Senior Manager, Global Influencer Programs, Intuit
I recently had the opportunity to have a virtual chat with Alison Ball, Senior Manager, Global Influencer Programs at Intuit to learn a little bit about her and her role within Intuit. Interestingly enough, Alison was the first person I met from Intuit when I entered the accounting "space" 6 years ago. If you have participated in any of the training sessions Intuit hosts across the country over the past several years, you've probably met her as well.
IA: Where do you work, Alison?
AB: I am Based in Mountain View CA, but I travel frequently all over the world and the US. You can follow my travels and activities on Twitter - @alisonatintuit
IA: Intuit has some long and interesting job titles. What exactly does the Sr. Manager, Global Influencer Programs job entail?
AB: I have the best job in the world! I help accountants and bookkeepers extend their reach and grow their practices, via the initiatives that I manage across the main countries that Intuit has a physical presence in (US, Canada, UK, Australia and India). I am also a “connector” – what this means is that every program I create has at its core the ability to connect people who want to train accounting professionals with the people that need and want that training. The Trainer Writer Network at Intuit is an example of this. We have an elite group of accounting professionals globally who love QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop, as well as our other products and services that help simplify the business of life. These folks help create the training materials and then teach accounting professionals to be more successful and grow their practices in ways that are meaningful to them. For many, it is the ability to have more time to do what they love doing, via moving their clients onto QuickBooks Online in order to gain the efficiencies that a cloud software program can offer. But the key thing is to ensure that everyone gets what they need, and to make it FUN. And that’s what I get to do every day.
My role is a prime example of how Intuit is making huge investments in accountants and bookkeepers globally. We now have practicing accountants in almost every type of role in all our key countries. Our UK MD (Managing Director) is an accountant (Mike Williams) and we have accountants in key roles in Australia, Canada, India and the US as well. I’m proud of that because we know what it is like to serve clients and not have enough time to get everything done. We use those insights, as well as spending a LOT of time with accounting professionals, to ensure the accountant is always top of mind as we build solutions to help save time and increase profitability, all while enabling clients to be delighted as well.
IA: What do you like the most about your job?
AB: I get to talk to smart, funny, passionate people all day. Most of the time these people are accounting professionals. Who knew they had such a great sense of humor?!
I also get to have a tremendous amount of input into how I spend my time. It all has to ladder back to helping accounting professionals be more successful, but that’s a pretty broad goal and it give me lots of room to innovate and test and just be creative in my approach overall.
IA: Do you have any related businesses or involvement or activities outside of your role at Intuit?
AB: I manage to get involved in a lot of things at Intuit – mostly because I am a former practicing accountant myself, so I can’t help it. I just love the cool stuff we create for accountants and bookkeepers, and I want to help make it even more amazing.
IA: What is your personal business philosophy?
AB: Intuit has six operating principles. The first is Integrity without Compromise, and that’s the one (along with Do Right by Customers, and It’s the People) that I personally think about the most. It’s very easy to have a business where you can win by doing something shady. Intuit has never asked me to do anything that compromises my high standards, and in cases where I have seen an employee suggest we do something that might be a little below our standards, a fellow employee calls them on it, and that thing gets nixed. Immediately. So it’s wonderful working for a company where I know I can call anyone, anytime, on anything that compromises our integrity. It’s also why you’ll never see us talk badly about a competitor – we just won’t stoop to that and I love Intuit for that!
The other thing I use daily in my work life is the idea of “what’s in it for them?” (“Them” being the customer or the accounting professional.) If we start with that, we never go wrong.
IA: What keeps you up at night?
AB: Usually it is the birds outside my window, who use my driveway as a concert hall, and for some reason sing only in the wee hours of the morning. But sometimes its heartburn if I have had a spicy meal with red wine.
IA: The old saying says: "All work and no play makes Alison a dull girl." What do you like to do outside of work?
AB: I love to walk! When I spent two years in the UK recently, I walked everywhere. I love it, and I do it daily if I can. Big long roams around, where I can really think and get lots of air.
IA: What is your favorite food?
AB: Does candy count as a food? If so, it would be Tablet. This is a Scottish treat – a bit like fudge, but it melts in your mouth and is a bit harder than fudge. To DIE FOR!!
IA: My 9 and 11 year old certainly count candy as a food group! With Halloween coming up we won't have to shop for groceries for months! (Here's a link to a Tablet recipe for those who are interested http://britishfood.about.com/od/scottishregionalrecipes/r/tablet.htm)
IA: Where is your favorite place on earth?
AB: This is a toss up - I absolutely fell in love with Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, UK. I may choose to retire there – it’s that dreamy. But I also love San Francisco…. So can I choose both?
IA: Do you have any for someone thinking of entering the Bookkeeping, Accounting, ProAdvisor space?
AB: DO IT!!! The accountancy profession is aging at a faster rate than people are joining it. If you become an accounting professional now and embrace the cloud with your practice, you will have a very solid future. Plus, you CAN have fun, and you can help a LOT of people make better business decisions. And Intuit will be there for you every step of the way. DO IT!
IA: One last question: How can our readers contact you if they want to learn more about the Writers Network or get involved in training?
AB: I am very easy to reach - They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , or tweet me @alisonatintuit, or, find me on Linked In (www.linkedin.com/in/alisonball/ ). I can also be found at most of the bigger events. And if they are really nice about it and my schedule permits, I may even come to one of their smaller events. :)
I do have a request though – that people not use me for tech support. It would be a very disappointing experience for us both, because a) I probably won’t know the answer, and b) I travel a lot so they may have to wait for that answer. Besides, we have people who literally sit by the phone waiting for accountants to call.
IA: I am sure that our readers will respect your wishes and will look for you at the next round of accounting events. Thanks for sitting down with me virtually for this chat. I look forward to eating a Tablet very soon!