Did They Just Kill Desktop? 2023 QuickBooks Update with Hector Garcia, CPA

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Hector Garcia: [00:00:01] So I think QuickBooks has done a horrible job to communicate with people how to access their money. You know, when there is in QuickBooks checking how to make transfers, how long it takes for the transfer to come in, because you've got to wait the two days for the credit card payment to clear and then you've got to wait the two days to transfer from a QuickBooks checking to your Bank of America or whatever. So people are not immediately aware of exactly what's happening with their money, particularly when they sort of did this express QuickBooks payments and QuickBooks checking signup.

Blake Oliver: [00:00:32] If you'd like to earn CPE credit for listening to this episode, visit Earmark Cpcomm. Download the app, take a short quiz and get your CPE certificate. Continuing education has never been so easy. And now on to the episode. Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the show. I'm Blake Oliver, CPA. And we have a big episode today for you about QuickBooks, everything that's going on with QuickBooks right now. Did they just kill QuickBooks Desktop? We're going to get all the details from Hector Garcia, CPA, who is joining us today. Hey, Hector, How are you doing?

Hector Garcia: [00:01:14] Hey, man. How are you? How's everything?

Blake Oliver: [00:01:16] You did an episode with us back in February of 2022 with all the latest QuickBooks news. And you made some predictions in that episode. So I'm eager to hear if those predictions have come true. Eager to hear updates from you about everything that's going on. And we're streaming live today. Hopefully some folks will join us. And feel free to ask your questions. Make your comments. I'll be monitoring that and Hector will as well. We'll try to get to those. Hector, for those who don't know Hector, Hector is like the number one QuickBooks ProAdvisor on YouTube with over a million views on his YouTube channel. Hector, what's the name of your channel?

Hector Garcia: [00:01:54] It's just Hector Garcia, CPA, And it's just. Look, I'm not counting, but it's 13,000,727 967 views. But just.

Blake Oliver: [00:02:04] Oh, my gosh.

Hector Garcia: [00:02:04] Details don't matter.

Blake Oliver: [00:02:07] That's a lot. 13 million. Incredible. One of the top QuickBooks resellers Proadvisors in the world. So, yeah, great to have you on the show. Let's let's talk about what's going on. Where do we start?

Hector Garcia: [00:02:19] I think let's start with the with the low hanging fruit, which is like, what is the stuff that's affecting people the most, which is the QuickBooks Online price changes. So August 1st, every August 1st is Intuit's fiscal year. So you're going to see major changes happening usually around August of every year. The most apparent price change is going to be the most apparent change is going to be the QuickBooks Online price change, where it went up by $5 a month. Only two SKUs went up by $5 a month. So QuickBooks Online Essentials remains a $30 QuickBooks. Sorry. Yeah. Quickbooks Online simple start remains at $30 a month. Quickbooks Essentials went up from $55 to $60 a month. Quickbooks Online Plus went up from $85 to $90 a month. You got a 30, 60, 90, really clean and pretty pricing sheet. And then QuickBooks Online Advanced stayed at $200. So it's the two middle options out of the four options went up by $5. That's pretty simple. Now for for every brand new user, this is effective now starting August 1st, that's effective for everyone. For existing accounts, some are being phased into the price change. Some will see at September 1st, some will see at October 1st, some will see at November 1st. Depends on when the account was created. Usually when the account is less than a year old, they're going to see a delay in that price change.

Hector Garcia: [00:03:45] But if it's over a year old, probably every single account went up already August 1st to that new price. Now, QuickBooks Online payroll also went up by a couple of dollars. I mean, I recommend you go into the frame of the future.com website if you want to see all those details. The other important announcement is that Intuit announced their efforts and this is one of these just press releases like check the box, right? You know, we are working on our own financial basically it means hey world, I know everybody is is is falling in love with ChatGPT. I know everybody's thinking the whole the entire software development process around, you know, OpenAI, ChatGPT and other technologies. You know, what is Intuit doing? So they're making sure they're telling all the the investors and the shareholders, Hey, we're working on one too. Don't worry about it. You know, QuickBooks Online is not integrating with ChatGPT now, at least not through QuickBooks terms anyway. But they are going to be working on their own internal. And this was an important announcement specifically because in the accounting community there's tons of concern and uncertainty around the safety of the data. You know, where you have hundreds of millions of users feeding information to this machine. And we don't know how this data is going to use. And when it comes specifically to financial data, how can this information be used, let's say, against us? I mean, that's kind of a complicated term to use.

