Startup Stripe helps to power payments for a large number of new services offering up ways to make cash as part of the growing “on-demand economy.” Meanwhile Intuit, which makes accounting and tax software for small businesses and the self-employed, wants to help those workers keep better track of their finances.
So it makes sense for Stripe and Intuit to work together on a product that will instantly recognize earnings that on-demand workers receive and help them optimize their taxes with write-offs for work-related expenses.
Through the partnership, people who work for on-demand platforms that make their payments through Stripe will be able to easily connect with Intuit’s new QuickBooks Online Self-Employed software. Once that’s done, the QuickBooks product will be able to immediately recognize payments as income, and as a result will be able to help workers track their finances, and especially their tax obligations.
According to Alex Chriss, who is VP and GM of Intuit’s Self-Employed Solutions, most 1099 workers generally aren’t aware of their monthly, quarterly, or annual income. That’s in part because they don’t get the same income statements as salaried employees — instead they receive irregular payments from the on-demand platforms they work for.
They also aren’t doing a good job of tracking expenses they could deduct from their taxes, but that’s another issue.
To court the growing base of on-demand or 1099 workers, Intuit makes its self-employed QuickBooks software available to use for free. For $7.99 a month it also offers some paid features, like enabling users to connect their bank accounts and credit cards to the software in order to track and categorize income and expenses.
The hope is that by doing so, QuickBooks can provide more visibility into their worker finances. For instance, being able to estimate how much they would need to pay in quarterly and year-end taxes. That can eliminate the possibility of receiving a big surprise tax bill or being hit with fines for not contributing enough in quarterly taxes.
To simplify the process of tracking income, the Stripe integration is being offered for free to workers who receive income from companies that use it for payments. That includes companies like Lyft, Sidecar, Summon, Flywheel, Handy, Homejoy, and Washio, according to Cristina Cordova, who is the head of strategic partnerships at Stripe.
Because those companies hire workers as contractors, they can’t offer tax advice or benefits. But by tracking income directly in a product like QuickBooks, those workers can generally do a better job of managing their finances.
Anyway, it’s worth noting that the Stripe partnership will help some on-demand workers, but not others. Uber drivers, for instance, won’t benefit because Uber doesn’t use Stripe. But those workers will still be able to pay QuickBooks to connect their bank accounts.
Anyway, isn’t that the beauty of the freemium business model?