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Screenshot of QuickBooks Advanced plus vendor add-ons
Intuit QuickBooks

Intuit targets UK mid-market with QuickBooks Advanced launch

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The long-awaited launch of QuickBooks’ most sophisticated product into the UK is the latest in a series of developments that show the cloud action is currently in the mid-market.

26th Sep 2022
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QuickBooks Online (QBO) Advanced targets UK businesses the Sacramento-based vendor hasn’t previously been able to cater for –  those turning over £1m or £2m, with a small in-house finance team, sales ledgers and often a credit control element attached.

Typically this type of business would be using a desktop-based solution or cloud general ledger with multiple app ecosystem connections, and QuickBooks hopes that the lure of real-time information, enhanced efficiency and accessibility, and the ability to have “everything in one place” can secure Advanced a place in mid-market hearts and minds. 

The product takes the feature set of QuickBooks Online Plus, formally its most sophisticated offering in the UK market, and adds enhanced capabilities including access controls, data restoration and customised reports.

Originally launched in North America four years ago, QBO Advanced has been trialled with a small number of QuickBooks UK accountant partners since July 2022. The UK version is a little light in functionality compared with the American and Canadian versions, but in an FAQ section on the product webpage, Intuit states it is: “Working hard to bring the products as close to parity as regional differences allow!”

QBO Advanced is available in the UK at £70 per month. From today users can purchase the product at a discount of 50% for four months. Up 25 users can access Advanced at no additional cost.

Advanced features

Features included as part of the QBO Advanced package include:

Custom roles: Customers can control who can and can’t see sensitive data. This allows an accounting function to limit the amount of access for specific users and provides the basis for greater internal controls.

Backup & restore: Backup copies are automatically taken at different points in the day, giving users the ability to go back to specific points in time and unwind errors.

Automations and approval flow: With the Workflows feature, users can set reminders for transactions with a due date, such as invoices, payments or deposits. Business owners can notify customers when they receive their payment, plus send bills and invoices through pre-set approval flows.

Customised reports: Accounting professionals can help clients build reports from scratch rather than customising existing templates. Customers can also use enhanced custom fields to add 12 fields per transaction  – allowing customers to categorise and analyse their transactions more granularly.

Automation and workflow advantages

Nick Williams, UK Product Director at Intuit QuickBooks, told AccountingWEB that the product had been created to scale alongside growing businesses. 

“As businesses grow the complexity increases, whether that’s supplier management, payroll, invoicing, expenses or bills,” said Williams. “Some of the key features we’ve released in Advanced are game-changers for accountants helping clients scale. It’s suitable for power users, either those within the business or who are in an immersive virtual finance director-type role.”

One accountant who was part of the UK trial was Johann Goree, group managing director at OnPoint Accounting Group and a QuickBooks accountant partner. Over the past few months, he has had several clients trialling QBO Advanced and points to the automation of workflow and tasks as a major benefit of the software. 

“It’s freeing up people from data entry and processing,” he said. “Simple things like automatically chasing invoices overdue or automatically issuing customer statements. One client had historically been going into their desktop solution, checking their sales data was correct, downloading it, attaching it to an email and sending it. Now they’ve set up an automated workflow.”

Goree also highlighted the customisation of user roles – the ability to drill down on what bits a user can and can’t see – as a plus. “The traditional QuickBooks user saw everything – whether you wanted them to or not. Credits and debits, suppliers and reports, so this is real progress.”

Accounting firm opportunities

Goree also highlighted the opportunity for accounting firms such as his that had previously only targeted small businesses. 

“We’ve never advertised for larger businesses because we didn’t have the right tools for the job,” he said. “It would have meant working with archaic companies that stand against everything we do as a firm. “If we weren’t comfortable with QuickBooks as a solution for a client we wouldn’t take them on, but now we can. 

“It’s just QuickBooks with more features and we can do it more profitably because of scale,” continued Goree. “Until July this year, it wasn’t an opportunity for our firm. Now we’ve already started making more of it, and we’ve picked up four substantial clients and moved them off existing desktop products because we’ve got the right tool for the job.”