Hector Garcia: [00:05:13] But, you know, how is this information potentially being weaponized commercially? So a lot of accounting professionals are concerned that it's just not clear to what's happening with this. So I think Intuit made an incredibly important point, which is, hey, we're not going to go talk to OpenAI and that sort of thing, and maybe they'll use their underlying engine and technology, but we're going to have our own. That way the information stays within our control. Today, there's nothing in this software that looks or feels different than before. They announce that and it'll probably be a while until you go through the beta testing and all that stuff. But I think it's an important announcement and I think it's it's, you know, you. Have the leader of the accounting world, accounting, software world pretty much letting you know that this is where it's going. It's going to artificial intelligence, doing some of the work or most of the work or who knows how accurate it would be or if accountants would trust it at the beginning. I mean, just so this is a very complex and it will be a very fun conversation for us, podcaster, creator types because it's a great topic of conversation to philosophy about, Yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:06:22] I would personally love to know how Intuit is going to overcome data integrity issues with an built on QuickBooks data, because we all know there's all those files out there where transactions are not coded, right? And the chart of accounts is all messed up. And if you're going to build a large language model and do I around a set of transactions, how do you make sure that it's learning the right things? Right. That's what I'm curious how they're going to solve that problem.

Hector Garcia: [00:06:51] Well, we kind of have that situation now, right? If you're if you're a QuickBooks online user and you download transactions through bank feeds, QuickBooks will attempt to tell you what that is. Right? If you went to Chevron, it would say gas expense. And again, assuming that you have the standard chart of accounts that QuickBooks knows what the vehicle gas expense is, because I don't think QuickBooks is reading your custom chart of account names and trying to discern what this means in connection to like the category of gas expense. One of the one of the sort of interesting things is that most QuickBooks users, I would say not the advanced ones, not the accountants, not the bookkeepers, not the ones that have a ProAdvisor attached to it, are probably going to use, for the most part, the built in chart of accounts that QuickBooks Online gives you. And even that's a moving target because that chart of accounts has changed over time. But Intuit already has incredible statistics. I mean, they have metadata about what the average person calls Chevron or Chipotle or whatever, right? So based on this statistic, they could make suggestions to the next user with the next transaction on how to categorize something. Now, the point you're making is if look, if you're an accounting professional, you know, there's most of the client business owner led QuickBooks files are a complete disaster. So if they're feeding their statistic, their engine, their suggestion engine with garbage, garbage in, garbage out. So Intuit has a very interesting conundrum nowadays, that you have the average user using the standard chart of accounts.

Hector Garcia: [00:08:30] You have the advanced user, the accountant user, the ProAdvisor, the one that has much you should have more trust on, on their judgment, on how to categorize things. And then you have their own internal employees in QuickBooks Live categorizing things. I don't have the inside baseball on this, but I'm pretty sure some engineer Intuit had thought which information do we take? Do we take, you know, do we crowdsource the business owner data? Do we crowdsource the ProAdvisor accountant attached data or do we just use the internal data from the people that we train that we know they're doing things our way, which again, could be wrong or could be right? That's a different conversation. So when they build this financial LM, I am pretty sure that the core database like you know what they're going to train that, you know, artificial intelligence on will be on this statistical historical data they have on this universe of 5 million QuickBooks Online users using QuickBooks Online. So again, when this thing gets released, the manifestation of this will probably be very evident. We'll be using it. We'll be seeing all these crazy suggestions to things just like it is now. And this could be an issue because especially the accounting pros are going to immediately say, see, I told you, you know, you can't replace us, you know, like so they'll just see it and see it see it as another gimmick.

Blake Oliver: [00:09:52] Well, and there's also the question of what if you don't want your data ingested into into its LM? And I suppose that's another argument for staying on QuickBooks desktop is that your data is local and we've got some big changes coming to QuickBooks Desktop Pro and Premier. What's new with that?

Hector Garcia: [00:10:10] Okay, so am a QuickBooks solution provider. That means I resell QuickBooks. I've done it for over ten years and starting August 1st, we as resellers can no longer sell QuickBooks Desktop pro or premier. Actually, as a matter of fact, last year, this is August 1st of last year we could could still sell Pro Pro was completely removed from sort of the public offering we could still sell pro and into it would still sell pro if you called into it directly. Actually in some cases you could you could renew pro, but you couldn't buy a new license or pro. That's what it was. Today. Right now, if somebody wants to buy QuickBooks Pro or premier, they can no longer go through a reseller. We can tell people that, hey, call this phone number and buy it, but we no longer get compensated for it. So, so, so how they compensate their their their solution providers is a good indicator on how they're aligning their financial incentives to their sales goals. And there's a discussion we had a year and a half ago, we talked about, you know, what I thought QuickBooks was going. And I and I mentioned that this started happening right where the incentives to sell pro and premier were were dwindling. And at this point, they're no longer existent and really quick. There's also a price increase.

Hector Garcia: [00:11:31] Quickbooks Desktop Pro went up by $100. So it went from 550 a year to 650 a year and QuickBooks premier went up from $800 a year to 950 a year. And this is the one user annual subscription. Most, most desktop users should be on an annual subscription. So that went up as well. So you can still buy it, but the price went up. So that's a really important point. Right now, if you call QuickBooks sales, if you actually call and I would invite anybody to do the exercise and see how it feels, you have to convince the salesperson on the other side that you want to buy QuickBooks desktop. And and I'm going to make a I'm going to guess this. I don't know this for sure, but I'm sure a lot of people in that in the other side of that call center don't even know the existence of QuickBooks desktop or know enough about it for for this to be a smooth conversation. They've been trained that, hey, if you're a very large business, very complex, you know you got to go to QuickBooks Enterprise. If not, QuickBooks Online is the only sort of path to put their customers in. And that's because Intuit was very clear a couple of years ago saying, you know, their goal is to have a single platform, a QuickBooks online and sell cross, sell all their products and services from that platform.

