Quickbooks Gets an Overhaul

Gina Deveney
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Professional users of QuickBooks software were recently introduced to major upgrades at Intuit's first ever QuickBooks Connect conference attended by 1,000 accountants, small business owners and application developers in San Jose, Calif. Its new features include cloud computing, firm-wide access to a client's account, and alerts that tell accountants what kind of documentation they need from customers. As far as accounting programs go, the new version of QuickBooks is a hit.

Technically called QuickBooks Online Accountant, the new software integrates Intuit's popular ProAdvisor program available in desktop versions. This change is one of more than 100 enhancements made by the software giant at the request of accountants who use the program regularly. Company executives promise the desktop version will not go away any time soon as long as there is demand for it.

The move to cloud computing was only a matter of time. Earlier in 2014, sales of online versions of QuickBooks software surpassed the desktop version for the first time in the 30-year history of the program. App developers at the conference show Intuit is serious about staying ahead of the mobile game.

The main part of QBOA is the "Client Dashboard," a portion of QuickBooks software that alerts accountants to new transactions with regards to a client. Accountants customize the dashboard by whatever is most pressing with a particular customer, from alerts to recent activities to transactions. In just one click, a professional accountant can access a company's payroll, books and incoming revenue to target any red flags.

Alerts are a big part of the new QBOA. Accountants receive updates on tax filings, due dates, reconciliations, payments and an overall picture of a business's financial health. Professionals are notified the instant a customer sends them new material to complete a vital documentation request. These documents are vital for businesses and accountants during tax time to avoid audits, penalties and fees. Documents sent to accountants can also identify problem areas that need improvement before a catastrophic failure develops and forces a business to close. Instant access to clients, across an entire accounting firm, was one of the major selling points for the new QuickBooks software package.

Education and certification is a big deal with Intuit. Expansion of the vaunted ProAdvisor program helps firms train and certify accountants on various aspects of QuickBooks software. ProAdvisor also trains clients to be more aware of accounting practices and procedures.

Intuit's software is still one of the top accounting programs in the world. QuickBooks has been the industry standard for 30 years, going back to when business computing was in its infancy. The forward-thinking company took a leap by moving to the cloud, and accountants are on board thus far. More than 115,000 QBOA users and 705,000 companies cannot be wrong.

The bottom line of these changes for Intuit is that small businesses save time and money. CEO Brad Smith was adamant at QuickBooks Connect when he said QuickBooks software is a "catalyst for change" by attempting to elevate profit margins of each of its clients by just 2.5 percent. The overall effect generates $300 billion in revenue for local economies. Accountants, start your engines. QuickBooks is back.


Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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