QuickBooks rolls out winter product plans
After an autumn of new product activity, Intuit has unveiled its winter roadmap for QuickBooks Online.
Intuit will be rolling out a series of product updates and new features for QuickBooks Online, with an added redesign of the mobile app.
The nature of cloud software allows developers to continually improve and update products, so users usually get incremental improvements on a regular basis rather than grand product overhauls.
This winter's planned additions are at different stages from live and active and preliminary testing. Charlie Carne and Kylie Fieldhouse, chartered accountants and QuickBooks users, spoke with AccountingWEB about their views on the new releases.
New banking connections
QuickBooks recently announced new open banking connections with digital banks Monzo and Revolut, and the addition of Tide and Starling connections are expected to arrive before December. These connections will be at no extra cost for users and will enable QBO ledgers to be automatically populated with bank transactions via a secure Open Banking API.
Charlie Carne told AccountingWEB that “in principle, Open Banking should remove errors, provide a more secure link between the bank and QuickBooks, and prevent the problem of entering banking passwords, meaning better security.”
Carne acknowledged, however, the Open Banking link must be refreshed every 90 days, “which is problematic when only the CEO has banking access."
Kylie Fieldhouse of KFH Accounting Ltd added, “We've been waiting a long time for Starling and Tide to come on board, particularly Starling, which is quite popular with a lot of my clients.”
QuickBooks Receipt Capture is a new automated expense feature aimed to speed up the expense process. Receipt photos are extracted by QuickBooks software, matched with the bank transaction and organised within the system. The process is meant to take a matter of minutes, relieving users from lengthy manual entry
Initial trials for Receipt Capture were announced the end of October at QuickBooks Get Connected, with the product to be rolled out before December.
“This is the big one for us,” Fieldhouse said. “Receipt Capture should lead to more client interest in using QuickBooks licences with us because the app will do what clients were previously paying other providers like AutoEntry and Receipt Bank to do.”
Mileage tracking was a new feature to go live last week via the mobile app, allowing all users to track business journeys using mobile GPS signals. Users confirm trips as business-related and the app will then automatically make deductions based on allowable expenses.
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According to Fieldhouse, together, Receipt Capture and mileage tracking “gives QuickBooks a bit more of a competitive edge over Xero. I don't think you can do [either] through Xero, so they put QuickBooks back into focus again.”
Launched in August, the advanced payroll solution offers automated pay runs, HMRC submission, and integrates with five of the main pension providers via pensionsync, assisting with compliance. The addition of an employee portal enables timesheet, expense and annual leave management, designed to speed up manual payroll processes.
Advanced Payroll also includes multiple pay schedules options and more automated functions. “It’s an excellent full-automated product and covers most situations an accountant needs to run payroll for their clients,” commented Carne.
“I was about to leave QuickBooks payroll”, Carne told AccountingWEB, “it is only because of Advanced Payroll that I stayed.”
Having used all of QuickBooks’s payroll solutions, Carne explained that QuickBooks bought its original payroll from PaySuite. This was followed by their own global solution which has become Standard Payroll and will be for smaller, simpler payrolls. “PaySuite will disappear completely from the new tax year and Advanced Payroll will take over, but it is much, much more advanced than PaySuite was,” explained Carne.
“My only complaint is that they should have granular user permissions to separate out the different roles. You can't outsource the payroll to someone to whom you only wish to give payroll access, as they'll have to have access to all of the bookkeeping, too,” added Carne.
Others accountants, like Fieldhouse, avoid QuickBooks payroll because “it’s far more expensive than Moneysoft, which can do more.”
Cashflow coming soon
Cashflow issues are behind 80% of small business failures, according to the UK Federation of Small Businesses, making it high on the list of tech development for many accounting software providers.
In response to this, QuickBooks plans to release a 90-day cash flow forecasting tool using AI machine learning to analyse and predict cash flow. As an aid to work planning, the feature will give users automatic forecasts, alerts to potential cash issues, and recommends solutions, at no extra cost.
Users like Carne and Fieldhouse are sceptical over new cashflow offerings from the likes of Xero and QuickBooks, as if companies “truly had cashflow problems, the cost of a proper forecasting tool that would do the job properly is relatively insignificant compared to the cost of borrowing money.'' However, Carne admitted, “I can see where the demand is coming from as many businesses are having cash flow difficulties.”
Cashflow UK business trial sign-ups are being offered as of mid-November. Full availability is expected to be rolled out over the coming weeks.