Intuit QuickBooks, the UK’s leading financial management software, today launches a host of innovative product tools as part of its Summer Product Release to support small businesses in their recovery following COVID-19 and improve long-term resilience. The new tools include an updated cash flow planner; PayPal integration into the software; an updated payroll function to manage furloughed workers and streamlined product features for accountancy firms and construction SMBs.
With over half (58%) of small businesses failing within the first five years1 before COVID-19 hit, the innovations are aimed at helping reduce the small business failure rate by putting digital at the heart of their business.
Real-time scenario testing with Cash Flow Planner
Poor cash flow is the number one reason small businesses fail, with 60% having experienced cash flow issues even before COVID-19 hit2.
Cash Flow Planner (previously available only on iOS operating systems) is now available to all QuickBooks customers, including those using web operating systems. Fuelled by Artificial Intelligence and Open Banking, the tool automatically pulls data from a range of sources3 to give real-time cash flow insights and help businesses make informed decisions.
As well as providing an oversight of historic cash flow, small businesses can use the tool to forecast their future cash flow up to three months in advance, and test how certain scenarios – such as increasing or reducing the number of employees and customers, or removing rental costs – will impact their cash flow.
Case study: Aaron Patrick, Head of Accounts, Boffix
“Cash Flow Planner was invaluable during COVID-19. It arrived at the perfect time; every day we had different issues and changes to account for, not only for our clients but for our practice, so it was so important to keep an eye on our short-term cash flow.
We used the Cash Flow Planner to predict our day-to-day income automatically, which we used as our run rate. We could then try and predict how much cash surplus we would have left with changes to furlough etc. Short-term cash flow has never been more critical than during these times, and it’s so necessary to get the data to our clients.”
Managing employees with the QuickBooks employee portal
Standard Payroll customers will soon be able to experience all the benefits of the QuickBooks employee portal (currently only available to Advanced Payroll customers) at no extra cost. The self-service portal enables employees to directly accept or decline shifts, view bank information and submit expenses and leave requests.
Both QuickBooks payroll products now allow small business owners to easily keep on top of payroll for employees and furloughed workers, pay statutory sick pay without delays and shift furloughed workers returning to work back onto normal payroll quickly and easily.
Reducing the burden of admin
Expense management has also been improved through automated processes that remove the burden of admin, leaving more time for small business owners to focus on what’s important. The newly launched Bill Capture function, for example, enables users to import bills in three different ways (drag and drop, email or upload) and categorise bills from the receipt tab, making it easier to see how and why money has been spent.
Tackling late payments with PayPal
Recent research from QuickBooks revealed a fifth (21%) of SME business leaders4 say the problem of late payments is at an all-time high since COVID-19.
Following a successful closed pilot scheme, QuickBooks today announces the full rollout of its expanded collaboration with PayPal to all customers, providing the option to ‘Pay with PayPal’ and ‘Pay by debit or credit card’ on invoices, helping small businesses get their invoices paid quickly and easily.
The partnership gives QuickBooks customers special rates5 for accepting credit and debit cards via PayPal.
As part of the integrated partnership between QuickBooks and iZettle, a PayPal service, customers are now able to enjoy discounted card readers and competitive rates on all major credit and debit card, contactless and device payments.
Seamless Open Banking integration with TransferWise
QuickBooks is also announcing a new integration with global technology company TransferWise. Collaborating via Open Banking, TransferWise business customers can now seamlessly feed their transactions into their QuickBooks account. This avoids the task of manually uploading statements and helps businesses to reconcile their accounts far quicker.
Stuart Gregory, MD TransferWise for Business said:
“Small businesses are using our multi-currency accounts as a better way to receive money from international clients and platforms, and to pay overseas invoices. We want this to be as convenient as possible, and so are excited that through this integration businesses can now easily and accurately reconcile all of their currency balances directly in QuickBooks.”
Streamlining accountancy advisory services
Accountants can cut back on manual end-of-month checks with the upcoming Month End Review tool. The platform is a simple way of creating a more organised and accurate process for closing clients’ books, using consistent workflows and a final review checklist. Missing data is also automatically flagged, allowing the user to easily identify and resolve client issues or anomalies. The Month End Review tool is launching soon to QuickBooks Online Accountant.
Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) reports direct to HMRC
Small businesses in the construction industry can now submit CIS reports directly to HMRC through new e-filing services.
With auto-calculated CIS deductions and the ability to create custom reports – hosted in one easy-to-access and secure location – the platform helps speed up the process of creating and submitting accurate and compliant reports via HMRC.
Shaun Shirazian, Director of Project Management, Europe at Intuit QuickBooks said:
“Small businesses have faced extraordinary challenges since the coronavirus hit, with many of the longstanding issues facing these businesses – such as cash flow and late payments – becoming even more severe.
“We are dedicated to helping small businesses overcome these hurdles and improve their chances of survival and have developed these product innovations to support them in their recovery. We truly believe that by putting digital at the heart of their business, small businesses can survive and thrive; even in today’s challenging environment.”
Since lockdown QuickBooks has been providing practical tips and guidance on their dedicated small business support page. Through its Ask the Expert series in the UK alone, QuickBooks has created over 580 pieces of content containing valuable advice and support, viewed by more than 60,000 small businesses.
1 ONS Business Demography, 2018 (latest release)
2 International survey for Intuit (US) by Wakefield Research
3 Sources include: any outstanding QuickBooks transaction (Invoice, Bill, Expense, Sales Receipt, Recurring Transaction); predicted recurring money in or money out events generated by a machine learning model, based on recurring patterns found in users’ bank history; manual events added by the user.
4 Research conducted by Opinium for QuickBooks, based on a survey of 1,003 UK SME business owners and key decision makers, carried out in June 2020. In this research, SMEs include sole proprietors and businesses with 1 – 249 employees.
5 Starting from 1.45% + £0.30 per transaction.