Befitting the occasion, Intuit today released a free iPad app today for QuickBooks Online customers who love their iPads.
While the QuickBooks Online for iPad app replicates much of the functionality of the browser-based Web service, it's much more than glorified Web bookmark masquerading as a small business accounting app, according to Will Lynes, product manager for QuickBooks Online. Intuit's philosophy is to empower its customers by leveraging the each platform's strengths.
Lynes told Small Business Computing that the QuickBooks team has been "closely watching the tablet space since 2010, when Steve Jobs and Apple announced the iPad." During those few years, they learned that when it comes to apps, "the most productive and most delightful to use are built from the ground up," he said.
Small Business Accounting for the iPad
The QuickBooks Online for iPad app still tracks income, logs expenses and generates invoices but it also uses the iPad's features, like GPS and its cameras, to help small business owners streamline their workflows and improve customer service.
During a demonstration, Lynes showed off how the iPad's capabilities and the QuickBooks Online platform combine to collapse the time it takes to deliver a proposal from hours to minutes. A landscaper, for instance, can snap and attach photos of the job site, calculate an estimate and quickly generate a proposal. If the customer approves, said landscaper can capture a signature right on the iPad.
For small business owners, the new app not only delivers time savings but also betters the chances of clinching the deal. With QuickBooks Online app, small business owners can deliver an estimate "that minute instead of something like five or six hours later."
Overall, the app delivers a guided, fluid and polished experience that helps you quickly invoice, record transactions and keep tabs on your company's finances. Even expensing is a snap – literally.
Hold the iPad's camera over a receipt, snap a picture, and enter some details. That last-minute, tax-time dash for the shoebox full of receipts becomes a thing of the past.
A Minty-fresh App
At-a-glance reporting functions offer informative and eye-pleasing graphs and charts that may look familiar to people who use Mint. Lynes revealed that the QuickBooks app uses the charting engine pioneered by Mint, which Intuit acquired in 2009.
Quick access and ease-of-use extends to contact management. QuickBooks Online iPad can import contacts from the iPad's own Contacts app, Gmail, Yahoo or LinkedIn. It also helps you find a face in the crowd by pulling customer pictures from Facebook. Location-services support points you in the right direction.
Taking a cue from social media apps like Facebook and Twitter, you can stay informed via the app's activity stream. Push notifications alert you to impending events and deadlines.
The QuickBooks Online app may not look like the digitized ledgers of yesteryear, and that suits the company just fine. Describing the app as "the next generation" in small business accounting, Lynes says that his team's goal is to "continue to simplify the experience, and the accounting happens in the background."
QuickBooks Online app for iPad is available now as a free download. Current QuickBooks Online account holders can simply log in and get started. New users, who are treated to a 30-day free trial, can sign up for $12.99 per month or $124.99 per year via an in-app purchase.
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