LIVE from QuickBooks Connect! [Day 1] #QBCONNECT

Blake and David are LIVE at QuickBooks Connect in San Jose discussing the new and upcoming features announced at Day 1 of the annual conference (Accountant Day).

Transcript

Cloud Accounting Podcast E43: LIVE from QuickBooks Connect Day 1

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Welcome to the Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver-

And I'm David Leary.

We are live at QuickBooks Connect, in San Jose.

Super-live. It's the first time Blake, and I are sitting... We can touch, watch. You can't see in the podcast, we're touching each other, as we do this podcast.

We are, and we are on the ... What do you call this area?

They used to call this Main Street, at one time-

Yes.

-at QuickBooks Connect. It's the main drag.

We are between the main stage, and Discovery Hall, with all the exhibits, and it's Accountant Day, at QuickBooks Connect.

Day One.

Day One. There were some really great feature announcements this morning at the keynote.

I think the first one to be noted is Ariege, and, I'm never gonna say her name correctly, her last name, but it's Ariege. Ariege's really encouraging, because it's a female leader at Intuit.

She's came up through the ranks. She was a product manager; she's talked to a lot of accountants. She's always been in the accountant's group. She really understands the accountants' world. This is her first keynote ever, and she opened QuickBooks, with her first keynote ever. It was really awesome; really proud of Ariege for doing that.

Nailed it. They had tons of stuff to talk about, so, shall we dig into the new features?

Yeah, I think you have a list, right, of all ... In order?

I do. There are quite a few. The first one here is really a game-changer: project profitability. Intuit has now integrated TSheets with project-profitability tracking. You have all your employees enter in their time, and assign it to a project. Users - business owners, accountants - will be able to see the profitability of all of their projects on a single page.

Yeah, and I think the interesting thing about that, I think that's one of those features that really fills that gap with people that ... "Oh, QuickBooks Desktop does ABCD. QuickBooks Online doesn't do this ..." This really is like, well, here's one more thing QuickBooks Desktop doesn't do, that QuickBooks Online does do, or vice versa.

Yeah, and it's gonna be, I think ... Really, it just throws the gauntlet down at Xero, now, to build out that type of functionality, because that, to me, is the number-one thing that business owners are looking for is they wanna see projects, and they wanna see how much they're making on each project, like, is it worth it?

Because they kinda think in that mindset.

Yes.

I agree.

You can have all the fancy reports you need, all the Cost of Goods Sold, all that good stuff, and everything, but in the end, it comes down to these individual projects, especially for service businesses, which is what the majority of businesses that are on cloud-accounting software ... What's next?

Before we jump into that, please stop making eye contact with me, it's freaking me out. I'm used to talking to you in the closet.

It is a little odd.

It's strange. Next up, I think they talked about practice-management stuff, correct?

Yes, practice management.

It's a continuing evolution in the QuickBooks Online Accountant's Edition.

Yes.

There are more, and more tasks for your team. It could be a small team, two or three bookkeepers. They keep adding more, and more functionality. I think one of the things that was interesting, there, was tasks, right?

Yes.

It's like a task list for [crosstalk].

Yeah, you can create a task list in QuickBooks Practice Management, and assign those tasks out to different staff. The idea is they come in to QBOA, and they see, at a glance, everything they need to do, all in one place. They don't have to go look through their emails, or anything like that.

I think there was templates, right? You could create a task template. If you have to run payroll for client A, you could have a template of steps to do?

Yes. Actually, it rolls right into our next feature, which is this amazing email-to-work feature that Intuit has now built. I kinda missed this, cuz I was sitting in the back, but the idea is you can forward an email and it'll create tasks automatically, using AI.

Yeah, I wasn't too ... Obviously, they covered a lot, and the demos were very, very fast that they were covering, but that was the gist of it. You could get any of your emails ... It doesn't matter where your emails are at. If you have client-related emails, you just forward them to QuickBooks, and then, a task is created.

Now, I don't know if it's creating a task based on the context of email, or if it's just taking a task, like, "Hey, read this email." It gets you, so that if you set up a rule, you don't have to leave QuickBooks Online, now, to run your firm, because all those emails from your clients will be showing up online. You can think about it that way.

