Intuit

Intuit

[in-too-it, -tyoo-; in-too-it, -tyoo-]

Intuit Inc. is an American software company that develops financial and tax preparation software and related services for small businesses, accountants and individuals. It is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Mountain View, California.

Profile

The company was founded in 1983 by Scott Cook and Tom Proulx in Mountain View, California.

Intuit makes the personal finance programs Quicken and TurboTax (and its Canadian counterpart, QuickTax), as well as the small business accounting program QuickBooks. In addition, they produce QuickBooks Point of Sale solution for small retailers, professional tax solutions ProSeries and Lacerte, and the Web-based corporate workgroup productivity solution QuickBase.

The company maintains a number of foreign sales offices. It has R&D activity in Intuit Canada headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta and Intuit India headquartered in Bangalore, India International product versions are now predominantly produced by third-party localizers or licensees.

History

Intuit was conceived when Scott Cook whose prior work at Procter & Gamble helped him realize that personal computers would lend themselves as replacement for paper-and-pencil based personal accounting. On his quest to find a programmer he ended up running into Tom Proulx at Stanford. The two started Intuit, which initially operated out of a modest room on University Avenue in Palo Alto. The first version of Quicken was coded in Microsoft's Compiler BASIC for the IBM PC and UCSD Pascal for the Apple II by Tom Proulx and had to contend with a dozen serious competitors. Intuit struggled financially until they found their formula for success, which revolved around direct marketing campaigns, favorable reviews in industry and consumer magazines and word of mouth from satisfied customers. Intuit's focus on usability and customer support in its early years was legendary.

Although by 1988 Quicken became a best-seller in its market, the company wasn't a major success until the advent of Windows 3.0 in early 1990s, when sales of Quicken grew. Roughly around the same time the company engaged John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and diversified its product lineup. In 1993 Intuit went public and used the proceeds to make a key acquisition: the tax-preparation software company Chipsoft based in San Diego. The time after the IPO was marked by rapid growth and culminated with a buyout offer from Microsoft in 1995; at this time Intuit's market capitalization reached $2 billion.

When the buyout fell through because of DOJ scrutiny, the company came under intense pressure in late 1990s when Microsoft started to compete vigorously with its core Quicken business. In response, Intuit launched new web-based products and solutions and put more emphasis on QuickBooks and on TurboTax. The company made a number of investments around this time. Among others, it purchased a large stake in Excite and acquired Lacerte Software, a Dallas-based developer of tax preparation software used by tax professionals. It also divested itself of its online bill payment service unit and extended and strengthened its partnership with CheckFree.

On November 30, 2006, Intuit announced an agreement to acquire Digital Insight, a leading provider of online banking services, for $1.35 billion.

Today, Intuit has about $3 billion in annual revenue and $9.8 billion market capitalization.

Intuit has been ranked in Fortune Magazine's "Top 100 companies to work for" for the past several years.

Intuit has been ranked in Fortune Magazine's "America's most admired software companies

Online communities

Intuit has several online communities, some which offer integration or cross-sells into other Intuit products. QuickBooks online community for QuickBooks users and small business owners, Quicken Online Community for Quicken users and those who need help with the personal finances, and the Accountant Online Community and Jump Up. Each consists of blogs, an expert locator map and event calendar, forums and discussion groups, podcasts, videocasts and webinars and other user created content.

JumpUp (formerly JackRabbit Beta) is a free social networking and resources site for small business owners and/or start-ups. Free tools and services include an interactive business planner, online training for developing a successful business plan, starting costs calculator, cash flow calculator, break even calculator, templates for business planning and sample business plans.

Intuitlabs.com is a website Intuit created to get new solutions into people's hands quickly. The early versions of these products and services are called roughcuts, and they're offered for free so people try them and give feedback to enable rapid improvement and make sure they solve real problems well.

TaxAlmanac is a free online tax research resource. Content on TaxAlmanac is written by tax professionals from across the country and takes advantage of the knowledge of academia as well as practitioners. The site includes key information including the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations, Tax Court Cases, and a variety of articles.

Modeled after Wikipedia, TaxAlmanac was launched in May 2005. The June 6, 2005 edition of Time magazine featured an article entitled "It's a Wiki, Wiki World on Wikipedia in which TaxAlmanac was highlighted as "A Community of Customers". The November 21, 2005 edition of Business Week magazine featured an article titled "50 Smart Ways to Use the Web" in which TaxAlmanac was selected as one of the 50. TaxAlmanac made the short list as one of the 7 in the collaboration category.

