How AI and machine learning are tipping the odds in favour of Canadian small businesses

By QuickBooks Canada Team

3 min read

Canadians are embracing the potential AI holds to improve their lives, and this is especially true among entrepreneurs. Our latest study in partnership with Emergent Research, “Automation and the impact on Canadian Small Business,” found that most Canadian small business owners are early adopters of automation technology, with 61 per cent of small businesses currently using automation technology in a variety of ways to run their businesses.

So, what else did we find out about entrepreneurs’ attitudes towards automation, and what do these new technologies mean for Canadian small businesses?

Automation can improve work/life balance for entrepreneurs and drive small business growth

Canadian entrepreneurs are optimistic about what these new technologies mean for their futures, with 57 per cent reporting they feel positive about the impact automation will have on their business over the next five years, citing the potential to improve efficiency, productivity and innovation as the top reasons why it will benefit their businesses.

In fact, nearly half report that over the next five years they expect automation technology will improve their job satisfaction, work/life balance and their ability to manage their business. Very few, roughly 6 per cent, think it will negatively impact these aspects of their business.

Automation technologies are opening up new opportunities for small businesses

Automation tech also has the potential to open new doors for entrepreneurs, with 49 per cent of small businesses viewing automation primarily as an opportunity for their firm. Again, perceptions only 6 per cent see it primarily as a threat.

Interestingly, despite concern in Canada over AI and job displacement, Canadian small business owners report that automation technology will actually lead to more jobs within their companies, not less. Twenty-three per cent report that it will drive an increase in employees at their firm, and only a few (11 per cent) think these technologies will cause them to reduce their total number of employees. 

AI is a powerful tool for smarter decision-making

To help Canadian small business put an end to mundane tasks, like sending reminders for overdue invoices, so they can focus on growing their businesses, QuickBooks unveiled several new AI-assisted products at our QuickBooks Connect Toronto this week like the brand-new QuickBooks Assistant.

QuickBooks Assistant is an example of Intuit’s continued focus on innovations that help customers make smarter decisions. The new chatbot combines data-driven insights and natural language processing to ease business operations by merely asking questions or stating requests, using a smartphone. Benefits include:

  • Easy to Use: QuickBooks Assistant understands a wide variety of financial questions. Simply ask how much money you made, what you’ll owe in taxes or which customers are most profitable – and QuickBooks Assistant will share the answer. No searching required.
  • Saves Time: Using chat helps you instantly access your financial snapshot using only a question or command, making it easier than ever to review data or information.
  • Gives you Confidence: Access the insights you need to make the right financial decisions when it matters most, and feel confident that you’re making smart, informed choices about finances whenever, wherever.

QuickBooks Assistant will be available in QuickBooks Self-Employed for iOS and Android as well as QuickBooks Online in the coming months. The beta for QuickBooks Online is now available in QuickBooks Labs.

As users continue to join QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks self-employed, our platform of connected data will only continue to grow, improving how we’re able to use machine learning in our products. This will make our ecosystem work harder and drive entrepreneurial success in Canada, letting accountants and business owners stay on top of their finances and easily keep a close pulse on the health of their business.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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