*This article is derived from a webinar that occurred in 2017. Its content remains relevant to the accounting industry today.
Michelle Long and Alicia Katz Pollock are two of the leading QuickBooks trainers and advisors in the world. Michelle is an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor with a unique relationship with Intuit as a trainer, consultant and author of numerous courses for Intuit Academy. She is also a co-author of the Advanced Certification Exam Preparation courses for both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. Michelle has to stay current on technology if she’s going to train all her peers in how to support QuickBooks, but she also services her own clients, staying current to make sure that she takes good care of them.
Alicia Katz Pollock is an author and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor. She’s a member of the Intuit Trainer Writer Network. She self-publishes QuickBooks training materials and each month leads webinars on a wide range of technology topics including QuickBooks, Apple, Microsoft Office and various back-office and business productivity solutions. In the field, her QuickBooks setups and troubleshooting sessions blend with her skills of technology and the patience of a trainer to keep her clients current on technology as well.
Joe Woodard: Michelle had an amazing perspective on the shifts that are happening in the technology world throughout small business and accountants having to keep up with that. I want to drill down now with Alicia Pollock about QBO specifically.
Gone are the days when we could attend one update course on QuickBooks once each year and know everything that is new. The QBO development or release cycle is six to eight weeks. Every 45 to 60 days we need to know what’s happening in this product and we need to be able to leverage every bit of it for the benefit of a clients.
QBO is a key place to stay current on technology. It’s Alicia’s job to stay current on everything that’s happening with QBO. Alicia, welcome to the podcast.
Alicia Pollock: Joe, thanks for having me.
Joe Woodard: It’s great to have you here. What do you find are the most important techniques business owners need to know when moving to QBO and experiencing it for the first time?
Alicia Pollock: Because many of them are used to Desktop and moving to QBO, one of the things I always make sure that they understand thoroughly is the banking feed, because it’s much more robust than Desktop, but you still have to take control of it, and it needs to be trained. When you look at the bank feeds for the first time, it looks like it’s making all kinds of mistakes. But that’s just because you need to tell it where to put things, and it learns as you go. When a business owner is getting started with QuickBooks Online, the bank feed is an absolute joy as you learn it and as you take control of it.
Joe Woodard: It’s a fantastic tool out of the gate, but don’t judge its capabilities out of the gate. It will get smarter and you will educate it as you go. By “educate it,” I mean that you’re going to create rules and best practices and it will learns from the things you’ve done in the past.
There is in QBO this amazing rules feature, but it’s a little hidden. Tell us where to find it and why it’s so powerful.
Alicia Pollock: The banking rules [feature] is QBO’s best-kept secret. Even if you’ve been using QBO for some time, it got rolled out about six months or maybe a year ago. It’s become incredibly robust, especially if you’re used to the Desktop version where the only thing that the bank feed rules do are assign a payee or a category. Here you can assign entire transactions, including splits. And because you look for it in the bank feed, in the drop-down arrow next to the Upload button, if you haven’t gone in and done any exploring for a while, you might not even know that it’s there. And the reason I call it QBO’s best-kept secret is because although they rolled it up, they added a check mark down at the bottom that allows you to automatically add the transactions. You can create these complex rules that automatically assign everything in the bank feed and put in in QuickBooks for you. It saves you hours and hours of time.
Joe Woodard: Automation, in all its various forms, is a key benefit of QBO plus its ecosystem of integrated apps. And banking rules are the first step in that journey towards back-office automation. For us, as accounting professionals, especially if you perform outsourced bookkeeping services, it directly translates into the ability to scale your practice and generate greater profits. If you’re consulting with your clients, it generates greater scalability of their work force in the back office, and greater human resource savings and efficiencies.
So just as Michelle talked about where the world is shifting from "enter it twice or three times or four times" to "enter it once" being the goal. Now it’s "enter none," and banking rules is key to getting to that none goal.
I can go to QuickBooks Online online and it’s already mobile-optimized. Why did Intuit introduce an app? (Note: As of April 20, 2021, Intuit is discontinuing support of its desktop apps.)
Alicia Pollock: The native app which works on smartphones and tablets streamlines the browser version so that it gives you the essentials that you can use when you’re out and about and on the go. When you’re waiting in line, you can sneak an opportunity in to classify some transactions. If you have a service team that’s out in the field, instead of creating invoices on paper and then taking them into the office for the back office to enter, it allows them to create their invoices and take payments right in the field, right on the spot so the back office doesn’t have to replicate the data entry.
Joe Woodard: And that’s part of the “enter none” for the back office.
Alicia Pollock: Exactly.
Joe Woodard: Get the folks that are doing it in a customer-facing way, whether that’s the cash register for retail or somebody out in the field using the QBO app. If it is QBO or it talks to QBO at the customer moment, then the back office watches those transactions come through, curates the data and rounds things off. Now I don’t mean to minimize that role. That’s a very important thing: validating, verifying, completing the data, but that’s a world of difference from entering, and then validating, verifying and completing the data. I use that app personally, with my family, and I look at my wife and she’s reconciling the bank account. Gone are the days of doing bank recs at the end of the month. Bank reconciliations are a perpetual process. It comes down to the feeds, the rules and matching. It’s the reason she can pull out her phone, match and be done for the day with the bank reconciliations. It’s unreal.
Alicia Pollock: And in addition to that added opportunity to get the work done, the mobile app also has features that are not available through the browser. For example, you can look at your customer list on a map and you can see little pin drops for every single customer. When you have it up on a smartphone, you can tap their addresses and then it will go straight to the Maps app and give you directions to their houses.
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Part 4 will be published on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.