Intuit takes the wraps off new Quickbooks Assistant chatbot service

The AI-driven voice interface for the QuickBooks Self-Employed mobile app makes it easier for users to surface insights from their financial data.

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Mike Blake/Reuters/Corbis

Intuit is expanding the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning with the official release of the QuickBooks Assistant.

The AI-driven voice interface for the QuickBooks Self-Employed mobile app makes it easier for users to surface insights from their financial data by asking questions such as "how are my numbers this month?" The assistant understands the context and intent of the question and responds with the appropriate information.

"We know people who work for themselves have a lot on their mind with limited time to manage the day-to- day, let alone unearth information and insights about their business," explained Alex Chriss, chief product officer, QuickBooks at Intuit.

"By adding a virtual assistant with access to their business finances, people simply tap to ask questions and find answers - rather than running reports and analyzing data. QuickBooksAssistant represents a turning point in how work gets done today, with an eye toward improving success rates in the future."

Intuit also officially launched QuickBooks Capital, its direct business loan service for users of its accounting software. The company credits AI and machine learning with streamlining the application and approval process for users.

The QuickBooks Assistant is available today in QuickBooks Self-Employed for iOS and Android. Intuit said it plans to the assistant for QuickBooks Online in the coming months.

All signs indicate that Intuit has chosen the on-demand economy as its primary new frontier. Intuit first launched the self-employed version of QuickBooks in January 2015, touting the platform for its tax-specific knowhow for freelancers and contract workers -- or what it calls the on-demand economy. The platform can be used to connect financial accounts, track deductions and calculate taxes, in addition to organizing comingled business and personal finances.

Intuit continued to sharpen its focus on independent contractors throughout 2015. Last February Intuit inked deals with TaskRabbit, Fiverr, Uber, Lyft and UpCounsel to provide discounted QuickBooks Self-Employed to those platforms' contract workers. The company later added eBay, FlexJobs, Incorporate.com, Kelly Services, Moonlighting and NAHREP to its list of partner companies. Then last September Intuit announced the launch of Workforce, a product designed to help companies find, manage and scale their on-demand talent.

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