Hector Garcia: [00:12:49] They want to have all the data, the metadata, so they can make the product better. They don't want to have multiple support teams supporting desktop and online. They don't want to deal with the drama of like different versions and different versions of Windows and security updates. And there's so many more Mac users than before versus Windows users. I mean, Macs are pretty much a huge percentage of the of the user base and the small business world. So QuickBooks Desktop, the Windows version, which was the traditional pro premier Windows version, you know, it costs a lot of confusion. You know, like, you know, people would buy the Windows version, but they have a mac. So in the in the QuickBooks world, it's just so much easier to get people into QuickBooks Online. And let me tell you, not anecdotally, I had the privilege of hanging out at Intuit, but 2 or 3 years ago, actually prior to the pandemic. And I asked, you know, a person that worked in there, hey, could I could I hang out with some of your incoming salespeople, the phone salespeople, so I could kind of understand, you know, what is it that people go through in terms of calling QuickBooks and saying, hey, I need I need QuickBooks? What do you recommend? And of course, the desktop conversation never happened.

Hector Garcia: [00:13:58] And this is four years ago, right? That's the conversation never even happened. But on the other side of the coin, because I was kind of like disappointed that desktop wasn't even being offered. The other side of the coin is in one phone call, they were up and running. And in my world with QuickBooks Desktop, that wasn't a thing. Up and running with QuickBooks Desktop was a multi day project, you know. So like, you know, from as a software provider, as a solution provider, I could totally see the upside value, you know, for the average small business of going from no accounting system to one accounting system connected to your bank within an hour. That's something you cannot do with desktop technology. So at that point four years ago, I was convinced that online was the future. I mean, I still love QuickBooks Desktop and we can have an entire podcast about why desktop in so many ways is so much more powerful than online. And with this whole data security thing, more and more people want to like own their data. But I was completely sold and I and I knew it was like I could I could finally see it. You know, why it made much more sense for QuickBooks Online to be centric to the Intuit strategy.

Blake Oliver: [00:15:08] So you're telling me that I can't, as a ProAdvisor resell QuickBooks Pro anymore?

Hector Garcia: [00:15:14] No, no.

Blake Oliver: [00:15:15] But can can can somebody buy it directly from Intuit? Yes. Or is it just not even available?

Hector Garcia: [00:15:21] No, no, no. You can buy directly from Intuit. Like, actually, I invite you guys to do this on your own during the podcast. After the podcast, whatever. Just go to quickbooks.com or QuickBooks intuit.com and see how long it takes you to find a purchase page for QuickBooks Premier. It would be several clicks and like right now, as of the time that we're recording this, I found it and it's a little tiny line in the bottom of a page somewhere that says for basic accounting needs. Needs stored on your desktop computer. Get QuickBooks desktop plus starting at 7.99. That's the line. Right. But think about that. The messaging, basic accounting needs stored on your desktop computer. It's very, very interesting framing. So they haven't completely killed it. So officially not killed. I think once it comes off the website, I would essentially at that point say, okay, they've killed it completely. So they haven't completely killed it, but it's like it's hanging on, like that's the Premier is hanging on. And the other thing that I find interesting is through the Intuit website, if you do find that link to try to buy it, you can only buy a one user. So if you need two, three, 4 or 5 users, you're going to have to call the QuickBooks general phone number. And at that point I assume that if the person is convinced that they need desktop, they will probably want to put them on enterprise because enterprise is a better solution for multi-user. Anyway. Again, technical discussion we can have in a different podcast, but this whole concept of framed around basic bookkeeping store and stuck in your desktop computer almost like saying, Hey, I know that you're like from the Dark Ages and we're still want to serve you, you know? So here's a little corner of our of our company that's that's that's designed for for you people right So that's kind of the framing that's happening now. And if I had to make a prediction, I don't think QuickBooks Desktop premier would last another three years. Again, pure speculation but it's it's it's out in the UK it's it's still.

Hector Garcia: [00:17:21] What do you mean out.

Hector Garcia: [00:17:22] Well yeah so QuickBooks desktop no longer there's no longer a UK edition so it's been phased out that was phased out in in 20 it was sunsetted in 2018. So 2018 was the last version they released. And the three years that QuickBooks usually gives for support expired earlier this year. And then everybody in the UK was going crazy because, you know, it wasn't easy to convert from desktop to online. And, you know, and a lot of accountants weren't ready. I mean, it was some there was some some hecticness around it. Now UK is a only world and the only two places on earth where desktop is still supported is us and Canada.

