QuickBooks jumps on the chatbot bandwagon

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Intuit QuickBooks debuted its first chatbot during QuickBooks Connect 2017, to an audience primed for chat integrations. QuickBooks Assistant joins the growing ranks of accounting chatbots, which include Pegg from Sage and AskMyUncleSam, which answers tax-related questions.

QuickBooks Assistant is available now through QuickBooks Self-Employed for iOS and Android, and will be released in 2018 for QuickBooks Online. It is currently in beta release in QuickBooks Labs, which QBO users can access through their software to experience solutions Intuit is experimenting with.

During QuickBooks’ fourth annual user conference, held this year in San Jose, Calif., vice president and leader of Intuit’s Accountant segment Rich Preece also announced the integration of messaging app Slack with QuickBooks Online Accountant, a revelation that proved very popular with attendees. Chat integrations are front of mind for accountant users in order to improve workflow by quickly getting answers to questions and keeping in communication with staff.

The chatbot is primarily targeted at the self-employed user base, which is QuickBooks' fastest growing user group, Preece said. As of midyear this year, there were 390 thousand users on QuickBooks Self-Employed.

"If you're not supporting self-employed clients, that is a market that will continue to expand; so in the next couple of weeks, really think about what you want to do differently," Preece said during his keynote.

“We know people who work for themselves have a lot on their mind with limited time to manage the day-to-day, let alone unearth information and insights about their business,” chief product officer Alex Chriss said in a statement. “By adding a virtual assistant side-by-side with business finances, people simply tap to ask questions and find answers — rather than running reports and analyzing data. QuickBooks Assistant represents a turning point in how work gets done today, with an eye toward improving success rates in the future.”

Sasan Goodarzi, executive vice president and general manager of Intuit's Small Business Group, said during the product announcement that Intuit wants self-employed users to “know where they stand by simply asking a question.”

Indeed, during the demonstration, QuickBooks Assistant was able to present a graph depicting usage habits when asked: “What the hell did I spend my money on?”

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Artificial intelligence Intuit QuickBooks