Intuit and QuickBooks in 2020: 10 Potential Network-Based Services Offerings (Part 1)

We’ve been covering Intuit’s investment and partnership with supplier network/platform/e-invoicing provider Tradeshift in a series of columns (see titles/links at the end of this post). Relative to competitors in the SMB accounting and applications space (Sage/Peachtree, Microsoft, Xero, Zoho, Freshbooks), Intuit seems the most serious about finding emerging ways to enable transactional connectivity (invoice, PO, etc.) between its base and customers beyond simply emailing documents back and forth.

Yet Intuit is clearly trying to explore and flesh out strategies to target a far bigger network space opportunity. In working with Tradeshift, Intuit is deepening its knowledge in this inter-company opportunity, even dabbling in the broader connectivity and cloud apps space. And there are even broader opportunities in the coming decade. Based on this potential, the Spend Matters team came up with ten potential network-based services that Intuit or a competitor could provide (note: the ten items represent our views -- not those of Intuit or any third party). These include (starting with the most logical and the “here, now or soon”):

  1. E-Invoicing connectivity to larger buying organizations – Intuit should provide an on-ramp for QuickBooks users in CD and Online versions to connect directly with their customer’s systems of record. Ultimately, this cloud-based connectivity could provide for additional fields and visibility in QuickBooks, including committed payables dates. If the Tradeshift partnership works as planned, Intuit will have their solution figured out.
  2. Supply chain finance/discounting – There are several discounting/supply chain finance opportunities for Intuit, but generally speaking, those of greater value (likely to be acted upon by suppliers because of reasonable APRs) will require tighter systems integration with AP portals and payment systems. The “agreement to pay on a certain date” that a supplier can access through a portal or API based on e-invoicing connectivity can provide greater assurance to lenders (banks, hedge funds, etc.) to provide funds at rates below traditional factoring options. Suppliers could “opt in” to allow this type of visibility to be seen by different competing lenders.
  3. Supplier registration linked directly to supplier management tools and other networks – With the planned integration of TradeShift into QuickBooks user environments, it will be easy for TradeShift users to rapidly onboard suppliers that are already in “the network,” so to speak. But the broader opportunity for Intuit extends beyond TradeShift users to those of other eProcurement, e-invoicing, supplier management and related tools (we’re talking Oracle eBusiness Suite/Supplier Hub users). If QuickBooks users agree to share basic information with customers or prospects they’re going through registration or on-boarding processes with by using their accounting package, and they can broadcast this into all of the major P2P, ERP/MRP and supplier management tools in the market, Intuit could have a killer app for supplier on-boarding and vendor file management. This network supplier management vision is arguably more powerful coming from the QuickBooks/accounting supply side for SMBs than the buyer driven supplier management network models from the likes of Aravo, Ariba, etc. 
  4. Certification/credential management (e.g., diversity, insurance certificates, regulatory compliance, material certifications, environmental/health/safety) – managing supplier certifications/credentials is a fragmented area inside companies. Fortune 500 organizations in the US often have team members dedicated to the simple maintenance of supplier diversity certifications, insurance certifications and the like (let alone broader credentials focused on regulatory compliance and related areas). If Intuit/Quickbooks enabled its users to upload and maintain this type of information via their accounting system or a linked network-based offering (which prompted users to maintain current information as certificates and related content expired) it would be a significant time saver for customers, who would happily pay a fee for yearly access to this information (and it would save suppliers from having to manually send information to their larger customers)
  5. Benchmarking – The benchmarking opportunities for QuickBooks customers (and buyers working through the Intuit/Tradeshift network on the AP side) are fascinating and huge. From AR/AP cycle time, straight through processing success rates, payment terms, spend managed per FTE, etc. the individual KPIs are endless. But they could be significantly valuable for users on both side of the network equation. Moreover, those top performing SMBs might opt to “share” their KPIs with potential partners (such as banks) for access to preferred lending rates or other opportunities.

Recent related coverage:

Tradeshift’s Analyst Day: Intuit and QuickBooks (Part 1)

Tradeshift’s Analyst Day: Intuit and QuickBooks (Part 2)

Connecting SMBs: Intuit’s Procurement, E-Invoicing and Network Opportunity  

Check back for items 6-10 next week in Part 2 of this post. 


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