Intuit Assist is a financial assistant that lives inside Intuit’s four main applications, QuickBooks, TurboTax, Credit Karma and MailChimp. The assistant provides “personalised, intelligent experiences” specific to each application, ranging from answering questions about your data to carrying out a limited set of tasks. At launch, Intuit Assist was only available to US customers, with no timeframe given for release in other countries..
Intuit Assist uses generative AI technology which runs on a customised version of Open AI’s ChatGPT, Intuit’s own financial large language models, which are part of Intuit’s generative AI-based operating system, genOS. Intuit has trained Intuit Assist’s algorithms on its vast trove of financial and business data hosted within its accounting, lending, marketing and personal financial software.
Intuit’s dominant market share in accounting software (QuickBooks is used by over 80 percent of the US small businesses) gives it an extremely detailed map of transactions between small businesses and their customers. Intuit claims to monitor 500,000 customer and financial attributes per small business, and 60,000 financial and tax attributes per consumer.
These attributes include details on income, expenses, credit history, spending history, outstanding loans, cashflow, and tax information. Intuit feeds this data into its AI algorithms to create personalised recommendations and benchmark-driven insights to customers.
Intuit’s unique advantage is its massive customer datasets, said Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi at the launch of Intuit Assist.
“At the core of our platform is powerful customer data. This gives Intuit the ability to deliver personalised, intelligent, GenAI-powered recommendations for customers to make smart financial decisions with full confidence. We are using our data to fine-tune our own Intuit financial large language models that specialise in solving tax, accounting, cash flow, marketing, and personal financial challenges. This is done with a single unified data architecture within Intuit's walls,” Goodarzi said.
What does Intuit Assist do?
Intuit Assist performs different tasks depending on its host application. Its actions fall into three categories: guiding users, such as to find settings or specific pages in the application; carrying out specific tasks, as described below by application; or providing human agents with information about customers to improve the quality of support.
The number and complexity of tasks was relatively limited at launch compared to the full capability of ChatGPT. However, Intuit says it will increase the assistant’s abilities over time.
Intuit Assist generates recommendations and insights into income streams, expenses, profitability, and cash flows.
Intuit Assist for QuickBooks
Intuit Assist is a chatbot that appears in the bottom right of the screen in QuickBooks. It can currently perform three categories of actions.
Show business insights
QuickBooks users can ask Intuit Assist in plain English to bring up information that usually requires creating a report to find. For example, you can ask Intuit Assist to show your profit and loss for the last month, and then to compare it to the previous month. Or you can ask it to show you your top-selling products last month.
The answers appear within the chatbot window as specific numbers rather than as a full-screen report that a user needs to interpret.
Intuit Assist will then suggest follow-up questions as buttons based on your previous questions, similar to the way Google displays a section called People Also Ask in its search results. A user can then select one of the options or type their own question.
This is a feature powered by generative AI, which predicts the next most likely information in a sequence based on a library of previous examples (its training dataset). It is a clever application of the technology because business owners and other non-accountant users may not always know what to ask or know that these insights are buried within the data.
Intuit Assist also creates a daily summary of personalised insights when you log into QuickBooks. This shows cashflow hotspots, places to improve cash flow, highlighting spending anomalies, and celebrating wins.
For example, Intuit Assist will check your cash flow and give suggestions on what to do next, such as reducing certain expenses
A user can then click on a graph or table of numbers to drill down into the underlying data or to view next steps and other recommendations.
Intuit Assist will be able to carry out tasks for users based on a request in plain English. At launch the only option was to ask the assistant to send invoice reminders, which it can do without any further interaction from the user. Intuit Assist can also customise the invoice reminder email; it can make it shorter, change the tone to be more assertive or more friendly based on the intended recipient.
Intuit Assist also helps onboard new customers. It can personalise the business profile in QuickBooks by pulling data from your website. It will also take a spreadsheet of transactions and transform it into personalised insights and recommendations.
Intuit said it will add more tasks over time.
Connect with a human agent
If Intuit Assist can’t answer your questions, it can patch in an accounting expert working in Intuit’s call centres. Intuit says these experts are “powered by AI”; “we relay all the relevant information to your expert so that… you’ll be helped by someone who already knows your situation.” Generative AI is commonly used to summarise text-based conversations, so it is likely that this is the “relevant information” that is sent to the expert.
The accounting expert responds either via the chat window or opens up a video call (with screen sharing) within QuickBooks itself.
Intuit also appears to be using AI to guide its call-centre agents to improve faster and better answers. “During the call, our experts are supercharged by data, AI, and our virtual expert platform to help solve your problems with speed and confidence.”
Intuit Assist for TurboTax
In TurboTax, Intuit Assist provides “fast and reliable answers” in a chatbot interface. The goal is to help customers file their own taxes, either by themselves or with the help of Intuit’s tax experts. Intuit Assist shows the maths and answers follow-up questions throughout the process. Inuit said this method is designed to build confidence: “Intuit Assist talks to you in a way that a human would, making you feel safe, confident, as if you're sitting across the table from someone”.
Intuit Assist improves the customer experience in three categories.
Streamline data collection
The assistant helps customers by guiding them through which forms to upload (eg. W2 and 1040), then reads and interprets them. It then creates a personalised checklist of the remaining documents needed.
