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Intuit Developer Spotlight: Flowless, App Showdown Finalist - Intuit Developer Community Blog

March 1, 2019 | Annie Terry

Intuit Developer Spotlight: Flowless, App Showdown Finalist

With already over 3 million small business owners around the world, the QuickBooks ecosystem continues to grow and expand, and so does our global app partner community. Their effective solutions increase efficiency and the bottom line for each user of QuickBooks. Here at Intuit Developer, we want to put a spotlight on these hard-working developers.

This blog is part of our Intuit Developer Spotlight series that allows users a behind-the-scenes glimpse into a developers’ unique app, showcasing how Intuit Developers’ platform and support has skyrocketed their success.

Today, we have the privilege of featuring software developer Michael Astreiko of CloudBusiness LLC. The company offers cloud-based solutions and business accounting software development. Users can utilize CloudBusiness’ line of products or customize their own.

Michael is the founder of their latest app, Flowless, which is “designed to react to Events that happened in QuickBooks, providing a platform for introducing smart automations to any kind of business, for any QuickBooks user.”

How Flowless Came To Be

After signing up for Intuit’s SmallBiz Hack in London, which took place in February of 2018, the team was inspired to develop Flowless.

“We came to QuickBooks SmallBiz Hack with a simple idea: what if there could be an app that would be useful for any QuickBooks user? Inspired by IoT products where users can create automation flows for their home, we tried to make a similar app for QuickBooks users, where a change in invoice, product or any other entity can trigger an action,” Michael says.

Not only did Flowless win the SmallBiz Hack, it was a top 10 finalist in the 2018 $100K Small Business App Showdown. The competition took place during QuickBooks Connect in San Jose, CA this past November.

Flowless’ live, on-stage demonstration highlighted how it easily streamlines any business workflow by automating recurring business actions and tracking the results through the connected QuickBooks company. It’s configurable with different scenarios that reflect each specific business’ need. And additional IT skills or technical staff are not required.

Michael explains further: “We’ve designed a no-code tool with intuitive interface to build automated workflows around financial data in QuickBooks. It is a tool you can use all year round to avoid enlarging your staff during busier months, as it delegates tasks proactively, based on the trigger alarms you personally know will be important. This minimizes the risks connected with extra help who cannot know the businesses you work with as intimately and deeply as you do and allows you to stay in control without having to constantly micromanage every process.”

Though Flowless didn’t win the App Showdown, Michael says the time they put in to get it ready for presentation reminded them how valuable time is and inspired them to “keep building a product that will free up hours and hours that businesses give towards routine processes.”

Here’s what one reviewer who gave Flowless 5 out of 5 stars had to say: “This app really helps automate tasks by receiving automatic emails once conditions are met. No need to manually check QBO on a daily basis. The customization options are endless! Highly recommended.”

Integrating with QuickBooks Means Quality Apps

Michael knew from the beginning that integrating with QuickBooks was the right path for Flowless.

We first worked with QuickBooks as a consultancy project for one of our clients and saw that QuickBooks marketplace is really powerful; there is a great system in place for developers to deploy the apps easily and maintain great quality, so it inspired us to build several applications integrated to QuickBooks,” he says.

These applications include Business Importer, Donor Receipts, Business Payments, and Bulk Deleter. For all the applications, Michael found Intuit Developer’s support during the development process—from conceiving the idea to getting the app to market—to be spot on.

“The Intuit Developer team and the whole community is a great example of teamwork and attention to every detail. We participate in the Intuit Developer Dev Council and other events organized by the Intuit Dev team where we can raise any question, discuss any problem, see new approaches and thus get the maximum value from the ecosystem,” he says.

“As a result, you can see how apps are supported by the community of accountants, QuickBooks support team that knows the benefits of Intuit Apps and Intuit Developers ready to assist, as well as the community forum which today contains a great database of knowledge. It’s constantly updated by pros in the sphere and the Intuit team, which makes it a wholesome system for building great solutions.”

Moving Forward with Flowless and QuickBooks

Michael is planning to utilize user feedback to help direct the apps’ next steps. User experience and the usability of the app are top priority, but they have other plans for the app.

“We would like to extend the app’s functionality with no harm to its simplicity. Only analysis and real feedback from our users can give us right directions. As for the functions, we would like to extend the supported means of communication and add several messengers and social media channels where work happens,” he says. “We are also working on triggers created based on reports in QuickBooks Online. The main challenge for us is to make it as simple as possible, so that every accountant without a tech background can understand how to use it after a few minutes of exploring the app.”

However, the CloudBusiness team isn’t forgetting their other QuickBooks apps. Michael explains that their Business Payments app has seen a large growth this year. “It’s now a Top 3 Payment Processing app, and we’re working on adding a Square integration to the existing PayPal and Stripe.”

The Future of Technology and App Developers

While he continues to refine and strengthen his apps, Michael has some advice for other developers regarding emerging technology.

“Big data, AI, blockchain—these are the tech trends that enhance the strengths of an accounting system, taking it to the next level of user interaction. I think that utilizing them will mark a serious advantage in developing any applications,” he says. “But I believe that it is just as important to also think beyond the trends and stay true to the problems we want to solve and the customers we serve.”

And for those either starting or continuing their app journey with Intuit Developer?

“I think the best advice we can give is that it’s great not to be shy and make the most of the entire Intuit community experience,” he says. “Participating in the Smallbiz Hack and QBConnect has opened up so many doors for us and gave us real insights on how to move forward. We  believe that this factor has become integral for our company’s path to success.”

He goes on to say that developers need to get their ideas out there even if you fail the first few times, “but then you will be able to create something unique. Failure is the experience that you cannot buy.”

If you’re interested in joining Michael and the CloudBusiness team as a member of the Intuit Developer community, contact us.

We want to partner with you and see your app receive 5-star reviews, such as this one for Flowless: “Finally, manual work is over! Did not expect Flowless to be so powerful of a tool with great potential for my business. Just tried one text execution to automate my inventory tracking and now have several flow running and saving my time. Simple way to reduce manual work that I’ve been doing for years!”

We hope to hear from you and stay tuned for our next developer in our Intuit Developer Spotlight series.

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