“Technology Enables Financial Literacy Seamlessly,” Says Aditi Puri Batra, Intuit
Most SMBs struggle with financial deficiencies and poor management. To help solve this problem, Intuit introduced QuickBooks Online targeted at the 12 million GST registered businesses that use business workflow productivity tools.
In an exclusive interview with Aditi Puri Batra, Country Manager of Intuit QuickBooks (India), Express Computer explores the impact of technology on the finance industry and what solutions are provided by Intuit for the finance industry.
QuickBooks Online Accountant is an all-in-one practice management software for Chartered Accountants in India. Globally, Intuit has around 4.5 million customers and in the Indian market too, they have seen a robust growth of 45%-50% in their customer base.
Recently, they have onboarded Aditi Puri Batra as Country Manager for India operations. Her expertise and experience of 21 years will be advantageous in growing their business in the Indian market. Below is the interaction with her.
Kindly brief us about QuickBooks and what problem in the finance industry is it looking to solve?
The Intuit QuickBooks product portfolio in India comprises QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Online Accountant. QuickBooks Online launched in 2012 is India’s leading online financial management solution for small businesses. Last year, we brought QuickBooks Online Accountant to India, which is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive practice management solution for Chartered Accountants (CAs) in the country.
We have found working with millions of small businesses over the world and also through research that one of the top reasons small businesses fail is because of poor financial management. Better financial management can help small businesses manage their cash flow effectively, handle emergency expenses and take proactive steps towards long-term needs. Moreover, we have found that 89 percent of small businesses believe they can be more successful when they avail the services of an accountant. We are catering to this need through QuickBooks Online. The addressable market for Intuit QuickBooks Online is 12 million GST registered businesses that use business workflow productivity tools.
Further, these small businesses are catered to by 1.5 lakh practicing CAs who are now adopting technology and shifting their practice to the cloud to serve their clients better. QuickBooks Online Accountant eliminates the dependency on multiple solutions for CAs. Now they can use one single software to manage all their clients’ accounting, file GST returns and manage their practice. It provides real-time client collaboration, higher team productivity and automated bank reconciliation saving time and resources.
Together QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Online Accountant integrate to provide a seamless experience for practice management, accounting and GST filing in one single place.
Since you have recently taken over as Country Manager, what do you think will be your biggest challenge for QuickBooks and how is it different from your previous roles?
The ‘follow me homes’ we undertake at Intuit QuickBooks have shown us that small businesses are in a predicament when it comes to technology adoption. These small businesses face challenges in managing their finances and cash flow due to hesitation in embracing technology solutions. This is a key challenge for us at Intuit QuickBooks.
Luckily, for me, I worked on helping small businesses understand new technology trends across the companies I have worked with, be it Amazon India or Google. Before taking over as the country manager, I had already worked for two years at Intuit QuickBooks, heading sales and marketing for India. That role has helped me in understanding our customers. Therefore, it was a natural progression for me.
What kind of technologies are you using and how are these technologies impacting your business model and operations?
For our QuickBooks portfolio, we are currently trying to understand how we can leverage technologies like AI, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP). We took the initial steps when we launched QuickBooks Assistant in 2017. QuickBooks Assistant is a chatbot that combines data-driven insights and natural NLP to enable our customers to make smarter decisions. QuickBooks Assistant in India is designed in a way to help enable customers to be compliant with GST by providing them with useful insights on how to apply for registrations and help with onboarding and providing any assistance.
What are your thoughts on using technology to help increase financial literacy?
We believe that financial literacy can improve the possibility of success for small and medium businesses. Technology enables financial literacy seamlessly and without disrupting business operations. Technology solutions can help them understand non-product related expenses and accordingly factor them in the true cost of running the business and charging the customer appropriately. With technology, they can eliminate the time-consuming task of handling quotations, customer data management, invoices and GST and focus on what they know best – running their business and not worry about managing their finances.
Could you elaborate on the use of AI and ML in personal finance?
Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are pervading the tax filing space – Intuit has integrated these functionalities in markets where we offer tax filing and personal finance products. We are building teams with AI, ML capabilities at our India Development Centre to help in further automating the personalisation of our products for personal finance for our products like TurboTax and Mint used by consumers in North America.
What is the plan to ensure data security of confidential information for the users? Is there a cybersecurity plan in place?
Our customers place trust in us to secure their most sensitive data, and we feel a tremendous amount of accountability to keep this data secure. We apply AI to our security measures and are recognized for setting new industry standards in security. As we moved to the public cloud, we drove and incorporated advanced security practices throughout all stages of code development and deployment. We also advocate for increased cloud governance in our public cloud partner, AWS. We continue to innovate in security as much as we innovate for our products, and evolve our security measures and protocols to pre-emptively stay ahead of bad actors.
Further, before sharing customer data with third parties, we request explicit customer consent to share their data and provide clarity about where and how it will be used. We give customers choices about the use of data that identifies them — and we do not without explicit permission sell, publish, or share data entrusted to us by a customer that identifies the customer or any person.
As more and more women enter the finance and fintech space, what would be your advice to them?
My advice would be to focus on spending time to identify real needs in the market – is there really demand out there that you can solve well? Make that your passion.
Also, find a mentor – they can help you provide information and advice that you may never have thought of. Lastly, give back and follow your contribution. Find the thing that you’re great at, put that into the world, contribute to others, help the world be better!