Intuit, Accountants, & A Whole Lot of Confusion

Let’s start with what we know as fact. Last week a member of the CloudWedge staff wrote this article: Intuit’s Goal By 2017: 3/4th’s Revenue from Cloud. It made reference to comments made by Intuit’s CEO Brad Smith at Intuit’s annual investor briefing in late September.

In the article was this sentence: “By delivering QuickBooks Online using the Software as a Service medium, Intuit has been able to give end users a quick and easy way to begin doing their books themselves without the assistance of an accounting firm and that’s just the tip of the iceberg concerning Intuit’s SaaS plays.” It was not presented as a quote from Smith and seems to have caused some concern.

Yesterday, we received the following comment from an Intuit employee Alison Ball:

Alison Ball

My name is Alison Ball and I work for Intuit’s Accounting Professionals Division.

I am not sure where the author of this post got the idea that Intuit is saying that small businesses can do their accounting without the assistance of an accountant? In fact, we at Intuit have an entire division of people dedicated to ensuring that small businesses understand the importance of accountants and bookkeepers in helping them be more successful and make better business decisions. As further proof of this, we actively drive the small business owners who u se our Q uickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online software to our Certified Pro Advisors so they can receive business-specific advice and support. We do this in a variety of ways, but the most obvious way is that ProAdvisors are listed in product, right next to the Help Menu!

It may be true that small businesses can take a free trial of QuickBooks Online without their accountant having to install it for them, but we passionately believe (from the TOP DOWN) at Intuit, that small businesses are better served when they work with a qualified accountant or bookkeeper who has been trained on QuickBooks.

I hope this helps clear how how important we view the accountants to small business success overall!

10:58 a.m., Monday Oct. 13

Then, earlier today a member of the team came across this article on NerdEnterprises that critiques the same passage.

Now, from our prospective, we cannot really understand what all the fuss is about. The passage in question at no point stated that accountants should be replaced with the software. Rather, it was a compliment to the simplicity of their service, which can be initiated without an army of accountants, and can be done with just the one. What is more, is that that because of how impressed we were with Smith, we awarded him with our geek of the week award which established him as a ‘cloud leader’ in our books.

Now one can only hypothesize what could be going on at Intuit to cause such a flurry.  It is possible that an advertising campaign gone awry has caused outrage from the accountant community, or even simply mixed messages from within the company need clarification. Regardless of the cause, there is clearly strong damage control under-way.