Tuesday, 26 August 2014 00:06

Cloud platform at the centre of Intuit growth acceleration Featured

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US giant accounting software firm Intuit, the most recent major entrant into the Australian-New Zealand market in its own right, says it now has more customers globally choosing its QuickBooks Online solution over QuickBooks Desktop.

Announcing the company’s financial results for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year 2014, ending in July, Intuit president and CEO Brad Smith said overall customer growth was accelerating, with QuickBooks Online subscribers increasing by 40% in the fourth quarter.

Approximately 60,000 new QuickBooks Online customers were added for the three months, while online payroll subscribers grew 25% in the quarter, with the attach rate improving to 19% from 16% a year ago.

For the fourth quarter, Intuit delivered total company revenue globally of US$714 million, up 13%, while revenue for the full fiscal year climbed by 8% to US$4.5 billion.

"We closed fiscal 2014 on a strong note.  Overall customer growth is accelerating, active use and attach rates are increasing, and global adoption is in full swing," Smith said.

"We've reached an inflection point, as more new customers chose QuickBooks Online over QuickBooks Desktop, fuelled by the success of our reimagined QuickBooks Online product experience.”

In an increasingly competitive global fight for a dominant share of the cloud accounting software market, Smith says Intuit is “fully committed to winning in the cloud, with more than 30 million Intuit customers using these offerings anywhere, anytime across a variety of devices.”

The predominant battleground in the Australia-New Zealand regional accounting software market is now clearly in the cloud.

Only last week, New Zealand-based company Xero claimed an ‘explosion’ in customer numbers to 147,000 businesses using its online software, up from just 109,000 in March, as part of a doubling of customers in the past 12-months. And, the other major local player, MYOB, just yesterday claimed ANZ market leadership, after posting revenues of $140 million for the half year to the end of June, up 21% on the corresponding period last year.

But Intuit, with strong brand presence in the Australia-New Zealand market with QuickBooks, is buoyant about its global growth prospects, and the benefits to customers from using online solutions.

“The benefits are clear. Online experiences are better for customers, expand the total addressable market, and generate more predictable, recurring revenue streams,” Brad Smith emphasises.

"Our acceleration to subscription services and the changes to how we'll develop desktop products beginning in fiscal 2015 will result in recognising desktop revenue over time instead of as up front license revenue, as we've historically done. This creates a transition year in fiscal 2015 for reported financial results. We fully expect fiscal 2016 results to return to double-digit top and bottom line growth.”

Intuit lists its global highlights for the full fiscal year 2014 as:

•    Delivered total company revenue of US$4.5 billion, up 8% , and diluted earnings per share (EPS) growth of 9%

•    Ended with 683,000 QuickBooks Online customers, and more than 1 million total QuickBooks subscribers

•    Finished the fiscal year with cash and investments of over US$1.9 billion

•    Completed 10 acquisitions, adding talent and technology across the small business and consumer ecosystems.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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