Accountants are real heroes who fuel growth for SMBs, says Aditi Puri Batra, Country Manager, Intuit QuickBooks India

QuickBooks Online Accountant allows CAs and their SMB clients to work together in real time and share information securely.

Rising internet penetration and greater uptake for digital by SMBs could help increase their contribution to India’s GDP by 10 percentage points, taking it up to 46 to 48 percent by 2022.

A 2017 study by KPMG in India and Google titled, Impact of internet and digitisation on SMBs in India, highlights that digital SMBs grow profits up to twice as fast as offline counterparts.

With its mission to power prosperity around the world, Intuit Inc, a global financial platform company with products like TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint, and Turbo, is empowering customers, specifically small businesses, to improve their financial lives.

Aditi Puri Batra

The company recently announced the launch of QuickBooks Online Accountant in India, an online practice management solution specifically designed for chartered accountants to grow their practice and manage their clients all in one place.

Accounting insights

Speaking to YourStory on the sidelines of the launch in Bengaluru, Aditi Puri Batra, Country Manager, Intuit QuickBooks India, says, “Our customers are small businesses and accountants, who we believe are the real heroes who fuel their growth. Though we don’t talk about it that much, but in the surveys we have done, 89 percent of small businesses say they are more successful because they are using an accountant.”

QuickBooks Online Accountant follows the launch of QuickBooks Online in 2012, which is one of India’s leading online financial management solutions for small businesses. The two products allow CAs and their clients (small businesses) to work together in real-time and share information securely.

With over 4.5 million customers powered by more than one million accounting professionals globally, Intuit’s flagship offering, QuickBooks Online Accountant, allows CAs to manage their practice and also helps them to grow it.

The Indian SMEs is expected to increase from 75 million in 2019 to 105 million by 2024. At present, over 70 percent of small businesses in India are digitally enabled; in an enhanced productivity stage where they are leveraging the benefits of cloud-based solutions such as accounting, customer relationship management, and enterprise resource planning.

The addressable market for Intuit QuickBooks is 12 million service-based small businesses that use business workflow productivity tools. These small businesses are being served by 0.15 million (1.5 lakh) practising CAs who are now adopting technology and shifting their practice to the cloud to better serve their clients.

With Intuit for over two years now, Aditi has spent 16 years working with small businesses while she was employed with Amazon India and Google. “I worked on helping small businesses understand new technology trends across the companies I’ve worked with,” she says.

According to her, there is an initial hesitation on the part of small businesses towards technology. “But when they do adopt it, I can see their lives getting impacted in ways they could not have imagined with the efficiency and change. That is true of any technological change. Ten years ago could we have imagined the huge transformation that Whatsapp or Uber has brought about?” she asks.

Time is money

SMBs contribute 40 percent of our GDP.

“In the next five years, it is said that this contribution towards the GDP will rise to 50 percent. That is huge. It is the entrepreneurs and small businesses that create jobs and bring innovative products in the market. At the same time, they face challenges while running their businesses, especially managing their finances and cash flow. Why? Because today, there is no enablement. They do it on their notepad. They manage it in excel or spreadsheet. And when the time comes in the month, they then spend that time wondering how to give this information to their accountants,” Aditi says, sharing the predicament of the small businesses.

CAs and accountant firms enable SMBs to run business efficiently.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) has moved compliance online. So small businesses need to move online as well and maintain data online, including detailed management and recording cash flow.

“We have validated this through something that we call ‘Follow me Home’, where we go to these businesses and observe how they manage their cash flow. We have done ‘Follow Me Homes’ with more 5000 businesses during the time we’ve been in India. In the last one year or so, we have encountered and interacted with 1000 plus accountants,” she says.

What this helped the company learn from accountants was that they spent three-four hours per client. Imagine an accounting firm that has 100 clients. They spend a lot of time chasing their clients for transactional data. That process can take weeks.

“There are complications around multiple tools for GST. Complications around steps like input tax credit reconciliation that is a new thing where we have heard from accountants during our ‘Follow me homes’ that they are spending almost one day matching their books from a reconciliation perspective,” adds Aditi.

So there’s an opportunity cost in terms of time. While small businesses would rather be spending time running their business, the accountant should be giving their clients insights to help them run their businesses efficiently.

Making an impact

“That’s where we believe solutions like ours can make an impact,” Aditi says.

Stating that her company is open to collaborating with startups, she adds that she loves the innovation by startups happening all around.

Daughter of an Air Force officer, Aditi grew up all over India, including Nagpur and Agra. An MBA from Times School of Marketing in Delhi she has worked in India and the US.

“I worked at Google in the US at a time when it was small and scaling up. That’s where I was responsible for growing the company’s footprints in the SMB sector.”

After she moved back to India seven years ago, she was part of Amazon India. The huge opportunity of working for small businesses is what led her to Intuit.