Tuesday, October 25, 2016

12:05 AM
By Sally Parker

Heidi and Thomas Tribunella
From Quickbooks to Xero, small-business owners looking for mobile accounting apps face a head-spinning array of options—a situation rich with opportunity for small-practice CPAs.

Heidi Tribunella, clinical associate professor of accounting, and her husband, Thomas Tribunella, professor of accounting at SUNY Oswego, wrote “Twenty Questions on the Sharing Economy and Mobile Accounting Apps,” for The CPA Journal, published by the New York State Society of CPAs. In it, they urge CPAs who advise small businesses to become experts on accounting apps.

CPAs who want to stay relevant need to be aware of such apps designed for a large and growing sector of the economy—the solo shops, micro-enterprises, and sideline careers that fuel the new sharing economy, Heidi Tribunella says.

“We really need to adapt to this because the old bookkeeping services are becoming automated,” she notes. “CPAs have to adjust their practices to learn how to advise clients on what is best.”
Small-business owners are using apps on their smartphones and tablets to ring up sales, track expenses, and tackle increasingly sophisticated bookkeeping tasks. The apps, connected to functional accounting systems, boast convenience and speed.

The article explains the sharing economy and the flexible technology that has sprung up to handle mobile accounting. Among the features: quick access to electronic tax filing, invoicing, payments, customer lists, and bank accounts. Apps are available by subscription, ranging in price from free to $70 per month for each user, depending on features and transaction frequency.
The volume of apps for accounting struck Heidi Tribunella.

“I was just amazed at how much was out there to help with bookkeeping for the entrepreneur who isn’t an accountant but needs to keep track of what’s going on in his or her business,” she says.
As mobile accounting options grow, small shops need advisers who are steps ahead of them.
“CPAs need to be up to date on this stuff so they can best help their small, micro-enterprise clients,” Tribunella says.

“That’s really how CPAs compete these days. Anybody can do bookkeeping and accounting, but if they can find ways to automate in a very easy and inexpensive way, that will add value.”

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