Has Intuit entered bookkeeping?
In mid-February, the Twitter world was set abuzz with rumors that Intuit is entering the bookkeeping space. Some had noticed that on the pricing page for QuickBooks products, a new offering had appeared called “Live Bookkeeping.” But Intuit has denied the availability of the new product, saying the appearance of this offering was a test only available to certain website visitors, designed to measure interest in such a service.
According to the new feature, potential clients would be able to access a live bookkeeper for between $205 to $350 per month, depending on their needs. The placement of the offering and the price ranges visible changed over the course of a few days, which is most likely a part of the test Intuit was running. “Only a percentage of potential customers see the page; and if they see the page and click on ‘Buy Now,’ they get a message that thanks them for their interest and then they have the opportunity to provide us with contact information as well as comments,” said a spokesperson from Intuit. “It’s all part of the test to understand small-business interest and behavior around seeing this as an option on our website when they consider purchasing QuickBooks Online.”
Jennifer Johnson of Ledger Light proclaimed in a blog post, “I guess Intuit has finally admitted that QuickBooks isn’t easy for non-bookkeepers to use.” She wrote, “My observation is that small-business owners purchase [QuickBooks], figure out that it is not easy to use, call people like me to clean up the mess, then hire me to do
the bookkeeping going forward.” This was a good thing for accountants who provided bookkeeping services, like Johnson. But if Intuit enters the bookkeeping space, too, that might undercut bookkeepers like Johnson, and possibly cause bookkeepers to contract their services out through the software giant instead.
Blake Oliver, accounting technologist for FloQast and formerly a Xero Ambassador, speaking on a recent podcast, suggested that the pricing structure visible in this test indicates that Intuit would not pay their live bookkeepers fairly.
Not all accountants were concerned, however: CPA and QBOChat founder Cathy Iconis argued that the program could actually increase the total market for bookkeeping services, noting that only 60 percent of QBO users have an accountant attached to their account, and suggesting that Intuit would be educating millions of small-business customers about the value of working with an outside accountant. AT