Interview with Karen from Compass CPA

For the first episode of In the Clouds, we sat down with Karen Hallson-Kunndel from Compass CPA to discuss what it means to work as a cloud accountant. Even though Karen has a physical location for her business, she has been using cloud-based tech since the beginning of her practice. She says that because the simple things are now automated, she and her team can focus on helping smaller businesses increase their value and performance and achieve their goals.

Watch the full interview:


Rotessa In the Clouds Cloud Accounting

What is cloud accounting?

Cloud accountants are taking an age-old profession and widening its scope with cloud-based technology and working remotely.

Everybody has or needs an accountant, but do we really ever think about them outside of tax season? And – if we’re honest – when we do think about them it’s probably as pencil-pushers and number crunchers. Is that truly accurate anymore? There’s been a recent shift in the world of accounting, an exciting surge of technology and business coming together, and it doesn’t seem that people are really talking about it.

In the Clouds is a docu-series investigating the emerging world of cloud accountants and bookkeepers.

In the clouds | Cloud accounting docu-series from Rotessa

There’s this whole world of accountants and bookkeepers working remotely – from anywhere at any time – and serving more than just the people in their city or town.

At Rotessa we often partner with accountants who do just that.

I wanted to see what that actually means and what it looks like day-to-day for these trailblazers of the accounting profession.

 

Karen Hallson-Kunndel is the principal of Compass Accounting - a CPA firm in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

Even though she has a physical location for her business, she has been using cloud-based tech since the beginning of her practice. 

"I think a cloud accountant is someone who has the ability to work with their clients from wherever they happen to be," she says.

"You just get better quality relationships with your clients."

Is the future of bookkeepers and accountants In the Clouds?

Looking up “cloud accounting” on most search engines doesn’t produce much. Even some of the leading names in business and accounting don’t have more than a couple hundred relevant answers. It isn’t their fault though! While accounting as a practice is an old and integral part of business, going cloud-based is relatively new. Most places, if they do have any resources, seem to focus on the risks or dangers involved in cloud technology.

Security seems to be the biggest warning sign given, but is it actually a concern for accounting firms?

For someone like me, who has no expertise in the world of accounting and business, cloud accounting doesn’t seem that self-explanatory. The “cloud” in “cloud accounting” refers to the cloud, or internet, based technology these accountants use. Back in the day, accounting used to be solely paper and pen or - when it got really fancy - moved to desktop computer software that you would buy, download, and keep having to pay for and update regularly.

When an accountant uses programs like Xero or QuickBooks Online, it’s all on the internet and can be accessed from anywhere at any time.

"We've had remote workers since 2004 or 2005," says Michelle Duford - an early adopter of cloud-based tech.

Duford CPA has been paperless since day one and fully embraced the technology options and advancements available.

This capability - to serve anyone from anywhere - has given rise to this movement of cloud accountants who want to automate and optimize their entire workflow as much as possible.

In some cases, they’re looking to take the numbers completely out of it and focus on helping business owners grow their business.

Ryan Lazanis founded Xen accounting: one of Canada’s first cloud accounting firms. Within five years his firm was acquired by a global professional services provider. Now, on the other side, Ryan provides resources and mentorship to current cloud accountants and bookkeepers wanting to modernize their practice at Future Firm.

"A lot of the cloud accounting firm owners are more entrepreneurial in my opinion," he says.

"They're rethinking a business model. They're rethinking how accounting should be done. They're focusing on the customer and determining where there is friction and how they can alleviate that."

What really makes someone a cloud accountant or bookkeeper?

From the people I’ve spoken with so far, it’s obvious that cloud accountants have very different philosophies, workflows, and workplaces which is kind of the point. Cloud technology has totally broadened the definition of an accountant in the digital age.

The story of accounting and bookkeeping continues to change and grow as tech itself develops.

We’re going to continue investigating the world of cloud accounting to learn more about the history, lifestyle, workflow, and future of accounting in the clouds.


Rotessa Gift Card Giveaway

We recently did the math on what an average Rotessa user saves by processing payments with us, rather than with credit cards. And we could hardly believe the number... $450!

To celebrate this incredible amount of savings, we’re throwing our very first Rotessa Savings Contest where we’ll be giving away a $450 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, just click the link below. There’s no purchase necessary, It only takes 30 seconds, and it could earn you $450 to spend at Amazon.