AccountingWEB view

The launch of QBO Advanced is a long-awaited move from Intuit and puts them up against the likes of Sage Intacct, AccountsIQ and iPlicit. The move is also the latest in a series of software developments that show the action is currently in the mid-market

As the cloud accounting software market for small or micro businesses continues to mature, choice for more complex entities looking for a connected, integrated cloud product remains sparse. As mid-sized businesses increasingly move away from Sage 50, QuickBooks desktop and other products, this has opened up what one vendor has labelled “the 100,000 customer opportunity”.

With QuickBooks Desktop due to be discontinued in June 2023, there must be an element of internal frustration at Intuit that the axing announcement came before Advanced was ready to launch in the UK. That said, the localisation of any product for different regions, particularly one as multifaceted as Advanced, is never straightforward, even for a software giant such as Intuit. 

For QuickBooks’ accounting partners in the UK glancing enviously across the Atlantic at a more complete product in North America, it’s easy to imagine the Advanced launch – coming four years after its American cousin rolled off the shelves - being a point of contention. However, as Goree told AccountingWEB: “We knew it was coming, which gave us time to prepare and scale up our firm’s ambitions.”

28 September 2022: This article was amended to correct the date of discontinuation for QuickBooks Desktop tools in the UK

Replies (5)

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By Hugo Fair
26th Sep 2022 12:43

Guess the 'takeaway' will depend on your starting-point ...

If, like Mr Goree of OnPoint Accounting, you are committed to QuickBooks come hell or high water then anything extra naturally constitutes an improvement.
But I can't imagine many agents taking the same attitude as ... "If we weren’t comfortable with QuickBooks as a solution for a client we wouldn’t take them on".

If, however, you are a member of the announced 'target market' (currently using another system) then the list of "Advanced Features" is distinctly underwhelming.
Not only are they commonplace in most products used by the 'mid-market', but with many years of established usage they already have the wrinkles ironed-out - and typically do more than indicated here.

Oh, and FWIW, Cloud* has nothing to do with 'enabling' any of these features ... if anything it is more of a hurdle from the developer's perspective that has to be worked around to deliver what was already easy without it!

[* = they may have to invent a new name for Cloud ... your data was of course never up in the sky, it was distributed around various servers on good old terra firma.
But now the big boys (Chinese and U.S.) are all trialling placement of the servers in specialist containers (like ones used for shipping) that are being dropped to the bottom of the ocean - to aid cooling and reduce energy consumption, whilst hoping that no-one thinks to steal or blow them up.
So your data will literally have sunk below the waves!]

Thanks (4)
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By hpflair
27th Sep 2022 16:20

Intuit recently informed us that they have extended the deadline for QB desktop to 30th June 2023.

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Replying to hpflair:
Tom Herbert
By Tom Herbert
28th Sep 2022 10:46

Thanks hpflair, and apologies for the duff information. I've updated the piece accordingly.

Thanks (0)
Bee
By May bee
29th Sep 2022 10:50

I personally view this as bad news. It means Intuit have another perceived reason to justify axing QB Desktop. A cloud based product run via a web browser will never work as efficiently as a desktop solution. Web browsers were not designed for the entry of data, for the accessing of multiple windows at once and for enabling seamless synchronisation between those windows. I know about the workarounds for these hang-ups with QBO but they're just that, workarounds not genuine alternative ways of working. Several of my clients who use desktop have trialled QBO at great length and, despite some of them being experienced in house bookkeepers/accountants who are open-minded about change, they don't like the online alternative at all. The enhanced features list doesn't cut the mustard if you ask me.

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Replying to May bee:
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By coates
29th Sep 2022 12:15

I totally agree with the dislike of online Quickbooks, to me it is very clunky. The bank reconciliation is a two step process which means more time, nothing is simple to find until you know where to go. I use a QB desktop version, albeit for two small businesses, and I much prefer that to the online version.

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