Similarly, Intuit Assist will guide you to upload the remaining documents, reading, extracting, and applying the data to your return as you go. It streamlines your tax prep by removing unnecessary questions as it learns more and more about you.
As you move through filing, you may occasionally miss or skip entering certain data. Intuit Assist will constantly check your progress and keep you on track by servicing and resolving those issues on the spot. Intuit said this will reduce the number of mistakes customers make in their returns.
Intuit Assist is smart enough to know whether you received company stock and message you to confirm. It will then inform you that this sale requires you to upload a 1099-B form, tell you how to find that form, and then add it to your personalised checklist.
As you continue, Intuit Assist will anticipate where you're likely to have questions, and proactively surface insights in the tax prep experience at the right time.
Intuit has a comprehensive database of tax breaks. Intuit Assist will search hundreds of deductions and credits to surface the ones that you might qualify for. This increases the likelihood that you will receive the maximum number of tax breaks for your specific circumstances.
Once you complete tax prep, Intuit Assist will summarise and surface the most important elements impacting your tax return. From highlighting significant increases in income, to unpacking state taxes, to recapping all your tax breaks, and to how much you'll get.
Connect with a human agent
Once completed, Intuit Assist will then activate the gateway to a tax expert who will prepare and file your return. Intuit Assist then sets up a video call with the tax expert who walks the customer through the return, answers any questions, then signs and files the tax return.
By using Intuit Assist to guide the data collection process, Intuit says that it can then complete tax returns in less than a day – even within an hour.
Intuit Assist for MailChimp
One of the most powerful applications for generative AI, which is powered by large language models, is in text-heavy services such as marketing. Intuit Assist helps in three categories.
Intuit Assist will monitor leads captured by a form in MailChimp and automatically draft an email response by pulling product and service data from QuickBooks. (Intuit hasn’t shown exactly how this works.) This will allow MailChimp users to respond to leads faster and qualify them as sales prospects. MailChimp will add qualified prospects to its sales pipeline to track the customer's lifecycle.
Create marketing emails
Intuit Assist can write marketing emails from a text command such as, “I want to create an email campaign to announce a new product I'm releasing, the Cavendish Comfort Chair”.
The assistant will create a number of drafts and then write a full email based on the chosen draft. Intuit Assist will automatically create the email according to your brand style with images and texts.
The assistant will then ask who you would like to send the marketing email to. It will translate your prompt into a precise audience segment, personalise the name and other fields, and mark the email as ready to send. The user can make adjustments to text or images at any time.
Intuit Assist can also modify the tone of the text on the fly. It will rewrite the email in a different tone or generate something totally based on your guidance.
The assistant will also draw on benchmark data to recommend text and images with the highest chance of converting.
After you've scheduled the email, you will see it added to your marketing calendar and MailChimp will automatically recommend a follow-up action to make sure you see the most engagement possible.
It isn’t clear whether this is functionality built into MailChimp itself or is part of the Intuit Assist interface.
Intuit Assist will also help you understand how a campaign performed and figure out what to do next. The MailChimp dashboard now shows insights such as a summary of the performance metrics across multiple marketing touchpoints for the last campaign.
Intuit Assist will also add actionable and specific recommendations to increase the marketing metric or optimise performance in your next campaign.
Intuit Assist for Credit Karma
Generative AI has interesting applications within personal finance. Intuit Assist is used in three categories in Credit Karma.
Access loans on time
Intuit Assist will start showing lending options if your cashflow is running low and you are unlikely to be able to pay your forecast expenses. Intuit Assist will show how the transactions impact your expenses for the month, and provide a list of personalised financing recommendations based on your own data.
The assistant will help you compare options for personal loans and auto-fill loan applications to reduce approval times by the lender.
Intuit Assist creates a snapshot of expenditure in two main categories; essentials and non-essentials. It will show you how much of your monthly income goes towards non-essentials, and show which categories (eg. entertainment) are trending up.
Intuit Assist will then recommend setting a spending limit for those categories and will alert you when you get close to the limit.
Apply for credit cards and find perks
Intuit Assist can make recommendations for credit cards based on your financial profile, expense history and credit score. It searches for potential credit card perks (“rewards”) in categories such as dining, transportation and travel, and either recommends a more suitable card or helps you collect those perks.
For example, Intuit Assist will know that you have a monthly gym membership and will suggest you use your credit card to win a particular benefit.
If you do decide to take a new card, Intuit Assist auto-fills the application form to accelerate the approval process with the card issuer.
You can also ask Intuit Assist for tips to maximise your points and rewards. The assistant will outline the travel perks based on the cards in your wallet, including hotel credits, ridesharing cashback, and expedited airport entry services.
Intuit Assist looks like a very promising step forward in the evolution of accounting and business software. If it delivers on its promises, it will reduce the time it takes to carry out quite a lot of tasks and also make it much easier to get actionable, commercially valuable information from the data.
Intuit hasn’t said when Intuit Assist will be released in other countries. Given the massive market share of Intuit in the US, which translates to enormous volumes of data and network maps of customer relationships, Intuit Assist has a much more potential than in non-US markets.
Intuit has demonstrated both intent and execution in finding ways to improve the accounting experience using the new wave of generative AI features.
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