The contest runs from now until December 18th when we’ll be drawing one lucky winner. So what are you waiting for? …$450; that’s enough to do some amazing Christmas shopping!

Enter Now!


What could your workplace do with $450 of monthly Rotessa savings?

You may have heard the news.

Recently we sat down and did the math on what Rotessa users save monthly by processing payments with us rather than credit cards. We were pretty excited when we learned what the average savings was for our customers. Over $450 a month!

Our team thought it would be fun to come up with a list of four stellar ideas of what your workplace could do with this much savings. (See them below).

But first, you might be wondering: how do Rotessa users save this much over credit cards?

To give a bit of context, Rotessa charges a monthly fee for businesses processing less than 250 payments and a per-transaction fee for business processing 250 payments or more. There are absolutely no percentage fees — unlike credit cards.

Credit card companies usually take between 2 and 3 percent per transaction as a processing fee. With Rotessa you'll pay $9-$69 a month or 25 cents per transaction.

For a comparison example; let’s say you send a client a one thousand dollar invoice. If that invoice payment was processed with a credit card, it would likely have a $29 fee attached. With Rotessa you could pay as low as 25 cents for the exact same transaction.

Curious what your savings could be? We actually have a savings calculator that will tell you just that! But without further ado, here's a list of four ideas of what your workplace could do with its Rotessa savings.

1. Buy an exotic office pet

Every workplace needs a good office pet, right? Cats and dogs are both very good options, but your workplace is sure to stand out if it purchased a more exotic animal. Our suggestion? An alpaca!

2. Hire a full-time coffee barista

Everybody loves coffee, but not everyone loves making it. The solution? Hire a full-time coffee barista! This idea is guaranteed to be convenient and delicious.

3. Book a rock band for your lunch break

After a long morning of hard work, lunch is a great time to sit back, relax and have fun. What could make lunch an even more enjoyable experience? Live rock music!

4. Build a three-hole golf course behind the office

And last but not least, perhaps the most ambitious idea: the construction of a three-hole golf course. Not only would this idea greatly improve your office's window view, it could even increase sales! After all, more time on the fairway means more pitch time to clients, right?

There you have it! Our four stellar ideas of what your workplace could do with its Rotessa savings.

Are you sharing in the Rotessa savings? If not, sign up for free and see if our payment platform is right for you!


tools for successful marketing agencies

Essential online tools for successful marketing agencies in 2019

Running a successful marketing agency is no easy task. Just like any business, developing an efficient and reliable workflow can totally transform team productivity — a core determinant in any agency's bottom line.

So, what's the (not-so-secret) ingredient that's essential to the recipe for a delectable agency workflow? Online tools.

Online tools are wonderful! Who wouldn't want to offload tedious, time-consuming tasks to an automated, algorithm-based tool with a charming name and a beautiful UI?

In digital eras' past (I'm talking 2010 and earlier here), there were a few hundred online tools that offered intuitive solutions to the major problems identified in the dynamic industry of advertising. Fast forward to 2019: There are literally thousands of online solutions vying for the business of every marketing agency, big and small.

How to pick the right online tools for your team.

Thousands of options might seem impressive, but a short dive into the world of online tools for marketing agencies can quickly get daunting. Frankly, it could be a full-time job sifting through each one that claims to be perfectly suited for your agency's needs.

But before you draft that job posting for an 'online tool researcher,' let me introduce you to a list of my favourite online tools. I'll be listing those that relate specifically to the business functions of a marketing agency — not the creative functions (so don't expect to see any Adobe products listed here).

To make this list, I've identified six unique tasks that I've faced daily while working in a marketing agency:

  1. File storage and sharing
  2. Internal communication
  3. Writing
  4. Scheduling
  5. Invoice and accounting
  6. Payment processing

Fortunately, every one of these tasks have stellar solutions available through online software.

Here's my list of six essential online tools for successful marketing agencies.

File storage and sharing

Google Drive

A marketing agency of any size will quickly accumulate thousands of digital files. From videos to text documents, these files need a place to be securely stored, quickly accessed and easily shared with both clients and collaborators.

Google Drive is by far the most popular tool in the file storage world, and for good reason. This service has been around for several years and has seen numerous improvements.

