There is a revolution happening in the industry and exciting changes are happening as we speak. Recently at QuickBooks Connect Toronto, TD Accounting’s own Tammatha Denyes had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Rich Preece, the Leader of Intuit’s Accountant Segment in the Small Business Group to discuss some of these advances and pose questions from a few of our industry colleagues.
Arden Vanderhorst, CPA from Whitby had some great questions for Mr Preece.
Question 1: Currently the Workpapers section of QBOA does not provide a framework for accountants to create proper working paper files for Notice to Readers or other engagements. Are there are any plans in place to develop a framework to compete with products like Caseware Working Papers?
“The short answer is, there is. This plan is on the roadmap for Intuit. A date has not been confirmed yet, but it will likely take months not years for this to happen. Intuit is working with Australian and UK managers to see how it will be used globally then we will have a much clearer vision. We are committed to making this happen.”
Question 2: How does Intuit plan to utilize AI in its QBO and Profile products going forward?
“The most recent example of how we’re integrating AI into the QuickBooks platform is QB Assistant, our brand-new AI-powered chatbot which combines data-driven insights and natural language processing to help business owners more easily stay on tope of their finances. Using your smartphone, you can ask QB Assistant questions about your business and finances and get instant answers. Questions like – When are taxes due? Where is all my money going? How much did I spend last month? Can you send me report on that? You will be given instant answers and asked for your feedback, so the program can be improved even further. This will completely change how small businesses will interact with QBO. With over 2.5 million QBO customers anomalies will be discovered. The engineers then start to learn with great accuracy, the most likely next question. Answers are tailored to save the business owner time allowing them to be as efficient as possible.
The technology changes that are happening in the industry are revolutionary. They may seem futuristic for some and we don’t want business owners to fear this. It is all about efficiencies and data. Our platform of connected data continues to expand, driving our ability to leverage machine learning. Intuit wants to power the prosperity of everybody based on that data but make it very specific to that client. If we can anonymize the data and give you access to query that data, your next client will be that much more successful. The reality is that every small business working with an accounting professional will be advantaged beyond belief versus if they are not. Those accounting professionals need to embrace this shift and join us on this journey into the future.
This doesn’t mean we do not support desktop customers. In fact, we want them to continue to be happy and able to service their customers. As much as the support will continue, all the technology budget and improvements will be focused on QBO. We won’t to anything to pricing to deter desktop customers, though. The program will continue to work as it does today.”
Question 3: How does Intuit see the impact of AI affecting its relationship with bookkeepers and accountants?
“We want there to be a comradery between AI and accounting professionals. This requires a high level of transparency between Intuit and the industry. Functionality has been shared and we’ve seen two different reactions. 90 per cent of customers think it is incredibly exciting. They feel it will free up time and resources for them to do what they want in their businesses. 10 per cent of customers are worried that AI is now doing the work that they’ve charged clients for in the past. They fear that it’s competitive, and they don’t like that. As an industry, we are heading in a certain direction and are committed to that direction in our hearts. Intuit will still support this 10 per cent but they need to know that their businesses may become outdated if they don’t keep pace with the changing industry. The bottom line is that new technologies like AI and automation help you deepen relations with your clients, helping you focus on value-add activities rather than templated tasks.”
The final question came from Jonathan Carter, Owner of KATA Accounting Services, based out of Mississauga.
Question 4: The changes that are happening in the “virtual space” is mind boggling and vast. How will Intuit maximize this technology in the coming years to help the SMB and professional bring value to their businesses?
“The sky is the limit. The future may not have even been imagined yet.
Eighty per cent of small businesses in the US and Canada who use some kind of accounting package, use QuickBooks. That means our platform has access to an ever-expanding pool of data. There are endless possibilities of where it can go. Intuit has always been a company to test voraciously. We will continue to use any data we can to improve and build upon our products. We’ve even launched products knowing they aren’t perfect in order to get feedback from our customers on where or what to improve. Practice Management is a good example of this. We knew we would get feedback about recurring tasks but launched it while it was being built in order to get constructive feedback.
In 12 months, I would expect that QB Assistant will have been broadly adopted by our QBO customer base. It will change the ways that our users interact with the product and their bookkeeping and accounting professionals.”
Any way you look at it, Intuit is here to support bookkeepers and accountants globally and is committed to building products and services that will allow us to service our clients more efficiently and successfully.
Until next time,