Zipingo was a free website where users could rate services such as contractors, restaurants, and other businesses. Ratings and comments were either entered from the website or through Quicken and QuickBooks. The site was closed by Intuit on August 23, 2007.

Acquisitions

In 1998, Intuit acquired Lacerte Software Corp., which now operates as an Intuit subsidiary.. The Lacerte subsidiary focuses on tax software used by professional accountants who prepare taxes for a living. It is generally used by larger firms with more complex workflows and clients.

In 2002, Intuit acquired Management Reports International, a Cleveland-based real estate management software firm. The firm was renamed Intuit Real Estate Solutions (IRES) and offers real estate management solutions for Windows and the web.

In 2003, Intuit Inc. acquired 'Innovative Merchant Solutions' (IMS). IMS provided merchant services to all types of businesses nationwide. The acquisition gave Intuit the ability to process credit cards through their core product, QuickBooks, without the need of hardware leasing. They can also provide traditional terminal based credit card processing and downloading transactions directly into the QuickBooks software.

In December, 2006, Intuit acqured Digital Insight, a provider of online banking services.

Criticism and controversies

Intuit has generated controversy with some of its business practice decisions. Cases of criticism from users and reviewers include the company's phasing-out of support for the ubiquitous QIF format in favor of the QFX format. These formats are used for downloading information from financial institutions such as banks and brokerages. While use of QIF was free, banks are required to pay a licensing fee to Intuit if they wish to allow their customers the ability to download financial data in the QFX format.

Products (listed alphabetically)

Billing Manager

Billing Manager is a free online invoicing tool from Intuit designed to help very small businesses with their invoicing process. For a fee, Billing Manager offers an integrated payment service that allows users to accept credit cards.

Intuit Eclipse

Eclipse is an enterprise management software for wholesale distributors. Eclipse is a centralized database (UniVerse) residing on AIX, (an NT based version is available as well) with client stations connecting via a simple terminal emulator and a thick, Java based, client. The basic software has such features as support for multi-branch operations, integrated interface for emailing and faxing (using VsiFax), customer calling queue (troubletickets), and several add-ons are available for an employee punch-clock, RF warehousing, Digital Imaging, Proof of Delivery/Signature Capture, and many others. On August 17, 2007 Intuit sold its Eclipse wholesale distribution software and business division to Activant Solutions Inc. of Livermore, California, and the application has been renamed Activant Eclipse.

Payroll

Intuit Payroll offers an array of payroll solutions as an add-on for current QuickBooks users. In 2007, Payroll.com added Intuit Online Payroll to its suite of payroll solutions. Intuit Online Payroll is a web-based service that is designed to let businesses handle their payroll without the use of QuickBooks software.

ProSeries

Intuit's ProSeries tax software evolved from TurboTax and grew over the years to become a full-fledged professional preparer product and a leader in the market. It serves full-time tax preparers. In 2004 two additional ProSeries versions were released - ProSeries Basic and ProSeries Express.

QuickBase

QuickBase is web-based collaborative database application that allows business people to create their own custom applications without writing code. QuickBase was created when Intuit acquired Turning Mill Software in 1999. The application is hosted by Intuit and sold by subscription. As of August, 2007 it has 225,000 users among which 170,000 are paying subscribers and over 50 of the Fortune 100 use it for things like Project Management, Supply Chain Management, or Sales Team Management.

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is the most commonly used small-business accounting and financial management software in the U.S.. The program is available as a web-based version of QuickBooks. Niche version of QuickBooks include QuickBooks Point of Sale is software that replaces a retailer's cash register, tracks their inventory, sales, and customer information, and provides reports for managing their business and serving their customers.

Quicken

Quicken is a personal finance management tool, with a vast array of features. There are several versions of Quicken and the brand has been extended to include products for healthcare, home businesses, but typically personal or household finance.

Quicken Incorporation Services

Quicken Incorporation is a document filing service. Included services for Corporations, LLCs and DBAs.

TurboTax

TurboTax is a U.S. tax software package. There are a number of different versions, including TurboTax Deluxe, TurboTax Premier, etc. TurboTax is available for both Federal and state income tax returns. The software is designed to guide users through their tax returns step-by-step. TurboTax became an Intuit product as a result of the 1993 acquisition of its creator, San Diego-based Chipsoft. Chipsoft, now known as Intuit Consumer Tax Group, is still based in San Diego, but moved into a new office complex in 2007.

References

See also

External links

  • http://www.intuit.com/

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