Focusing on India, Intuit adds new features to QuickBooks to help small businessesVishal Krishna
At the recently-held QuickBooks conference in San Jose, California, Intuit said these innovations will find its way to India soon.
Intuit, the $5.7 billion software company that provides software for accountants and small businesses, is pushing boundaries to create a network of 3.4 million customers that use its software. Its “QuickBooks” network allows Artificial Intelligence (AI) to work on three broad themes - smart money, smart decisions and smart connections – to help small businesses. At the recent QuickBooks conference in San Jose, California, Intuit said these innovations will soon find their way to India.
A majority of new releases are currently not available in India and will be made available based on local compliance of the Intuit suite of services (which includes the flagship product QuickBooks). Intuit said several AI-based elements have been built with India as a key market.
“Money is like oxygen to people who work for themselves. But every day, the self-employed and small businesses struggle to manage their cash flow. They struggle to get paid on time, face friction to obtain loans and often juggle managing payroll,” says Sasan Goodarzi, designated CEO of Intuit.
About 70 percent of new businesses — those in the first five years of operation — say they need funding to grow but only 23 percent are able to access it according to Intuit.
QuickBooks Capital was built to remove the friction from the lending process where banks ask for collateral from first-time entrepreneurs. The new platform will help small businesses overcome the barriers they face in accessing smaller loans. The AI determines in half an hour whether a person is creditworthy and underwrites the risk immediately. The company says it has, over the last one year, disbursed $140 million in loans with less than six percent of the small businesses defaulting.
Tony Palmer, Co-founder of Relics Market Place says, “Every small business cannot go to a bank. QuickBooks capital helped me get the short-term loan required to set up my workplace and loan was approved with their technology in a matter of minutes”.
Intuit’s new QuickBooks Payments helps small businesses get paid more than two times faster. Small businesses can create a “payments-enabled” invoice in less than a minute, with their hours, expenses and mileage populated automatically. QuickBooks users will also soon have the option of accepting payments by PayPal and Apple Pay. They can also integrate with Google to send QuickBooks invoices from within Gmail, view the status and get paid online. Also, small businesses can pay their vendors on a daily or a weekly basis.
“Businesses live on bills generated and collected. If collections are better, you are able to take care of the whole organisation. It is as simple as that,” says Sanjay Sakhuja, owner of DPI-SF, a custom print shop.
Small businesses make decisions for themselves and are often guessing or deciding without relevant insights or information. “Leveraging Machine Learning and data-driven insights, QuickBooks is becoming predictive and proactive, intelligently anticipating critical turning points, making customers smarter and more confident in the decisions they need to make for their business,” says Goodarzi.
QuickBooks Assistant is a new, virtual assistant that delivers financial insights. It takes a few seconds for customers to use QuickBooks Assistant to share how much money they made last month, how much tax they’ll owe at the end of the year, how long their current cash flow will last, or even how profitable the most recent customer was.
“With technology telling you who owes you how much instead of me tracking the payments, it makes it easier to be an independent business. It’s all about cash flow,” says Elena Kulikova, an independent photographer, who uses Intuit’s services in the form of QuickBooks.
QuickBooks also helps organise work. Using machine learning that adapts in real time to the constant flow of ecosystem data, it will automate work and save time and money.
As a network, QuickBooks is connecting self-employed and small businesses to customers, employees, partners and tools. The network is already fuelling success by:
Accountant collaboration: About 89 percent say they are more successful when they work with an accountant. Intuit recently launched the ‘Find-A-ProAdvisor‘ platform, and today, the algorithm connects almost 1,000 small businesses to accountants every single day worldwide.
Connecting to apps: Intuit’s App Store now has more than 500 apps, and they all integrate seamlessly with QuickBooks. They’re available through either QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Online Accountant so accountants can discover, recommend, setup and manage the right apps for their clients.
Lighter Capital Intuit Developer Fund: For software developers, getting the resources they need to scale and grow quickly can be a challenge. Intuit and Lighter Capital have partnered to create a $15 million fund for developers designing apps for Intuit QuickBooks, giving them access to $50,000 to up to $2 million to help them get to the next level, without giving up equity or control of their company.
The company uses AI to understand key phrases in emails and automates them to tasks that can be answered based on priority. It also gives dashboards for accountants to understand cash flow problems of their clients.
Today, the company competes with the likes of Zoho and Tally in India. There are close to 50 million SMEs in India, of which 25 million are independent working professionals. Intuit wants to make it big in India’s digital push, but says it wants to get the compliance part of the accounting systems absolutely right before it goes all out in the market.