17 Nov Jon Cartu Reports QuickBooks Introduces Live Bookkeeping Support
Many business owners dread keeping their books. They don’t have the time to learn how to use their accounting software properly, fall behind on keeping financial records for their business and end up in a mad scramble when tax time rolls around as they get ready to meet with their accountant.
“They lack the confidence they are maintaining their books correctly,” says Ted Callahan, ecosystem leader for the self-employed at Intuit, which owns QuickBooks. “That lack of confidence means they are not using all of the professional insight in that platform to think about growing their business.”
QuickBooks aims to offer a solution through its new QuickBooks Live service, an AI-driven platform introduced earlier this month. It enables QuickBooks users to enlist a screened professional bookkeeper to categorize their expenses, reconcile their transactions and keep their books up to date. Users can get started by logging into the online platform. QuickBooks has added a button on the bottom left of the interface that says “Live bookkeeping.”
The service is aimed at businesses that need a light level of service and are not currently connected to an accountant or bookkeeper. Currently, 40% of QuickBooks users have not connected an accountant to their books. That situation is common for one-person business owners, who often lack the resources to bring in professional help, particularly in the early years of running their businesses.
The move comes at a time when more entrepreneurs, unable to keep up with their bookkeeping or eager to focus on other work, are turning to outsourced services such as Bench, a venture backed company that launched in 2012, and Bookkeeping Express, a full-service bookkeeping company founded in 1984.
Some of these services offer small business owners the option of doing without their accounting software altogether. With Bench, for instance, small business owners can connect their bank account, business credit card and other accounts to the Bench platform, which pulls the data into its own software. A bookkeeper adds any manual transactions and reconciles the books, creating documents such as the profit and loss statement and balance sheet.
QuickBooks’ bookkeepers, in contrast, use QuickBooks, which many accountants favor, to keep an entrepreneur’s books balanced. After a preliminary interview with a customer, the customer’s primary bookkeeper creates a personalized plan for keeping their company’s books up to date. Individual bookkeepers within the network will have access to Intuit’s full team of bookkeepers to deal with any questions they cannot address on their own.
QuickBooks’ bookkeepers will be available to small business owners via phone or one-way messaging chat, which includes screen share, from 6 am to 6 pm Pacific time. “A lot of small business owners are working on their business during the day and need the accounting support,” says Callahan.
Pricing for the service is based on the monthly expenses, including payroll and inventory, of the small business. The three tiers are $200, $400 and $600. A business with less than $25,000 in expenses would fall into the $200 category.
QuickBooks has given a 100% accuracy guarantee, says Callahan. “If there is ever a problem, we’ll go back and fix it free of charge,” he says.