QuickBooks won’t squeeze out accountants and bookkeepers

Accounting Today:  QuickBooks won’t squeeze out accountants and bookkeepers

The latest buzz in the accounting industry is that QuickBooks will soon be offering “bookkeeping services,” which will siphon business from accountants and bookkeepers. I don’t think that’s the case.

Some have long held that QuickBooks is difficult for small businesses to use, and that this new move is Intuit’s admission that it’s normal to seek professional bookkeeping help — both in general and when using the software. While this new offering is being touted as a bookkeeping service, in actuality what QuickBooks is going to offer is more like customer support in the form of helping small business owners set up QuickBooks and answer questions about how to do their own bookkeeping. As Rich Preece, U.S. country leader of Intuit Quickbooks noted in a recent webinar, QuickBooks is changing their DIY model to a do-it-with-me (DIWM) model instead. Simply put, the DIWM model is not a solution to small business owners’ problems.

As a CPA with over 10 years of experience, I’ve observed that about 80 percent of the time when we get DIY books from small business owners, they are in horrible shape. The majority of business owners do not have a background in finance or accounting, and using any bookkeeping software without that knowledge often ends with their books being in a state of chaos. Some of the most common problems we see when business owners do their own books include: bank accounts on the balance sheet show a negative balance, bank and credit card accounts are not reconciled, deposits are booked as income when it is actually a loan or capital contribution and/or mixing personal and business finances.

Accountants and bookkeepers know the importance of keeping accurate books. We also know that many people don’t take accounting and bookkeeping as seriously as they should. Further, we realize it is difficult for people to give up that control and let someone else handle their finances.

But business owners are wasting a lot of time doing their bookkeeping (even if they are doing it accurately) — time that could be spent earning money. This new offering from QuickBooks doesn’t give business owners any time back. If anything, they will spend more time falling down the QuickBooks rabbit hole. I think the majority of business owners would rather have the same bookkeeper or accountant working with them over time, someone who knows their business, rather than a different customer service representative every time they need help with what is supposed to be intuitive software. At the end of the day, accountants and bookkeepers provide a more quality service to business owners, giving them accurate bookkeeping and expert advice, while freeing up countless hours to earn more money and grow their business.

Over 50 percent of new businesses shut down within their first year. One of the reasons is that they don’t understand their numbers. The bottom line is that accountants and bookkeepers are still needed. and they provide a lot of value to clients with or without QuickBooks. With the changing landscape of the accounting industry, it is important for CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers to adapt and adjust to those changes, but the need for these professional services isn’t diminished in any way by QuickBooks or their new service offering.

By Heidi Wrighton
Heidi Wrighton Heidi Wrighton