For the past 5 years, the ChargeOver team has attended the QuickBooks Connect events for inspiration, learning, and most importantly, to connect with others. There were lots of great announcements and people at this year's QuickBooks Connect -- read on for the recap!
Welcome and Keynote Event
Intuit's keynote event began with a welcome by Brad Smith, current CEO of Intuit. This was also, in effect, his farewell to QuickBooks as Smith is leaving the company. Sasan Goodarzi prepares to accept the reins on January 1, 2019. Smith discussed the challenges that most QuickBooks/Intuit users face in a changing market and how technology is changing the world. Goodarzi then presented how Intuit works to amplify businesses with three specific resources: Smart Money, Smart Decisions and Smart Connections. Intuit's FinTech (shorthand for financial technology) investments new AI and data mining technology to provide insights and advantages for small businesses. The continued shift from delivering a product to developing the Intuit FinTech ecosystem has long been a focus of Goodarzi.
Key Takeaways From the Keynote
Smart Money - Instant Payments and Same-day Payroll
Instant payments enables the ability to instantly deposit money into your bank account within 30 minutes of customers paying their invoice. Intuit leverages their connections with financial institutions to assess the risk of non-payment to increase the speed of deposits, giving you almost instant access to your own money. Same day and next day payroll is now a reality! Intuit Payroll now supports same-day payroll, so you can pay your employees and contractors on the same day the money is withdrawn from your account. This is a vast improvement over the typical 2 to 7 day in-advance withdrawal day of most payroll vendors.
Intuit continued to tout their AI virtual assistant, and reinforced how data mining is continuing to help auto-categorize expenses, advise business owners in their decision making process, and power the "Smart Money" features.
Smart Connections - QuickBooks Capital
Intuit has developed a decision-making AI engine capable of providing same-day business loans. Over 60% of businesses can now get a same-day business loan from Intuit.
The Guest Speakers
Intuit always has a great selection of guest speakers, and this year was no exception!
Alex Rodriguez - one of major league baseballs all-time greats
A-Rod took the main stage and kept the audience enthralled with his story of how he overcame the lowest point in his life. He received the largest suspension in major league baseball history, the entire 2014 baseball season, for his role in a doping scandal.
"I may have a PhD in failing but I have a masters in getting back up."
He retired from baseball in 2016 and is now the Founder and CEO of A-Rod Corp. The struggle he experienced continues to inform his world today. He shared his reaction to hearing the news; his embarrassment and depression about what happened, and how he blamed everyone but himself. Ultimately, he saw the experience as a blessing and views the suspension as a sabbatical from baseball, which allowed him to focus on himself and what needed to change.
"The older you get the more you realize the amount of things that you don't know." - A-Rod
Watch A-Rod here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPc_I8EK3Uk
Amy Purdy - Paralympic champion, best-selling author, philanthropist
Amy is a professional snowboarder and a three-time Paralympic medalist. Amy gave a fantastic talk about her passion for reaching the top despite losing both of her legs as a child.
"I believe that if you focus on what you uniquely have and you create a strong team around you---to pick you up and support you every time you fall---the possibilities of what you can achieve are endless." - Amy Purdy
"Look at your challenges as blessings to help you go further than you ever knew you could go." - Amy Purdy
See Amy's talk here: https://youtu.be/CPc_I8EK3Uk?t=2124
Mindy Kaling - Best-selling Author, Producer, Actress, Director
Mindy is a sought after force who rose to fame on the workplace sitcom The Office. Great lessons from Mindy on perseverance in show-biz this year! Mindy expresses the importance of hard work, and working hard to gain your confidence.
"I don't believe in innate confidence; I don't find that useful." - Mindy Kaling
"What took me a long time to learn about my professional career, is that every day the challenge you have in front of you is to just to try to become more of yourself." - Mindy Kaling
See Mindy's talk here: https://youtu.be/CPc_I8EK3Uk?t=3688
And many others! See all of the other speakers and watch their talks here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNCK4UGSnceO052t8S1kMxw
Existing API and platform improvements
It's obviously been a great year for Intuit developers. Alex Barnett, Director of the Intuit Partner Platform, highlighted some great metrics focused on improving Intuit's already existing open REST APIs:
- 200+ API bugs fixed in the QuickBooks Online APIs
- 79 API performance improvements
- 206 SDK issues resolved
- 144 SDK bugs fixed/resolved
- New AST (automated sales tax) sandboxes
- New SDK libraries and code samples for Python and Node.js
- An improved bug tracker
Intuit had some great new apps join the QuickBooks ecosystem this year via the App Showdown - a contest and pitch opportunity with a $100,000 prize up for grabs. This year's winner was G1VE.
Developer V4 APIs and the rise of GraphQL at Intuit
Intuit also teased their v4 APIs, and the upcoming move to GraphQL for Intuit.
GraphQL is a standard (created and standardized by Facebook, and just recently taken over by The Linux Foundation) which provides a huge number of benefits over existing REST-based developer APIs.
For developers leveraging the Intuit APIs:
- The ability for an API client to ask for exactly what they want, and be guaranteed they get back only what they want. I.e. No "under-fetching" (eliminates having to make multiple API calls to fetch a resource and it's related resources, for example) and no "over-fetching" (if you need only 3 of the fields on an invoice, you can get only those 3 fields and not waste bytes over the wire fetching information you don't need)
- Well-defined and fetch-able relationships between objects. How many times have you fetched a list of invoices from QuickBooks, and then made a second API call to fetch the related payments, and a _third _API call to fetch the related customers, and then yet another API call to fetch the related classes, and etc. etc. etc.? With GraphQL, you can build a client-defined query that will give you ALL of that information back in a single response payload.
- A real specification - whereas REST is largely a set of "best practices" that some APIs adhere to, and others do not, GraphQL is a real specification with the backing of some major industry players - Facebook, GitHub, PayPal, and Twitter to name just a few.
The T-Sheets Acquisition
Alex Barnett also had a great campfire talk with T-Sheets founder (and now Intuit employee, as Intuit acquired T-Sheets for 340 million earlier this year) Matt Rissell. Matt had some great insights on growing T-Sheets and how being a QuickBooks-enabled app helped them do that. Among his key points:
- Measure and A/B test everything -- T-Sheets had always made a point to A/B test and measure every change made and every feature rolled out. This helped them constantly improve and innovate based on real customer feedback and experiences.
- Matt made a point to pitch the book and concepts in The Lean Startup, a book by Eric Ries. Matt emphasized that so many people have read the book... but so few actually implement the guidelines laid out in it.
- In an interesting Q&A exchange, Matt also emphasized his approach to partnerships with Intuit -- he made a point to reach out to Intuit decision-makers, and ask them what THEIR metrics for success where and what HE could to do help them. When he discovered that the Intuit Developer team tracked the # of connections and # of reviews of apps on Apps.com, he made sure to prioritize getting those connections and reviews to grow.
And last but not least... great friends and fun had with all!
The best part of QuickBooks Connect is always connecting with your "pack" -- the great community of small businesses, accountants, bookkeepers, Pro-Advisors, and Intuit staff who make the event enjoyable and valuable every year.
Helm - https://www.takethehelm.app/
Acuity CFO - https://acuity.co/
Bright Bookkeeping - https://www.bright-bookkeeping.com/
AdminBooks - https://www.adminbooks.com/