QuickBooks Online Accountant is an important part of the QuickBooks ecosystem. The concept is for it to be the accountant’s central tool that ties together different QuickBooks online products for accounting and taxes, something that Intuit has been talking about since 2013 and the virtual office for accountants. Let’s talk about how this product fits within Intuit’s long-term vision, and I’ll make some predictions as to where I think Intuit is taking this product.
This article is part of my series on Intuit and the future of QuickBooks. The articles are:
- Intuit’s Long-Term Vision
- QuickBooks Online Is the Future for Intuit
- QuickBooks Online Accountant Connects Them All (this article)
- Why QuickBooks Self-Employed Is Important to Accountants
- Is QuickBooks Desktop Dead?
QuickBooks Online Accountant Is the Glue
Intuit provides a wide variety of online products for the multi-service accounting firm. You have QuickBooks Online for accounting, ProConnect Tax Online for tax prep, Online Payroll for Accounting Professionals, and more. All of these products exist in their own separate worlds, but Intuit wants to bring them all together for you into one place. That is the goal for QuickBooks Online Accountant – to be the glue that binds these products together.
Intuit’s vision for QuickBooks Online Accountant is that the accounting professional will be able to access all of the online products from one central place. This vision hasn’t been fulfilled yet, but they are working in that direction.
The client list is the core feature of QuickBooks Online Accountant. Recently, Intuit released multiple changes to this feature. In addition to being able to access your QuickBooks Online customers from this list, you now can access clients who are using QuickBooks Self-Employed. Also, if you are working with ProConnect Tax Online, those clients are now included in the QuickBooks Online Accountant client list. This is all a part of their plan to make QuickBooks Online Accountant the “glue” between all of the accountant-oriented Intuit products.
Looking forward, I believe that Intuit will continue to develop this product by connecting it to all of their online products for accountants, and providing features that will make it more and more of an accounting practice management tool. Here’s a look at what I predict Intuit is going to change in QuickBooks Online Accountant:
- All online accountant products will tie in. I believe that any online product that Intuit offers to accountants is going to be accessible through QuickBooks Online Accountant. They will continue to connect product via the client list, similar to what they’ve done with ProConnect Tax Online.
- There will be a comprehensive, integrated document management feature. Intuit discontinued the Document Center feature in 2016, without providing a replacement. This was an integration with Box that allowed you to store and access client documents via QuickBooks Online Accountant. I believe that Intuit found that this feature wasn’t being used by many accountants. I always thought that this feature was too simplistic and separate from documents stored in QuickBooks Online itself. In any case, I predict that Intuit will come out with a more comprehensive document management tool as a part of QuickBooks Online Accountant.
- Client collaboration will be a focus. Intuit will be introducing more features that support accountant-client collaboration in the near future. One example that Intuit launched recently is an interactive feature that is similar to what they currently provide to their own TurboTax consumer support representatives, allowing your client to make a video connection with you from within their QuickBooks Online account. It is a very interactive session, as you can see if you watch a minute of this Intuit presentation. In addition to this I expect there to be support for other ways of exchanging messages and notes with your clients through the program, with a “history” of your conversation.
- Matchmaking will be a focus in the QuickBooks product line. Intuit has found that a QuickBooks Online user is more likely to continue using the product if they are matched up with an accountant. QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Self-Employed users are going to see more and more messaging about getting connected with an accountant/ProAdvisor. This means that if you are an accountant or ProAdvisor working with this kind of client, it is important that you have all your clients listed in your QuickBooks Online Accountant client list. If you have a client listed there, Intuit knows that they are associated with you and they won’t try to refer them to another accountant. If your client is not in this list, Intuit may direct them to someone else!
QuickBooks Online Accountant is an odd product for Intuit, because they give it away to accountants for free! It doesn’t have to generate income, which means that the development team can focus on just “delighting” their accounting professional partners. It is clear that QuickBooks Online Accountant is a key part of Intuit’s vision of the future.