Intuit announced some major new features for QuickBooks Online at its first global conference for the online accounting software in San Francisco last week. Digital First caught up with the man responsible – Terry Hicks, vice president and general manager, Quickbooks Online – to find out the top three or four features. Some of these won’t be available until December, and then only in the US, with international release due early Q1.
QuickBooks Online includes several new ways for small business owners to collaborate with accountants. For example, QBO users can send a note to their accountant about a specific transaction within the program. “That’s going to be a really important for small businesses,” Hicks says.
2. Apps Marketplace
Intuit has built a proper marketplace that shows applications to users only according to the region in which they’re available. It also knows which apps are relevant to a user’s industry. “It helps them discover what’s important for small business,” Hicks says.
Payroll for QuickBooks Online used to be a standalone app that could manually import data. Now a “full-service” payroll is built into the accounting app itself which eliminates the need to import files or re-enter data. Businesses enter the number of hours worked for each employee and then choose to print cheques or deposit directly (at no charge).
QuickBooks Online automatically calculates all federal, state and local tax forms and payments filings. “We focus on the fact that it’s turnkey and we make it easy, we’re not trying to woo customers away from competitors,” Hicks says. (QuickBooks Online integrates with ADP and PayCheck.)
4. Custom Invoices
Intuit has made it easier to make branded invoices. A user can map a Word document to fields in QuickBooks Online so the emailed invoice looks exactly how it did on paper. “Small businesses care about their brands,” Hicks says. QuickBooks Online sends an electronic invoice which can be viewed and paid online.
A customer can make comments to discuss the amount, and Intuit stores their banking credentials so they can quickly pay other companies using QuickBooks Online.
5. Outbound Payments (TBA)
Another new feature is QuickBooks Online’s simplified payments gateway which lets businesses take payments on mobiles, from credit cards and ACH bank transfers. But that’s not all of it.
Xero has long advocated the concept of Banking 2.0 where banks and software companies innovate to improve the way businesses manage their bank accounts. Xero has already convinced one bank to allow users to initiate payments from within Xero, eliminating the need to create an ABA file.
When I asked Hicks about outbound payments to suppliers or government agencies through Tax Online (see above), he smiled and said: “We have not announced it.” Intuit has plenty of experience in payments and close ties to the US banks. Watch this space.
Disclosure: Sholto Macpherson travelled to QuickBooks Connect as a guest of Intuit.