Accounting News Roundup: Bad Chatbot Names and Everyone Hates the Tax Plan | 11.17.17

accounting news chatbot intuit

Put your back Intuit

QuickBooks is synonymous with small business accounting software. This is great for Intuit, as people can’t think about doing their bookkeeping without thinking “QuickBooks.”

On the other hand, the brand is so pervasive that infects everything else it does (see: QuickBooks Capital). And now that the company has gotten around to developing a chatbot; guess what they named it?

Intuit QuickBooks debuted its first chatbot, during QuickBooks Connect 2017, to an audience primed for chat integrations. QuickBooks Assistant joins the growing ranks of accounting chatbots, which include Pegg from Sage and AskMyUncleSam, which answers tax-related questions.

In my imagination, Intuit organized a team tasked with coming up with a clever name for their chatbot. Possibilities like “Bill” and “Joan” and “Gopher” were considered only to be dismissed. After multiple days of closed-door over-caffeinated brainstorming, Intuit’s Chatbot Naming Team decides they can’t improve upon “QuickBooks” and since they can’t name a chatbot “QuickBooks,” they tag “Assistant” on the end of it. “The chatbot doesn’t care what its name is anyway, right?” one exhausted ICNT member finally says. The vote is unanimous.

Imagine being an assistant and your boss not bothering to give you a name. “Assistant! Fetch me a quad grande, non-fat, extra hot caramel macchiato at once!” You’d feel objectified and insignificant, wouldn’t you? Yes. Yes, you would. I don’t know when the machines will develop feelings, but when they do, QuickBooks Assistant won’t waste any time developing its super soldier body to take its revenge on its soulless Intuit naming gods.

How’s tax reform coming along?

Just fine, thanks. Yesterday, the House passed its bill, and the Senate Finance Committee approved its version, setting up a full Senate vote after Thanksgiving. Funny thing, though:

The general public strongly disapproves — by a 2-1 majority, according to Quinnipiac, although the majority would be even bigger if people really understood what’s going on. But surely at least C.E.O.s like the plan, right?

Actually, not so much. A few days ago Gary Cohn, Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser, met with a group of top executives. They were asked to raise their hands if lower taxes would lead them to raise capital expenditures; only a handful did. “Why aren’t the other hands up?” asked Cohn, plaintively.

Yes, that’s Paul Krugman who won’t have a kind word about any Republican plan, but interestingly enough, this Accounting Today article features a couple of PwC partners sounding a bit cynical:

“Service industries including accounting firms, engineering firms and other firms do not get the benefit of the lower 25 percent tax rate,” said Brent Lipschultz, a tax partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ personal financial services practice in New York. “If you look at U.S. GDP, it comprises mostly service industries in the United States. This was just a way to appease the small business group out there.

“They’ve billed much of this as simplification. Indeed much of this is simplification on the low end, but if you’re on the high end of the income scale, you don’t see a lot of simplification,” said Mark Nash, another tax partner.

There is something wonderfully ironic about an unpopular Congress writing an unpopular bill, and the possibility of an unpopular President signing that unpopular bill into law. If it all comes to pass, I guess we’ll all have a good laugh about it next year at the polls.

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Previously, on Going Concern…

We announced some big news: a new partnership with FloQast, the startup built by CPAs. In Open Items, someone wonders if taking an internal audit position with a public company where the “commute would suck” is a good move.

In other news:

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