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Intuit CEO Brad Smith at QBConnect in San Jose

QuickBooks charts a course to the cloud

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22nd Oct 2014
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John Stokdyk reports from San Jose on the global launch of the latest edition of QuickBooks Online Accountant.

The QuickBooks legions found their way to San Jose this week for four days of love, inner financial peace and software at QuickBooks Connect.

American stars such as basketball legend and serial entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson and domestic goddess Martha Stewart graced the stage alongside Intuit CEO Brad Smith, but for software conoisseurs their appearance was secondary to the launch of QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA).

Cloud software is less of a fast moving consumer good these days and more of a background presence in users’ lives, so it appears that Intuit laid on extra razzmatazz to pump up the volume around a release executives insisted on calling “the most exciting ever” in the company’s history.

The QBOA 2015 edition didn’t need the hype. Some of the 100 product enhancements set out by product managers drew nods of approval and applause from the 1,000 or so accountants in the audience for the launch.

Foremost among these, was the ability to control staff access to only the accounts they work on, but also on the menu are:

  • Editable Client Dashboard screen with a variety of alert icons. Different tabs let the accountant view clients based on which application they use (tax, accounts etc), and the listing is accompanied by a communication stream with messages about new transations and the program monitors transactions as they happen. Against their main listing, icons will appear against the client’s name to signal any of these anomalies.
  • Client document centre lets the accountant create an email within the program to request documents from clients, and then shows graphical list indicating whether or not the requested files have been sent back.
  • Integration with the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program invoicing“We brought the programme into the product,” said Luis Sanchez, the global head of the ProAdvisor programme.

AccountingWEB member Charlie Carne was in San Jose for the launch and offered more restrained feedback about the new version. “’Most exciting ever’ is maybe overcooking it a bit, but a lot of the additions are real-time savers,” said Carne. “The access controls to client accounts was essential.”

UK accountants may be used to tempering their expectations around the QuickBooks launches as in the past they took a while to migrate across the Atlantic. But Intuit chief marketing officer Caroline Donahue promised international delegates, “This is a global launch. It’s coming to you too.”

The new QBOA edition is scheduled to go live in the US before the end of the year, and while some localisation will be needed for the international rollout, the UK will be in the vanguard and should get access to the upgrade in the early part of 2015.

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