Intuit updates QuickBooks with inventory management and more

The company also now helps businesses borrow money

QuickBooks Online payroll screen

QuickBooks Online's Payroll screen

Credit: Intuit

QuickBooks Online, Intuit's service for small business accounting, is now set up to better help businesses focused on selling products.

Karen Peacock, the company's vice president of small business, said product-based businesses like retailers and e-commerce merchants make up nearly half of all small businesses worldwide, but that cloud-based accounting systems haven't served them well.

Intuit's online accounting software now supports different product categories, and tracks different products by SKU number. It can also track how much inventory a company has on hand, while creating an invoice so it can better know what to charge and when to reorder different products. In the future, Peacock said, Intuit plans to add automatic re-ordering of products and the ability to create bundle discounts. 

Through its developer platform, Intuit has partnered with e-commerce providers like BigCommerce and Shopify, along with an integration for QuickBooks Point-of-Sale, a physical retail sales system. With those integrations, sales will automatically connect to QuickBooks Online, so business owners can see the impact of their sales on their inventory and finances.

Interestingly, Intuit hasn't yet partnered with third-party marketplaces like Ebay, Etsy or Amazon to help with inventory management, even though all of them are popular options for providing small businesses with a digital storefront. Those integrations may come in the future, however. 

"We have an open platform, so we're open to integrating with anyone and everyone who obviously meets certain criteria in terms of security and things like that," Peacock said. 

Overall, the company says, it has seen interest from independent software developers to build apps that integrate with QuickBooks. Over the past year, Intuit went from 308 apps integrating with its platform to more than 1,500. To continue driving growth, the company has devoted $4 million to help developers promote apps that they're building on the QuickBooks platform. 

Intuit will double the funds that developers invest in co-marketing campaigns, starting by providing $20,000 for companies that put in $10,000 and scaling to provide $40,000 investments for qualifying companies that put in $20,000.

On top of the inventory news, Intuit is partnering with lenders to help small businesses get loans. QuickBooks will simplify the process of getting a loan by giving business owners the ability to fill out a single questionnaire and get access to a wealth of different funding options. Small businesses will also be able to easily share their accounting information from QuickBooks, which should improve the chances of getting applications approved.

According to Peacock, two-thirds of small businesses that apply for a loan using their QuickBooks data get approved, compared to one-third of small businesses that get approved for loans overall.

Those companies that seek loans through the new process will maintain control over what information they share, according to Intuit. Business owners will be able to review the information that's getting sent out before it's submitted, and redact information that they don't want to share. Of course, redacting too much information may reduce a business's chance of getting a loan. 

Intuit is making these moves to help transition from providing boxed software to providing and monetizing services for small-business finances. The company made the announcements at its QuickBooks Connect conference in San Jose, Calif.

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