For the third year in a row, members of the Novi AMS team flew across the country to join accounting experts and other software developers at the QuickBooks Connect conference in Silicon Valley. In many ways, QuickBooks has been a partner of ours on this journey, so I felt like it was important to report back to you – our association partners – with some of the things we learned on our trip.
Future of QuickBooks
Brad Smith, the CEO of Intuit, shared his vision for the future. Two things jumped out at me. First, QuickBooks Online continues to grow at an ever increasing pace. When we first launched Novi, QuickBooks Online had 400k businesses on the platform. Today, that number is roughly 2.4M. Second, it is clear that Intuit is investing heavily into artificial intelligence or "AI." This technology is visible in the way that they suggest matches in your bank feed and in their "QuickBooks Assistant" chat bot that is in the final stages of beta. Ultimately, their goal is to push software developers to find new ways to make your lives easier.
New API in 2018
QuickBooks announced that they plan to launch a new API (how we connect to QuickBooks) at some point in 2018. From what we learned during the technical sessions, this new API should open up capabilities that are not available today. While the specifics are not finalized, this new connection path could end up being very helpful during our deep dives into major feature updates in the coming months.
Each year, Intuit hosts a hackathon where software engineers and designers from around the world converge to experiment with new technologies, explore the latest updates to the QuickBooks API, and look for new, innovative ways to solve problems. Teams are given 26 hours to design and build software from scratch. The results are then presented on stage to a panel of judges. Last year, the Novi dev team took home "Best QuickBooks API Integration" for building Datamaid, a data cleanup tool for QuickBooks that many you have been able to use.
This year, our team decided to experiment with artificial intelligence. We built a chat bot prototype called "Who Owes Us Money?" An outside sales person could pull out their phone and ask, "Ok Google, who owes us money?" The system would use the salesperson's location to direct him or her to the customer who had most egregious receivable nearby.
While "Who Owes Us Money" isn't something that we'd build into Novi, the experience gave our engineers a chance to push boundaries and hone their skills. It also gave us the opportunity to bring home some bacon! Google awarded our work "Best Google Assistant Integration."
Find Your Tribe
On the non-technical side, the founder of SoulCycle left an impression on me when she defined her organization as "a movement… a community… a tribe." I couldn't help but think of all of you. Novi is much more than a software company that built an AMS. Novi is a movement, a community, and a tribe. Without you, your trust, your patience, and your sincere desire to help each other, we couldn't be what we are today. Thank you!