Top company by employee – 22 – Intuit – California US
Industry: Information Technology – Software
Ownership: Publicly quoted/held
Previous rank: 19
2011 revenue ($ millions): $3,850
What makes it so great?
Best known for Quick-Books and TurboTax software, Intuit encourages employees to spend 10% of their time pursuing projects they’re passionate about. For developing a new product, last year the company rewarded its top innovator with $1 million in cash and stock.
Mountain View, CA
|Traded as||NASDAQ: INTU
S&P 500 Component
|Founded||Palo Alto, California (1983)|
|Headquarters||Mountain View, California, USA|
|Key people||Tom Proulx, initial developer
Brad Smith, CEO
|Products||Personal finance, accountingand tax return software|
|Revenue||$4.15 billion USD (2012)|
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.
Intuit makes the personal finance programs Quicken and TurboTax, 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 Mississauga, Ontario and Intuit India headquartered in Bangalore, India. International product versions are now predominantly produced by third-party localizers or licensees.
Intuit was conceived by Scott Cook, whose prior work at Procter & Gamble helped him realize that personal computers would lend themselves as replacements 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 BASIC programming language 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.
Although by 1988 Quicken became a best-seller in its market, the company was not a major success until the advent of Windows 3.0 in early 1990s, when sales of Quicken grew. In 1991 Microsoft decided to produce a competitor to Quicken called Microsoft Money. To win retailers’ loyalty, Intuit included a US$15 rebate coupon, redeemable on software customers purchased in their stores. This was the first time a software company offered a rebate.
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 1994; at this time Intuit’s market capitalization reached US$2 billion.
When the buyout fell through because of United States Department of Justice disapproval, 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.
Today, Intuit has about US$3 billion in annual revenue and US$12.2 billion market capitalization.
Intuit has been ranked in Fortune’s “America’s most admired software companies”.
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 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 and carve-outs
In 1993, Intuit acquired Chipsoft, a tax preparation software company based in San Diego.
In 1994, Intuit acquired the tax preparation software division of Best Programs of Reston, VA.
In 1996, Intuit acquired GALT Technologies, Inc of Pittsburgh, PA.
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 1999, Intuit acquired Computing Resources Inc. for approximately $200 million. This acquisition allowed Intuit to offer a payroll processing platform through its QuickBooks software program.
In December 1999, Intuit purchased Rock Financial for a sum of $532M. The company was renamed Quicken Loans. In June 2002, Rock Financial founder Dan Gilbert led a small group of private investors in purchasing the Quicken Loans subsidiary back from Intuit.
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 2007, Intuit acquired Electronic Clearing House to add check processing power.
On June 2, 2009, Intuit Inc. announced the signing of a definitive agreement to purchase PayCycle Inc., an online payroll services, in an all cash transaction for approximately $170 million.
On January 15, 2010, Intuit Inc. spun off Intuit Real Estate Solutions (which Intuit acquired in 2002) as a stand-alone company. The new company took on its previous moniker, and is now known as MRI Software.
On August 10, 2010, Intuit Inc. acquired the personal finance management app Cha-Ching.
On June 28, 2011, Intuit Inc. acquired the Web banking technology assets of Mobile Money Ventures, a mobile financial solutions provider, for an undisclosed amount. This acquisition is expected to position Intuit as the largest online and mobile technology provider to financial institutions.
On August 15, 2012 Intuit, Inc, announced an agreement to sell their ‘Grow Your Business’ business unit to Endurance International. The carve out included the Intuit Websites and Weblistings products which were formed from the Homestead Technologies and StepUp Commerce acquisitions.
Controversies and lobbying
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.
In 2007, Intuit lobbied to make sure taxpayers cannot electronically file their tax returns directly to the IRS by negotiating a deal that has the IRS promising not to set up its own Web portal for e-filing.
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.
GoPayment is a mobile-based app and hardware solution that allows merchants to charge customers using a smartphone (iPhone or Android).
Eclipse is an enterprise management software for wholesale distributors. Eclipse was once a closely held company, based in Shelton, Connecticut, when Intuit agreed in 2002 to acquire them for $85 million. Eclipse uses a centralized UniVerse database residing on AIX, Linux or Windows NT with client stations connecting via a simple terminal emulator called Eterm and/or 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. In 2011, Activant merged with Epicor.
Intuit Payroll consists of payroll services and software solutions for small businesses, either online or within QuickBooks. Packages range from self-service to full-service. Products include Intuit Online Payroll, Intuit Full Service Payroll, and QuickBooks Payroll.
Intuit Websites is a Do-It-Yourself system that allows small businesses to develop their own website and then host it for them. This product was created when Intuit acquired Homestead Technologies back in 2007. On August 15, 2012 Intuit announced that it was selling Intuit Websites to Endurance International 
Mint.com is an award-winning free web-based personal financial management service for the US and Canada.
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 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.
QuickBooks is the most commonly used small-business accounting and financial management software in the U.S. Different versions of QuickBooks are available for Windows and for Macs, and QuickBooks Online is available as a web-based version of QuickBooks. Only limited interoperability exists between the different platform versions. QuickBooks for Windows and QuickBooks Online are also sold in a tiered feature structure with additional features available at an additional cost. Industry niche versions of Windows-based QuickBooks exist, such as QuickBooks Point of Sale, which is software that replaces a retailer’s cash register. All versions of QuickBooks allow users to track sales and customer information and provide reports for managing the business and serving their customers. Some features, such as Inventory tracking, are limited to specific versions of QuickBooks or work differently in different versions of QuickBooks.
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 was a document filing service. It included services for Corporations, LLCs, and DBAs. However, this service apparently related to MyCorporation, acquired in 2005. Intuit divested itself of MyCorporation in 2009. The only Intuit.com website reference to this document filing service is in a 2008 version of Quicken. Intuit has many references to MyCorporation on its site, but most relate to the period when MyCorporation was owned by Intuit.
QuickTax was the Canadian equivalent of TurboTax, for filing Canadian tax returns; however it has been renamed TurboTax.
TurboTax is a tax software package for the U.S. and Canada. 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.
In 2013, Intuit acquired Teaspiller and relaunch it under the TurboTax brand as “TurboTax CPA Select”.
Intuitmarket.com is an online ecommerce website which provides checks and supplies, tax forms and business identity products to Small and Medium businesses in the U.S. The major products sold includes Secure Plus Checks, normal checks, tax forms, compliance forms and other supplies items.