Intuit QuickBooks

accounting & payroll 


QuickBooks is an accounting software package developed and marketed by Intuit.


QuickBooks Desktop is a one-time purchase accounting software to be installed on your office desktop computer. It is an accounting software package developed and marketed by Intuit. QuickBooks Desktop products are geared mainly toward small and medium-sized businesses and offer on-premises accounting applications as well as cloud-based versions that accept business payments, manage & pay bills. The product also has a plugin that helps in running employee payroll.

My role

I worked on the project as a Sr. Product Designer. I handled the UX and UI of the QBDT (QuickBooks Desktop).

The initial UX started understanding the product requirements and analyzing the user research insights provided by the user research team. The project is focused on the adding new employee and running payroll for the first time.


Intuit Pvt. Ltd.


2018 - 2019

Product type

Desktop Software


Interaction design

Information design

User research 


Visual design

User flows design


User testing

Tools used


Product Metrics

Product insights — by the marketing team

+ 08

Customers who have run their first few payrolls have increased NPS (Net Promoter Score) by up to 8 pts in one month.


Payroll customers cancel within 90 days. Most of these do not get set up properly and lose confidence.


Customers who cancel switch (back) to accountants, pen-and-paper or other payroll software in the market. 

Intuit — Business opportunity 


Increase in NTTF (Nettur Technical Training Foundation) employee “retention within 90 days via setup completed in minutes and complete run payroll in the first few days. Estimated purchase of QBDT Quick Books Desktop Payroll in year $6M.

Employee Ecosystem

1.3 Million SMB (Small Business Group), Employers in SBSEG (Small Business Self Employed Group) is nearly 25 Million. If done right, this can build towards a platform to connect Employers-Workers, for both QBO and QBDT. 

Research & Insights

Employer - Paul Michelini — StoneyHead Brewing, User interview insights

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  • 20 Employees, seasonal  business. Few contractors.

  • Uses an accountant to run their payroll for ~$5K / year.

  • Very Tech savvy, but considers payroll too complex to setup.

  • Not a QuickBooks customer. Has tried and given up on ADP.

  • “Ideally, the ‘system’ should just process payroll and employees, should keep their own info  updated and time tracked.

User Anecdote

“You don’t want to mess around with IRS! Setting up payroll right and in compliance with the regulations is what the accountant promises me and also keeps it updated as employees keep churning in and out of my brewing business”

Employee - Lance Lager  — Functional worker @ StoneyHead User interview insights

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  • Experienced hand at brewing the best craft beers. In high demand.

  • Moves up to 3 jobs in a year, including 1 or 2 contractor positions. Always employed full-time at least in 1 job.

  • Keeps all tax forms, payroll info and historical paystubs in a file.

User Anecdote

“I keep switching multiple jobs and have to sit with their payroll dept every time to give my tax info. I would very much like to be in charge of my own tax information, though I will always be worried if I have entered the right data.” 

All the user research was done by the research team in California & provided the insights. 

Defining problem statement

Existing product review by the users

Information overload

I was not prepared to answer all these questions. It’s an information overload. And then I have to repeat the whole thing for_ EACH employee? — Chris 

Feeling lonely!!

What is happening? Why are there so many progress bars – and it does not tell me what it is doing. It complains about ‘Missing Info’ and yet allows me to run payroll? — Nathan  

Unfriendly tone 

it's like barking orders to do this & that. I have 50 employees in 4 states! I could do with some helpful tips along the process. — Tracy  

As a user I own?

A small business with more than 20 employees and contractors, who are churning in and out often. I have just purchased QuickBooks Desktop Payroll.

I am trying to setup my employees payroll details and would run my first payroll so I can get to learn the product and feel confident about it.

But I am intimidated by the tedious, complex process of “Payroll Setup”

Because the amount of data to enter per-employee is huge, let alone complexity and overload of information that needs to be at hand before I even start setup. 

Which makes me feel unprepared, unconfident, unsure that I can do this myself...


Ideal state: What does “truly awesome” look like? 

In a perfect world:

As a customer, who purchases QBDT Payroll service, He should never enter data, the employees should be able to upload directly or send the employer older W-4, I-9, State Tax forms, pay stubs, etc and the system will just scan it all and get the employee set up, (of course after that the employer can review and approve all the data). If the employer is switching from another payroll software, QuickBooks will just import all data from, say, ADP, Paychex, Gusto and the employer works become easy and smart. 

Design Solution for MVP

How it will work in QBDT:

The employer will send the invitation to the employee to provide information regarding personal, bank account & tax submissions. The software also provides the feature of tracking & approving the data and helps the employer to run payroll.

The biggest benefit to the employer will be: 

They don't have to spend hours to set up and run their first payroll process after purchasing the software. 

Future sate: Automated Data Entry via OCR of the Payroll Forms Scanned by Employer, within QBDT (Quick Books desktop) setup payroll process itself. 

Pros for MVP

  • Achieves the most reduction of employer pain point for larger SMBs, by distributing the data entry to all employees. 

  • Speedier to Market (Q4 FY19) 

Cons for MVP

  • Non-converged standalone solution within QBDT.

  • Employees still DO have to enter data. 

Testing & Release

The designs were tested with the users before the official release. The design was temporarily launched for testing. 

The MVP was launched in Aug 2019. 

+ 02

The user felt happy about the product feature as the NPS increased up to 02pts in 2 weeks.


100% task completed.


New users adoption after 2 weeks of the product feature launch. 16 new users


62% retention rate of the existing user within 2 weeks of launch.

My Takeaways

This was a very interesting experience and had its own unique challenges. Some of my key takeaways were:

  • I learned how to work with design systems and how they provide consistency to the product.

  • This was the first time that I worked on a Fintech project and realized how complex are the user flows.

  • There was a lot of information that the employer & the employee need to understand while making financial transactions. 

  • I also understood how tax collection works in the USA, & what is the difference between state tax & federal tax.

  • As QBDT is a legacy software so I faced a lot of challenges in visual design. 

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