The tools that we use to run our businesses and organize our lives are supposed to make thing easier. We choose them because we identify a need — a pain point — and are looking for a solution. In my experiences working with small business, bookkeeping is a common area where most folks are looking for some help.
In my review of bookkeeping and tax prep service Outright back in April, I highlighted not only its ease of use, but also its ability to play nicely and communicate with other apps. As a bookkeeping app is just a part of the chain of tracking income and expenses, these connections to your existing data are critical and keep data entry times to an absolute minimum.
I’m thrilled to hear that the Outright folks are extending this reach, with two major additions to the list of apps that Outright is compatible with being released today. Both should really help the typical small business keep finances and expenses in check.
I would imagine it’s safe to say that the majority of small businesses use a credit card for purchasing supplies and for most of their day-to-day expenses. The convenience, delayed payments and rewards programs make them a favored option. This new partnership with Expensify, which we covered while it was in beta a few weeks back, allows you to now directly import your credit card transactions right into Outright on a nightly basis. It even puts your expenses into the appropriate Schedule C categories.
Also announced today is the ability to directly access your PayPal information from within Outright. Given the number of small businesses that use PayPal for payment processing (both expenses and invoicing), this should make tracking those transactions considerably easier.
The authentication methods differ for these integrations. The Expensify authorization requires you to input your user name and passwords for your bank sites. This information isn’t retained by Outright, while Expensify is a full PCI Compliant application with permissions to only read your data, not to perform any transactions.
The PayPal integration, on the other hand, uses a method similar to the OAuth protocol used by Twitter. When initiating the connection, you are taken to the PayPal site to log in which then passes back an authentication token back to Outright delegating the proper permissions.
I make the distinction because while I believe all necessary precautions are considered and in place for either method, I appreciate how Outright is pushing for easier and more secure data connection processes and using those whenever possible.
These new integrations add to the existing hooks already in place with Freshbooks, Shoeboxed and eBay, providing a wide spectrum of data connections to get the bulk of your data directly into Outright without duplicating your data entry efforts.
Also revamped is the reporting and graphing engine used in Outright. If I have had any criticism of Outright in the past it was that, other than the outstanding Schedule C report it generates, the reporting options have been lacking. It has always been somewhat difficult to view the data in any format other than the defaults. The new graph formats are much more comprehensive, and data filtering options allow for a more customized experience.
New users to the service will be greeted with a nice wizard-like process to get up and running quickly. If you arrive armed with the account information you need, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to get your accounts connected and have an almost immediate glimpse into your business financial health. Existing users can access these new connections from their account management screen.
In the big picture view, this is really just an another incremental step for Outright as integration with other apps is at the forefront of their strategy. Outright and the other members of The Small Business Web are doing wonderful things together to make our day-to-day experiences using web software easier and more productive.
Registration and use of Outright is free, although there are plans to offer paid plans in the future.
Do these new hooks into Expensify and PayPal make Outright a more attractive option for you?