Blake Oliver: [00:18:01] So it's funny, they say desktop is for basic bookkeeping because we all know that if you need advanced inventory, you still can't get that out of QuickBooks Online. And that is the point that Andrea is making here in the live stream, saying they need to develop and implement a better inventory system for QBO because the one they have right now doesn't work. That's the only reason I don't recommend some of my clients to move to QBO. And Jean asked, What software do you recommend for an inventory system?

Hector Garcia: [00:18:31] Well, that's a loaded concept there. Yeah. So QuickBooks Online can do really basic inventory. If you look at the the more predominant apps in the app.com store, you know, where you can add the QuickBooks online add ons, you're going to see inventory, you're going to see fishbowl inventory, you're going to see deer inventory and sin seven sin seven. The logo is kind of like a the old logo was like a Pac-Man looking logo. So you got these four big apps, also Katana for manufacturing. You'll see them in apps.com. And there's a what both myself and Intuit recommends you plug into QuickBooks online for inventory if you're not going to be using QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, which is still like my baby when it comes to inventory management.

Blake Oliver: [00:19:19] So let's talk about QuickBooks checking. This is a product that is been fascinating to me, but I haven't really had a chance to use it yet. It's the checking account that is built in to QuickBooks Online. The integration has been, I don't know, kind of halfway there, not fully baked. And so I haven't I haven't turned it on. I've heard there have been some issues around turning it on and not being able to turn it off.

Hector Garcia: [00:19:46] Yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:19:46] So where are we with QuickBooks checking?

Hector Garcia: [00:19:49] So for some.

Hector Garcia: [00:19:50] Yeah. So for some context. Okay. Intuit's general strategy is not only moving people to QuickBooks online, but just having a platform for cross-selling multiple solutions for small business owners, like half of the world would say, Oh, they're just greedy. They just want to take as much money as, you know, out of people's pocket as possible. And Intuit people say more like, Hey, we're there to make small business better. If we can integrate these products with their accounting, we can in fact make them better. And I think I think, look, look objectively, if if Intuit creates a competing product to a different industry, banking, lending, email marketing, all all these things that we actually see right now built into the product as cross sellable products. And the product is just as good and is about the same price about, you know, on a third party solution. And users are not forced into it and they and they can easily opt in and opt out and there's no trickery around. Messaging on what it is and what it isn't. I think it's totally fair that into it can help solve other problems outside just accounting. But QuickBooks checking is a great example of of a product. It's a banking product. It's a bank account where within inside QuickBooks you like don't have to go to chase.com Bank of america.com to view your bank activity or all the fintechs to like relay bank or whatever.

Hector Garcia: [00:21:16] Right. So, so you can all within your single login of QuickBooks, you can manage your bank and your bank happens to be a bank that's affiliated with Intuit, which they're calling QuickBooks checking. Now the first issue that we had with QuickBooks checking is QuickBooks Checking was released and the very first time the bank, the bank feeds was weren't even coming correctly. So that was like the first sort of like failed launch. The other challenge was that the bank statements didn't look like bank statements, so you couldn't get traditional bank statements, so you couldn't reconcile the way you're used to Reconciling. Intuit's argument was, Hey, let's build something that you don't have to reconcile because you can ask the average small business owner, what's your, you know, worst nightmare when it comes to accounting? And they say, oh, reconciling, right? So they're like, okay, well, can we build a bank or a bank product that's auto reconciled, essentially? And that's kind of what they tried to release. But the reality is accountants, accounting professionals, bookkeepers, they want to reconcile. That's that's that's the whole thing with like zero to like QuickBooks users and Xero users, they get into this kerfuffle because you can't do like a formal reconciliation. And accountants draw tons of a sense of security from being able to reconcile something. So when they went.

Hector Garcia: [00:22:29] You would think you.

Blake Oliver: [00:22:30] Would think they would have learned that from Xero's mistake. Here in the US, Xero took years to build a traditional reconciliation report. Exactly. And it was like it was a huge barrier to adoption.

Hector Garcia: [00:22:42] It still is. It still is. If you're an accounting professional or a bookkeeper, most 90% of you, that's how you justify your fees. We reconcile the account.

Hector Garcia: [00:22:51] Well, they got it now.

Blake Oliver: [00:22:51] They finally they finally did it.

Hector Garcia: [00:22:53] Xero has reconciliation, you're saying?

Hector Garcia: [00:22:55] Yes.

Blake Oliver: [00:22:56] You can run a reconciliation report and you put in the opening balance and the closing balance and it'll actually look like a reconciliation report for. Correct?

Hector Garcia: [00:23:02] Correct. Even though you don't have to. But that's a different issue. So I think we're into his first attempt at QuickBooks. Checking is could we do something so seamless, so amazing, where we take this like number one concern that small business owners have, which is reconciling the bank accounts and we completely make it a thing of the past. And by the way, there's still a chance for that. They still absolutely is a chance for that. I mean, the challenge.

Blake Oliver: [00:23:23] Saying I will replace accountants.

Hector Garcia: [00:23:25] Correct? Correct.

Hector Garcia: [00:23:26] There's also there's still a chance for that. But I mean, there's a.

