April 14, 2024
Meet Intuit Assist, a new AI assistant that can do more than just answer questions


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Intuit, a financial software company that offers products such as TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp, announced on Tuesday that it has launched Intuit Assist, a new artificial intelligence assistant that can generate personalized answers and insights for its customers.

The assistant, which uses generative AI, can understand natural language queries and respond in clear sentences, but is also built to ensure accurate answers based on real data, and is not susceptible to the “hallucination” challenges seen in other generative AI bots, like ChatGPT. Assist can also perform tasks such as creating invoices, sending reminders, and optimizing marketing campaigns.

Intuit Assist is integrated into the user interface of Intuit’s products, appearing as a sidebar on the right side of the screen. Users can interact with the assistant by typing questions or requests, or by choosing from a list of suggested prompts. The assistant can also connect users with human experts who can provide additional guidance and support.

Intuit Assist is the result of years of research and development by Intuit’s engineering and data science teams. It’s the most visible and tangible example of Intuit’s accelerated push to provide value to its 100 million small business and consumer customers from its extensive experimentation with Generative AI over the past two years.

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Assist is already available to all users of TurboTax, and enhancements will be rolled out in the coming months, the company said. For Credit Karma, Quickbooks and Mailchimp, the assistant is available to select US beta users, and will become more widely available in the coming months.

VentureBeat has been following Intuit’s journey with generative AI closely because Intuit has moved more quickly than most enterprise companies in the area, and can be instructional for other companies wanting to succeed with AI. The company has benefited from intensive work over the last five years to build an integrated data layer that now allows Intuit to inject AI models that fuel applications like Assist with accurate real-time data. Under the hood, Intuit has built an orchestration layer with sophisticated agents and plugins that the company calls GenOS. The company sees GenOS as a sort of operating system for AI, because it abstracts processes for engineers in a way that they can more easily build AI applications at scale.

GenOS allows Intuit to leverage its large and diverse data sets to create customized and context-aware AI models for each product and customer. It’s also what enables Intuit to run Intuit Assist as a consistent and coherent AI assistant across all of the company’s products, Ashok Srivastava, chief data officer, said in an interview with Venturebeat. 

GenOS works at three layers of Intuit’s application runtime: First, the GenOS is able to inject the user’s initial prompt with customer-specific data in real-time, to allow Intuit to make that prompt more intelligent. Second, the prompt interacts with Intuit’s custom made large language model itself, and retrieves an answer. Third, that answer is edited again for accuracy, if needed.

Srivastava gave an example of how he uses Intuit Assist for his family’s personal finances. He said he rents out a property and uses QuickBooks to track his income and expenses. Instead of having to manually create reports or search for information, he can simply ask Intuit Assist questions like “How are my tenants paying their rent?” or “How much profit did I make last month?” and get instant answers.

Here are some examples of how Intuit Assist works in the company’s various products:

  • TurboTax: For users of the Turbotax tax preparation software, Intuit Assist will help them as they take each step through the filing process. It will get to know a consumer’s individual tax situation and apply its knowledge, navigating the tax code, including the latest changes. For example, it may calculate that a standard deduction will provide more savings than itemizing, as seen in the screenshot below. The user can interact with Assist to find out more details, either using free text or prompted questions. Assist allows them to connect with an expert advisor, who is also aided by an AI-powered Assist on their side. 
  • Credit Karma: Credit Karma members will be able to use Intuit Assist to get personalized answers to questions like “How do I get more rewards for my spending?” Intuit Assist might answer that question by linking to some credit cards that provide rewards for that specific user, based on their own financial data (see screenshots below). Or take the example of a member who suffers an unexpected expense, such as a car breakdown that costs them hundreds of dollars. Intuit Assist can help formulate a plan to avoid a cash crunch, including a personalized set of financing options, and a way to assess options and tradeoffs.
  • QuickBooks: Intuit Assist delivers AI-driven insights to small businesses based on simple requests or questions such as “Show me my profit and loss for last month” or “How many of my invoices are overdue?” It will dynamically predict follow-up questions and answer in clear, natural language.  It will surface cash flow hot spots and can identify top-selling products and spending anomalies. It can also do things like generate invoice reminders, which can be customized to be friendlier in tone.
  • Mailchimp: Small businesses can ask Intuit Assist to do more automated marketing for them, personalizing it for them with data-driven decisions to measure, and optimize campaign effectiveness. For example, Intuit Assist can help a furniture store business create a marketing campaign based on its existing branding, for example generating an email offering a discount on its couches using language in a way that targets say, GenZ and millennials. Once the customer schedules it to be sent, Assist will then surface a follow-up action plan to ensure campaign engagement. If a customer is also a Quickbooks user, Assist will also generate automated draft email content in their Mailchimp inbox using product and service data from QuickBooks. 

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