Earlier today Intuit announced a completely new version of its QuickBooks accounting software, and to kick it off, it’s also announcing a new, and rather groundbreaking, partnership. It is integrating with mobile payments juggernaut Square, so that small businesses that use the mobile payment service can automatically feed data from those transactions into their books.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Dan Wernikoff, senior vice president and general manager of Intuit Small Business Financial Solutions, confirms to me that it is definitely a “commercial arrangement”. The integration will formally launch November 19, at which point pricing for the service will be revealed. The service will be U.S. only for now, although with QuickBooks’ large global footprint it will be interesting to see if Square uses that in any way in the future.
While Square has yet to announce a formal API for third parties to freely integrate its service, that is what Intuit is using to incorporate Square into QuickBooks. “There is an API and it is being used for this integration,” Wernikoff tell me.
A Square spokesperson says the company is not revealing any more detail on the integration at this time. “We’ll have more to share in November,” she says. Whether that is a reference to more detail about the API being used, or whether that is about pricing for this service, is not clear.
It will mean, in his words, that “when you are making a sale with a Square device this reconciliation will automatically flow back into QuickBooks,” he says. “It’s pretty complementary; an extension of what QuickBooks already does.”
This is something of a sea change for the two companies. Intuit has itself created its own point of sale product called GoPayment, complete with a dongle that links up with a mobile device (right).
While this has in the past been positioned as a rival to Square, today Wernikoff pitches it differently. “Go Payment is a growing portion of our payments business and I expect it will continue it to be,” he says. “But all of us have been at chapter one of mobile payments, a very basic phase focused on emulating a point-of-sale device. Chapter two is that each of us is starting to move in different directions.”
In fact, he says that Square was a natural first integration partner for Intuit because the two companies actually have a lot of overlap, with many of the same customers already. (No detail on how many customers that entails, as Square is not sharing its numbers publicly, but there are around 4 million businesses using QuickBooks today, he says.)
For its part, QuickBooks is maturing and looking for new ways to reach new customers. “We’ve been evolving to more of an open platform, and more than an application,” he says. Square, he notes, is the first big integration with another company’s financial services, but it won’t be the last. (Other partnerships that already exist include a deal with Salesforce.)
For Square, adding in services from the likes of QuickBooks is another sign of how the company hopes to extend its own touchpoints with consumers and make its service more useful (and therefore more used).
“Many small business owners and Square customers often talk about how accounting is an extremely important part of running their business,” the Square spokesperson told me. “This integration makes it easy for a business owner to take payments with Square Register or Square Market and do their bookkeeping with the leading small business accounting software.”
For now, Intuit sells its service as a one-off purchase for $249.95 (Mac version) or the SaaS-style QuickBooks Online starting at $12.95 per month.