Files can be accessed from any device and can be assigned custom privacy settings. Google Drive allows up to 15GB of storage for free with a competitively priced upgrade program (Google One.)

Internal communication

Slack

tools for successful marketing agencies

As soon as your agency's staff count exceeds two, you'll need a tool for coworkers to communicate. Avoid the nightmare of cross communicating over email, text, iMessage, Facebook, and WhatsApp by choosing an efficient and robust communication tool for the whole team to use. Slack is that tool.

Slack has a number of great features, making it the industry standard for marketing agencies. These features include:

  1. The ability to organize conversations by team or idea
  2. The ability to share files
  3. Integrations with a ton of other apps (including many others on this list)
  4. Direct voice or video calling

Writing

Grammarly

Professionalism is key to succeeding in the competitive industry of marketing. To win and keep clients, your agency needs to prove its competency in managing voice, tone and look. Nothing ruins an otherwise perfect client proposal like a spelling error or a poorly worded sentence.

Fortunately, Grammarly has your back. Grammarly not only provides reliable spellcheck, but it also analyzes writing to improve voice and tone.

Scheduling

Calendly

Meetings, meetings, meetings. As your agency grows, so will its list of clients that expect unduly time and attention. No agency can avoid the inevitable pile-up of meetings. Whether it's for a pitch, brand discovery or to receive feedback on a project, coordinating time between clients and team members can be an absolute headache.

Calendly is an effective software that takes the pain out of scheduling meetings. Simply set your availability in Calendly and share a scheduling link over email or embed it on your agency's site. Clients can pick a time from the available time slots and the event gets added to your calendar.

To top it off, Calendly integrates with other major calendar software, has a delightful UI and a host of intuitive features.

Invoice and accounting

Quickbooks

tools for successful marketing agencies

Any service-based business needs an effective invoicing and accounting system to be successful. Handling expenses, tracking hours, and managing client payments may not be fun, but they are fundamentally important to your agency's growth. But good news: these accounting tasks can be done in Quickbooks.

Quickbooks is an online accounting software for small businesses. It has a host of features optimal for agency invoicing and accounting.

Payment processing

Rotessa

Getting paid can be an awkward conversation for account managers. A lot of marketing agencies don't have the right resources to ensure smooth client payments and if the right payment workflow isn't established, an agency will quickly amass a collection of payment horror stories. Signing up for a payment software will allow these horror stories to be swiftly avoided.

Introducing Rotessa. There are dozens of online payment tools that allow you to pull money from a client's account. I chose Rotessa for two reasons:

  1. Rotessa is specifically oriented for processing payments with clients who have an ongoing business relationship — ideal for an agency.
  2. Rotessa uses ACH (or pre-authorized debit) payments and has a flat-rate pricing model. This is significantly more affordable than absorbing a credit card percentage fee. Compare a 25 cent transaction fee against a 2.9% credit card transaction fee on a $5000 project invoice (I'll let you do the math).

Well that's it! Thousands of online tools narrowed down to six. Okay, honestly, I just skimmed the surface. There are many other tools I'd recommend. But hopefully, this list gave you an idea for a new tool that your team can try.

Cheers!


New Dashboard View in Rotessa App

If you've been in our app recently you may have noticed a couple of changes. This week we're excited to release a new dashboard view in Rotessa.

We love this new feature because it provides a simple overview of your account's recent and upcoming activity. The Rotessa dashboard includes quick stats on your approved, pending, declined and future transactions. You'll be able to see the status and amounts of your scheduled transactions in an easy-to-read bar graph at the top of the dashboard.

We'll also be using the dashboard to share quick (or exclusive) access to new Rotessa promotions, posts, updates and more.

We're confident that the new dashboard will improve your Rotessa experience and we'd love to know if you agree! If you're excited about this update as much as we are, or have ideas for other changes to Rotessa, don't hesitate to contact us.


An overview of pre-authorized debit payments (PADs)

Pre-authorized debit payments (PADs) are electronic, and allow your business to withdraw money directly from your customer’s bank account.

What are pre-authorized debit payments?

The term pre-authorized refers to an agreement between your business and your customer. In the agreement, the customer will give permission for you to withdraw money from their account based on the terms outlined. This can work for recurring payments on a set schedule and for variable amount payments.