Blake Oliver: [00:23:29] Small chance there's a pigs will fly.

Hector Garcia: [00:23:31] Chance Yeah, Correct. Correct. It's just it's just that in the in in practical matters, it's hard to, like, make it actually work. I mean, in theory, all this stuff is possible. Just in reality, it isn't. So we've seen a couple of really cool developments in QuickBooks checking integration, for example. Now QuickBooks Online will attempt to match a check written from QuickBooks checking to your QuickBooks Online bank feeds. Again, something that's existed in the QuickBooks world forever. But it wasn't working off the bat with QuickBooks checking, which again, it just so counterintuitive, like, how would you take the very best thing of QuickBooks, which is reconciling a bank statement matching transactions with the traditional bank and then release a banking product that doesn't even do those basic things. But we're happy to announce that that's working. Now. You can also attach receipts to transactions through QuickBooks Bank, QuickBooks checking. So let's say you use your QuickBooks checking debit card at Home Depot. You can now open up the app and attach a receipt to that, something you you could have done with QuickBooks Online already with a regular transaction. You just couldn't with the QuickBooks checking transaction.

Blake Oliver: [00:24:40] So that's nice. That's the reason I haven't really used the receipt attachment in QuickBooks because I haven't been able to do it on my mobile very easily.

Hector Garcia: [00:24:47] Exactly. Now you can do it with the QuickBooks checking transactions. I mean, you could you could have done it before on a traditional bank, but with QuickBooks checking transactions, it wasn't available. Got it. Okay. And then mobile check deposit. So, you know, you take a picture of a check that your customer paid you and you can now deposit that you know by with your phone. So that's also a kind of a big deal. Again, the table stakes for any like web based online bank. But these are things that like just recently are coming in. And I'm glad that Intuit realized that, hey, if you want to have a real bank product that competes with the real banks, it's got to behave like it. Okay, so it's starting to feel like a real bank or like relay bank.

Blake Oliver: [00:25:25] Let me ask you then, Hector, are you recommending QuickBooks checking yet to clients or are you still waiting for a few more features?

Hector Garcia: [00:25:31] I am not recommending it actively.

Blake Oliver: [00:25:34] Okay. What do they need to do to get it to that point where you're going to say use it?

Hector Garcia: [00:25:38] I'm going to tell you. The first thing that makes me mad about QuickBooks checking, which is when you enable a QuickBooks payments account, this is when you accept credit cards or ACH payments in your invoices. The the workflow inside QuickBooks Online software is not it's not terribly clear as to what bank account you're depositing that money to. And I would say for nine out of ten of my customers that self-serve the QuickBooks payments application end up choosing this QuickBooks checking account that they're sort of creating at the same time that they're creating the merchant account. So they get paid through the invoices and the money doesn't hit the bank accounts and they're freaking out because it's like, Where's my money? Oh, well, the money is in QuickBooks checking. Now, if you're not familiar with how QuickBooks checking works, you feel your money disappeared, you feel your money. It went into ether somewhere. So you have to go tell the customer, okay, this is where you go to look at your QuickBooks checking account. And they're like, Well, I need the money. I need to pay payroll. Okay, this is where you make the transfer. So I think QuickBooks has done a horrible job to communicate with people how to access their money. You know, when there is in QuickBooks checking how to make transfers, how long it takes for the transfer to come in, because then you got to wait the two days for the credit card payment to clear and then you got to wait the two days to transfer from a QuickBooks checking to your Bank of America or whatever.

Hector Garcia: [00:27:02] So people are not immediately aware of exactly what's happening with with their money, particularly when they sort of did this express QuickBooks payments and QuickBooks checking signup. I love the fact that so quickly they can, you know, spark up in a bank account and spark open a payments account. It's actually pretty incredible, like how quickly you can like start a business open and start invoicing people charging credit cards. I mean, like what Intuit has done in terms of getting you up and running as a small business. It's amazing. It's incredible. Problem is that as an accounting professional, as a trainer, as a QuickBooks personality, I'm the one that gets all the complaints saying, Hey, what in the world is going on with my money? What's going on with QuickBooks? So so that's my thing. That's my issue that that left a sour taste in my mouth. And even if they had fixed and improved, you know, QuickBooks checking, I they they got to make a huge step towards fixing that part of the communication and and explaining how people access that money, how they access those accounts and forever accountants didn't have access to the bank statements for QuickBooks checking either. So like again just everything was implemented so carelessly when it comes to understanding how accountants feel and how customers feel on the other side, it was implemented solely to go to market and that's one of the challenges that this is like people's money payments. It's way too delicate to just go to market in a with a beta like that.

Blake Oliver: [00:28:36] So basically, to summarize your complaints or your issues, it's about the transparency, right? It's about telling people where their money's at, where it's going, when it's getting there.

Hector Garcia: [00:28:47] Clarity.

Blake Oliver: [00:28:47] Clarity.

