Many small business owners struggle to get paid on invoices, but for QuickBooks customers, the intolerable wait to get paid is more like a pleasant pause. And it's about to get even better.
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During its QuickBooks Connect conference this week, Intuit previewed several new updates making their way to QuickBooks Online, the company's cloud-based accounting software suite. These new updates and integrations will "allow small business owners to get paid fast," said Alex Hood, vice president of product management at Inuit's Small Business Group.
How Fast Do You Get Paid?
"Small business owners often get pushed around," Hood told Small Business Computing. On average, it takes 28 days for a small business to get paid on invoices. Most small businesses (64 percent) have outstanding invoices that have gone unpaid for 60 days or longer.
According to Hood, QuickBooks Online customers already get paid 15 days faster, which means they're also recovering a precious resource: time.
QuickBooks Online customers save 11 hours a month on average, time they can devote to growing their business or to improving their work-life balance. They are also generally more efficient (72 percent), and they have more confidence in their financial data (83 percent).
However, Intuit will soon roll out new features that will help business owners to get paid even faster and help them to keep a closer, more insightful eye on their finances.
Quicker, More Secure Mobile Payments
An Apple Pay integration is on its way. And apart from enabling one-touch payments, the technology is also a powerful anti-fraud tool. Paying an electronic invoice with Apple Pay requires customers to enter a passcode or to use Touch ID, the biometric fingerprint scanner found on iPhones and iPads, greatly reducing unauthorized payments and chargebacks.
Inuit is also expanding its partnership with PayPal to reduce friction during the payment process. Soon, when QuickBooks users issue an invoice, customers will be able to seamlessly pay electronically using their PayPal accounts.
Finally, a new feature called SmartInvoice will soon help small businesses better track their invoices and potentially reduce the time it takes to get paid from weeks to days.
"It's a new way to think about our invoice-tracking capability," said Hood. The feature will be familiar to anyone who has monitored an Amazon shipment; but instead of an on-screen gauge that tracks every stage of a delivery, SmartInvoice shows when an invoice was sent, when the recipient opens the invoice, and when the money is finally deposited into a company's account.
In between, small businesses can quickly respond to questions or comments, smoothing away any potential issues that can delay payment. SmartInvoice is all about "tracking AR [accounts receivable] in a way that's automatic," and again, timesaving, said Hood.
Easing the Cash Flow Crunch
In addition to the recently-announced American Express Working Capital Terms integration for short-term financing, Intuit is refreshing its QuickBooks Financing Platform. With financial data from 1.5 million small businesses, the company has built its own credit model that's in tune with how successful entrepreneurs manage their money.
The result is higher acceptance rates, said Hood. So far, customers have secured more than $500 million in credit through QuickBooks Financing.
Soon, those customers, startups in particular, will have another lending option called Flex Credit from BlueVine. Eligible applicants are required to have annual revenue of at least $60,000 and have been in business for six months or more.
Delivering Money Insights, Playing Well with Google
With a mere click, QuickBooks' customers will be able to get a clear-as-day view of their company's health. "It's so much easier to get your income and expense view," enabling business owners to quickly see where their money is going, even if they're not accounting pros, said Hood.
The QuickBooks Online onboarding process is even more streamlined, he added. In a just a few minutes, newbies can get a handle on profit and loss and start to manage their business' finances.
The software's expense-tracking capabilities are also getting smarter. AutoExpense can "categorize more than 70 percent of small business transactions that come in from the bank," said Hood. The feature also learns over time, massively reducing the time it takes to calculate expenses come tax time.
QuickBooks Online now integrates with Google. People can sign in through G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work) using their Google credentials. They can also sync their Google Calendars—56 percent of QuickBooks customers use Google Calendar to manage their schedules—to automatically pull in billable appointments and to help further simplify their time tracking.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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