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Review of Anchor – The Accounting Technology Lab Podcast – June 2024

Anchor automates the entire process of getting paid by clients, end-to-end. It enables firms to send proposals, and has functions to auto-invoice, auto-charge, and auto-sync them all with your accounting software.

Hosts Randy Johnston and Brian Tankersley, CPA, review Anchor, a system that automates the entire process of getting paid by clients, end-to-end. It enables firms to send proposals, and has functions to auto-invoice, auto-charge, and auto-sync them all with your accounting software.

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Transcript (Note: There may be typos due to automated transcription errors.)

Brian F. Tankersley, CPA.CITP, CGMA  00:00

Welcome to the accounting Technology Lab sponsored by CPA practice advisor, with your hosts, Randy Johnston, and Brian Tankersley.

Randy Johnston  00:10

Today, welcome to the accounting Technology Lab. I’m Randy Johnston with co host, Brian Tankersley. We’re well overdue to talk about this platform. It is anchor out of Israel. And they have operational offices here in the United States, the way you get to their website is, say But what is this thing? Well, it is an automated proposal system that takes it all the way through payments. Now, there’s several different platforms that we’ve talked about in other accounting Technology Lab podcasts, because one of the problems that we’re having as firms is getting this end to end automated engagement letter all the way through payment and collections. And this particular platform goes all the way from creating engagements to extending engagements, if need be to getting paid on those engagements. So Brian, I know you and I have worked with talbin besought. I’ve seen him several times and met with him in various places. But what would you say about this particular platform?

Brian F. Tankersley, CPA.CITP, CGMA  01:28

I guess what I would say is that is that in many of our firms, the revenue cycle is is well overdue for a rethinking. And this is one of the products you can use to do it. The The idea here is that is that with this platform, you’re actually going to use this to do your billing and collections. And you’re going to do a different way. You know, if you think about so many of so many people out there now will, you know will just run a report of their practice management application, and then they’ll fill out a billing worksheet. One way or another, whether it’s on paper, or whether it’s on a screen, the process in many cases hasn’t changed very much. Since the 1970s. You may be running this stuff on a on a client server network or even in the cloud, as opposed to running it on an on a VAX micro computer. But at the end of the day, the the process of what you’re doing has not really been rethought and and worked through. So the idea behind anchor is that you have a you have much more automation behind this to solve, to again to get this stuff happening in the background.

Randy Johnston  02:45

Yeah, so you know, on that point, Brian, many of you are using lots of different tools to get this done, you may have even used an automated tool like ignition in the past, you may have listened to his talk about Nullah. As an engagement letter, automation, the past we like those tools. But a lot of you are using DocuSign or Adobe sign you’re using tea sheets you’re using, you know all sorts of different products, and you’ve got completely disjoint systems. And really, you have isolation across this entire process. So whether you’re using QuickBooks with Milio, or you’re using any sort of document management system, or, you’ve just got silos of information all over the place. And the idea behind anchor is that you have one place to put it all. And it turns out your AR today is difficult to handle and our business to business payments are in general are broken. And other products that we’ve talked about the eye ones and so forth are trying to solve this problem too. But the issue is that we’re getting late payments from clients, we’re getting revenue leakage, we’re using multiple tools, we’re wasting time it’s error prone, we have systems that are not synced. And frankly, a lot of our cash flow in our firm is caused by this problem. So in fact, we are getting a whole lot of statistics about how payments are being stretched out in a CPA firms. And that 45% of receivable wells are more than 45 days past due. You know, I tend to in my businesses running much tighter than that. But we understand the the issues that around that. And if you think about the intrinsic cost of sending an invoice and I’d like for you to think about this as kind of an upside down pyramid, because what will happen is the intrinsic cost to have every invoices, invoice grows, if you take a typical $500 invoice, you’re going to have some labor on that you pick your own labor number, but the industry standard is 30 to $2, of manual labor average. So you know, if you just have revenue leakage in general, you’re gonna see other things like processing fees for, you know, wire transfers or credit cards, you’re gonna have merchant fees, and so forth. And just think about what costs you’ve got against sending an invoice, how and what the net is, the average revenue leakage, by the way, on a $500 invoice is about 20%. So you’re gonna get about $400 on a $500 invoice, if you’re using manual processes, what we’re trying to do is get you to think about how to make this happen a lot quicker, not only do you have the revenue lead, which they teach, you also have unbillable work related to it. So I don’t know how long it takes you to invoice. But you know, if you were doing it very optimally, maybe it’s five minutes. But if you review the agreements and payment terms, whether it’s you or one of your clerical admins, you might have another five to 10 minutes. And by the time you get everything done, many firms are reporting that they’re spending anywhere from five to 30 minutes per invoice per partner. A week ago, at this time, I was in a CPA firm doing consulting, and the tax partner said, you know, I’ve got 1900 invoices I haven’t issued yet. And I’ve still got to review them all. And you know, and she went on to explain that it’s probably going to cost her 30 minutes per invoice. Well, you can do the math on that. And it’s like, that’s an onerous task. And so, you know, it’s


