Intuit®: Official Blog > Customers > Self-Employed > Intuit TurboTax Team Helps Self-Employed People Track Expenses for a Better Tax Experience

Intuit TurboTax Team Helps Self-Employed People Track Expenses for a Better Tax Experience

Customers, Self-Employed Intuit mock up cropped

Intuit strives to continually update and innovate our products and services to benefit employees, customers, partners and/or stakeholders. One team in particularly focused on problem solving for self-employed customers to help them ensure they receive maximum deductions with minimal effort.

Helping the self-employed get the deductions they deserve

Nhung Ho, Meng Chen, Lei Pei, Zach Jennings and Tyler Lewis spent time looking at ways to simplify the expense sorting process for the self-employed. Many independent workers don’t think about their expenses until tax time and have to sort through a whole year’s worth of expenses to identify the deductions they deserve. According to our QuickBooks Self Employed (QBSE) data, only 16% of expense transactions are categorized into business and personal, not enough data to make high confidence categorizations. To solve this problem, the team focused on ways to use machine learning to help customers automatically sort their expenses into “business and personal” categories. They named the innovation, SmartSort.

Successful testing = great value for customers

Expensefinder (powered by the SmartSort engine) was rolled out as part of TurboTax Self-Employed (TTSE) for 2016 taxes. When Self Employed customers linked their bank accounts to TTSE, ExpenseFinder helped them sort expenses and populate a Schedule C for customers in about 15 minutes, compared to the many hours it took before. As observed by Harry Campbell, the Rideshare Guy Blogger, “If you kept little or no records of expenses, the ExpenseFinder tool is going to be a big deal. You can connect this with your bank account and it will scan that account for the ENTIRE YEAR and present you with a bunch of potential deductions. Once it did its scan, I was able to figure out how much I spent on my car for all of 2016 in about 30 minutes.”

The SmartSort engine is currently available for all new customers using QBSE for the first time. In initial testing with 10,000 users, first-time QBSE users were 45% more likely to convert to paying customers after using SmartSort than those who did not.

Deep customer empathy coupled with close observation of customer behavior – both in-person and by watching how they interact with Intuit products – empowered the team of Ho, Chen, Pei, Jennings and Lewis to think differently and raise the bar on how QBSE solves everyday challenges for people working for themselves. The teams at Intuit continue working on problem solving through a customer-first approach and tech-driven executions to continue inspiring customers and powering their prosperity.

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