Today’s proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) resembles the spread of the personal computer that took the business and consumer market by storm about three decades ago. It’s no surprise that Intuit chose to follow the trend of incorporating AI into its business and consumer platforms in the form of its latest innovation: QuickBooks Assistant.
What do “Siri,” “Alexa” and “Cortana” all have in common? They utilize AI to aid users with common, everyday tasks in a mobile and Wi-Fi-enabled environment. QuickBooks Assistant is Intuit’s foray into an evolving, competitive consumer market led in part by AI integration.
QuickBooks Assistant hopes to become the “Siri” for accountants and small business owners. Sasan Goodarzi, executive vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Small Business Group, demonstrated QuickBooks Assistant’s abilities by inquiring about his financial standing during an on-stage demonstration at QuickBooks Connect 2017.
“What did I make in October?” Sasan asked.
Within a couple of seconds, the bot answered, “$5,424.”
John Stokdyk, editor in chief of UK-based AccountingWEB, detailed the conversation. “When Goodarzi followed up with the question, ‘What did I spend my money on?’ the bot responded with a simple bar chart showing the different expense categories,” Stokdyk wrote.
Like most AI assistants, QuickBooks Assistant incorporates machine learning, a powerful capability that can assist business owners in making smarter and better-informed business decisions. For example, QuickBooks Self-Employed users can ask cash flow-related questions such as, “How much cash is available to cover current expenses?”
QuickBooks Assistant’s benefits include:
- Mobility: Given the mobile nature of today’s small businesses, entrepreneurs can get much-needed information about their businesses on the go.
- Ease of use: Have a question? Just ask. QuickBooks Assistant makes it easy for business leaders to ask questions without opening multiple windows or typing queries into the search box.
- Advice: Similar to Microsoft’s Office Assistant, QuickBooks Assistant acquaints new users with tasks and features available in QuickBooks.
- Timeliness: QuickBooks Assistant can access and review relevant financial data to help provide business owners and accountants with instant feedback on financial information.
Intuit has already begun incorporating its QuickBooks Assistant into its available accounting programs and will continue throughout 2018. QuickBooks Assistant is available today in QuickBooks Self-Employed for iOS and Android, and will be released for QuickBooks Online in 2018 with a beta version now available in QuickBooks Labs, per the QuickBooks Online team.