A note from Pete Potsos, Bluevine’s Senior Director of Accountant Partnerships:
Innovation is at the center of the work we do at Bluevine. We are constantly looking for new ways to deliver on our goal of supporting small businesses as they grow. A big part of that involves having a deep understanding of the business journey, including what business owners’ biggest pain points are, what patterns we see as businesses scale, and where customized tech solutions could help take the stress and complexity out of day-to-day business operations.
It was exactly this kind of thinking that inspired us to take a closer look at how small businesses manage their finances—more specifically, how they engage with accountants and how we could streamline the relationship between small businesses and accountants through a dedicated dashboard and accountant experience.
Data shows that accounting is by and large one of the most stressful components of running a business.BVSUP-00059 For small business owners, this typically means bringing on a small business accountant—often an external consultant or accounting firm—to help take over accounting processes.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as just outsourcing accounting to a professional and calling it a day. There’s generally quite a bit of friction involved in bringing an accountant on board. Accountants and accounting firms rely on online banking to access and manage their client’s books, yet few solutions exist to give external accountants simple access to the bank information they need. For example, a business owner might find that the easiest option for giving their accountant access to their bank is providing them with the master login credentials to the account. This poses a serious security risk and can be an unwanted liability for the accountant being given this level of access to the bank account. It also overcomplicates the process by requiring accountants to keep track of login credentials across various clients, and it poses potential hurdles when it comes to dealing with things like multifactor authentication upon login.
Recognizing this pain point, we saw an opportunity and need to deliver an experience that creates seamless collaboration between small business owners and accountants.
The result is two-pronged, featuring an Accountant Role and Accountant Dashboard. The Accountant Role feature is a way for Bluevine customers to invite an external accountant to their online banking platform using dedicated login credentials. This gives accountants 24/7 access to a small business’s key financial information—e.g., bank statements—while providing peace of mind to small business owners and accountants alike that an owner can control or disable access at any time.
The Accountant Dashboard, on the other hand, is built with the accountant experience in mind. This is a dedicated dashboard where accountants can access and manage multiple clients’ online banking accounts. It also provides access to their own account if they have a checking account through Bluevine. A single login provides the accountant with access to all the information they need—this includes client information, as well as the accountant’s personal details if they’re a Bluevine checking customer—in one easy-to-navigate dashboard view. The dashboard also provides features like bulk statement downloads and client invite capabilities so accountants can easily encourage businesses they’re working with to apply for an account with Bluevine. Our plan is to also rollout additional features in the coming months to expand the capabilities of the dashboard. These include image downloads for checks and multi-user accountant access.
Beyond recognizing the importance of creating a thoughtful solution for simplifying the relationship between small businesses and their accountants, we realized as we began creating our suite of accountant-focused banking features that we had a unique connection with the accountants and the accounting firms ourselves. In a lot of ways, these accountants that we’re building for are similar to us in that their priority is helping small businesses grow.
Particularly over the past few years with the pandemic and Paycheck Protection Program, we were some of the first financial responders out there for small businesses, right along with accountants. We saw that without the proper financing or without a good accounting partner, small businesses would struggle to exist.BVSUP-00059
In identifying this synchronicity, we realized that building a streamlined solution for accountants was about more than just solving the accounting woes of current and future customers—it was also about building with the broader small business ecosystem in mind, such that we could even better deliver our own mission and purpose. The way we see it, empowering the small business accountant is just another part of empowering small businesses across the board.
Our plans as they pertain to our wider small business audience will continue to be a main priority for us. However, we see an important opportunity to also build a dedicated experience and product suite for small business accountants, something we plan to continue doing in parallel with our wider roadmap. Our goal is to continue learning and engaging with accountants to best understand their needs and create innovative tech solutions to meet them.
While this work around building for accountants points to a lot of exciting changes here at Bluevine, it’s also a testament to how our core purpose remains unchanged. In our continued commitment to building for and around small business financial success, we are ready and willing to uncover all the layers of that undertaking—and to follow in whatever direction it may lead. From launching new features, to shifting our product roadmap when needed, to identifying new target segments we need to build for—everything we do has always been, and will continue to be, for the sake of small business.
This content is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice of any type, such as financial, legal, tax, or accounting advice. This content does not necessarily state or reflect the views of Bluevine or its partners. Please consult with an expert if you need specific advice for your business. For information about Bluevine products and services, please visit the Bluevine FAQ page.