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QuickBooks EasySaver

December 27, 2011 | By | 12 Replies More

One of the new features of QuickBooks 2012 is Intuit EasySaver, a service that Intuit is rolling out with the intent of saving YOU time and money when purchasing supplies and items for your business. I interviewed Parker Thomas of Intuit, who is the Senior Product Manager for EasySaver.

According to Parker, most small businesses “don’t have the negotiating power to get any sort of discount” when purchasing supplies or items that they resell. Time can also be a factor, as a small business owner just doesn’t have the time to research the best prices for these items. That is where Intuit EasySaver  comes in, trying to use the aggregated power of all QuickBooks users to negotiate better prices.

EasySaver in QuickBooks

The place that I first noticed this was when editing an item. The EasySaver “pane” shows on the right of the screen. Note that you can hide this pane by clicking the small arrow (similar to how you can hide the “History” pane in invoices). Note that this will show up for inventory part and non-inventory part items only.

EasySaver in Edit Item

EasySaver looks at the item that you are editing and it tries to find similar items, which are displayed in the scrollable list along with the price. It may also use your past purchasing history as a part of it’s recommendation. You can select an item by checking the box and adding it to your shopping cart. If you click the see more items link in this pane you will be taken to the EasySaver web page where you will see a more detailed list of the recommended items, as well as a list of other categories you can search on the left.

EasySaver

You can also access the EasySaver web site by clicking on the EasySaver icon on the home page or through the Vendors menu.

To check out and pay for your items you will need an Intuit App Center account, and you will need to set up the Intuit EasySaver App.

EasySaver in the Intuit App Center

The concept is group purchasing. Intuit is working with Rearden Commerce and a select group of vendors (which is expanding as time goes on) to provide you with what is hopefully a lower price for certain common items than what you might find by yourself. According to Parker Thomas, “just a few months of savings and you can cover the cost of your QuickBooks product”. You are getting access to the “QuickBooks buying club” simply because you are a user of QuickBooks.

Wait, I Don’t See This?

This is (in my words) another Intuit pilot project, where they are rolling out something in stages. Initially Intuit is limiting the number of users that will see this, which has confused some ProAdvisors when they don’t see it on THEIR system while their customers may see it. Intuit has focused on a limited group of customers, initially looking at manufacturers and wholesalers, looking to get feedback as they move forward. Also, the initial selection of items may be somewhat limited to certain areas, such as office supplies and items of interest to the initial classes of customers they are aiming at.

Note that this wasn’t available in the initial QuickBooks 2012 release – it was enabled in the R3 release.

Does It Work?

Unfortunately, I can’t evaluate how effective this program is at this time, since in my own business I am not purchasing a volume of items.  I did double check a few simple items, though.

One recommendation from EasySaver was for some manila file folders from Office Depot. The EasySaver price was $4.48, while if I went to the Office Depot web site the same item was listed as $6.99 per box. Not bad, at least in a quick check. The “Savings” figure they listed is odd, but that isn’t a big problem.

EasySaver recommendation

I do recall in the early stages where this was being tested that there were several people commenting about how poor the recommendations were and how you didn’t really get any savings – but I believe that in those early stages the back end (the recommendations, the savings, the shopping cart) weren’t fully in place, the initial tests were more oriented towards the user interface and how this integrated with QuickBooks. From what I understand the service really wasn’t functional until October, and as I mentioned before it is being rolled out in phases.

Problems?

Again, this is a pilot project and they are testing it out on us – in this case I can’t see how they would get around it because it does require a volume of users. That is hard to come up with an a “beta test” program.

Looking at it as of today I have a few small issues:

You can’t truly turn it ALL the way off: There is a preference that you can uncheck, and you even have a “turn off” link in the item window that will take you there. However, this doesn’t fully get rid of it. You still see the icon on the home page. You still see the EasySaver “pane” in the item window. You can close that pane, but it is still there. I found that annoying.

EasySaver Preferences

I don’t always have enough information in the item list for EasySaver to use to make a good match. I’ll have “printer paper” as an item with an equally simple description, rather than a specific item number or descriptive name. EasySaver is going to do a better job in finding a good match if you include details of the item. I’m wondering how many people do that in a small business?

I’ve said this kind of thing before, why didn’t Intuit tell ProAdvisors about this? Why do we have to hear about it from our clients first? It makes us look bad when a client asks about something new that pops up in QuickBooks that we have no clue about. I’ve seen a couple of complaints about this in various user forums. Yes, Intuit wanted to roll this out to a limited user base – couldn’t they have included ProAdvisors in that rollout? Or at least TELL us about it?

Why isn’t this integrated in the Purchasing process? Wouldn’t it make sense to have the EasySaver “pane” show when I’m creating a purchase order? That isn’t a big issue, but I’m just wondering. Do people really make their decisions on what to buy when they are in the Edit Item window? I don’t.

 

Time will tell if this ends up being useful. It is only going to work if the system provides good matches to your items and the savings are significant enough to get around the hassles of using it. The problem with a slow rollout of the kinds of items it provides is that if you don’t get a good selection of items up front then people are just going to turn it off. Intuit won’t keep this around for long if the volume stays low. In a way I like the concept for some businesses, we’ll have to see how it pans out.

