Every week the team at LaunchFA amasses a list of over 300 B2B & fintech product launches from around the globe. We hand-pick our favorites each week, and they're distributed via a weekly newsletter, launchfa.com, Twitter and Facebook.
Put a pile of new launches in front of accountants each week and what do you get? A really good idea of what you people like to look at. Is it the best launch? Maybe not. Is it the launch you need? Probably not. But it's the launch you clicked on.
Here are the top 10 launches that piqued your interest in 2020:
Simple and flexible businesses software for streamlining information gathering, and automating document based workflows
We featured Anvil because they have a novel take on form-building. Ever needed something a bit more professional & structured than your traditional web form tool? Anvil provides a customizable, step by step form builder for walking clients through more complex scenarios, or simplifying the arcane.
Rather than a traditional step-by-step approach, fields are organized into pages. This allows you the space to explain exactly what you're looking for. The layout is also more dense, and suitable for lists of fields that may be left empty. If a traditional web form builder is suited for a questionnaire, Anvil is suite for larger volume intake, like a Schedule C or Schedule E organizer page.
To top it off, Anvil can even fill out PDF forms, allowing you to build a reusable, human-readable form over the top of a gnarly tax form like a W-4.
Boost your team spirit through epic online escape rooms
2020 will be remembered for a lot of things, among them the year the accounting industry made a mad dash for web tools. When COVID uprooted firms from their cozy offices, it left us scrambling to find a replacement for the comradery that comes from working shoulder to shoulder.
Skyrocket Your Team pounced on the escape room trend by putting escape rooms into the virtual meeting format. An excuse to unplug from the hustle for an hour or two and take on a different sort of challenge with your team.
There are a few groups offering virtual team-based challenges like this, but Skyrocket Your Team proved most popular to readers this year.
Calculators & Forms To Make Your Business Thrive
Another form-builder you say? Not quite. UCALC is the most compelling example we saw in 2020 of how embedded calculators can be a valuable resource for accountants.
Most form-builders have very rudimentary calculation or scoring functionality. UCALC helps you build complex calculators in a single, simplified view. The result is an easy to build, customizable interface that allows your clients to plug & play data themselves.
I used this tool myself this year when clients were struggling to get their heads around the calculation of a new tax that Oregon rolled out in 2020. It's the perfect product upon which you can develop a tool for marketing purposes.
Connect your favorite apps in a few clicks, for free, without coding.
An API connector like Zapier? For free you say? 🤔
We said at the time it sounded a little too good to be true, and for now, that may be the case. The API connector space exploded in 2020, and Apiway is taking a different path to monetization. Rather than paid user accounts, their revenue comes from app recommendations in your flows. Think Capterra, but for API connectors.
When we kicked the tires on the tool it was clearly still early days. The strength of an API connector after all is largely dependent on the volume of APIs that are supported. But Apiway represents a unique approach, and is a reminder that Zapier will never be the only player in the API connector space.
Categorize expenses based on client responses and sync to QuickBooks Online
Look an actual accounting app! We loved Uncat because it provides you with a single, platform-agnostic place to sort out categorizations with your clients.
With a native QBO integration and Xero on the way, you have a single place to discuss categorizations, and gather receipts in a way that will automatically sync back to the accounting software. Even better, it pulls any transactions into Uncat that hit accounts you specify for each client (Suspense, Ask My Accountant, etc).
Turn that workflow on its head and you could even wire it up to the accounting file of your once-a-year client's Ask my Accountant account, to keep the conversation going year-round.
Unify your apps with a simplified customer view
This one we didn't see coming - A chrome extension that, among other apps, integrates with QBO & Xero and pulls all your customer data into a single contextual side-bar.
Responding to client emails? Billing a client? Glances pulls the data from all your apps into a side-bar view in your browser.
Since being featured in LFA they've introduced Windows + Mac Apps, and even Slack & MS Teams apps. From your G Suite, to Mailchimp, SalesForce, Intercom and Stripe, Glances aggregates your customer data into a single hub for easy access.
Transform your data in minutes. Without coding.
Ever tried to clean up data with Zapier? Format a number? A bit of text? Good. Luck.
Even tech-savvy accountants still spend an unfortunate amount of time taking data from point A, tidying it up a bit, and dropping it into point B. Enter Pasteur. A platform to handle recurring data cleanup.
This probably isn't a replacement for your ad-hoc data exploration in excel, but if you have recurring workflows that are dependent upon specific data, or are dealing with a large volume of data, Pasteur is an API-based solution to handle your data cleanup automatically.
Spreadsheet Workflows You Always Wanted
Have you noticed? Everyone is out to get our spreadsheets.
That is until Layer. They let us keep our excel spreadsheets, and wrapped entire workflows around them. Now you can fire them off on a recurring basis, and exchange them with clients automatically.
Share specific cell ranges, track changes & manage version history in a single place. Layer is bringing our spreadsheets into the 21st century, and it's why Layer is one of our favorite launches of 2020.
The most powerful screen recorder for Chrome. Capture, annotate, edit, and more
As shoulder-to-shoulder time disappeared in 2020, screen capture tools took center stage. A big story in the space was Loom putting significant restrictions on a free plan that was once very generous.
A host of new options have since cropped up, but none with the fanfare of Screenity.
Screenity takes a different approach to screen capture. Rather than an all-in-one recording & video hosting solution, it's a free, open-source recording tool. It won't host your videos for you, but it will allow you to integrate with a video service of your choice.
This means rather than parking your potentially sensitive client videos on a platform that none of your other media lives on, you can store that media in a secure environment with the rest of your data, all at no cost to you.
The average company saves more than $50,000 with less than an hour of work.
Tens of thousands of dollars in tax credits? Just a few clicks of the mouse you say? I can already hear the accountants gathering their pitchforks.
Not so fast though. If you look past the bold copy, MainStreet is taking a novel approach to overcoming traditional pain points with R&D credits: (1) a time consuming discovery & interview process, and (2) disjointed ongoing year-over-year credit reporting.
MainStreet has introduced direct payroll integrations with popular platforms like Gusto to not only pull historical payroll data, but ongoing payroll data so that you have access to future credits as soon as they're available to you.
In addition to R&D credits, MainStreet has a database of other credits they will introduce users to on an ongoing basis. They even introduced a partner program, with similar revenue sharing opportunities to other R&D players.
That's it! Who needs accounting ledgers when you can have automated tax credits, spreadsheet candy and escape rooms?