Melika Hope is a passionate and dynamic member of the Canadian accounting community. She began her professional career in public accounting, where she earned her Chartered Accountant designation. She then pivoted to the software industry, gaining experience with desktop accounting products before moving to Intuit where she leads the QuickBooks Online and Self Employed product management team in Canada. Melika is a self-employed personal trainer on the side and is a passionate advocate for the success of the small business and self-employed industries in Canada, leveraging the partnership of accounting and bookkeeping professionals and the power of cloud technology. In her spare time, Melika competes in powerlifting, sings, reads and loves to cheer on the Toronto Raptors.
AS HEAD OF PRODUCT AT INTUIT CANADA, WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE DIFFERENT PRODUCTS THAT THEY OFFER FOR SME OWNERS?
Intuit has a range of products geared towards small business owners including, QuickBooks Online (QBO), which is our all-in-one business accounting software. It allows small business owners to create invoices, track cash flow, accept payments, see what’s selling, plan for the future, and much more. Most importantly, this product offers the scalability to grow with your business, and the flexibility to tailor the platform to your needs at each stage of your business journey.
Going further into the flexibility we offer, our companion mobile app allows small business owners to get work done on-the-go and place their financials are at their fingertips. We know that many of our small business partners operate in different environments – and we wanted to make sure our product was something that could work with them, whether it is generating invoices on the go, or pulling an update on your businesses cash flow on the way to a meeting.
A core advantage of QBO and the companion app is that any place is your place of business. Working online with cloud accounting software means your business data is always safe, accessible, and synced across all your devices.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BIGGEST BENEFIT THAT INTUIT CANADA OFFERS TO SME OWNERS WHEN IT COMES TO HELPING THEM SUCCEED?
Our QBO and QBSE products provide a host of values to small business owners – and is powered by insights from our global network, we’re able to ensure that they offer the right mix of tools throughout their journey, whether they are a one-man operation or going through growth.
Beyond the flexibility our product offers, the number one thing we can offer our small business partners is confidence in how they are managing their business.
Our features allow for process automation and the full-service offering means that businesses are able to see the full snapshot of their business health – whether it be payroll, cash flow or staff management – in one go.
This holistic view equips our customers with all the information they need to make decisions with confidence and identify areas that may need more attention. This helps small business owners make the correct business decisions. From planning for hiring, making big purchases, or scaling up, QBO gives small business owners the insights they need to best set them up for success.
INTUIT CANADA HAS BEEN VOTED AS BEING THE BEST WORKPLACE IN TECHNOLOGY IN CANADA. WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT IS?
What really sets Intuit apart is how we enable our teams to do the best work of their lives and contribute to something that’s truly meaningful and makes an impact on Canadian’s lives.
Intuit Canada offers an incredibly unique opportunity within Canada’s technology sector. Firstly, it provides the opportunity to work to solve real problems that people and businesses face day to day – our solutions truly do help to power the prosperity of our customers.
This is brought to life through nimble teams where everyone plays a critical role, backed by the support of our global counterparts. The increased autonomy and responsibility this delivers allows for unparalleled growth and career development opportunities.
Importantly, this is all delivered through Intuit’s belief and policy to have employees bring their whole selves with them when they come to work. By creating a true sense of inclusivity and pride in your personal and professional self, we’re able to empower employees to reach new heights.
WHAT SETS INTUIT APART FROM OTHER SIMILAR TECHNOLOGY ORGANIZATIONS?
Beyond technology organizations, what sets Intuit apart from other businesses is our unwavering customer obsession. We aren’t obsessed with our solution or product – we’re obsessed with our customer’s problems, and how we can best support customers to solve these problems.
We equip our teams with the ability to do meaningful work and dive deep into discovering solutions. We encourage creative thinking and celebrate failure because that means we’re just one step closer to the solution. Everything we do has the customer at the front, and it shows in the overall customer experience with the products.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE STRATEGIES YOU USE WHEN IT COMES TO HELPING DEVELOP PRODUCTS THAT CAN HELP YOUR CUSTOMERS SUCCEED?
Our version of design thinking – Design for Delight (D4D) is a critical strategy we deploy in the product development process.
D4D builds on our customer obsession as it allows us to hone in on a solution by first going wide and interrogating every possible angle of the problem at hand.
By using multiple data sources at this stage – including follow-me-homes where we observe the product in use and see how our customers navigate through the platform – we can be confident in our understanding of the scope of the problem or customer pain point, so that once we narrow in on a solution, it’s is truly the right one that will best address the problem at hand.
YOU’RE A SOMEWHAT EXPERT WHEN IT COMES TO LAUNCHING NEW PRODUCTS. IN YOUR EXPERT OPINION, WHAT ARE THE TOP THREE FACTORS ENTREPRENEURS SHOULD CONSIDER WHEN THEY WANT TO LAUNCH A NEW PRODUCT?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record (did I mention we were customer-obsessed?), the first step should be ensuring that you have a deep understanding of your end customer and the problem you are trying to solve. It’s important to ask yourself, is the product or service essential to making your customer’s lives better? If the answer is no, then ask yourself what improvements do you need to make to change that.
Beyond this, having a clear picture of yours or your organization’s strengths is vital. Ask yourself, are you the best person to solve this problem? Do you have the expertise to either build the best problem or offer the best service? If not, it will be worthwhile to step back and identify how you can bring in that expertise – whether through additional education or training or by bringing on a partner or additional resources who can help to fill the knowledge gap.
Finally, having a support system for your product is an often-overlooked factor. Do you have a plan in place to ensure the longevity of your product? Beyond launch, do you have the support in place needed to invest in ensuring you can maintain deliver your offerings, or do you need to invest more in ensuring you can maintain and deliver on your offerings, for example in infrastructure or additional staff?
ON A FINAL NOTE, WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT ANY FUTURE PROJECTS YOU HAVE PLANNED? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE INITIATIVES YOU’RE PLANNING TO PUT IN PLACE IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
We’re excited to be bringing our accountant and small business customers together for QuickBooks Connect this December 9 – 11. This is a chance for us to celebrate the year that was, as well as provide a preview into new product updates and features that we will see delivered through 2020.
The theme for this year is “Own the Future” and one of the things we’re most looking forward to about this year is how we are harnessing the power of our global network and the insights we have from the millions in our customer network to develop solutions with AI embedded in their core.
Updates are geared towards utilizing this data and AI advancements to provide our customers with the tools, insights, and technologies needed to help tip the odds in their favor. We know it’s a crowded marketplace and that businesses are spending more time on the “business of the business” than their true passion, and we’re looking forward to introducing solutions that provide small business owners with the chance to get some time back in their day to focus on what makes them excited.