top of page



Team: Celeste Terni, Anya Zimmerman-Smith, Kai Vogel


Case Competition Challenge: Identify an important problem that small businesses or self-employed face today, and develop a feature or application that connects to QuickBooks to solve it. Product: QuickBooks accounting software tool is made for small and medium-sized businesses as well as self-employed individuals. By providing tools to track expenses, manage cash flow, create invoices and more, the product caters to the needs of small businesses, but there is still room for improvement. 

Claremont, CA



How do small business owners uniquely engage with finances and accounting?

We started by interviewing people about their accounting tools, Quickbooks and others, and empathized with their positions as small business owners to see where they were coming from.


  • a self employed professional photographer, graphic designer and advertising creator, 40 years of business

  • the 25 year old founder of a small exercise equipment creation and production company

  • the accountant of a small home inspection business

  • and 2 other founders & CEO's of small businesses

​"In the beginning we had to work with an accountant to organize every past product purchase, or else our numbers wouldn't add up, but it took like two months."

Exercise Equipment Start Up CEO

​"It doesn’t give me the option to start a new estimate and base it off an old job which would populate past information. I kind of have to do a lot of copying and pasting, which takes a long time."

Self Employed Photographer

"There are a couple of metrics specific to my business that I want to see, but it feels very generic."

Textile Boutique Owner


With little time overall, energy expended on accounting is a great burden for small business owners.

We gathered the data from our interviews and coded the pain points to see which were the most frequent. The biggest pain point was Time & Energy. Our users felt that as the one in charge of the whole business they had so many other things to do it felt frustrating to spend so long organizing finances and doing administrative tasks.

Accounting takes away time from 'real work.'

Screen Shot 2020-12-25 at 11.13.25
Screen Shot 2020-12-25 at 11.13.33


How might we make more time for 'real work' and make accounting a painless, efficient task?

With Time and Energy as the focal pain point that self-employed and small business owners face we gathered that efficiency is what the value most when it comes to accounting. Using this information, we brainstormed products, or edits, that have individuals only doing what is most necessary when using QuickBooks or doing accounting in general.



Manual entry for sales receipts laborious


No manual entry

Mobile and Desktop friendly


Can't troubleshoot immediately

Existing forum confusing

Concerns answered immediately

Answers all types of questions from jargon to interface


Overwhelming interface

Non-customizable dashboard

Customizable for specific business needs

Helps at specific business stage

Screen Shot 2020-12-25 at 11.17.11
Screen Shot 2020-12-25 at 11.17.25
Screen Shot 2020-12-25 at 11.17.17


Use what you need, hide what you don't.

After creating prototypes of our top three ideas we did usability testing with the same 5 individuals we initially interviewed. By creating these multiple ideas we gave our users the opportunity to narrow down to the best one instead of prototyping only one idea and asking how to make it better. 
This is something we decided to do based on a suggestion from the Intuit Project Manager we were paired with as a mentor.

What do you think these do and how would one use them?

What problems do you think these would solve? Would you want to use any of them?

What would you change about each prototype?

From the feedback we received during our usability testing we learned that the template prototype garnered the most interest and we iterated that idea to incorporate points from our users.

We also created a three pronged approach for implementation so that our idea had a feasible plan. 
Screen Shot 2020-12-25 at 11.17.31


Championing the user, a win for all.

Our team was one of the four finalists out of 35 teams! I really enjoyed working with my teammates and learned time management, organization and team work skills in the process.

I would have loved to improve upon our idea, making a full prototype of the template that users could interact with and give feedback on. As a small business owner myself, these problems are very real to me and I find great satisfaction in designing to serve others with similar experiences.
bottom of page