Intuit Taps Machine Learning For Freelancer Expense Management

As TechCrunch put it in its Tuesday (May 2) report, expense management for the self-employed “sucks.”

A new tool from QuickBooks Self-Employed is hoping machine learning technology can help with that.

According to reports, the Intuit company is rolling out new expense management and invoicing features for independent contractors and freelancers. The publication said Intuit Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer of Small Business Alex Chriss began exploring the issue around expense management for these professionals when, three years ago, Intuit’s Mint unit found that many independent workers were having to identify business expenses as “other” to separate professional from personal spend.

That realization led Intuit to develop its app for the self-employed that enables these professionals to easily categorize spend as professional or personal on QuickBooks. As the company develops more solutions geared specifically for this customer base, reports said Intuit is turning toward machine learning to automatically categorize expenses.

Its current abilities are about 90 percent accurate, reports said, and is already a feature integrated in its QuickBooks app. The company is also rolling out other features that include receipt data capture using OCR technology that can match receipt information with credit card transactions.

QuickBooks Self-Employed has also launched a feature that enables users to track the miles they have driven for work, and similarly enables users to categorize a trip for personal or business.

“I think we’ll get to a point where we make it so that you don’t have to enter any information,” Chriss told the publication about these new abilities. “The next big leap is to prompt you and ask you questions. Are you on a train? Did you have a meal? Did you know you can deduct that?”

The platform is integrated with TurboTax, also owned by Intuit, making it easier for self-employed professionals come tax time to accurately file returns without mixing in personal finances, reports noted.