The Intuit headquarters in Mountain View
S&P 500 Component
Palo Alto, California, US
|Headquarters||Mountain View, California, U.S.|
(Chairman and CEO)
|Products||Personal finance, accounting and tax return software|
|Revenue||US$4.20 billion (2015)|
|US$738 million (2015)|
|US$365 million (2015)|
|Total assets||US$4.9 billion (2015)|
|Total equity||US$2.3 billion (2015)|
Number of employees
Intuit Inc. is a business and financial software company that develops and sells financial, accounting and tax preparation software and related services for small businesses, accountants and individuals. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California. Greater than 95% of its revenues and earnings come from its activities within the United States.
Intuit makes TurboTax, a consumer tax preparation application, the small business accounting program QuickBooks, professional tax solutions ProSeries and Lacerte, and multiple payroll products. In April 2016, Intuit completed the sale of its original flagship product, Quicken, to H.I.G. Capital.
Intuit was conceived by Scott Cook, whose prior work at Procter & Gamble helped him realize that personal computers would lend themselves towards 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.
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 the United States Department of Justice's disapproval, the company came under intense pressure in the 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 more than US$4 billion in annual revenue and a market capitalization of more than US$20 billion.
Intuit has been ranked in Fortune's "Top 100 Best Companies to Work For" for the past several years.
In June 2013, Intuit announced it would sell its financial services unit to private equity firm Thoma Bravo for $1.03 billion.
Intuit has several online communities, some of 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 English 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 English 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 Parsons Technology from Bob Parsons for $64 million.
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 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 2006, Intuit acquired Digital Insight, a provider of online banking services.
In December 2007, Intuit acquired Homestead Technologies which offers web site creation and e-commerce tools targeted at the small business market, for $170 million.
On September 14, 2009, Intuit Inc. agreed to acquire Mint.com, a free online personal finance service for $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 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.
On July 1, 2013 Intuit announced an agreement to sell their Intuit Financial Services (IFS) business unit (formerly known as Digital Insight) to Thoma Bravo for more than $1.03 billion.
In March 2015, Intuit Inc. acquired Playbook HR.
In January 2016, Intuit Inc. announced an agreement to sell Demandforce to Internet Brands.
On March 3, 2016, Intuit announced plans to sell Quicken to H.I.G. Capital.
Controversies and lobbying
Intuit has been criticized for changing some of its formats from free to licensed versions, and for lobbying the federal and state governments against providing free services that would compete with Intuit's own.
Users and reviewers criticized 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 preventing the IRS from setting up its own Web portal for e-filing.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported that Intuit spent nearly $2 million in political contributions to eliminate free online state tax filing for low income residents in California. According to the New York Times, in 2009-2014, Intuit spent nearly $13 million lobbying, as reported by Open Secrets, as much as Apple. Intuit spent $1 million on the race for state comptroller to support Tony Strickland, a Republican who opposed ReadyReturn, against John Chang, a Democrat who supported ReadyRun (and won). Joseph Bankman, professor of tax law, Stanford Law School, and advocate of simplified filing, believes that the campaign warned politicians that if they supported free filing, Intuit would help their opponents.
On March 26, 2013, ProPublica reported how the company lobbied against return-free filing as recently as 2011. One year later, ProPublica reported that the company appeared to be linked to a number of op-eds and letters to Congress in a campaign advocating against direct tax filing backed by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, an advocacy organization of which Intuit is a member.
Allegations of Willfully Allowing Fraudulent Returns
In an article by Brian Krebs on February 22, 2015, it was alleged by two former employees that Intuit knowingly allowed fraudulent returns to be processed on a massive scale as part of a revenue boosting scheme. Both employees, former security team members for the company, stated that the company had ignored repeated warnings and suggestions on how to prevent fraud. One of the employees was reported to have filed a whistleblower complaint with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
An antitrust lawsuit and a class-action suit relating to cold calling employees of other companies were settled out of court.
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