It’s a grim statistic: More than half of all small businesses fail within five years. The main reason is the challenge of cash flow, but technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence) can be of great help. They can even transform your entire business.
However, there are huge obstacles, as small businesses don’t have the resources – in terms of Big Data access and technical expertise – to take advantage of AI. Instead, the technology has been primarily used in larger companies.
But Intuit wants to change this. Consider that the company has been investing heavily in AI and infusing the technology into its QuickBooks platform. In 2019, there has been a 60% increase in the number of employees working in AI, with 104 machine learning models in production and 447 patents registered in the field.
Another critical advantage for Intuit is its massive amount of data, which is based on more than seven million business users. This means that Intuit can analyze 68 million pay checks sent through payroll, 400 million invoices, and $ 55 billion in online payments (there are more than 26 billion touch points).
With AI, this system can predict daily cash flow needs for the next 90 days. This can be crucial, as a business owner will be better able to take steps to avoid major problems. The Cash Flow Planner also provides recommendations, such as sending invoice reminders and getting a loan.
Unless your company has a couple of years of history, a bank is unlikely to extend a loan. This is due to inherent conservatism, but also a retrospective approach to rating risk. But with AI, you can use forward-looking approaches. And yes, this is what QuickBooks Capital does. The result is that there is a much higher loan approval rate at lower costs.
This is now standard with QuickBooks. The app takes advantage of a smartphone’s GPS to determine the extent of business travel (the average tax savings are more than $ 7,000 a year). The AI system also helps to better separate what is a business expense and recognizes common travel.
The application uses AI to streamline receipt scanning, which can extract and categorize important information that is entered into QuickBooks. Approximately 43% of scans are processed in four seconds. Oh, and then there is the Expense Finder that uses Artificial Intelligence to find those expenses that are tax deductible.
The flood of rules and regulations is difficult to maintain. However, a single violation can wreak havoc on a small business. This is why QuickBooks is starting to use AI to detect potential problems, for example, with human resources and taxes.
All this does not imply that the AI will solve all the problems. The fact is, technology is far from perfect. In other words, clients still want to talk to experts, which is especially true for financial matters.
This is why Intuit has launched QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, which connects business owners with qualified accountants (there is a monthly subscription fee). Please note that approximately 40% of QuickBooks users do not have an accountant.
This new service is more than just making a connection. An accountant can use video and chat to work with clients, providing a much more engaging experience.
“QuickBooks’ vision is to build an expert-driven artificial intelligence platform to make better decisions and improve results,” said Alex Chriss, who is the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Intuit Small Employees Group. “It’s about leveling the playing field for small businesses.”
Artificial intelligence (AI) was invented to support humans. Over time, it has become a technology that delivers results. Although initially expensive, AI has now also become affordable for small businesses.
According to a survey of CEOs of small and medium-sized companies, 29.5% of CEOs have spoken in favor of artificial intelligence technology and its various benefits for companies.
Artificial intelligence has built trust over time, and some big names like Bill Gates and Elon Musk have become its supporters. But apprehension has followed suit.
However, it should also be considered that we have not reached a point where AI can be said to be a threat. AI is currently well regulated and helping us. It has advanced over time, and the good news is that small businesses are becoming familiar with it.
Online retail is no longer limited to just big players. Small and medium-sized companies are also selling their products through online portals. Since deep learning in AI was introduced, it has become more equipped to deliver better results for clients with their respective needs in mind.
The retail sector is benefiting from this. Product categorization is one such example where artificial intelligence helps to automatically place different ranges of products in the respective categories and tag them with the correct tag.
Retail is a good platform for analysis and machine learning. AI has shown a wide scope where it can be implemented for better productivity. For example, small businesses are focusing on personalization to provide customers with a much better experience. It has been found that 61% of shoppers prefer to shop at retailers that use augmented reality.
AI with augmented reality is making a difference, giving some retailers an edge over others.
Since most small businesses are also selling through an online platform, the idea of using artificial intelligence to give customers an idea of the product up-front that they are going to use has also gained popularity.
Small companies are putting their products on online platforms in the same group as the products of larger companies.