Brandon Bruce is a connector and a problem solver, so it should come as no surprise that the latest start-up where he is the Chief Executive Officer and one of four Co-Founders is focused on solving a common problem that bookkeepers and accountants face – uncategorized expenses.
The new venture, appropriately named Uncat, was launched at the first of November as a tool to reduce time and increase accuracy for users of QuickBooks (QB) Online. The other Co-Founders are: (1) Adam Slack, President of Two Roads, a Knoxville-based bookkeeping company and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Uncat; (2) Jared Smith, Chief Technology Officer; and (3) Kaleigh Veca Smith, Chief Experience Officer.
Today, the team starts holding a series of online discussions – they are called “Brain Dates” – with potential users during day one of the first-ever “QuickBooks Connect” virtual conference that is normally held as an in-person event in San Jose, CA. Most of the attendees come from North America, but the virtual event will probably draw a larger base of participants from across the globe.
We talked with Bruce last week to learn more about the new venture. As is the case with many great ideas, the problem that Uncat was created to address began as a discussion over lunch at a local restaurant.
“I was talking with Adam who explained the challenge that bookkeepers and accountants face in being able to categorize uncategorized expenses,” Bruce told us. “My response was that there had to be a better way.”
In fact, as Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Cirrus Insight, he had seen the challenge first-hand, albeit from the other side of the table. “Our CFO was always asking me to explain an expense,” Bruce said. “Maybe it was a meal at Applebee’s. Was it for business or was it a personal expense that I should reimburse? If a business expense, for what client?”
Those who know Bruce understand that he thrives on tackling problems and finding solutions, so he says that he initiated discussions with Jared Smith, a well-known computer science expert in the community. From there, Bruce says they developed a “minimum product, maybe not one that was that viable,” and engaged bookkeepers to use it and provide feedback.
“We got dozens and dozens of suggestions that were incorporated in the version now available,” he explained. Now, after testing from technical, security, and marketing perspectives, Intuit has approved Uncat on the QuickBooks App Store.
So, what does Uncat do?
Bruce explains that the normal and inefficient process accountants and bookkeepers use to address uncategorized expenses is to export a spreadsheet from QB Online and email it to a client. That results in trading more emails back and forth until everything is addressed.
Uncat provides a much more efficient process. Clients are automatically notified by email when they have uncategorized expenses so that they can add notes and receipts online via Uncat. Once the notes and receipts are returned by the client via the Uncat app, the accountant or bookkeeper can categorize expenses based on client responses, and Uncat securely syncs the updated information with QuickBooks Online.
“It’s fair to say a lot went into developing the app,” Bruce says. “While it’s easy to use and intuitive, there’s quite a bit of work going on in the background.” He credits the Smiths – Jared for the coding and Kaleigh for the user interface design.
“I like utility applications that save people time,” he adds.
Bookkeepers and accountants can test drive Uncat for free with one client. After that, the charge is $10 per month per client user with volume discounts available.
There is a YouTube video describing the Uncat app that can be found here.