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Intuit Developer Spotlight: Bento for Business - Intuit Developer Community Blog

April 2, 2019 | Ketaki Gupta

Intuit Developer Spotlight: Bento for Business

Some people are passionate about sports. Some about music. The list of topics is endless when speaking about what motivates people, but for the next developer in the Intuit Developer Spotlight series, problem solving is his driving force.

“Problem solving has always been a passion of mine and programming was a natural extension of that,” says Peter Szczepanski. “I wanted to automate my Windows workflow and learned my first two programming languages: Batch Script and Visual Basic. At one point, I noticed I was able to programmatically force a computer beep, with different pitch intervals, and from there attempted to make a song out of it, to see if it’s remotely viable.”

As it turns out, his passion and skill set serve him well as a Senior Software Engineer for Bento for Business.

Bento for Business: Passion for People

Like Peter, the Bento team has a passion. It’s centered on people and ensuring customer satisfaction with their business solution that helps SMBs save time and money through managing employee expenses.

“Managing employee expenses is a challenging process for many SMBs, who are often underserved by big banks and big tech startups. Bento’s co-founders Farhan and Sean started the company with a strong belief in helping business owners spend less time and money on administrative hassles, and more on growing their business,” Peter says.

Through Bento’s physical and virtual employee debit cards and powerful desktop/mobile platform, businesses can:

  • Remotely control when, where, and how much employees can spend so they never go over their pre-authorized spending limits (turn cards on/off with one tap from a smartphone)
  • Save time by automating fund transfers, card reloads, expense reporting, monthly statements and custom alerts and benefit from the auto-declines of unauthorized cards/purchases
  • Plan monthly spend with automatic fund deposits
  • Easily allocate and track budgets for each card and employee
  • View and export statements and invoices with one click

Businesses who choose Bento choose real-time data. They can access a live dashboard at any time from anywhere to track expenses, set mobile alerts, and more. They also benefit from a seamless integration with QuickBooks Online—a decision applauded by Bento users.

One reviewer, who gave the app five-out-of-five stars, had this to say on their QuickBooks App Store page: “Great features save time & money, and we all know that time IS money. Automate expense management without sending employees to interrupt the admin staff for petty cash and the BEST part…it syncs with QuickBooks!!!

Another reviewer writes, “I love these cards for my clients… You can lock them down by days of the week, categories/accounts, and dollar amount. There are reports to make reconciliation a snap! And you can get a card for a position as opposed to a specific person (front desk vs. John Doe). App lets you snap a pic of the receipt to attach to QBO. Love love love this!”

Intuit APIs (and Support) Go a Long Way

For the Bento team, prioritizing their customer experience has meant focusing on building a strong platform. “Customers want a native experience and Intuit provides APIs to make that happen.”

The integration with QuickBooks Online has ensured users a smooth, daily auto sync, which translates into transactions and uploaded receipts/tags/notes always being up-to-date.

“With open APIs and more product offerings coming soon, we are reinventing how modern SMBs manage and unlock value from their working capital,” Peter says.

Like Bento for Business, the Intuit Developer team is dedicated to making sure our developers’ needs are met. Peter agrees and says, “The Intuit team is very responsive and genuinely wants apps to be successful.”

He continues, “The Intuit team has been supporting us in both product development and marketing, whether it’s one-on-one meetings with a product manager, sharing content and social media opportunities, or keeping developers up to date with workshops and emails. We’re grateful to support and be a part of the Intuit community of apps, ProAdvisors and QuickBooks users.”

Future Enhancements for Bento

Peter feels that the QuickBooks App Store has given them the platform to introduce their app to a valuable audience. “I like that we have more freedom to control how we present our brand and more autonomous access to resources that help us build, improve and track our integration. I feel more in touch with our users as well.”

Having direct access to Intuit means the Bento team can stay abreast of changes and updates, helping them adjust their product roadmap, which includes turning to more serverless infrastructure, “keeping it all codified via Terraform in order to simplify our system and reduce costs. Terraform keeps our deployment environments consistent, easy to modify, reduces silos of information, and helps with scaling.”

They’re also looking to expand their product features to attract a wider variety of businesses, such as offering a future credit option as a way to fund their Bento account. In addition, Peter says, “The company is always working to ensure that we’re prepared for scale as we push ahead, never losing sight of our vision to succeed as a modular solution that solves multiple financial operating pain points in one package.”

Closing Advice

Throughout the development process, Peter says they did a few things that helped direct their path and offers these words of advice to other developers:

  • Listen to your customers directly, survey and interview accounting professionals and business owners from the pilot phase (and don’t stop)
  • Use Intuit’s sample apps and available SDKs to help make implementing simple
  • Participate in office hours to hear other developers’ challenges and offer solutions

Another piece of advice? “Don’t underestimate the knowledge and friendliness of individual app developers and users in the community—they are so helpful, and you’d definitely see that at QuickBooks Connect!”

When asked about emerging technology he and other developers should be watching, Peter points to GraphQL. “[It] changes the way APIs are consumed and makes a big difference to the developer experience. I was part of the 2017 Intuit Developers event at QuickBooks Connect and was excited to see a preview of how they’d be adding this functionality in the future.”

If you’re interested in learning more, the Intuit Developer Blog has a few posts covering APIs, including an Introduction to GraphQL Using QuickBooks Online APIs. There are also more Intuit Developer Spotlight posts like Bento’s, with more coming soon.

Do you have questions or feedback for us? Reach out to our team.

Peter did and this is what he had to say: “I’ve had a great experience talking to anyone from the Intuit team. Everyone has been very friendly, helpful and open. I think it is wonderful that Intuit has created a full-fledged community for developers, providing us free access to the necessary resources we need to perfect our integrations, update product info, and keep in touch with what’s going on in the community. Also, it’s a great learning tool for me to understand QuickBooks Online and APIs.”

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