Okay, it’s been a while, as I have been ill. But normal service is resumed 🙂
From previous posts, you’ll know I am a fan of cloud products and technology in general. I also study and write on change, so a recent experience with QuickBooks software (UK version) is great material for me.
I have been a QuickBooks (QB) customer since 2006 – before the cloud was widespread. I have had four desktop versions which in total earned about €1100 for Intuit. So at the end of December, I decide, let’s put this online. I signed up as an Irish customer (as I am based in Ireland, obvious one would think), created my company, and then went back to the desktop product (QB 2015 on my laptop) and ran an export to online company menu option. The end result was not as expected, I had two companies. As I signed on as an Irish customer, my data cannot be transferred from QB 2015 UK desktop version. So, I would have to subscribe in £ for a UK online account if I wish to have my data transferred.
So, what’s my point other than bad service – as I had no indication of what to do correctly online. Well:
- I am a very small business – what if I had a few thousand transactions a year I do not want to lose
- The change to online cloud accounting, while I like it, results in fewer features that accountants or clever managers like to use – for example, more detailed reporting. So would I want to then have a double sacrifice – lose my data and less reporting
Don’t get me wrong, the cloud is the way to go, but surely Intuit (and others) can do better!
Last week I wrote about big data in general. Now I will try to give an example of how accounting software used in small business can be a source of big data, which can ultimately help those same businesses.
Quickbooks is a common accounting software product used in many smaller and medium-sized businesses. Traditionally, Quickbooks was installed on a computer in the organisation, but nowadays it is also available as an online product. In other words, there is a cloud version. According to an article in Forbes in April 2012, as much as 35 million of Intuit (the owners of Quickbooks) customers use online software for accounting and tax returns. With anonymous data on 35 million small businesses, Intuit can obtain quite a lot of information for their own purposes in terms of capturing user needs and developing their products. But they are also using this information to assist their customers. One great example cited in the Forbes article is a Trends feature. With this feature, a business owner can compare their business to average performance trends in the same sector, and even with similarly sized businesses. A comparison of sales, operating margins and payroll cost is possible. This kind of information would be really useful for any small business and typically such a business would have neither the time or resources to obtain such data.