During a June 3rd meeting with ProAdvisors, Intuit executives met with ProAdvisors to answer questions both about the new ProAdvisor Preferred Pricing and other topics around which ProAdvisors asked questions or expressed concerns or frustrations.
Three Intuit executives - Alex Chriss, EVP and General Manager of Intuit's Small Business and Self-Employed Group; Ariege Misherghi, VP, QuickBooks Experts Leader; and Ted Callahan, Director, QuickBooks Accountant Leader - answered questions and comments.
This article, part two of a two-part series, will share some of the questions and answers around topics not related to the pricing changes. Part one, which was published on June 3rd, specifically addressed the pricing changes.
When will Intuit improve customer support for ProAdvisors?
Of the several reasons cited for the recently announcing pricing changes, Intuit executives highlighted the need to invest in improved ProAdvisor customer support. Ted Callahan reassured ProAdvisors that Intuit has heard their complaints about customer service and Alex Chriss emphatically stated, "I know our support is inadequate right now.... I'm dissatisfied with the support that we've provided. We will be investing in improving that and it will get better going forward."
Intuit has already begun to implement a six-month plan to improve ProAdvisor customer support, to include:
- Bringing all ProAdvisor customer support back to the US,
- Increasing staffing significantly,
- Hiring a different profile of support professional, to include those with experience in bookkeeping and accounting,
- Providing more in-depth training on QBO specifically, including more complex issues and payroll features, and
- Improving the routing system to connect ProAdvisors with support members with an appropriate skill set.
As new support personnel are deployed over the next sixty days, ProAdvisors should begin seeing improved speed of answer and speed of call-back as well as improved quality of support.
In addition, tiered support based on ProAdvisor tier levels will continue.
Is Intuit trying to take clients away from ProAdvisors?
During the meeting, there were several questions around QuickBooks Live, with one ProAdvisor pointedly asking, “Why does Intuit want to compete directly with accounting and tax professionals? You’re a software company, not a professional services company. Stay in your lane.”
Ariege Misherghi responded to the question by stating what motivates her personally, which is to help small businesses succeed. She added that when a small business owner works with an accountant, they are more financially stable, more credit worthy and two times as likely to succeed. “So, it is success for us, it is success for me when customers connect to an accountant, one of you.”
Misherghi added that Intuit has been actively educating small businesses on the importance of working with a bookkeeper. Since the launch of QuickBooks Live, not only are small businesses selecting QuickBooks Live, but the number of small businesses connected with independent practices has also increased.
According to Misherghi, clients connected with an accountant do not see ads for QuickBooks Live. Clients who are paying directly for their QBO subscription do see QuickBooks Live listed in the full product listing in the Billing and Subscription section of their QBO account. However, clients who are firm-billed for their QBO subscription do not see QuickBooks Live in the product listing.
When a new customer who is not connected to an accountant signs up for QuickBooks, they are offered two options side by side – QuickBooks Live or Find a ProAdvisor. Misherghi emphasized, “Nine times out of ten, customers choose Find a ProAdvisor.”
Currently, 60% of small businesses in the QuickBooks ecosystem are connected to an accountant or bookkeeper. However, Intuit continues to focus on connecting the other 40% of small businesses.
As an additional note, since the price of QuickBooks Live is a combination of a customer's monthly QBO subscription plus the cost of the Live service, the total price of QuickBooks Live is also increasing with the recently announced pricing change.
Is Intuit going to retire QuickBooks Desktop?
During the meeting, there were numerous questions posed around Intuit’s strategy around QuickBooks Desktop. One attendee wrote, “Desktop is much quicker and better for reporting. I really wish you all would continue with the desktop and not phase it out.”
Answers given both in the meeting Q&A pane and by Intuit executives emphasized that Intuit has no plans to retire QuickBooks Desktop, with Ted Callahan stating, “We have a strategy to continue supporting desktop until every last customer chooses to go to QuickBooks Online…. What we realize is that day of everybody leaving Desktop and going to QuickBooks Online likely won’t ever come. So, Desktop will continue to exist right alongside QBO.”
Callahan added that Intuit is continuing to invest in QB Desktop and will improve the product in line with the needs of QB Desktop users, focusing on security and data backup.