like no vacation for her between now and October 15. When you know,

Randy Johnston  07:10

and I hate to quote those type of numbers, but I’m using her numbers, not mine, and just saying, Oh, my that feels so painful. So what we’re trying to do is have you think about a system where you do an engagement, and it simply flows through the system. You don’t really have extra invoicing system, extra invoicing steps, you don’t have collections, you don’t have follow up calls, you don’t have late point payments, you don’t have reconciliation, and basically, you’re simply getting paid. It sounds a little bit like a panacea. But I think it absolutely can work with the anchor system because it automates the entire billing and collection cycle. Now, how does it work? Well, basically, you create proposals, which can be amended. So you can do amendable agreements for calves and audit and other practices. It will auto invoice based on the terms and it will auto charge either through ACH or a credit card pull from the client, it does have the ability support charging the credit card fees back to the client if you’re of that mold. And if on the back end, you’re keeping your books and your firm on QuickBooks, it will automatically sync into QuickBooks at the same time. So in effect, you as a firm have no subscriptions, or no fees related to this, you’ll find out here in just a minute. In fact, I’ll just tip the card right now. The whole Indian process has one flat fee $5. So that’s what it is to run this whole system. But the idea here is that you can easily build and send proposals from pre populated proposal templates, you can have multiple package pricing. So for client accounting services is a delightful way to do it. You can add optional services for your clients. You can also do notifications and reminders to sign in, there’s a tool to track the signing process. And again, you can designate where the credit card fees go. But these are dynamic agreements that really fall in line with the way that your clients work. So your client payments are always paid on time automatically when you use this type of approach because of the auto charge, and it stays fully synched with QuickBooks if you want to go that way. So the system does have a dashboard for reporting which shows the progress of proposals and of payments and so far. So it again, it gives you a pretty good overview of all elements from proposals all the way through payment. So, you know, Brian, I think at this point, you know, these major areas inside this system are all part of this one flat fee, you’ve got the proposals, the automatic invoicing, the automatic charging, the payment processing, the Qbo, sync, and so forth. So what might you say for our listeners in each of these different areas?


