It’s been 2 years since QuickBooks Self-Employed, Intuit’s newest baby, was launched at QuickBooks Connect 2014. I can still recall the moment when I saw the QBConnect 2014 freeway billboard and my heart started pumping. As I walked into the convention center for registration, Intuit was already guiding us with its own version of the yellow brick road. I knew this was going to be a jam-packed AppFest and I was ready for it!
My first date with QuickBooks Self-Employed
As I walked around the enormous Vendor Hall, I had to strategize on which vendors to spend time with and learn from. I based my strategy on my primary mission for attending QBConnect: to find the best accounting solution for newly started entrepreneurs, independent contractors/ freelancers. As I toured the booths, there was a long lane of mini-booths along the side of the hall and from the corner of my eye, I saw the words “Self-Employed”. Can it be…was there actually a solution solely focused on the over 50 million in freelance workers (Freelancing in America-2015). Yes it was true!!! I could hardly believe it and I think I completely overwhelmed the team with my abundance of technical questions.
The team was very upfront and transparent about this solution’s primary focus: build a year round cash-basis accountability tool for Simple Schedule C taxpayers to organize their personal and business finances and utilize one-of-a-kind features such as an integrated quarterly estimated tax calculator and automatic mileage tracking. Or in less words, a mobile and web-based app that will keep millions of Independent Contractors organized year round with their Self-Employed finances and help them be aware, informed and on top of their estimated taxes obligations.
Needless to say, I was hooked! I truly believed in this solution’s focus and I knew there was a high demand for this accountability tool for the “my accounting is in excel” and “shoebox” Schedule C taxpayers. Just let the numbers speak for themselves…
Fast- forward 2 years and at #QBConnect 2016, QuickBooks Self-Employed celebrated it’s 2-year birthday!
So here’s the deal folks, before we can truly appreciate the rapid development of this solution, let’s review the THEN and NOW . This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list or even a comparison to the other Intuit siblings; the intention is to provide you an overall scope of where this solution is leading and how you can provide value to your Self-Employed clients using it.
What this Solution provided THEN and what it provides NOW: (tons of links below, don’t forget to click)
- THEN: Built for the Solopreneur/Independent Freelancer in mind
- NOW: YES, the target user would be a 1-person sole proprietor typically in the services industry with no payroll OR small creative crafter with no inventory & low sale tax obligations (i.e. etsy seller tracking sales taxes outside of the system)
- THEN: One user sign-in with no QBOA/Accountant access
- NOW: QBSE clients can add Accountant access with the QBOA/QBSE integration AND includes a Accountant Tool Kit + 1 FREE QBSE user
- THEN: QBSE is a simple Self-Employed app with minimal Accountant resources
- NOW: The QBSE is working on a robust, Accountant tool kit with shortcuts to most valuable features and resources for collaborating with SE client
- THEN: Free 30-day trial to check out the app
- NOW: Fully functioning Test Drive
- Test Drive ALL user features here (does not include QBOA integration)
- THEN: No Invoice capabilities
- NOW: Product has invoice creation from both web & mobile applications + electronic payment QB Payment solution
- THEN: Mileage feature was manual entry
- NOW: GPS/automatic mileage tracking thru mobile app & posts back to web app
- THEN: Solely an independent solution with no partnerships, integrations or add-ins
- NOW: QBSE has been partnering with several key players in the freelance industry & will consider integrations that will assist the QBSE user
- THEN: Reports basic and view only
- NOW: Reports can be drilled into through the “clickable” links (try it out through Test Drive feature!) They also can be emailed straight from mobile app.
- THEN: Solution for U.S. contractors only
- NOW: Intuit is considering world-wide self-employed markets and has started with Australia
By now, I think you can see (and hopefully appreciate) that the Intuit QuickBooks Self-Employed team is definitely making amazing leaps for improving BOTH the Self-Employed user and Accountants experience with this product. It’s only fair to expect some rapid growth and learning pains in the near future since this product still has some growing up to do. Nevertheless, QuickBooks Self-Employed has kept true to their Self-Employed model while incorporating a beautiful collaboration for the Accountant partner. For this reason, I’m sticking with them!
I shared my excitement with the whole world at #QBConnect 2016 in my Intuit interview about the QBOA integration with QuickBooks Self-Employed. If you missed it, here’s the full version here!
For more updates and detailed discussions on the growth and upcoming enhancements, I encourage you to continue to follow my BWAM column and join the following FaceBook Groups:
Coming soon are the following….
A deep dive into several of the product’s features mentioned above
A discussion on how Accountant’s can deliver value to the Self-Employed workforce (sneak peak below)