A little harmony can go a long way. And that’s exactly what Intuit set out to demonstrate when it debuted a new, redesigned version of QuickBooks Online at the Midwest Accounting & Finance Showcase in Chicago in August. With a cleaner and simpler user interface, seamless navigation, new features and increased mobility, this enhanced version is designed to synchronize the collaboration between accountants and their clients in a more efficient manner.
Intuit, developer of business and financial management solutions, has witnessed rapid growth of its QuickBooks Online solution, making it a necessity to provide a seamless experience for the 1.3 million small and mid-sized businesses, individuals and accounting professionals currently using for the service worldwide.
QuickBooks Online now features a simpler layout, and while the software looks and feels different, the product’s functionality has not diminished. Users will notice the new user interface is similar to that of the desktop version, eliminating the need to navigate to separate screens to complete tasks.
“Our customers told us that they wanted QuickBooks Online to be just as fast as the desktop version. It wasn’t enough for it to just be fast for a web version. They needed better usability,” said Kevin Kirn, Group Product Manager, QuickBooks Online. “Accountants use a lot of different products and they want to be able to ramp up very quickly. They don’t want to spend weeks learning new products and they need solutions that their clients can understand easily.”
One of the first things users will notice upon logging in is the newly designed Home dashboard. It still offers users the same at-a-glance functionality, but now includes several new features designed to make it easier for QBO users to stay on top of things. For example, users can see how many overdue invoices they have simply by placing their mouse over the “Overdue” bar. One click will take users directly to the list, where they can then manage any overdue invoices. Also newly incorporated into the home screen is an activity feed on the right side. Items that need attention are displayed at the top, followed by company activity. Using a Facebook-like feed, the activity list includes all data that has been entered into the program.
“We’ve put all of the client’s data in one place for them to quickly access. Just like Facebook’s newsfeed, additional data will populate once you scroll to the bottom. We designed it so our users have control over how much data appears based on how far they scroll. With data only populating on demand, users don’t have to worry about the program becoming bogged down. It’s completely intuitive,” said Kirn.
Other enhancements include a redesigned left-hand menu, enhanced search feature and simpler user interface for managing transactions. The left-hand menu now includes fewer sub-tabs, eliminating the need to click through multiple items to perform a task. Users can create and view expenses, checks, invoices and other items simply by clicking the plus sign located in the top center of the screen. The transaction details slide down instead of opening in new windows. The transaction detail screen also has an autocomplete function that ensures users enter the necessary details. In addition, a footer menu has been added that “sticks” to the bottom of the screen, allowing users to access common actions without scrolling to the bottom of the page. To return to the previous screen, users simply press the “X” at the top. QBO will also suggest next steps and reminders for certain transactions. This layout and functionality is consistent across transactions, making for a truly harmonized experience.
Intuit has also incorporated more tablet functionality into this version of QuickBooks Online. Tablet users can now perform virtually every task from their device, a vast improvement over previous versions that were not very tablet-friendly. While the new tablet version does not support bank feeds yet, users can expect that functionality in the future.
The launch of this new QuickBooks Online version is just the first step in a company-wide initiative that seeks to improve the integration and interface of all of Intuit’s online products, from payroll to payments to tax.
“We have been working hard to deliver the solutions our customers want, improving efficiencies yet keeping our products easy to use and giving them the same look and feel,” Kirn said. “We are working to truly harmonize our products across multiple platforms and functions.”
Taija Jenkins is an associate editor for CPA Practice Advisor.