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Innovation is nothing new at Intuit. It’s been our heartbeat for nearly a quarter century Essay

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“Innovation is nothing new at Intuit. It’s been our heartbeat for nearly a quarter century.” (Intuit)

Introduction

Founded in 1983 by Scott and Tom, Intuit Inc. is now a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for mid-sized and small businesses; financial institutions; consumers and accounting professionals. It’s very first Quicken personal finance software enjoyed tremendous appreciation. Intuit Inc. now employs a workforce of 8000 people, with net revenues going up to $3 billion a year. (Intuit)

QuickBooks (Initial version)

Intuit’s QuickBooks software has been the most popular among small sized business people who have no formal training in accounting practices. Earlier versions of the software did not have adequate security controls (such as audit trail). They also did not conform to traditional accounting standards and hence did not satisfy people who used them, especially professional accountants. Intuit then made the decision of enhancing QuickBooks’s features, just as its users wanted, providing extensive audit trail facilities and double entry accounting functions as well. Different versions of the software were developed, including Pro, Basic and other industry specific versions as well, launched in 2003.

Subsequent Releases

Intuit has launched several versions of the software since then. Version options for QuickBooks now include those for manufacturers, wholesalers, professional service firms who provide services to multiple small business clients, contractors, non-profit entities and retailers. The QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions for medium-sized businesses was eventually launched in May 2002. (Wikipedia)

Features

Accounting is the bedrock of any business and it takes good accounting to build a good business. The QuickBooks software comes packaged with many attractive accounting features for businesses. Some worth mentioning are:

1.      Entering sales receipts easily, tracking sales,

2.      Tracking expenses, one-click business reports,

3.      Preparing and sending invoices for receiving payments faster, and;

4.      Sales tax reports, tracking, payment and generating other important financial reports

QuickBooks follows the rules of double-entry accounting, incorporating a General Ledger, Accounts Receivable and Payable, Payroll, Job Costing and Time Billing, banking and bill-paying, and reports and other analysis tools. It also includes options for employee payroll as well as another great feature, “Check Reconcile”, which helps save tremendous amounts of time, wasted looking through bank statements and cancelled checks.

QuickBooks is an easy to use software, helping to organize financials in a better way and compile correctly. For many tasks, QuickBooks doesn’t require its users to have rigorous understanding of standard accounting procedures, including double-entry bookkeeping. Online screens that look like paper based forms e.g. invoices or checks are used for recording most of the transactions, providing a better interface to its users.

The most usable feature is the home page and provides an interactive graphical map to a business’ primary tasks and centers for customers, vendors, and employees.

Recent feature additions

Intuit Inc. has integrated several innovative features into its new QuickBooks versions, helping people “work smarter, not harder”. (New 2009) One of these is the “Company Snapshot” feature that helps people get a high level overview of their businesses. This feature basically converts the company’s financial data into an easily accessible and compact dashboard and lets people know what opportunities or threats lie ahead of them, what they need to pay and what other owe them.

Another important feature is “Online Banking”, where all banking information of the company can be accessed at a central location, full of ease. Moreover, web-based features integrated into QuickBooks include remote access capabilities, remote payroll assistance and outsourcing, electronic payments, even mapping features using Google Maps and improved e-mail functionality through Microsoft Outlook. (Wikipedia)

Some more features like import from Excel spreadsheets, additional employee time tracking options, pre-authorization of electronic funds etc. were also included in the version released in year 2008. All these inventive features built into the software help businesses better manage their resources, maximizing efficiency and profits as well.

Accounting Reports

Accounting reports hold great important for all types of businesses, whether small or medium. If these reports are done manually or inefficiently, businesses face great delays and even losses. Having the right financial and accounting knowledge and practice can make huge differences in the success of businesses.

Tax Reports

The end of the financial year brings additional burden on the company’s bookkeeper, including year-end tax reports and financial statements. QuickBooks allows to keep track of tax related income and year round expenses. These reports help the business to better manage its finances and be prepared for tax times. QuickBooks makes these jobs easier through its “Year-End Guide.” QuickBooks files can also be accessed and reviewed by the outside accountants.

Outside accountants can often enter recommended changes in a second version meant for the accountant which can then be entered into the company’s internal QuickBooks files if the bookkeeper intends to.

The income tax summary report shows if some unassigned lines are present. All the amounts are totaled for the user and all the information needed for tax papers is present, including different expenses. The math is done perfectly and this report can also be exported to excel worksheets, simplifying work for the company greatly, for filing tax returns etc.

Audit Trail

Audit trail validates or invalidates accounting entries and holds great importance for ever business. The Audit Trail is a report in QuickBooks which shows all activities related to different transactions, such as checks and invoices.  The Audit Trail report records all the changes, additions or deletions that take place with a transaction. Detailed information about the changes is kept automatically including the date of modification, person/people who modified, name, account modified and the related amount(s). The audit trail report records and shows every single transaction that takes place.

It is always on and can’t be turned off by anyone. Clicking “history of this transaction” takes the user to the audit trail. The Audit Trail report also shows the transaction type and the location, making audits easier and manageable. The figure shown below gives an overview of the audit trail “history of this transaction” screen.

Picture: http://oe.quickbooks.com/screen_audit_trail.cfm

Other features

QuickBooks also handles important payroll functions really well. All the employee payment processing data can be manually entered, or automated services can be subscribed for as well. QuickBooks also supports time billing. Simple job-cost tracking is enhanced by a helpful stable of related reports. (Yakal) One of the most important and attractive features is QuickBooks more than 100 reports available, the program’s strong suits. These reports are highly customizable and interactive and because of the integration with Excel, they can be easily exported.

QuickBooks offers many enhancements and improvements to businesses, to help users perform accounting jobs more efficiently. Accountants appreciate the product helping them in solidifying relationships with customers, by saving them money and generating revenues.

Bibliography

Intuit. Intuit – Corporate Profile. 24 June 2009 ;http://about.intuit.com/about_intuit/profile/;.

New 2009, Intuit. Small Business Financial Software from Intuit QuickBooks. 2009. 25 June 2009 ;http://quickbooks.intuit.com/product/accounting-software/small-business-financial-software.jsp;.

Wikipedia. QuickBooks. 24 June 2009 ;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QuickBooks;.

Yakal, Kathy. 11 September 2005. 25 June 2009 ;http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1883829,00.asp;.

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