FinancialForce.com has introduced an add-on to its Web-based accounting software that gives the system Facebook-like social networking features and could represent a new paradigm for accounting software.
FinancialForces president and CEO Jeremy Roche, who also chairs sister company Unit 4 Coda, stopped by the WebCPA and Accounting Today offices this afternoon to demo the new Chatterbox application (see FinancialForce.com Gets Chatty). Unit 4 Coda CEO Steve Pugh paid a visit yesterday (see Coda Deals with Tech Company Changes).
The software uses Salesforce.coms new Chatter technology to allow accounting staff to collaborate and communicate via social networking-like features. FinancialForce.com is built using Salesforces Force.com technology, and the company is partly owned by Salesforce.com. The Chatterbox and Chatter applications borrow some of the interface features of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, showing photos of accounting staffers who are handling particular invoices and overdue accounts receivable alongside their communications. All that's missing is the party photos.
Users can set up rules for when an overdue invoice should trigger a Chatterbox stream that allows sales and accounting staff to be alerted and communicate about the reasons why that might have happened.
The social networking interface could be the next step forward for accounting software like Coda, which has progressed over the years from mainframe computers to minicomputers to DOS-based PC software to Windows and Web-enabled software to SaaS and cloud computing. Now with social networking-like capabilities, the software can interface with Facebook via Salesforce.com. Not only that, but Roche confirmed that FinancialForce's recently introduced iPhone app also runs on the brand-new Apple iPad. Very cool.