Pre-Authorized Debits work over a computerized network through Payment Canada’s federally-secured Automated Clearing Settlement System. This network connects all of Canada’s financial institutions.

Once you have an account set up with a processor, the first step is to collect a PAD agreement from your customer. This agreement outlines the payment terms and gives you the proper authorization to initiate payments.

Next, you can set a transaction schedule based on your payment terms. Payment instructions are sent to the bank one day in advance of the process date, the details are exchanged within the Automated Clearing Settlement System (ACHSS) and the appropriate funds are withdrawn from your customers bank account, and deposited to yours.

 

What are the advantages of using pre-authorized debit payments?

What are the advantages of using pre-authorized debit payments?

There are 3 advantages for business owners to collect payments through pre-authorized debits.

  1. They are automated. PADs can be scheduled in advance so you never have to worry about getting paid. On the scheduled dates, payments are withdrawn from your customer’s bank account.
  2. You gets to initiate the payments. As a business owner, you never have to wait on customer initiated payments and you won’t have to chase them down for being late. This will result in improved cash flow and a much better relationship with your customer.
  3. Cost savings. Most PAD processors charge a flat rate per transaction, not a percentage like credit cards. This can save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars every month.

 

Is pre-authorized debit secure?

Are pre-authorized debits secure?

Pre-Authorized Debits payments are very secure due to the electronic protocol required by banks.

All of the information is encrypted and sent through Canada’s federally-secured Automated Clearing Settlement System which means it can’t be redirected, read, or tampered with.

PADs are also regulated by the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, which details the rights and liabilities of PADs. In addition, PADs have a very clear mandate to ensure any unauthorized debit can easily be reversed through the bank.

 

How to accept PAD payments

How to start accepting pre-authorized debit payments.

To start accepting PADs, you will need to sign up with a pre-authorized debit processor. This will either be your bank or a third party.

Some banks offer this solution as part of their larger cash management platform. Every bank has different requirements for setting up an account. Typically banks work best with large transaction volumes and are best suited for enterprise clients. Banks don’t offer API solutions for custom integrations and you can expect a sign up fee, monthly fees, and batch fees.

A second way to collect PADs is to sign up through a third-party payment processor, like Rotessa. Third-Party processors are usually more accessible to small businesses, have a better customer experience, and offer advantages such as APIs and other integrations.

Once you're setup with a processor, you can offer your customers the convenience of automatic bank payments. This all starts with a simple authorization to outline the payment terms.

Learn more about pre-authorized debit payments by visiting our blog or jump to a specific article through the the links below.

What kind of businesses are best suited to use authorized debits?

What is an authorization and why do I need it for pre-authorized debits?

How long do pre-authorized debits take?

What to know about pre-authorized debit rejections.


EFT Payments and ACH Transfers

5 Reasons You Should Be Switching to Bank Payment Collection (Right Now)

Collecting cheques, messing around with cash, getting crushed by huge credit card fees. Uggghhh. ​ Does payment collection really have to be such a pain? Nope.

Should you switch to an easier, less stressful, more affordable way to collect recurring payments? Yep.

1. Bank Payments Are Faster Than Cheques

I’ll level with you – cheques are lame. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true. They’ve been faithful companions for thousands (actually) of years, so it’s time to give them a break.

Let them retire in peace.

These days, cheques are a pain to deal with. First of all, you have to wait for your customer to give you a cheque. That alone can be a…unique struggle. Your customers are busy people, and they don’t want to make a trip just to drop off a cheque.

So, you end up calling them. And emailing them. And building signal fires that say, “Please drop off your payment”.

It isn’t over once you get your cheque. Even after it’s in your hand, you need to make sure your customer correctly filled it out. Mistakes can be made when writing a cheque, and if there is one…it’s back to your customer for a new one.

Not great.

Now you have the cheque, it’s filled out correctly, all that’s left to do is deposit it at the bank. Simple, right?

I don’t want to be too hard on cheques, but they’re not the easiest payment method anymore.

2. Bank Payments Are Easier Than Cash

Cash suffers from some of the same frustrations as cheques when it comes to bank payments.