Yeah, so I think about the practitioner, you’re talking about to head 70 1900 invoices to send, and was estimating that she was going to have to spend about a half hour on each one. And the thing, the thing I would suggest to you here is that is that Done is better than perfect in many situations. And so the the thing about this is that your receivables are not going to get more collectible over time. And, you know, you’re you’re really burning, burning cashflow, when you’re when you’re waiting to send the bills out. So the idea, the idea I can see here is that by doing the proposal in here, you’re really building in what the engagements can be priced at. And then you can turn around and and send the invoice out almost automatically, because you’ve already keyed in the stuff that’s going to show up on the invoice. So the advantage of this is that is that it really makes billing have much less friction in it. You know, I’ve been in this situation that that CPA partners in where, where I have just an overwhelming amount of billing to get done. And inevitably, I know that the more I wait, the more annoyed my clients are going to get when they finally receive those bills. And since I’ve waited 60 days, they may decide they’re going to wait another 60 days to pay. Whereas if I had billed them on a timely basis, then it would be a whole lot easier for me to have gotten paid in, you know, on the spot, even potentially, but because I’ve wasted time, I’ve messed up their cash flow expectations. And, and now I’m gonna have to, I may have to wait a while on this. And you know, again, I don’t want to be the Bank of Brian, I want to, you know, I want to do the I want to do good work for people. And, and I want to get this done. And so this really takes the painful part of this, where we are trying to be such perfectionist about how we build things. And again, helps us focus on helps us again, focus on the value that we’re providing. And again, it helps us focus on getting things done, as opposed to going in and and again, getting them perfect.

Randy Johnston  12:53

Yeah. So Brian, to your point, I had the privilege of speaking for the G 400. This year, and a new fraud vector that one of the G 400 firms talked to me about as they were sending large invoices 50,000 $100,000 invoices, and the emails of the invoices were being intercepted by bad actors. And the payment link was being redirected to an offshore account. So in effect, they did everything right, if you would think of that, except the email link was substituted out by a bad actor. And poof, you know, a few $100,000 wound up being paid by clients but sent offshore. Now another


and that’s hard because I think you’re going to have a heck of a time going back to that client saying, I know you got ripped off. But you know, I need you to make things right with me as opposed to you know, that’s that’s going to be a hard conversation because it was such an effective fish.

Randy Johnston  13:54

Yeah, as matter of fact, I that’s exactly what they said they couldn’t go back to their clients. And I confirmed with a towel this week that anchor securely takes care of those type of problems. Now one other minor point that I want to make is, you know, this may sound like all the engagements would be fixed rate. But anchor can do recurring billing, fixed rate, billing, quantity, hourly range, milestone and advanced billing. So all of those different types that you might do, could be in this in this realm. But to me, these type of platforms that automate your proposals through payment can grow your revenue, because you get dynamic pricing. They can stop a lot of scope creep for you. They can cut your internal costs, they can defer credit card fees if you want to use that type of strategy, and they reduce your unbillable manual work. So you know, as I’ve said earlier, What’s it cost for a transaction five dollars. So, you know, to me, if you’re looking for a way to get an automated into end proposal and payment system, anchor has a potential solution for you to review. So Brian, any other closing ideas for our listeners today?

Brian F. Tankersley, CPA.CITP, CGMA  15:17

I think 2020 forward needs to be the year of rethinking your revenue cycle, your proposal billing, and collection efforts, okay. And you can use that we’ve talked about a number of different tools on the technology lab. But I want you to look at your, I want you to take a long, hard look in the mirror, at your, at the way you do your billing, and know that the plumbers, the plumbers house always has leaky pipes. The cobblers kids always have holes on their shoes, okay. And the accountants always have problems with their billing, okay. And so, I want you to think about this, and resolve this year to get this fixed. So you can go into 2000, late 2024, or maybe even if you put it off a little bit early 2025 with a fresh approach that that treats people the way that you would want to be treated within the billing process and and again, with with timely billing, and getting just takes the friction out of the whole process. So it’s it’s much harder for people to procrastinate on it.

Randy Johnston  16:28

All right. Well, it’s a pleasure to work with you again in the accounting Technology Lab. And hopefully you can get a that revenue cycle problem addressed this year, we know you’ll be able to do it. So please do take the time. And perhaps Anker winds up being one of your solutions. So we’ll see you again in another accounting Technology Lab. Good day.

Brian F. Tankersley, CPA.CITP, CGMA  16:51 Thank you for sharing your time with us. We’ll be back next Saturday with a new episode of the technology lab, from CPA practice advisor. Have a great

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