Hector Garcia: [00:28:48] Look, look, look. The banking institution is so old that most people have a very specific understanding of how banks work. Right. And then all of a sudden, you're replacing that with this new super cool and modern online thing. But it can't be 10% of what the bank used to be because it's going to be very frustrating. Right? People are not ready to manage their business with an online bank if they're not truly understanding how the online bank works and the time delays and how you get a debit card, how you get checks, all that stuff needs to be you got you got to read you got to retrain people on this stuff.

Blake Oliver: [00:29:29] So, Hector, last time we chatted in early 2022, you made some predictions of what's going to happen to QuickBooks Desktop. Seems pretty accurate at this point. You did predict that Intuit would start to phase it out, that eventually it would go away. And we're seeing that now with pro disappearing from the partner reseller options.

Hector Garcia: [00:29:52] Pro and.

Hector Garcia: [00:29:52] Premier both.

Blake Oliver: [00:29:54] Yeah. So, you know, anything else? Any other predictions you made that you want to follow up on? Any new predictions you want to make for the future?

Hector Garcia: [00:30:01] So I'm not I'm not a good predictor, I'll tell you that much. But one prediction that I made pretty boldly 18 months ago is that we're going to make a huge investment in their mid-market product in QuickBooks Online, advanced and bridging the gap between QuickBooks Advanced and QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise. So I predicted it would move faster than what it really has. I mean, it's been a year and a half and it has moved an inch. You know, um, my initial prediction was for them to be successful in mid market or at least in replacing the multi user QuickBooks desktop. Premier enterprise user would be to have a really strong permission structure for QuickBooks Online in advance. And that has not panned out. It's been 18 months and it's really, really only made really tiny strides. So I predicted that would move faster than what it really has. My prediction is, again, it's still the same thing. If you want to be successful, you got to get the multi user situation going. A couple of interesting things have happened. They've added some features to Spreadsheet Sync, which was a company they acquired that connects your QuickBooks Online to Excel and allows you to sync information back and forth. You can now edit budgets in Excel. And if you are if you are a budget person like a God. God bless you. If you're like in the business of doing budgets, you know how hard it is to do a budget.

Hector Garcia: [00:31:28] This is a grid with multiple cells in a web based format where you can like copy and drag or do formulas or or copy and paste or like reformat things. I totally see the value of being able to take your QuickBooks Core budget for last year, export it to spreadsheet sync, have it in the glory of of Excel, work on Excel and send it back to QuickBooks. That's amazing. And they've just released that and obviously it's the first iteration. There's tons of bugs to fix, etcetera, etcetera. But that in itself is testament that they've listened to at least that section of the market, which is, hey, doing budgets in a website, it's very difficult to do. So those are some good news, at least from a development of, of advance. The other semi good news and I say semi because I haven't seen it is but it's because Intuit has done a pretty they've done this wide net of communication through all to all their influencers and accountants and ProAdvisor. So this is not written anywhere but a lot of people know this at this point that they're going to improve the left navigation bar by going backwards. So. So they've recognized that their improvement to the left navigation bar, which is this dynamic bar that kind of like like it has a little drawer that opens and closes when you go to the subsections.

Hector Garcia: [00:32:49] It annoyed so many people that they're going to go backwards to the original sort of static left navigation bar that had the little pop up submenus and at the same time to do away with the whole concept of accountant view versus business view that essentially created two separate navigation bars that look different whether you are logged in as an accountant, well, actually you're logged in through the accountant view or through the business view. And this has been particularly frustrating for content creators, tutorial builders like myself and authors of books, because it's like every year they have to update the screenshots because they keep changing the way the left navigation bar is. And I think they've noticed with enough feedback that, hey, there needs to always be one thing that's constant because you need to improve QuickBooks. There's tons of things that need to improve, yes, but there needs to be a single constant thing that people can always revert to and go, okay, I know everything is changing, but at least I know that this starting point is what can get me anywhere, and that is the navigation bar. So when they keep mucking with the navigation bar that that's rattling all the users and it makes it very difficult for us to appreciate the changes they're doing to the chart of accounts or the customer center or whatever, because you're changing the navigation that I use and I'm used to for years for me to get there.

Hector Garcia: [00:34:10] And and for the most part, they're solving for small business owners and they get feedback from brand new small business owners, brand new QuickBooks users and brand new QuickBooks users have, you know, wild imagination about what they want about QuickBooks. But the constant, which is the pro users, the accountants and the pro advisors, were the ones that have been using it for ten, 15, 20 years. When you change something on us, you're you're causing us to stop like. The productive work and then retrain ourselves. So we have to spend so much time training and retraining ourselves with all these changes. That makes it very frustrating. And I think they've heard the feedback very loud and they've announced, Hey, hey, look, we're totally going to go back to like a simple left navigation bar. It looks the same across every QuickBooks file. If you're creating tutorials and videos or helping somebody remotely, you know, you will know where the buttons are and you you can predict where things are. And I hope that they that they that they stay true to this promise. And like a clean three years go by and they have one navigation bar and they don't touch it. That would be nice. I mean, that would be my hopes and dreams. And that's it for QuickBooks updates. Yeah.

