Making Progress, Intuit-ively

Making good on its new “Right for My Business” strategy, tax and financial software company Intuit cut its fiscal first quarter loss and raised its outlook while rolling out a line-up of new QuickBooks products for 2003.

The company also launched new software developer kits for some of its products in a move aimed at expanding their usefulness to a wider variety of different types of businesses.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company launched 2003 versions of Quickbooks Premier, Pro and Basic, as well as specialized versions for contractors and accountants, and an updated version of QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Business Management software, aimed at larger businesses.

Intuit also released the second version of its QuickBooks Software Development Kit as well as an SDK for Intuit Master Builder, its construction management software.

Intuit has been executing on its new strategy, which was designed to deliver industry-specific solutions for different types of businesses, to offer accounting software for larger and more complex businesses, and to offer business solutions that extend beyond accounting to business management.

The company posted a first quarter GAAP loss of $54.7 million, or 26 cents per share, on revenues of $223.3 million.

Revenues were up nearly a third from the same period last year. The loss a year earlier was $92.4 million, or 44 cents a share. Financial analysts on average had been expecting revenues of $212.8 million.

The good news was that revenues from the QuickBooks product line grew 55 percent in the quarter to $38.1 million, and the company said it expects further growth of 20 to 30 percent in all of fiscal 2003

The company also raised its outlook, saying that it now expects full-year revenues of $1.72 billion $1.8 billion, or growth of 27 to 33 percent.

Despite the slowdown in corporate IT spending and the fact that consumers often stay with a software package for several years, Intuit’s relatively low price points ($100 to $3,000) have helped it to maintain sales.

Sales of the company’s Quicken personal finance software fell, however, along with the entire personal finance desktop software segment of the overall market.

“At the prices we’re talking about they really don’t become that discretionary of a purchase,” Intuit President and CEO Steve Bennett was quoted as saying, referring to QuickBooks and TurboTax. The latter generates the vast majority of its revenue in its second and third fiscal quarters. Bennett also said the company is continuing to look for acquisitions.

The company said that in conjunction with the release of the QuickBooks SDK v2.0, nearly 70 developers will be unveiling new applications and services designed to integrate with its 2003 line of software for small businesses.

Mark Bercow, vice president of the Intuit Developer Network, said that developers “are at the core of Intuit’s `Right for My Business’ strategy.”

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