I made the first reference to QQube for QuickBooks Online back in the late summer of 2019, after speaking and interacting at the Scaling New Heights conference presented by Joe Woodard.
I publicly pontificated about the infancy of QBO as both a product, and an application needing developers to provide consumers with capabilities beyond what Intuit could provide out of the box.
Through the many decades I have lived on this planet, I am keen to the notion that history repeats itself. My biggest take away from the sessions I attended as a non-speaker, was that pro-advisors were promulgating workarounds for data entry, which were a repeat of the early years of QuickBooks Desktop. In order for customers to get what they wanted, they had to stuff snippets of data in any field they could.
When we built QQube, we negated in great fashion, the need to use such kludgy workarounds. We were able to get raw data, and then transform it into usable pieces that followed a more logical pattern and understanding.
In the fall of 2019 I had several meetings with Intuit QBO product managers and developers, to assess the initial shortfalls I saw in their API offering at that time (Intuit has gone through multiple iterations of their API in the last 15 years - one replacing the other). The most glaring omissions were payroll, inventory, multi-currency and some major engineering concerns.
Throughout my association with intuit since 2001 - first on the Intuit Accountant Council, as a long term contractor working in the actual database, and as a long time developer - I have been participated in hundreds of meetings. So, what this means, is that I "know the drill".
For the most part meetings are cordial, but whether something gets done or not - that is a relatively small percentage of the time. Intuit answers to its stockholders - not to the logical thoughts of consumers, accountants, and developers. Realize that Intuit makes multi-million dollar decisions for breakfast.
Covid hit, and it negatively affected the ability for many companies - not just Intuit - to implement features and product API hooks. The things Intuit promised me three years ago, never came to fruition, and still haven't today.
I had several recent meetings to see if we could move the ball forward, and I always get the polite references to "we are committed", and that "we are looking to REALLY move forward (emphasis on REALLY)" on some of the items we had previously discussed.
There is an additional hindrance in the process of working with Intuit, and this is continuity. Intuit - as a good management practice - allows their employees to cross transfer among units to better their skill sets. Unfortunately this means that I have to repeat my concerns ad nauseum. So any buy-ins I might have secured, never get passed on to the succeeding executives
The Intuit Developer Network implemented a conscious strategy in the current iteration of its QBO API - and that is to not copy what the Desktop SDK team had done. One problem, they have not learned from the mistakes - of which there were many. QQube developers had to engineer a ton of band-aid workarounds over the years.
Additionally Intuit designed the SDK to input data into QuickBooks - not to produce data warehouses, and direct connections to the database for report writing. Intuit made several attempts in the product to create this ability (Custom Reporting in 2006, and Advanced Reporting in 2014), but both were lacking in convenience - and usability. This is the same operational mantra for QBO.
Further, the QBO API has more emphasis on report extractions rather than raw transaction object extractions - which place greater strain on their systems - because all of the data has to be retrieved with each query. With raw transaction objects, it is only necessary to retrieve changes in transactions - which is a tiny fraction of the report extraction strain.
The emphasis on report queries is Intuit's problem, and theirs alone. But it is too late for them to change their overall strategy.
QuickBooks Enterprise has had several decades to include the many features that exist in the product, and it is not going away soon, as many of the larger companies depend upon it, and have no desire to use QBO because of the lack of those features.
Additionally, without the ability for customers to get the types of reporting and analytics that they have been accustomed to with QQube, QBO becomes even less of a choice.
You may be surprised to know that Intuit has implemented a major change in their commissions and residuals structure for their resellers - after a year delay at the strong behest of the reseller community.
So the wheels are in motion to get all customers in QBO - like it or not.
After my meetings in 2019, I had the good fortune of teaming up with several engineers I had worked with at Intuit many years ago, and due to their influence and extreme diligence, I was able to secure the fix of a major problem I had encountered getting extended General Ledger Detail Amounts for individual transactions.
Without that fix, getting all of the other information we wanted, would have been moot.
So miracles do happen.
Currently we are missing the following elements:
We are waiting for the promise of their "commitment" to payroll, custom fields, and PO for this spring, before we delve into engineering things like job costing - which has always been one of the great strengths of our desktop product.
We have been working on the online product for a while, as the latest QQube - Version 10 - contains architecture that will allow some of our current desktop customers to easily transition to the online product, if they so desire.
So the announcement of the first iteration is way overdue, but we haven't abandoned our long term commitment.
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