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Intuit VIP Summit 2013. Be inspired!

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Just a few of the guests at last week’s Intuit VIP Summit in California. Here are the international attendees from Canada, India, UK and Australia. Thank you to Margaret Carey for the photo!

Last week I was honored and humbled to be invited to the Intuit VIP Summit in Mountain View, California. The event was attended by QuickBooks Accountants and Influencers from all over the globe. The two Canadian ProAdvisors in attendance were Esther Friedberg Karp and myself. It was definitely the event of a lifetime, and I certainly hope we get asked back.

The evening before the official event, a lovely cocktail reception was held on the ‘Moon and Stars’ patio at the Westin Palo Alto. Two of the first people I had the chance to meet were Charlie Russell and William Murphy, who I’m definitely IN AWE OF. It was a great opportunity to connect with a few of the attendees and some of the folks from Intuit.

DAY ONE was held at the Intuit campus. We had a bit of time for breakfast and socializing, and I got to meet several more QuickBooks ninjas including Doug Sleeter, Michelle Long, the gang from RadioFree QuickBooks, Seth David of Nerd Enterprises, and the incredible team from Intuit. I’m sorry I can’t list all the guests, but one thing is for sure, they are all QB rockstars! It was an absolute thrill to meet so many people I feel like I know because of social media. And speaking of social media, we were encouraged to be active on all platforms and tweet using the hashtag #IntuitSummit. We lit up Twitter like a Christmas tree!

Brad Smith EditAfter an awesome welcome from Senior VP Jill Ward, CEO Brad Smith delivered the key-note address. His speech got the room energized about all the exciting innovation happening at Intuit. We were introduced to the new look of QBO (code name ‘Harmony’). It has an updated look that’s modern and clean (and kind of reminds me of Wave). Intuit is putting a lot of resources into the product, worldwide. Last July, QBO was in five countries. Now it’s in over 100! One of the awesome features is that QBO works with a lot of third-party apps. Brad said that Intuit is a team sport and they value their developers. Someone asked about tech support. Brad said that they are aware of the challenges with tech support and believe deeply that “service matters.” He said their goal is to help us to win, not to eliminate our jobs. And he stressed the fact that Intuit cannot succeed without accounting professionals. I have to say I am COMPLETELY excited about ‘Harmony,’ and I will discuss (and challenge) some of the most common objections about QBO in an upcoming blog.

In the afternoon, we took part in a “Design for Delight” exercise where we had the chance to break into teams and CREATE! There was much energy and laughter, as all seven tables were assigned a challenge to brainstorm specific ideas/solutions for QBO. Scott Cook, Founder of Intuit, sat at each of the tables, listening and observing. The presentations were intriguing, outrageous, and clever. Shortly after our innovation exercise, it was time to depart for the next part of our day-one adventure.

We loaded into buses and were driven up the winding road to the Mountain Winery in Saratoga. We were treated to some excellent wines, delicious appetizers, a stunning view of Silicon Valley, and the “Innovation Showcase,” where we were able to preview some of Intuit’s newest products and meet with Intuit developers at various displays. I was particularly excited to meet Pamela Bailey, Design Lead for the desktop version, who had QuickBooks 2014 on display. She’s from Edmonton, my hometown, and we have mutual friends, so we had lots to cCalifornia (50)hat about. Intuit continues to make improvements to the desktop version, and even with ‘Harmony’ taking center-stage, it definitely won’t be neglected. One thing you’ll appreciate is that the left-icon bar now has color!

As the sun went down, we enjoyed a first-class meal and lively conversation on the patio. The Google Glass was in attendance for anyone who wanted to try it, and a cool 3D printer sent us all home with an Intuit wine bottle key chain. Two high-powered telescopes allowed us to admire the stars. It was a very full day, and my heavenly bed at the Westin was just that.

DAY TWO was held at the beautiful Quadras Conference Center. Our morning was an interactive session with Steve King from Emergent Research discussing the future of accounting. We learned some interesting facts. Like sales of tablets are predicated to outpace sales of PCs by 2014. That boomers likely need prescription Google Glass! That social media has created FOMO – the fear of missing out. That predicting the future isn’t that hard… but getting the timing right is. The entire morning was captured by Terry, a graphic recorder. In colorful markers, she recorded the morning’s conversation. It’s really something to see. Her amazing artwork will go back to Steve’s office where he will use it for his Future of Accountancy project.

Remember our “Design for Delight” exercise from day one? Joe Wells, the VP of Engineering at Intuit, showed up with the previous day’s best idea magically implemented into QBO! It was very exciting to see our suggestion come to life and confirmed what we’d been hearing over the last two days – that Intuit really is listening.

Prizes were awarded for the ‘most social’ attendees, and according to TweetReach, our influence on Twitter was stellar!  You can check out all the awesome posts by searching #IntuitSummit. You can also see some great pics of the summit on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/search/?q=IntuitSummit.

It was an amazing, incredible, inspiring two days. I came home with some awesome swag (including a bottle of wine from Scott Cook’s own vineyard!), many new connections, and complete excitement around what Intuit is doing for accountants and customers.California (17)

Coming in Friday’s blog – information about the new Cloud ProAdvisor Program!

Intuit has relaunched the QuickBooks Community forum!

As of yesterday, it’s new and improved! Well, at this point we can say it’s new 😉

https://community.intuit.com/

There are nine ‘topics’ to choose from. The first six topics relate to the US versions of QuickBooks. The last three topics are specifically for QuickBooks Canada, QuickBooks UK, and QuickBooks en Español.

If you’re a regular visitor, you’ll notice that the topics have been revised. Intuit is perhaps trying to make the language easier for the majority of users to understand (for example, ‘Customers & Getting Paid’ instead of Accounts Receivable). If you click on the QuickBooks Canada topic, you’ll probably notice that ‘Sales Tax’ is not a subtopic. I noticed this right away and definitely think it should be added back!

It appears Intuit has some kinks to straighten out, and I’m sure they’re working on them. Members don’t seem to have access to their old questions and answers. And referring specifically to the QuickBooks Canada topic, the ‘Unanswered’ questions seem to all be ‘asked about a year ago!’ That said, it’s early in the changeover and it looks like Intuit is gradually adding back content.

Opinions on the new platform aside, the community forum can be a great resource to get pretty much any question you have answered. A lot of QuickBooks gurus hang out and provide answers, generally because they love to serve and help other members with their books. You can also search the database for older questions and answers (a note about searching… right now, you have to type your search into the ‘Have a Question?’ field at the top of the page. You’ll then be taken to the results page, and the field will now be labelled ‘Search.’ Here you can search for another topic). You can also browse tags which you will see on the right hand side of the main page.

I’d love to know what you think of the new forum. And if you have a suggestion, you can contact Intuit directly. Look for the ‘Send us Feedback’ link at the bottom of all forum pages. Embrace the change!

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