Intuit knows that good accounting takes more than a pocket calculator. The company is a leading developer of software used to manage personal finances (Quicken), small business accounting (QuickBooks), and consumer tax preparation (TurboTax). Customers include individual consumers, accountants, and small businesses; Intuit claims more than 45 million users for its products and services. Other software offerings include industry-specific accounting and management applications for construction, health care, and retail organizations. Intuit also provides payroll services, financial supplies, and software for professional tax preparation, as well as products and services geared for financial institutions.
California-based Intuit has offices in the US, Canada, India, and the UK. The company's software and services are available in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, India, and Singapore. International sales account for less than 5% of Intuit's total sales.
Sales and Marketing
The company reported advertising expenses of about $186 million in fiscal 2013 (ended July), compared with $150 million and $176 million in fiscal years 2012 and 2011, respectively. The company relies on Web marketing and targeted advertising, such as search engine optimization and purchasing key words from major search engine companies; placing its mobile application in proprietary online stores (including Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store), direct-response mail and email campaigns, telephone solicitations, TV, radio, and print advertisements, social media, and coordinated promotional offers with major retailers.
Intuit reported fiscal 2013 (ended July) sales of $4.17 billion, up less than 1% versus the prior year. Net income increased 8%, to $858 million, over the same period. The company, which has posted steady sales and profit growth in recent years, blamed the flat sales comparison on the sale of its Intuit Financial Services and Intuit Health businesses in 2013. Excluding the impact of those sales, the company's revenue increased by 10% year over year, on growth across all of its businesses. Its Financial Management, Employee Management, and Payment Solutions tools all posted double-digit sales growth in fiscal 2013 versus 2012.
Intuit believes the ease of use of its products give it a competitive edge over rivals, especially for its consumer-oriented offerings, such as TurboTax and QuickBooks, which account for the majority of sales. The ubiquity of its products in prominent retail locations also gives the company an edge in the consumer space that competitors such as H&R Block, Sage, and Microsoft struggle to match. To defend QuickBooks position as the global small business operating system, in 2013 Intuit introduced next-generation QuickBooks Online in more than 100 countries.
Intuit, which currently counts 5 million of the 29 million small businesses in the US as its customers, aims to double that number by 2019. The company's strategy is focused on ensuring that Intuit products and services are all accessible online and can be accessed via desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, as well as through social communities such as online forums and social media sites.
After diversifying beyond its core consumer finance and accounting markets, Intuit it returning to its roots. To this end, it sold two businesses in fiscal 2013 that were outside its core markets.
Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestments
Amid a push to refocus on its core businesses (tax and small-business services), Intuit sold its health business Medfusion (acquired in 2010 for $91 million) back to its original owner in 2013. (Medfusion provides software tools and services that improve communication between patients and health care providers.) It also sold Intuit Financial Services in August 2013 to investment firm Thoma Bravo for about $1 billion.
Meanwhile, Intuit has been making acquisitions to expand into software-as-a-service (SaaS) products for small and midsized businesses to address demand among many companies for cloud-based software delivery. In mid-2014 it agreed to pay $360 million for mobile bill payment service Check Inc., which offers an app used by about 10 million people. In late 2013 it bought privately held Prestwick Services, which allows workers' compensation insurance premiums to be calculated in real time, based on actual payroll, via its TRUPAY platform. In May 2012 it paid $423.5 million for Demandforce, a provider of hosted software used to automate marketing and customer communications. Demandforce's e-mail, mobile, and social tools are used in such industries as automotive and health care.