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Accounting News Roundup: Chatting with the Accountant Bot and POTUS Candidate Tax Returns | 08.15.16

Accounting bots

Recently, we've mentioned accounting bots for small businesses that you can engage through chat. This morning, Venture Beat ran a short feature on Sway Finance, "an Accounting Slack bot for SaaS companies" and I think that's that's the startupiest headline every used on an accounting story. And here's possibly the startupiest paragraph that you'll ever read about accounting:

Primarily accessible through Slack, this Y Combinator-backed company has evolved its bot from one that simply provides balances and transactional history to one that does more full-fledged accounting. With its integrations into third-party platforms, Sway Finance automatically generates income statements and balance sheets in real time, no longer requiring accountants to wait until the end of the month. It’ll also take care of other financial matters, such as bank reconciliation and journal entry adjustments, so that companies are up-to-date and can easily prepare for tax filings each quarter.

In my imaginary future, all the accounting bots make snide remarks to their bosses based on their business activities.

Accounting bot: "Are you going to do anything today?"

Human: "Hadn't planned on it."

Accounting bot: "Sigh. Would you at least code these transactions? Once you tell me, I'll never have to ask again."

Human: "Huh? Okay, sure. Those are all meals & entertainment."

Accounting bot: "Judging by the transactions this month, you've been doing a lot of eating. I wish I could see what all that 'working' has done for your waistline."

Or something like that.

People are worried about IRS phone scams

I wonder when we'll reach the critical mass of citizens who know that those IRS agents who are calling you aren't really IRS agents? I feel like I'm starting to see more stories about people trying to turn the tables on them but as we've mentioned, this is a mistake also because you're confirming some of your personal information. In any case, the calls are still happening and sometimes they threaten to take away "driving privileges" which is a new one.

Has Donald Trump released his tax returns?

Nope! But both Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, released theirs on Friday. The Clintons' AGI for 2015 was $10.7 million and their effective tax rate was 34.2%. The Kaines' AGI for 2015 $313k and their effective tax rate 20.3%. 

And in a bit of a non-surprise, Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, hinted that he may release his tax returns before Election Day and that they would be a "quick read."

Elsewhere in campaign accounting-related news: "Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief."

Programming note

I'll be traveling to San Francisco today for Xerocon, so keep yourselves entertained in Open Items or if you have a tip or see story you want us to cover, send us an email.

In other news:

  • Half of big banks unprepared for accounting shake-up
  • "Affleck would seem to equate Chris’ problem-solving finesse to an athlete over a scholar. 'I find that when you’re playing someone who has a great gift, that’s the hardest thing to do because in a way, it’s the hardest thing to fake,' says Affleck. 'It’s like a great baseball swing – if you could fake a great baseball swing, then everyone would hit like Ted Williams.'"
  • Groupon is back!
  • How Millennials Became Spooked by Credit Cards
  • Keanu Reeves Will Build a $78,000 Motorcycle Just for You

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