Intuit QuickBooks Self-Employed and Etsy Partner: Is it Relevant to Procurement?

worker classification Rex Wholster/Adobe Stock

Intuit, the provider of QuickBooks Self-Employed, and Etsy, the online marketplace for crafted products, announced they will be partnering. Etsy sellers in the U.S. and the U.K. will be able to use QuickBooks Self-Employed under special terms of the partnership.

“Etsy is always looking for ways to support sellers as they start, manage and grow their creative businesses on their own terms,” said Morgan Blake, Etsy’s director of business development. “Almost half of Etsy sellers say accounting or tax prep is a challenge for their creative businesses, so partnering with Intuit provides a solution that directly addresses these time-consuming and often confusing tasks. Our partnership with QuickBooks Self-Employed provides Etsy sellers with an easy and affordable way to track their sales, manage their expenses, simplify finances and even file their taxes so that they can devote even more time to their craft.”

The press release also summarizes two key aspects of the partnership:

  • Etsy sellers get a discount for QuickBooks Self-Employed, and sellers in the U.S. can “take advantage of the QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle, which provides the ability to pay quarterly and year-end taxes with TurboTax Online.”
  • Integration between QuickBooks Self-Employed and Etsy will allow automatic data transfers and provide “instant insights into cash flow by automatically categorizing the data so sellers can see their real income, including total expenses and profit,” the press release states.

Spend Matters been covering the expansion of QuickBooks Self-Employed since it launched in 2015, as a part of our coverage of the increasing independent workforce, the fast emerging “gig economy” and the growing number of enabling technology platforms and solutions. (See, for example, QuickBooks Self-Employed Continues Expansion with New Partnerships.)

So why do we think what Intuit is doing in the “gig economy” — even with an Etsy — is relevant to enterprise buyers?

First, the gig economy tends to be thought of as consumer-oriented (and it largely is), but there are also parts of it that are business-oriented (Uber for Business, for example). Moreover, what might be better called the “work/services platform economy” extends beyond QuickBooks Self-employed partner companies like Uber, Lyft, Porch, Task Rabbit and others. It includes Quickbooks Self-Employed partner platforms like Catalant (formerly HourlyNerd), UpCounsel and other business-oriented platforms.

Second, while the increasing enterprise self-sourcing of independent workforce goes way beyond sourcing through online marketplaces and such platforms, it is precisely in the platform-based gig economy where steps are being taken to support the unique needs of workers that are not employed by companies. In this area, we are seeing the emergence of solutions like QuickBooks Self-Employed (accounting and tax filing), Stride Health (access to and management of health insurance and healthcare costs), or QWIL (payment advances to freelancers). The development of such an "independent worker support-services ecosystem" will eventually be a boon to independent workers who do not work via platforms. (Note: At this point, independent workers sourced through platforms comprise only a small percent of all independent/freelance workers.)

Finally, could procurement practitioners ever imagine a world where they might enter into purchase contracts with small producers and “makers” on an Etsy for unique goods their businesses may need but cannot source elsewhere? Just a few years ago, not many would have thought about an Amazon Marketplace for Business or an Uber or Airbnb for Business. But here we are today. So is it a stretch to imagine an Etsy for Business?

In any case, the world of how we source and consume work, services and goods is changing rapidly. Whether you call it the gig economy, the sharing economy, the maker economy or something else, what is important is that the supply side is becoming increasingly composed of “non-firm” suppliers — small or one-person suppliers that are independent of firms.

How this whole supply side network comes together is therefore very relevant to procurement practitioners, including the development and expansion of an independent worker support services ecosystem that will be a critical building block of the whole supply side network. And it is significant that a large powerful player like Intuit — not just small startups — is driving and solidifying these developments.

So one data point of an Intuit-Etsy partnership may easily pass through the newsfeed unnoticed, but when collected together with other data points, a more relevant story comes into focus.

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