Recap of QuickBooks Connect 2014

It’s almost overwhelming – and yet, it’s not at all surprising. The stories shared, the connections made, the air of excitement and the inspiration: QuickBooks Connect was unlike any event Intuit has ever hosted or any event I have ever attended.

More than 4,000 accountants, small business owners, developers and partners were at QuickBooks® Connect, and they all shared one commonality: they want their clients, customers and companies to succeed and grow – and they’ll do it through cloud technologies, so that they can better communicate, collaborate and meet their customers’ needs.

How can Intuit® top this in future years? That remains to be seen, of course, but if the first-ever QuickBooks Connect conference is any indication of where the company is headed in the future, I think we’re headed down a very brightly lit path, and we’re excited to share the journey with all our customers and partners.

Dynamic Keynotes

Of course, everyone wanted to see Martha Stewart, Magic Johnson and Arianna Huffington, but there were other inspiring guests who were motivating, inspiring and encouraged attendees to follow their dreams.

I think all those in attendance would agree when I say Sekou Andrews of Poetic Voice kicked off the event in a way that no one has ever experienced before. Emerging from a seat in the audience and slowly making his way to the stage, he talked about what taking your business to the “next level” really means.

“The next level isn’t something you get to; it’s something you grow into,” he said. “It’s not something you jump up to, but something you join. I want to take my business to the next level as much as the next person, and perhaps, that person’s sitting next to you.”

Brad Smith, our CEO, who himself is inspiring with his West Virginia twang and approachable style, came on to the stage and proclaimed:

“We are here to celebrate the American dream; the vision to see opportunity, the courage to take the lead and the hard work to make it happen. That vision, that courage and that hard work brings more prosperity and more upward mobility for everyone and anyone in our society. You enrich people’s lives. You spur innovation. You drive job creation. When you thrive, our local community and world economies thrive.”

He continued to emphasize how Intuit is inspired by our customers, our partners and how we seek to fulfill their dreams through the products we offer.

“We have a very simple aspiration – we strive to be the operating system behind small business success,” he said. “The real power comes from all of you; that’s what is so unique about this ecosystem. It is no longer the power of ‘me;’ it’s the power of ‘we.’ Together, we are an interdependent network of people, capable of achieving amazing things.”

To relive or experience it for the first time, watch the video recap. Be ready to be inspired. You can watch the morning and afternoon session recaps, too, learning from these dynamic speakers about how they met their personal and professional goals and never gave up. Here, too, is a link to all of the presentations in the seminars held Oct. 21 and 22.

QuickBooks Online Accountant, Certification and Other Product-Related News

There were quite a few announcements made at QuickBooks Connect. While I can’t go into every single product innovation, here are the ones that affect any QuickBooks ProAdvisor® and non-ProAdvisors, alike, who are reading this article:

  • New QuickBooks Online Accountant (QBOA) – I commented on the new QBOA in a story that was posted on Intuit Accountants News Central. I encourage you to read through the story to see new features in QBOA. In short, the new QBOA is designed to deliver on the Intuit QuickBooks vision of being the operating system behind small business success, while also helping accounting professionals save time and grow their practice. The new product’s core capabilities focus on three areas: seamlessly exposing tools and insights to accounting professionals, allowing them to seamlessly work with all their employees and clients, and transforming how they grow their practice.
  • 100 New Product Enhancements – Here’s a full wrap-up of all the product enhancements, including the new QuickBooks Online mobile experience, the new Apps.com store, a new full-service payroll solution that will be included within QuickBooks Online, a new simplified payments offering, information on the new QuickBooks Self-Employed and new QuickBooks offerings for accountants and developers.
  • Advanced QuickBooks Online Accountant Certification – On Oct. 21, ProAdvisors were given the unique opportunity to become certified in Advanced QBOA; this was offered for the very first time during the conference, and Intuit will continue to roll out its “Certification Tour” in lots of U.S. cities throughout December and January.
  • New Partnership With Box – Check out Intuit’s new partnership with Box that will deliver document collaboration directly inside QBOA.

App Hackathon

One of the most unique activities was an all-day “Hackathon” on Oct. 21, in which groups of developers spent the day trying to get an app built within a span of 12 hours. With a pitch that could last only three minutes, the winners were selected and received a total of $100,000 in prizes. The grand prize winner, who received $55,000, was Method Donations by Method; congrats to them for their hard work!

Train!

Last, but certainly not least, was a concert from Train that capped off a great conference, full of seminars, networking, education and more.

What a great conference – and a great opportunity for Intuit to continue a dynamic dialogue with accountants and the companies that support our own products and the profession. The announcement was made by Brad that there will be a QuickBooks Connect in 2015. Stay tuned for updates on this throughout the year.