Thoughts on what businesses actually need from the Cloud, not what vendors wish they needed.

Chris Bliss

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Working Point reviewed

Online accounting has long been a hot topic in the cloud community and it’s finally starting to bleed through to the mainstream. A recent survey by Bay Street Group reported over 75% of CPAs and accountants recognized they need to adopt new SaaS solutions, and 82% tie new tech adoption to client retention and growth (link courtesy of AccMan). Unsurprisingly, this trend correlates with an increase in online accounting solutions, both good and bad. Alongside Xero, the industry’s current #1, the curious consumer will find dozens of other options, ranging from simple invoicing programs like FreeAgent and Freshbooks to the fully-featured Kashflow or unique Indinero.

Nestled among the competition is Working Point, an understated, straightforward accounting solution, headed by a board of directors that includes Tom Proulx, co-founder of Inuit (think Quickbooks). We’ve been looking at Working Point for a while now and thought to share some thoughts…

In terms of user friendliness and general “feel,” Working Point impresses. Organizations receive a unique login page that’s navigated by tabs and helpfully includes “at a glance” tutorials for every page. There’s a homepage with general profit reports and a banking summary; a contact page that lists contacts entered in the system; a bills page for expenses; an items page for invoiced inventory items; an accounts page with 21 editable account types (payable/receivable etc); a reports page with standard accounting reports; and a company profile page which lists your company on Working Point’s website, supposedly to enhance SEO and “get in touch with customers and prospects” (yeah right).

Refreshingly, it’s an easy system to work within. Estimates are a snap to create and easy to make into invoices. The document aesthetic is bareboned, which we like, and everything interfaces with PayPal, which is almost a gimme but also extremely powerful. The reports are simple and straightforward (do you sense a theme?), and while we haven’t used the tax reports feature it is available and ostensibly quite good. We’re impressed.

On the downside, there are virtually no integrations with other apps, and not even an open API for us freelancers to work with, a major bummer. The obvious implication is double-entry of contact details, not a deal-breaker for most small businesses but annoying nonetheless. If Working Point wants to expand into mid-sized companies they’ll almost certainly have to confront the integration issue, particularly with apps like Gmail or popular CRMs: as businesses grow they’ll increasingly want integrated accounting solutions, not disparate data silos.

There also isn’t real-time sync with bank accounts. This is a thorny issue – check out AccMan’s take on  it here – but in general we feel you don’t want to reimport your transaction details every time you want to expense something.

A final but minor complaint is that though Working Point claims to do contact and inventory management, it doesn’t. As such it isn’t – and shouldn’t be – a “one stop shop,” and probably shouldn’t advertise itself as such. It’s a simple accounting solution, nothing more and nothing less.

All in all, Working Point offers a decent alternative to small businesses looking for cloud accounting solutions. It’s not perfect but it’s compelling enough and probably worth a trial. Check it out!

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Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.