Thirty minutes into the morning, Intuit’s Eric Dunn (who has been with Intuit since the provider’s early days) took the stage. Eric is responsible for Intuit’s commerce network solutions. Part of his charter (and the broader Intuit strategy) is focused in part on moving accounting from the desktop to other areas, including the space that exists between buyers and suppliers. This is where the Tradeshift investment and partnership comes into play.
It’s important for Intuit to defend its turf, where it has a dominant market position. Eric shared, among other metrics, that Intuit has 90% market share in small business finance (through QuickBooks products). As not entirely happy QuickBooks Online users ourselves (the online site has odd outages which brought our back office down and has changed its Mac browser support policies over the years) the parent company of Spend Matters is a good test case to provide a gut check on usefulness of where Intuit is headed with its Tradeshift partnership.
Yet Intuit still has to prove the basics of consistent uptime to long-time users like us (it’s been our accounting system since 2004). As we observed at the end of 2011:
It’s a pity that Intuit has had so many issues keeping the service up and running for subscribers like us. Just this week, we’ve even had to resort to manually writing checks because we can’t access the system. And don’t get us started on not being able to invoice customers … Coming from the software as a service (SaaS) and cloud world, we know that growing sites and services will always have outages. .. [Yet Intuit is not] communicating with customers and keeping them proactively informed over a multi-day and week period [of outages].
QuickBooks uptime has improved since then, at least for our business. But the question customers should ask is what’s next for Intuit and small business accounting? Will the tool transcend the basic general activities it enables today?
Eric noted that “connectivity” is a part of the strategy, including touch points with Mint (on the consumer finance side), payroll, and related areas (provided by Intuit). But enterprise connectivity (“ERP endpoints” as Intuit calls it) with SAP, Oracle, NetSuite and others is a broader opportunity that Intuit intends to tackle with Tradeshift to connect small business accounting users with larger customers (and each other).
Stay tuned as we explore how this partnership will work.