Yeah, really interesting. Some more automation is Statement Auto Import.

That was a big one. That might've had almost a standing ovation. People really wanna see their bank statements come in. Tt really makes sense. We've talked about this before. Everybody wants bank feeds. It makes sense. It makes sense, when you're getting the feed of the transactions, just to get the bank statements, as well.

Apparently, Intuit is now, with QuickBooks, gonna bring those bank statements straight into QuickBooks Online. Now, I don't think they're doing any OCR of the bank statements, they're just there, so you can reference them, and look at 'em, if you need to.

It's something that you ... People are used to logging into online banking to get those statements, but when you have to do that across dozens of clients, or hundreds of clients every month, that can be really tedious, so should be a nice, nice feature to have.

Literally, I thought people were gonna stand, and applaud. It got the loudest applause of all the features today, and it seems so obvious ... To me, it should have been doing decades ago.

Yeah. I'm interested to see how many banks this actually rolls out with, to start, because every bank is different. Creating that feed to pull in those PDF bank statements, it's gonna be a challenge. I can't imagine it'll be everyone, all the once.

The bad news is they put a URL out, which I don't know, but they were only gonna let 250 people into this early beta test. I'm sure it's filled by now, so-.

Yeah, probably.

If you're listening to this way after the fact, you've missed your chance.

Another feature that was announced is the Client Overview Page. I'm not sure if that is live yet, or if that is coming, but the idea with this is that when you get a new client, you, as the accountant, are going to be able to go to this Client Overview Page, and see, in one place, a lot of the information that you might gather on your own, in digging through a QuickBooks file to see: is it reconciled? Are there issues you need to fix? The idea is to help you be able to create that quote, say, for the cleanup work that you're gonna have to do.

It lets you start doing advisory work, at the very first level of like, "Oh, I see you're using payroll. You're not using payroll. You're using apps A, B, and C; You've never reconciled ever." It's gonna give you some basic reports so you can start having that very first day-one conversation. You're not coming in blind, which is really interesting. Once they add you to their QBO, as the accountant, you instantly will have this dashboard that tells you all about that client.

You're gonna see the set-up status. You're gonna see what features are turned on - if it's payroll, sales tax, if they're using that. You'll see what apps are connected. That's a cool one. You'll see if they've got Fathom connected to QuickBooks, or they've got a Gusto set up, or whatnot.

Then, there's gonna be a page of common issues, showing unreconciled ... Not unreconciled transactions. Number of transactions, and undeposited funds. That's a big one, right? Business owners are always messing that up. You'll be able to click into those numbers to drill down into the transactions, which is pretty cool.

From my perspective, this is going to automate several hours of work that we used to do manually, when we were onboarding new clients ... Not onboarding, but doing the dive into their QuickBooks file to determine what fees we would charge them. Basically, we'd have a list of things to go look for, like undeposited funds, or unreconciled transactions, or all that. Now, it's all gonna be in one place, automatically. That's pretty cool.

What's interesting about this, cuz it's using machine logic, and, or ...

Machine learning.

Machine learning, sorry. Machine learning, and AI to do this. It used to take you a lot of time, so, you'd have to bill your client for that. "Hey, I'm gonna do this first assessment, or file, and I'm gonna charge you $600."

We would charge people 500 bucks for their assessment.

$500. Now, you might be able to not have to charge them at all, cuz this is just good enough.

Yep.

The only other thing I'd noticed they didn't have in that is it should probably show any other accountants, or bookkeepers you've invited to your QuickBooks Online file, because they you can invite more than one. It'd be nice to know who else has been invited.

That's a good one. What else on the roadmap? They announced that benchmarking is on the roadmap for QuickBooks, which is gonna be interesting. I'm curious to see how that actually works, the idea of being like, "Oh, I have a client that is a retail shop. I can benchmark them against other retail shops," or something like that.

Hopefully, they use QuickBooks data. I think you can get benchmarking stuff in some other tools out there, and they just use those, or the NICS codes, or something. Then, there's standard industry numbers, and there's a lot of products that do that.

