Intuit introduced the new Trial Balance feature within QuickBooks Online Accountant, designed to save accountant customers time while helping them grow their practice.

Announced during the QuickBooks Connect accountants keynote Nov. 2, the feature was built onto the QBOA platform to accelerate the year-end review process and eliminate manual data entry. Following Intuit’s release of the Books-to-Tax tool for Intuit Tax Online last year, Trial Balance is “basically a superset of that,” according to Tom Palfreyman, Intuit senior product manager. Based on internal research, Intuit found that practitioners spend an average of five and a half hours on a business tax return, end-to-end, which Palfreyman attributes to hunting for errors in the books, working in multiple apps, and exporting the trail balance to programs like Excel.

Trial Balance does not require imports or exports, giving users one-click access to detailed client data.

The feature has an activity timeline that alerts users to any changes made by them or their client since the last time Trial Balance was accessed. Variances in book activity are called out so misclassifications can be identified and adjustments made. Users can also create notes and attach documents to individual accounts.

While Trial Balance was primarily designed to make the year-end review process more efficient, since introducing it to a select group of accountants, Intuit has discovered those customers also find it useful for testing “what if” scenarios and tax planning.

Future updates to Trial Balance, to be released on a rolling basis, will include the ability to refresh balances and to export data to Excel and .zip files.

The new functionality is designed to centralize and streamline the tax process.

 “We’re working to integrate the entire tax workflow into QuickBooks Online Accountant,” Jim McGinnis, Intuit vice president and leader of the accountant and advisor group, told accountant attendees during his keynote unveiling Trial Balance.

Trial Balance is available now, free for all QuickBooks Online Accountant customers, with Intuit offering two free business tax returns (and five individual returns) per customer. 

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