ZAPIER: FROM IFTTT'WEIRD'TO'WONDERFUL'IN A ZAP
In November 2014 I introduced you to a platform that connects one internet service to another separate and disparate service (see "Expanding Your App-titude: If This, Then That (IFTTT): Create 'Recipes' for Success "JofA, Nov. 2014, tinyurl.com/y63aawpf). I wrote, "IFTTT is a free internet service that allows you to 'connect' disparate platforms by triggering an action on one platform based on something that happens on another."
The profession (and many others) dismissed it as being "weird." Now, five years later, it has most definitely morphed into "wonderful." Let's revisit the state of the art launched by IFTTT.
Since 2014 the number of vendors providing software as a service (SaaS) has expanded, as have the genres covered, but the number of practicing CPAs utilizing "connectors" has exploded. Every conference I attend I hear someone talking about tools to streamline, automate, or simplify. While IFTTT is a fine platform, it is still not sophisticated enough for many of the complex, multistep processes employed in today's modern practices.
Enter the ZAP. Zapier has been gaining a lot of notice in this marketspace. Think of Zapier as a business-grade version of its cousin, the consumer-grade IFTTT. While IFTTT interested a lot of us, Zapier has validated the "automation" genre.
I think the best approach to this topic is to detail some of the differences between Zapier and IFTTT. First there's vocabulary. The aforementioned ZAP is analogous to the IFTTT "recipe." The platforms use "trigger" and "task" similarly. Beyond that, Zapier adds words such as "filter" and "multistep" to describe some of its advanced features. Also note that Zapier runs only from a browser while IFTTT boasts apps that provide easy access for iOS and Android devices.
Since it is business-oriented, Zapier is more powerful and more flexible, but those qualities make it more complicated, too. While the consumer-grade IFTTT provides only two connections, Zapier's beefier service has no connection limits, allowing for far more complex processes.
Depending on your intended use, you'll find Zapier either very helpful...