I think it's really interesting, if they can benchmark this against, truly, like, "Okay, what does a flower shop that does this kind of volume do?" and the zip code. That's really, really interesting.

I think there was one more we talk about this keynote, cuz I know you loved the keynote. Something about for practice management. It was similar to Practice Ignitions type thing, some sorta engagement letters, or some level of that.

Oh, I missed that.

I think ... I think, and this is like ... After an hour and a half of announcements, you start to lose track of what's there. I think they're starting to introduce some low level of engagement letters. The engagement contract, to where you can send that outta QuickBooks Online Accountant Edition. You can engage your client; maybe get them to agree on the scope of the work. Then, that comes back somehow.

I think it's under the Practice Ignition, guys. It's really just enough for somebody who's never done it before, and then ... Some of the Practice Ignition, or tools ... It's gonna be way deeper, to have changes in the contract, or something, but I think they're tiptoeing in those waters.

Well, finally, we've gotta talk about the keynote, because I thought the keynote was great.

It was great. It was great. I don't think I've seen a keynote like that at Accountants Day before.

This was Vinh Giang. He's a magician, who came to speak about showmanship, and communication to accountants, which I thought was great. Being a musician, myself, I've taken a lot of what I learned as a musician, and applied it to sales, or applied it to running a practice.

I think that any job where you have to be on stage, in front of people, is gonna teach you a lot, especially, and Vince said this - accountants are becoming advisors. This is a at this point, but showmanship is really important, when you become an advisor, because if you can't communicate effectively, if you can't persuade people, if you can't make them listen to you, then it doesn't matter what you're saying. I thought that it was really cool that Intuit brought him in. He had some great, great lessons for us, as well.

Before we talk about those lessons, he was really relating this back to a magician. You can have all the technical magician skills in the world, but if you can't do that psychological kind of part, and communicate properly, it doesn't matter.

It's kinda the same thing. You can have tons of information about numbers; you can know all the numbers, but if you can't communicate 'em properly to your client, it's just not gonna matter. You're not gonna be able to look magical to your client.

The five takeaways he gave us ... In terms of just basic communication, rate. This is the speed at which you speak. If you're speaking slowly, or quickly. Volume, varying your volume is really important. Sometimes, you've gotta be quiet. Sometimes, you have to be loud, and get excited. Hopefully, we're doing that on the podcast to keep you engaged, and interested.

That was my take on this. I'm like, "Oooh, I should pay attention to some of these.".

What are the rest?

With pitch, and pitch is an interesting one, because he kinda related it to melody. You cannot remember all the words in your favorite book, on one page, but you can remember the same number of words if they're in a song. It's because of that pitch, and the melody.

Maybe we should sing the podcast, David.

You have the musical background, not me.

Tonality. That means feeling your words, right? Stretching them out, elongating those vowels; really showing that you love accounting. Did I do that right? I think I [crosstalk].

That's one I think I've always done okay with, but the next one is the one I'm horrible at, which is the pause. Because, you say "um ..." I'll say lots of things like that to fill that space, and just ... He really said just practice pausing, cuz it'll make you naturally stop saying "um." What's the other things people say? What do you say, Blake, when you ...?

Uh, right.

Right? Yep. All those words that you don't wanna say. Like ...

Like. It gives your customer or client the opportunity to speak, which is important, because we don't always do the best job of listening.

The other big takeaway, I think you didn't really know it, was the lesson of sometimes, there's something that seems impossible, and you can't just attack it. You just have to take one little step, because you don't know what step two's gonna be, until you take step one.

I think that was a bigger take ... A huge takeaway that was more mental. If you could take that first step, you know what to do next, but don't try to figure out step two, and step three, cuz it's almost impossible. Just take step one.

That's probably the journey of the cloud. Just take that first step. Automate something, try some app, and go from there. I think that's it for Day One, which is very exhausting. We should do this again, tomorrow?

By the way, we'll be back tomorrow with takeaways from the main day of QuickBooks Connect. Until then, this is Blake Oliver, and-

David Leary.

Signing off.

Bye, guys.

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Blake Oliver

Los Angeles, California, United States