Long gone are the days where small business owners used one product from one vendor and griped about the numerous headaches it caused. With the changing technology and implementation of mobile devices and the Cloud, business owners now have more options when it comes to running their business. However, with more options come more questions and confusion.
In efforts to help small business owners navigate through the various apps and add-ons available to them, Intuit has introduced its new and redesigned app depot, www.Apps.com. The new website is designed to help current QuickBooks users identify the right apps to maximize their QuickBooks Desktop or Online experience. Accessible both in a web browser and in QuickBooks, Apps.com features apps for various tasks, as well as articles written by subject matter experts and customers.
“Apps.com will help owners run their business better by helping them perform company management better. There are apps available that help customers perform financial management and other tasks related to running a business, such as client management. These apps leverage the information that QuickBooks already tracks, allowing users to perform additional tasks beyond the capabilities of QuickBooks,” said Ronny Tey, group marketing manager, Small Business Financial Solutions.
Utilizing apps found on Apps.com provides business owners with even greater security for sensitive data. Employees and staff who use integrated apps now have access to just the information they need instead of full access to QuickBooks data that is beyond their job scope.
In addition to showcasing various apps that integrate within QuickBooks, Apps.com also features tips and best practice advice for business owners. Users can navigate through numerous articles that explain what apps are and how to best use them. Written by subject matter experts and other Intuit customers, the articles also cover topics such as practice management and how to navigate through payment issues.
“Our goal with Apps.com is to generate content and create a community for small business owners to help each other better understand what apps are available to them, how these apps will improve their business and what they need to consider in order to make an informed decision when managing their business,” said Tey.
Apps.com isn’t Intuit’s first attempt at providing developer apps for its customers. The provider of business and financial management solutions previously owned the Intuit Apps Center, which simply showed apps that integrated with QuickBooks. Unlike the previous version, Apps.com organizes the apps by category and ranks them according to customer views. Apps with the highest number of quality reviews are shown first. In addition, Intuit reached out to subject matter experts to provide articles and best practices to customers.
“The old app center displayed a carousel of apps when the user first logged in. However, our small business customers said they needed more from us. They needed to make sure an app integrated correctly with QuickBooks and performed well before they purchased it. Essentially, they needed us to do more than tell them what was available to them; they needed us to provide the necessary tools so they could decide which apps were best for their business,” said Tey.
Intuit vets every app before it appears on Apps.com so their customers don’t have to sift through every app on the market. Before apps are approved, they must undergo an extensive review process, which includes two technical reviews and one marketing review. During the first technical check, apps are checked for compatibility to ensure everything works correctly. The second technical check is a security review performed by a third-party company. Before an app is granted access to QuickBooks’ data, it must have the proper controls to secure its data. Lastly, Intuit’s marketing team reviews marketing materials and existing product information to market the app on Apps.com.
“We are really committed to making Apps.com a valuable resource for small business owners. Even if a small business is not currently in the market for apps, the articles on the website are still useful. Business owners can learn how to run their business better and get advice on issues that matter to them, like making sure their customers pay,” said Tey.
In addition to introducing the new Apps.com, Intuit also announced changes to its open platform strategy, making it easier for developers to integrate their apps with QuickBooks. Previously, vendors were charged a connection fee for each company that used their app. The updated QuickBooks Online Application Programming Interface (QBO API) now eliminates those fees and allows developers to build applications that integrate across U.S. and global markets, reaching more than 516,000 QBO subscribers.
“We are taking our platform to the next level, making it faster and making more APIs available. This will open our platform to global integration. We officially dropped the integration fee last year, removing a significant barrier for developers. Now, it’s free for their apps to connect to our data. This is just one more way we’re working to empower small businesses,” said Tey.
See inside February 2014
Easy Marketing Tips for Firms During Tax Season
Quick ways to boost your marketing efforts even during the chaos of busy season
2014 Review of Virtual CFO Platforms (aka, Cloud Write-Up)
The transition away from traditional, after-the-fact client write-up systems and to collaborative, real-time financial reporting systems has taken many years, but we are starting to see the outline of the systems of the future. Cloud-based software will be used to help practitioners and clients work together on a business, and will yield results which are more timely and less compliance-oriented than traditional write up products.