Most small businesses have heard of Intuit Inc. because of its flagship product QuickBooks.
QuickBooks is an accounting software developed by Intuit approximately three-decades ago. The company also has deep roots in Canada. Intuit through a complex three vendor merger agreement acquired the Edmonton-based WinTax in 1993. The company still has an R&D facility in Mississauga, Ont. In the last decade, however, Intuit’s profile has centred mainly in retail even though it has more than 45 million users worldwide.
The company is trying to change its image somewhat by expanding the ecosystem of QuickBooks. THis will Intuit showcased new ways that the company is innovating to solve problems, new and old.
Intuit displayed more than 20 products at an Innovation Gallery Walk in New York city, including new solutions ranging from a way to simplify rent payments for landlords and tenants to robust new marketing tools that are aimed to help small businesses grow. The products reflected a change of strategy for the software vendor to grow its product ecosystem. Part of its new effort with customer is to connect them to its solutions and services, and to each other, the company said.
Brad Smith, Intuit president and CEO, said the fundamental shifts that come with a cloud-based economy create new opportunities for innovation. Intuit is unveiling an innovation pipeline that showcases how the company capitalizing on these shifts and positions the ecosystem of small businesses, consumers and accountants.
The new products included the Intuit Health Benefits Marketplace, which aims to help small businesses and their employees navigate the U.S.-based Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. The service, initially available to Intuit Online Payroll users in California, enables small business employees to buy individual health insurance and reliably through their employer.
The solution allows small business owners to contribute any amount of money toward their employees’ health care, while letting employees choose a health plan that meets their needs and budget.
Other new products and services unveiled included:
- Intuit Demandforce – Introduces new features that connect small businesses with their customers, helping them stay ahead in an increasingly connected world. These features include Intuit Local, which connects small businesses to nearby potential customers by recommending local merchants and providing real-time online ratings and reviews.
- Intuit SparkRent – Provides a new way for tenants and landlords to make and accept rental payments. The new, online product eliminates the need for paper checks and allows tenants to pay their monthly rent.
- Trends Powered by Intuit QuickBooks Online – Displays average sales growth, cash flow, income and expenses of small businesses within a specific industry or location to allow small business owners to compare themselves to similar businesses and make informed decisions..
Intuit also demonstrated recently announced products. These included the re-imagined Intuit QuickBooks Online; an open architecture that allows developers to create solutions that work with products, including Square and QuickBooks; and TurboTax AnswerXchange, a social community designed to give consumers personalized access to to healthcare questions.