Blake Oliver: [00:35:20] It sounds like a small thing, but the navigation bar, the way you get around the product is super important because when you're in QuickBooks all day long. The faster you can get to that screen that you need. I mean, that's seconds that you're saving every single time. And when you're trying to explain to a client where they need to go, if their setup doesn't look like your setup, it's a disaster. You know, so it's great to hear they're making those changes. Yeah, I know that navigation around QuickBooks and just doing things faster was a big reason that you created right tool. Yeah. Your plugin for it's a chrome plugin, right?

Hector Garcia: [00:35:55] Yeah. So we developed a tool called Right Tool, which is a chrome plugin which works in Google Chrome. It works in Microsoft Edge and other chromium based browsers basically means every browser except for Safari and Firefox. For now, that's basically what it means because every other browser is chromium based and right tool does that. We have over 100 features of things that we fix and and and aid the user and working better and more agile inside QuickBooks. But the one thing that we're very excited about, like I'm literally beta testing what's going to be released mid August is a chat integration with QuickBooks Online in bank feeds. So what does that mean? That means we're going to take information from the transaction that was downloaded in the bank feeds. You know, like that memo line that sometimes is very clear, like Chevron and sometimes not very clear, like a bunch of random letters and numbers. And we're going to query ChatGPT and ask, hey, what what do you think this is? And here's some context, right? And we're going to have some custom custom prompts you can add. So you can add the context like the industry type of business and how you want the answer and then get you an answer by ChatGPT saying, hey, this is what it could be. And then you can combine that with your Google search, right? Because this is how what we do, we go in Google, we search it, and then ChatGPT. Of course, if we can get the answer from there, great.

Hector Garcia: [00:37:16] If not, you have to go ask the client. But as accounting professionals, we have a thousand transactions to go through. We want to avoid asking the client as much as possible because no matter how you how you slice it for the customer, a question about the transaction and its interruption to their business and it lowers the perceived quality of our work if we have to ask them, even if it's physically impossible for artificial intelligence or QuickBooks statistically or Google to give you the answer, even if it's, you know, even if even if that's proven fact, that is statistically impossible. The business owner is always going to be bothered by that. And you add that, you know, times of 20, 30, 40 transactions, that's that's a huge issue. And these great apps like Oncat, you know, they're trying to solve this issue and some built in tools in QuickBooks where you ask the client, what is this? What is this? What is this? And I get it and that's great. But sometimes it's better if we can just figure it out for them, right? So I'm hoping that ChatGPT open the AI and a combination with that and the Google search will able to give you like just a little extra boost. You know, it's like a, like a little intern saying, hey, could it be this? We're not going to solve it for you. But but that's what that's what we that's what we're building.

Blake Oliver: [00:38:30] This is so innovative. I love this. And that's the beauty of Chrome plugins or chromium plugins is that you can add in functionality like this that might take into it quite a while to build if they build it at all. Now, one of the big concerns about using ChatGPT with your practice has been privacy. Security. We know that if you type a prompt into ChatGPT OpenAI reserves the right to use that prompt to train their large language model. So how do you ensure that right tool is not sending confidential client information that will be used in these models?

Hector Garcia: [00:39:10] Okay, I can tell you the information we're sending, but I can't tell you how they are not using the information. So what we're sending is the memo line from a credit card and the dollar amount. We're not sending the date that way. You can't triangulate really with the date, but the dollar amount is contextual. Like Office Depot, $10 is different than Office Depot $3,000. So we're hoping that ChatGPT can pick up, you know, a fixed asset versus an office supply type of thing. We're not sending company name. We're not. We're only sending the line from from the credit card. Now, what how ChatGPT uses that data to train that. That's something we don't control and we have to be transparent about that.

Hector Garcia: [00:39:49] Well, you're.

Blake Oliver: [00:39:49] Going through the API, right?

Hector Garcia: [00:39:51] Through the API under the API, correct?

Blake Oliver: [00:39:52] Yeah. And my understanding is if you're accessing ChatGPT through the API that they don't use those prompts too.

Hector Garcia: [00:39:58] So understanding the model, that's.

Hector Garcia: [00:40:00] Understanding, but I don't want to make a claim of things I can't control.

Blake Oliver: [00:40:03] Because we haven't audited OpenAI. I don't think anybody has audited that. But when they get their soc2 we'll find out, Right, exactly.

Hector Garcia: [00:40:10] Exactly.

Blake Oliver: [00:40:11] So, Hector, I know you've got some big personal news. You sold your tax practice.

Hector Garcia: [00:40:15] Yeah.

