by integrating/adding on with some competency screening and aptitude testing systems. This would broaden the application and make it usable for many more industries than just the restaurant industry that it was aiming at.

Landed cost calculator. My thought was that a company who needs to calculate landed freight probably has inventory that is too complex for the current QBO. It does look like an awesome app to use with Enterprise or other inventory management solutions.

Labels for QBO
I am just going to start this one by saying that the gal that presented this seemed like a pretty awesome person! Great attitude and presentation, and great concept. That being said, my first thought was holy crap you have to carry that stuff around with you to print and scan??? No thanks. My advice here would be to stick with your awesome label printer, but have some sort of integrated IPad POS scanner so that all you need to do is hook the label printer up to the Ipad (preferably via bluetooth). I feel like there is more to this app then I was able to hear about in 3 minutes, hopefully I can see more of it in the future!

This was a great little app with one big problem, but luckily I was able to meet with the developer and offer them my suggestion after the hackathon. It was basically a loyalty app that allowed for rewards, digital punch-cards, points, etc. The app would allow you to assign a reward points value to specific goods you were selling, which was awesome, but the tracking was by CLASS. I told them to throw that out the window right away and map by item. That was really the only thing they needed as far as I was concerned :-). The team was nice too!

App for posting info from your POS into QBO. Great in theory for those who are still using POS's that do not offer a sync. I have one piece of advice for Dataraunt and every other POS that does a daily summary posing in QBO: USE A FLIPPIN' SALES RECEIPT. No one wants 365 journal entries a year in their file along with adjustments and other necessary journal entries. Use a zero sales receipt, number it with a date code, let people map their own items/accounts. That is all.

Payments Cloud/SalesForce Invoicing & Payments for QBO/Babblework

To me, all of these Sales Force apps looked the same. I'm sure they were all unique, but to me it didn't seem like anything really unique or way different from other things on the market. Payments Cloud was a winner (yay!)

Service Titan
Another winner! YAY! I love Service Titan and I think that it is a very robust and powerful solution for service management. This app was in the 'Existing Application' bracket, for which the perimeter was to make a significant change in the app. The significant change here was that the QBO integration was built (which is awesome). Personally, I did not see significant value in the QBO integration as Service Titan is focused more on franchises, most of which depend on hosted QB Desktop files that the franchise can tap in to. There are many comparable solutions for service management that have a much lower price point for independents that have the freedom to move to QBO. HOWEVER: This could potentially  be an influencer, allowing franchises to be master admins for QBO companies in their franchises and eliminating the need to cloud host the desktop files... Lets see where this goes!

SafetyNet by Jobber
Yes, you may recall this is the app that received a standing ovation from me (and I'm sure many more would have stood if the room had been full of accountants...). Many people were looking at me crazy with this one, wondering why my favorite app would be something so simple. The simplicity of this app is the beauty of it. One of the biggest hurdles that I encounter in persuading clients and peers to move to QuickBooks Online is the inability to make a period copy or backup of their data. This app meets a need not being fulfilled, has no competition on the market, and is a simple solution to a huge problem. YAY!

Method: Donations

The winner of the grand prize! I love you guys and I am VERY pleased that you have developed a solution that opens QBO up to the Non-Profit sector. This app allows you to track donors and donations and syncs the info back to QuickBooks Online. I am very confident that this app is going to be the best NP solution on the market, mostly because they are consulting with Gregg Bossen of QuickBooks Made Easy who is the non-profit king and won't let them screw it up! Method is truly a blessing in the QuickBooks ecosystem and I cannot wait for this app to go live on This app did everything it needed to do: solved a big problem with no existing solution, works well with QBO, and different/better than existing apps.

For contestants that I did not mention specifically, it is just because I have no valuable commentary or I feel that it was covered in the commentary already written out above. If you want specific feedback, feel free to contact me directly. If you have a link to your app that I was unable to find and include in this article, please post it in the comments! Thank you all for participating and for being so open to my opinions!

See you at #Solutions14 in Vegas!

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