As with cheques, you still end up waiting on your customer. And like cash, your customers have busy lives too. It can be easy to forget to drop off a payment on time, which makes life more stressful for you. And just like cheques, it’s not over when you receive the payment.

You still need to take that money to the bank, and who wants to carry stacks of cash with them?

3. Bank Payments Are Cheaper Than Credit Cards

Credit cards. Now that’s a pretty modern method of payment, right? Right! However, it comes at a cost. Credit card payments can be downright expensive to collect. Most processors charge a monthly fee, a per-transaction fee, and then fees up to 2.99% ON TOP of the per-transaction fee and monthly fee. Yikes.

That adds up fast, and takes a huge bite out of your profits.
Not good at all.

By comparison, bank payment processors often charge only a monthly fee. No per-transaction fees, no percentage nonsense, just a monthly fee.

An affordable monthly fee, in most cases.

When you’re looking for a bank payment processor to handle your bank payments, make sure you shop around on price. You’ll find that bank payments are one of the most affordable ways to collect recurring payments.

4. Bank Payments Make Bookkeeping Easy

Some people love accounting and bookkeeping, and some don’t.

Like Hawaiian pizza.

Whether you love bookkeeping or not, reducing your time spent bookkeeping is a good thing. The less time you spend doing your books, the more time you can spend doing other things.

Like growing your business.

Because bank payments are electronic, the payment records you need are just a few clicks away. Instead of wrestling with stacks of paper, everything is handled electronically. Plus, when tax time comes the electronic nature of bank payments makes it easy to get the information you need.

You can forget about wondering if certain customers have already paid for the month. Payments are updated in real-time, so you know the exact state of your customers accounts.

5. Bank Payments Are Made to Make Your Life Easier

Running a business is challenging enough. You don’t need extra stress, especially when it comes to getting paid.

Bank payments are designed to make your life easier.

From signing up your customers, to collecting your payments, everything is a snap. That’s why small businesses are choosing bank payments for their recurring payment collection.

It makes life easy.

Want to learn more about bank payments? Contact us! No sales pitches, we promise.


Take The Pain Out Of Getting Paid

"I often talk to business owners who just want a simple, easy-to-use way to get paid without all the hassle, and without having to pay an arm and a leg to do it."

The Pitfalls Of Checks

Most businesses in Canada and the US still accept checks. I guess people are just stuck in their ways. The idea with checks is that they are free to accept, the person sending the check had to pay for it right? Wrong. This mindset doesn’t take into account the administrative cost associated with dealing with those checks. Some companies are literally accepting hundreds if not thousands of checks per month. Someone has to go through all of those and make sure they’re correct, then they have to manually input them into some sort of database.

Afterwards, someone either has to take all those checks to the bank to get deposited, or e-deposit them one at a time. I’m not even gonna talk about the time wasted following up on bounced or lost checks. For some companies this is nearly a full time job for somebody. Even at minimum wage, that is thousands of dollars a year spent on payment collection.

The Cost Of Cards

Ok so maybe you’re thinking, I don’t use checks, everyone pays me via credit card. This is nearly as bad as checks. Third party processors who facilitate payments through credit cards usually charge 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. Even on a payment as low as $100, it’s costing you over three dollars per transaction.

There is still a cheaper and easier way.

Payment Paradise

The answer that our founder Greg found all those years ago was the (surprisingly) unknown area of online bank payments, sometimes known as pre-authorized debits or ACH debits. This is a direct debit from your customers bank account into your own. Similar to a check but all done electronically (and way more cost effective).

ACH Debits let you collect recurring payments with ease. All you have to do is create an ACH debit agreement for your customers to sign which gives you permission to take money from their account. In Rotessa when customers do this electronically, their customer profile is created in your client dashboard and the payment is automatically scheduled. All you have to do is wait for the money to come into your account.

It is literally that easy.

Accounts With Rotessa Are Free

You don’t even need to pay to have a Rotessa account, you just pay if you process payments. Unlike other subscription payment structures, you aren’t locked into one price either. You only pay based on the volume of transactions. Most medium to large sized businesses in Rotessa are able to pay as low as $0.25 per transaction.

Companies who use Rotessa have celebrated savings in the thousands. I’ll let you do the math on your business. But don’t take my word for it. Start your free Rotessa account today and start saving money. We’ll even let you process your first 25 transactions for free.