Hector Garcia: [00:40:16] So I'm transforming my accounting practice. I'm simplifying my accounting practice to be a subscription based bookkeeping practice. Where customers can easily subscribe and unsubscribe and have one place, Netflix style where they can go. But this is what I want. This is what I don't want. And I want to really, truly streamline that. Partly and greatly inspired by Ron Baker's book Time's Up. And and I and one of the exercises that we did is, you know, we're doing way too many things. And I think there's tons of opportunity on creating a subscription business model around tax as well. But I did not want to combine it. I wanted to go to the lowest common denominator. My practice name is quick bookkeeping, right? So let's go back to the core. Let's do the let's do the bookkeeping quickly. Let's get people subscribed and unsubscribe quickly and let's just be best in class in that particular category. So that's going to be sort of phase one of doing that. Phase two would be then niching into like a hyper hyper industry like e-commerce or something like that. But that's not set in stone yet. So that's that's the big news from my practice.

Blake Oliver: [00:41:27] I understand why you did that, right? Tax season is very compressed. You've got a lot going on, including a conference that you are running in Miami. Tell us about your conference.

Hector Garcia: [00:41:37] Oh, yeah. So this has been my my baby for many years. I've always wanted to to to do a conference. Like my idea was always to do an unconference, like take a look at all the things, all the things that conferences are and then do the opposite kind of difficult because there's some traditional things like getting people flown into the hotel and getting block rates and getting a room like like that stuff is going to be very traditional. But we have a conference in Miami called the Creative Business Models for Professionals. And I brought in two of my heroes, Ron Baker and Chris Doerr, Ron Baker being the godfather of pricing, now the godfather of subscription business models for accountants. And Chris Doerr being somebody completely unrelated to the accounting industry was a friend of mine. He's a graphic designer, a YouTuber. He helps creatives. You know, build better businesses. So he's he's the anti accountant because he's like purely creative. And and Ron Baker is still sort of the anti accountant just because he thinks deeply about theorizing about what we could be in the future rather than just living, you know, sort of the reality that we all have to charge by the hour or whatever. Like, you know, so these two people are very anti industry is and I think they embody creativity, which is what we need in order to survive this wave of AI and perception change about how customers will feel that that we feel who we are and what we need to be.

Hector Garcia: [00:43:06] And how much of, you know, fees should cost. Now, the AI is doing everything for us, quote unquote. So the conference is all about bringing no more than 100 people. We have 60 something tickets sold, so we have less than 40 left to sell, which I'm very, very proud of that. And we've done very light marketing and we're going to go through workshops. It's just going to be like brainstorm about this, brainstorm about as a matter of fact, you remember Blake, when we did a brainstorm about what would happen if Disney were to open an accounting practice? Do you remember when we did that brainstorm? So it would it would sort of be that in two days, you know, like abstract thinking about like the possibilities of what what it could be if some crazy non-accounting thing where to do accounting, what would that look like? And then basically the abstract thought will spark something in your head and go, Huh, I think I got a unique value proposition for transforming my practice into that. So that's the big announcement. Creative business models for accountants and the website for that is alt accountants.com. I guess we'll put the we'll put all the links in the in the accountant.com/creative.

Blake Oliver: [00:44:13] I put the link in the live stream we'll have it in the show notes if you're listening to the podcast now Hector I know you got to go so real quick before you do, what's the best way for people to keep up with QuickBooks changes?

Hector Garcia: [00:44:25] Glad you asked. So earmarked media, which is Blake and David Leary and Hector Garcia and Alicia Katz Pollock have entered into agreement to build a new podcast called the Unofficial QuickBooks Accountant Podcast. We'll probably go to YouTube as well, but it will be mostly an audio experience. And what we want is sort of like deep dive and geek out about all the things that are happening with QuickBooks similar to what we did now, but maybe just like focus more into like the day to day how this affect us, the gotchas, this and that. So we will be releasing the first episode in August. The exact date hasn't been released because we're still working through like what episode one would look like and we'll put it in the link, a sign up page so you can be the first to know when that pilot episode comes out.

Blake Oliver: [00:45:20] That link is in the chat. It will be in the show notes, Sign up, put your email in and you'll get notified as soon as the first episode.

Hector Garcia: [00:45:27] Drops.

Blake Oliver: [00:45:28] Well, Hector, it's been great chatting with you today. Thanks for all these updates. Lots of exciting things happening in the QuickBooks Universe.

Hector Garcia: [00:45:35] Likewise. Blake, it's always a pleasure, man. And thank you, everybody, for tuning in.

Blake Oliver: [00:45:39] Thanks, everyone. See you later. Bye. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed this episode and that you learned something new. And if you did, wouldn't it be nice to get some CPE credit for it? Well, I've got great news. My new app, Earmark CPE, offers free Naspa approved CPE credits for listening to podcasts, including this one. Visit Earmark cpcomm. To download the app, take a short quiz and get your CPE certificate. That's earmark cpcomm.

Creators and Guests

Hector Garcia, CPA
Hector Garcia, CPA
Hector M. Garcia is a CPA and QuickBooks Trainer for Quick Bookkeeping & Accounting LLC. He has over 10 years of experience working with small business finance and accounting, along with 3 Post-graduate degrees from Florida International University (FIU) in Accounting, Finance and Taxation.
Did They Just Kill Desktop? 2023 QuickBooks Update with Hector Garcia, CPA
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