A few years ago, Matt Rissell thought he was going to lose his business,
The Boise, Idaho-based time-tracking business was floundering: Sales were
non-existent and investments they’d made in the company had failed. Matt and
company co-founder Brandon Zehm had to fire all but a few essential employees
and move their offices to a free space that was cramped and bare-bones.
“I could see the end of the runway,” Matt recalled. “We quickly needed to get
enough air for lift-off or go off a cliff.”
Fast-forward to present day: TSheets is flourishing. The company serves about
20,000 customers in 53 countries and recently opened a satellite office in Sydney,
Australia. It’s garnered a slew of awards and accolades, including Idaho’s “Innovative
Company of the Year.” And the bad, old days of employee attrition are far behind:
TSheets has doubled its employee base year over year and is on track to employ 200
people by the end of 2016.
How did Matt and Brandon
turn the company around? Through perseverance, running lean, and developing
mutually beneficial partnerships. Intuit was TSheets’ first partner, and the
relationship has blossomed and expanded over the years.
After learning that 85 percent of TSheets’ small-to-medium business customers use
QuickBooks, the company developed its time-tracking software to integrate first with
QuickBooks Desktop and then QuickBooks Online.
TSheets Time Tracker is now the number one-rated app in the QuickBooks App Store,
with about 1,700 customer reviews -- almost all of them five-star. The company gets new
customers every day through the app store, which can be accessed by the millions of
small-to-medium sized businesses that rely on QuickBooks Online.
“Time-tracking is so complicated, and we filled a gap for SMBs -- time-tracking in
payroll,” Matt said.
“In three years, we’ve grown our customer base by 700 percent,” he added. “Our customers have a
higher satisfaction rate as a result of our integration with QuickBooks.”
Integrating the TSheets product with QuickBooks was intentionally gradual. Matt and Brandon
applied the principles of the influential book “The Lean Start-Up”: Create and test a minimum
viable product before you invest in it heavily, and make decisions based on analysis, not your gut.
“We thought, ‘Why don’t we do a flat-file integration with QuickBooks so customers can upload
their timesheets from TSheets to QuickBooks?’” Matt said. “We did, and we instantly got our customer
TSheets then took the next step. “We said, ‘Let’s try to build against the [QuickBooks’] SDK.’
And that worked. We got even more customer adoption, more positive feedback.”
TSheets refined its web product with the help of Intuit’s easy-to-use tools to access critical
data. TSheets’ senior developer Jared Cheney found the app-development process for QuickBooks Online
clear and straightforward.
“The experience was good and the documentation was there and well-written,” he said. “We also
found that other developers had already created libraries that we could leverage.”
Monthly visits to the QuickBooks App Store
He and his developer team also appreciated the support from Intuit to ensure the app met Intuit’s
high standards for security, user experience, and marketability. In particular, Jared highlighted the
help from Intuit Developer Evangelist David Leary.
David went “above and beyond” by giving suggestions on how to improve the TSheets app. “He wanted
us to succeed almost as much as we wanted to,” Jared said.
The company launched the TSheets Time
Tracker on the QuickBooks App Store
in February, 2013.
The intuitive app makes it simple to accurately track and record employee time via smartphone or
computer, simplifies payroll, job-costing, and invoicing -- and all of the information seamlessly
integrates with QuickBooks Online.
Customer response was immediate and through the roof. A typical user review of the app sounds like
this: “Finally! An app that saves me time and money!”
Another TSheets and QuickBooks customer specifically called out the user experience:
“The developers definitely paid attention to the many different needs of real-world service providers
and all the variable features they need to use this app effectively, and they've implemented those features
Intuit helped TSheets further expand its QuickBooks Online customer base with the help of its marketing
arm focused on accountants and in charge of Intuit’s influential ProAdvisors. Getting buy-in from
ProAdvisors—QuickBooks experts who are CPAs, accountants, bookkeepers or small-business advisors--is a
surefire way to get more small to medium-sized businesses to use a company’s QuickBooks Online app.
So far, Intuit has tapped a small number of companies with platinum-quality QuickBooks Online apps
and customer support for this kind of specialized marketing partnership.
Businesses accessible by
QuickBooks App Store
Intuit worked with TSheets to create a “best-in-class” app offer specifically for the approximately
130,000 ProAdvisors in the U.S. Intuit then emailed the offer to ProAdvisors and gave other preferential
marketing assistance to TSheets through webinar support, blog posts, and a presentation at a virtual
“This was us marketing on their behalf,” said Amy Ball, an Intuit Partner Marketing Manager.
As a result, the number of TSheets’ customers who are Intuit ProAdvisors has more than tripled.
In addition, TSheets is a member of the
Intuit Developer Partner Program
-- a key developer and marketing resource for companies who want to take their QuickBooks Online app to the
next level. Every company that has partnered with Intuit is welcome to apply once their app in the
QuickBooks App Store reaches 100 customer connections.
Benefits include app promotion through Intuit PR, blogs and newsletters; access to the annual
co-marketing fund; and preferred placement within Intuit channels.
Matt emphasized the continued relationship with Intuit as integral to TSheets’ success.
“It’s an ever-growing partnership,” he said. “Being connected to QuickBooks Online provides
a significant impact on the growth and validation of TSheets.”