During the second day of Intuit’s QuickBooks Connect show, which has now grown to nearly 5,000 attendees, the tone of the day was about the future…set forth by none other than CEO Brad Smith. As expected, it’s about improvements in cloud, mobile, integrations in general and oh yes…bots.
Though still a mainstay for U.S. accountants and their small business clients, Intuit is of course challenged on many fronts and during the show they answered with a myriad of product improvements and a peak at what is to come.
First and foremost, Smith set the tone by claiming long-standing support for the accountant and small business relationship, going so far as to quote stats that show 89 percent of “successful” small businesses work with an accountant. As for their small business customers themselves, Smith added that “the economy will not grow and nothing will happen without you. You have all created 1.2 million new jobs over the past year and 6.5 million over the past five.”
He also laid out five major trends that will impact the future of small business and accounting: social, machine learning (or artificial intelligence), platforms, mobile and security. Never missing a chance to be humble, Smith wrapped his portion of the tone setting for the day by adding “we recognize that we have a lot of work to do still. Connecting accountants to small businesses and helping businesses save time so you have more time is our commitment.”
So what’s actually coming from Intuit? Executive Vice President and General Manager of the company’s Small Business Group Sasan Goodarzi had some answers.
First up, since 98 percent of businesses use Excel or Google Sheets to figure out how much cash they have, resulting in over three hours to understand where you are in your P&L, Intuit as adding machine learning to the mobile interface of QBO. The result, they expect will be an integration between Excel or Google Sheets and QBO, whereby the above information will be available in approximately 5 minutes.
Goodarzi did not quite come out and call this a bot, but that’s essentially what we’re looking at from Intuit.
Next, given that 60 percent of QuickBooks users use Google Calendar, often using them to track hours for invoicing clients, Google Calendar will be integrated with QBO.
Also, coming in the next several months will be the ability for QBO users to approve which bill they want to pay and when they want to pay it. What’s more is there will be the ability to understand if an invoice was viewed, paid, and deposited allowing the accountant to better understand a client’s cash flow.
Finally, accountants and bookkeepers got some love as Goodarzi announced that Intuit plans to roll out the ability for them to grow their practice by being able to automate and digitize all of their interactions with clients. Essentially a practice management tool.
More specifically, Intuit is making moves for nearly everthing an accountant does to be done in QuickBooks Online Accountant. Such is the reasons for previously announced integrations with Intuit Online Tax, QuickBooks Online Self Employed and in the coming months, practice management abilities.
According to CeCe Morken, executive vice president, general manager of Intuit's ProConnect Group, QBOA users will, over the next year or so, experience the ability to manage workflow, staff, financials, documents, and leads all in one place. In addition, Morken noted that Intuit is currently experimenting on insights now. This tool will show clients trends and are currently working with accountants on what the UI needs to look like in order to share with clients.