Today I am talking about the new Intuit service called Live Bookkeeping. What is Live Bookkeeping? The Live Bookkeeping service is a relatively new offering that Intuit Corporation is offering to its QuickBooks Online users, and it’s a service that is still developing. As of May 2019, Intuit Corporation is testing the service with a few small business owners and developing their offering. What they’re looking to offer is a service that involves some level of bookkeeping assistance or bookkeeping services. Looking at their latest update from the Firm of the Future Blog, they are telling us that pending additional testing, the service will include a QuickBooks online set up, monthly categorization, reconciliation, reports, end-of-year book closing, and help with using QuickBooks.
It’s not exactly clear whether this is just purely assisting a business owner when they need help, or whether it involves actually doing some of the work for that client. What we do know is that it involves the business owner being able to talk to a bookkeeper on demand and to discuss and get help on some of the issues that they’re having with their QuickBooks that are higher level issues than what they would normally talk to tech support about. It may be that, for example, if they need help with their QuickBooks Online set up, they would get that help, or if it’s a categorization of expenses, getting some assistance with that, or working through the bank feeds. We don’t know, however, whether you could hire QuickBooks to just do your bookkeeping for you. That’s not necessarily what they’re saying right now. It sounds like a business owner would then have to talk a Live Bookkeeper and get assistance one-on-one and work together with that bookkeeper to accomplish some of these tasks.
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How much does Live Bookkeeping cost, or what is the expected cost of this service? Right now, they’re telling us that it will be $400 a month. They are still testing whether this is a viable amount to charge, whether the market will bear $400 a month for some level of bookkeeping assistance. They’re not necessarily telling us how many hours that service will include. I believe that right now they’re not really looking at capping the number of hours that a business owner would get in terms of assistance from a bookkeeper, but $400 a month is definitely an investment for some small business owners. Many of them are not willing to even pay over $200 a month to a bookkeeper. It will be interesting to see how that pricing works, and then what it will include.
In terms of the bookkeepers that Intuit will be using to provide the Live Bookkeeping service, they are telling us that they will be hiring a certified QBO Pro Advisors, or certified QuickBooks Online Pro Advisors, and that they also need to have additional requirements. These requirements include a minimum of one year’s experience working with QuickBooks Online and an active CPA credential or an active CPB (Certified Public Bookkeeper) credential, or three years of recent experience managing the books for a small business, or they have received a four-year business degree in accounting and finance. They’re not looking to hire inexperienced people, it looks like they’re really focused on hiring people who have some level of experience.
Now as of this point, we don’t know how much Intuit plans to pay the Live Bookkeepers for providing the service. Rich has stated that they are still testing things. They’re still figuring out exactly how much effort and time it’ll take to deliver the service. They haven’t really worked out the compensation yet, so they’re still in the testing phase. In the next few months, they’ll have a lot more information to be able to make that decision. They’ve asked people to wait maybe three to four months until that information can be made public and until they’re ready to hire more Pro Advisors. In fact, their plan is to hire about 500 Pro Advisors.
If you’re looking for some more information about this and about Live Bookkeeping, then I encourage you to check out the article in the Firm of the Future blog. I encourage you to see whether this is an opportunity for you to seize, and to see this really as an opportunity. Whether you want to participate as a Live Bookkeeper or whether this service helps you to position your own accounting or bookkeeping firm in the way that you will service your clients. Apparently, Intuit has determined that there is a big need for business owners who are looking for assistance in a ‘do-it-with-me’ setting, so this might be an opportunity for you to provide more coaching services, more one-on-one services to your clients and to personalize that service even more.
In my opinion, I think this is a great opportunity. We can’t really look at it as a threat. However, if you are a bookkeeper, and you have a lot of very, very small business clients, consider, number one, are they willing to pay $400 a month for the service? Probably not, but if they are, then this might be an opportunity for you to change what you’re doing, maybe work with other types of clients that you can support, work with premium clients. That’s what I plan to do, to work with premium clients who still want that personalized experience.
Anyway, I think there’s a lot of exciting things going on. I will keep posting as we get more information and as we know more about this service.
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