Intuit Divests Business Units, Shifts Focus To Cloud-Based Accounting and Taxes Solutions


In a surprising move, Intuit announced Thursday it would divest Quicken and 2 other business units to focus on its cloud-based accounting and tax ecosystem, which includes its new and fast growing “QuickBooks Self-Employed.” The accounting solution, designed to support freelance and independent workers, serves those working through work intermediation platforms (WIPs) like Uber, TaskRabbit, Fiverr and UpCounsel.

(On a related note, Spend Matters is in the process of developing a reference model for the emerging “cloud-based independent worker ecosystem,” extending from enterprise to independent worker solutions.)

Inuit’s fiscal fourth quarter 2015 and overall year earnings report showed that QuickBooks Self-Employed was introduced in January of this year and was off to a solid start. Its paid user base increased 67% to reach 25,000 during the quarter. Motley Fool called QuickBook Online service extensions like Self-Employed “the future of Intuit's accounting software revenue.”

QuickBooks Self-Employed provides independent workers with accounting and invoicing capabilities; however, it can be easily upgraded for seamless integration with TurboTax, providing workers with tax filing capability as well. With the recent exit of start-up Zen99 – a play on the term Form 1099 – Intuit is really now the only player addressing this accounting and tax space.

The Intuit offering stops short of providing capabilities to enable payments from businesses to independent workers. However, there are other online players that are doing payments, including startup Payables (founded by 3 ex-Intuit employees), Braintree and Stripe, which is also an ecosystem partner with Intuit and Uber.

Spend Matters views all of these developments as extremely important and as signs that a cloud-based independent worker ecosystem is forming. We also believe that the current ubiquity of cloud technologies like platform as a service (PaaS) and the emergence of others like integration platform as a service (iPaaS) will have a significant effect on the shaping of this new ecosystem, as well as the speed at which it develops. As a consequence, it may bear similarities to the e-sourcing and e-procurement networks in the non-services procurement category but is also likely to differ in many ways. For example, because, in this case, humans – and not suppliers – are at the farthest point upstream in the supply chain, the ecosystem must encompass and integrate crucial capabilities that will support workers.

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