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Category: For Small Business Owners, Product Reviews, QuickBooks Tips/Tricks, Working with QuickBooks

About the Author ()

Charlie Russell is the founder of CCRSoftware. He's been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had a one-floppy disk drive system, loading the program from one floppy and then replacing that with the other floppy to hold the data. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise. He also is a Xero Certified Partner. Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. Charlie can be reached at [email protected] He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog Connect with Charlie at Google

Comments (12)

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  1. Jim 'Rustler' Ernest says:

    Savings as compared to the major brand stores, sometimes, but saving compared to the bulk office supply stores, no. One test I did was a book, easy saver wanted 9.98 walmart.com had the same book for 4.98.

    All I did was google the book title.

    out of curiosity I googled 20# xerox paper gray 500 sheets [ream] (which you show in the screen shot)

    7.25 @ supplies guys
    5.24 @ discount cleaning products
    As long as easy saver continues to use only name brand stores it will not be very competitive.

    • Thanks, Rustler. I think that a part of their concept is the “ease of use” issue. They want to provide a discount, AND they want to make it easy. If someone has a volume of things that they are purchasing, AND they don’t take the time to do the research as you did, THEN this is supposed to provide a savings to you. In my talks with them the concept was brought up often, that people just don’t take the time to do comparison shopping and looking around. And this gives you one point of purchase rather than having to set up new accounts with each vendor you find.

      I do think that I’ll agree with you, though – it isn’t that hard to do a quick search with Google nowadays, so I’m not sure how widely used this feature will be. And it only makes sense for Intuit if a lot of people use it…

  2. William Murphy says:

    Now why didn’t they go one step further (or perhaps in a different direction rather), and actually link QB users (potential buyers) to other QB users who were ‘selling products’ that Users need….seems like rather than going out to some ‘big corp’ to cook up some deals with large enough margins that Intuit could make a profit, that they could have looked at their own QB-customer base and said….hum the following QB users are in the office supply business…why not work out a deal with them and link them to QB-users in their areas? Or these QB users are in the XYZ supply business why not link them up with QB users who need XYZ.

    And Charlie, are you sure that the ‘buying link’ is all that is part of the Item list, or is there burried deep inside something that is monitoring buying trends of products (and maybe that is why it can’t be fully ‘turned-off’?????????? (Didn’t Apple get into trouble like that for monitoring shopper trends form iPhones and iPads?)

    Murph

    • An interesting concept (sharing between QB users), Murph. I can’t speak for Intuit, but I’d guess that what you suggest would take a lot of work to set up, rather than just being able to plug in to a system that is already developed. Intuit has been doing a lot of leveraging and partnerships lately (see the Salesforce article as an example: http://goo.gl/TcfC8). And they haven’t had a lot of success with their own developments of new ventures lately.

      As far as monitoring – I try to cut back on speculation on things when I don’t have any information to go on, and at this point I don’t have any clues about something like you suggest, at least in QuickBooks Desktop. However, keep your eye out for my next “rant”, probably coming out on January 5th unless it gets bumped, for something similar to what you suggest…

    • Edna says:

      Murph, please read my comment a few minutes ago. YOU are absolutely right on. I feel a privacy invasion too. My inventory? Come ON! What next? My checkbook registar??? I am looking at a different accounting software. I’ve been a QB user for 10 years. I want my money back. I am not finished here. I am going to change.org. These kinds of practices should be illegal. There is a lawless world on the web and it’s hurting ALL of us.

  3. @ William
    In preferences General setting, company preferences is a check mark box to let QB analyze your shopping and make recommendations.

  4. Edna says:

    OMG. Another company (Intuit) trying to conguer the business world! Do they have any idea what they are really doing with this ‘easysaver’ to their OWN small business CUSTOMERS like myself? I am livid. I supply the very supplies they want other QB users to buy elswhere for a very little price savings (when some of the QB users ARE my customers). Then where does that leave my company? This is not ony a conflict of interest, but this practice goes against the very core of what wholsale to retail business are all about; loyaty,trust, and customer satisfaction. This is another Amazon deadly creation that continues to smash brick and mortor busineeses like myself. What about it all do big business don’t get or have lost? I am now looking furioulsy at other accounting and inventory softwares to move too. Enough is enough.

    • Edna, thanks for your comment. I actually didn’t think of that aspect (since I’m not in that business myself), but you have a very interesting point. I was mostly focused on the annoyance of this feature.

      • Edna says:

        Thank you Charlie. It’s all annoying. I’ve been in busines for over 27 years and I’ve never seen anything like this godzilla eat dog mentally like today’s economics.

  5. Brenda says:

    Charlie-
    I just plain find this kind of stuff annoying. While I appreciate an effort to provide users with information on services that they might actually need or want, I feel more and more “invaded” with each passing upgrade, with all of these pop-ups and things that we have to get turned off for everyone. It is very annoying to have this stuff show up while you work. I found this EasySaver thing when I opened an inventory item for edit. Probably like most manufacturers and wholesalers…1) I am not adding “copy paper” or “file folders” as inventory items–those bills are just expensed when they are posted (unless I am a seller of office supplies, and even if I were…); 2) I am likely buying in units or truckload volumes direct from manufacturers, so Intuit is not going to beat my cost. The list of items that popped up for me really did not relate at all to my custom inventory item I was viewing at the time, anyway. These are the kinds of things that make me open and read those emails I get for MS Dynamics….seems like Intuit would better spend their time improving the software rather than creating new products/services to try to sell existing users.

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