Interview with a CPA about their API journey

As an API Options Marketing consultant for Thomson Reuters, I’m constantly talking with completely different prospects about which APIs we provide and completely different use instances on the way to implement them.

However why are APIs so necessary to CPAs and the way does an accountant study APIs in the event that they don’t have a technical background? 

The article that follows is an interview with Ford Baker and Joe Abesamis from the Baco group about their API journey.  

About Ford Baker, CPA & CEO BaCo Tech & BaCo Group: Ford has over 35 years of expertise within the accounting trade. Ford developed Baco Tech which is a transaction-based workflow system utilizing Excel and numerous different off the shelf utilities that make gathering and working with knowledge extra real-time. This workflow idea can change the trade from a reactive service, placing final 12 months’s balances on final 12 months’s returns, to proactive providers, educating shoppers the influence of this 12 months’s numbers on their enterprise, its exit worth, and subsequent 12 months’s tax invoice, at this time. 

About Joe Abesamis, CPA: Joe Abesamis is a redemptive CPA who exists to repair what’s unsuitable within the public accounting occupation. Since 2007, he has labored in numerous corporations the place billable hours have been valued over outcomes, earnings got here earlier than folks, and males grew to become machines. Joe needs to reverse the curse and supply hope for a brighter future to the occupation. Joe goals to encourage the subsequent technology of CPAs via BaCo Group PLLC, a boutique tax and accounting agency, and BaCo Tech, an accounting tech firm that may remove “busy” season from our vocabulary. 

As an accountant, please describe what an API is?  

 Ford Baker: The power to get what you want with out having to ask for it. APIs allow you to attach with knowledge after which normalize it so it will probably hook up with multiple consumer. Probably the most helpful factor about an API is the flexibility to get extra info. 

Joe Abesamis: I didn’t know what an API was till lately. I’ve been a CPA for 14, and it’s solely been since becoming a member of the BaCo group that I spotted how helpful an API is as a result of it permits software program to combine. Having the ability to collect knowledge is a ache level for CPAs and utilizing APIs was a method to get across the utility limitation of gathering knowledge. Moreover, the accounting trade middleware proper now could be Excel. At the moment, we depend on it to do the speaking between purposes and there’s no actual integration. APIs are making the previous methods of doing issues, like Excel, out of date. “As an accountant, if we’re going to attempt to automate, we’re going to want knowledge and open APIs.” 

How did you get began with APIs?  

 Ford Baker: In 2012, I had a consumer that wanted to consolidate 43 QuickBooks recordsdata. The consumer didn’t have an accountant on workers, nonetheless that they had programmers, so the consumer gave me a programmer to assist consolidate the recordsdata. Throughout this time, I actually noticed the worth in utilizing know-how. Whereas working with the programmer, I keep in mind the second I discovered myself considering that I might construct my personal accounting software program. With this new accounting software program, I thought I might get the software program to do the issues I wanted to do which have been particular to my agency. When I received this programmer useful resource, I actually began to know the idea of simplify, standardize, and automate. After this particular consumer undertaking was over, I employed one other programmer from Puerto Rico inside my agency. At first, we struggled to speak to due language points, however we used Google Translate to bridge the hole.  

As a CPA, how do you know what job necessities can be wanted when hiring a programmer? 

Ford Baker: I first employed a communications one who was a former recruiter. Then I had an introduction to a different developer who helped me perceive what kind of inquiries to ask when making an attempt to rent the fitting programmer. One piece of recommendation I didn’t hearken to throughout this course of was that the individual wanted to have former improvement abilities with accounting software program. I ended up going with somebody that didn’t have prior accounting software program improvement expertise, however I imagine this was a bonus as a result of the individual I employed didn’t have any preconceived concepts concerning the means one thing needs to be constructed and due to this fact labored nearer with me.   

What’s your greatest ROI with the way you carried out APIs?

Joe Abesamis: In 2020, our realization price was 143% after implementing our answer and in prior years they have been round 85%. Personally, working much less additional time allowed me to spend extra time with my household. A few of our workers members even turned down different alternatives due to the work that our agency is doing with know-how.  

What recommendation would you give to different accounts seeking to start their API journey?

Ford Baker: By no means say by no means. Don’t say you’ll be able to’t. Don’t inform me what you probably did final 12 months. Inform me what you need to do that 12 months. As soon as you start getting actual time knowledge, you aren’t going to do issues the identical means you probably did the 12 months earlier than. No matter you take into account might be a really helpful instrument in case you create sufficient pushback. Additionally, when working along with your developer, you’ll be able to’t simply inform them the issue. You additionally want to inform them what the answer appears like too. 

Joe Abesamis: As CPAs, we all know our ache factors and we will establish if there may be an API on the market that may assist alleviate a number of the points we have. Don’t cease dreaming. Don’t cease pushing as a result of there’s a CPA on the market who already embraces APIs. Push again to your software program distributors so that they perceive your ache factors and so they can then launch the APIs you want. 

“…the alternatives he noticed from embracing API know-how together with his CPA expertise was large.”

After I interviewed Ford and Joe, I assumed what a tremendous and distinctive expertise they went via. I requested if a consumer loaning a programmer to a CPA was frequent and so they stated “undoubtedly not” however what Ford discovered from that expertise and the alternatives he noticed from embracing API know-how together with his CPA expertise was large. I might encourage everybody to embrace any probability to consider new methods of working since you by no means know when a light-weight bulb second may happen which might change the accounting trade utilizing your CPA information and new know-how. 

BaCo Tech is a product of Ford Squared Applied sciences LLC. BaCo Tech is pushed to assist enhance the work expertise of each CPA agency. Their know-how supplies a workflow that improves Work-Life Steadiness, successfully eliminating additional time in tax season.

Go to their website for extra info.  

Remodel knowledge into clever motion with Thomson Reuters tax and accounting APIs.


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