Intuit penetration of the small business marketplace continues to grow. More importantly, they are effective for many small businesses.
More than two out of five respondents from companies under 15 employees to this newsletters annual outlook survey said they were using some form of Intuits products to manage their businesses.
In recent months, the administrators of this newsletter have been test-driving the 2006 version of Quick Books Pro 2006 to their great advantage.
In follow-up questionnaires and focus groups, small business owners tell the editors that they have found many positives and a few negatives with the Intuit products.
Among the positives:
- Ease of use came with time and the tutorials were judge adequate
- Ability to spot anomalies in operations and finance
- Some fraud protection advantages
- Bill collecting and follow-up
- Easier bill paying
- Instilling discipline in the management process
- Ongoing cash management
Among the negatives reported:
- Need for additional print supplies at higher than anticipated costs
- Keeping records require ongoing support and resource commitment
- Some concerns about customer support from Intuit
- IT resources needed to be upgraded, particularly for home-based users
Overall, Intuit was rated the second most popular supplier after Fedex/Kinko.
Within this newsletters parent company, QuickBooks Pro has proven to be an exceptional tool for cash management in a period of rapid growth and expansion.
According to the support staff, installation of the program proved somewhat daunting and CPU operating memory had to be upgraded twice to make the software work efficiently. In fact, the company bought a new computer to run the QuickBooks Pro. Support from Intuit was helpful but integration of all aspects of the companys operations took a full two months.
Nonetheless, it has already returned its purchase price in discovering uncollected bills dating from last year.
Among the comments elicited from respondents were many who said they now depended on the Intuit products to manage most of their back office operations. These comments reflected a general consensus that the Intuit product line deserves its position as possibly the most used management tool in small business today.
For smaller entrepreneurs, the need to update the program proved to be a discipline many had not practiced before.
As one home-based business owner reported, I didnt realize how important and helpful filling out the information every day or so made the management of the business that much more simpler. Its was just not my style to put everything down in black and white, but now it is.
The one drawback noted most often was the price of supplies from the company and the plethora of available add-ons offered. Respondents felt that they were somehow missing the boat by not having some of the added products or using the recommended print output.
Intuit says some of the add-on features are standard in the 2007 version just coming on the market.
Many more were reporting a reluctance to have the Intuit product interfacing with their bank account and wondered if the security provisions were as tight as they could be.
One Minnesota respondent, a woman business owner whose craft store now depended on Intuit products for almost all of its back office support, was particularly concerned that her private affairs might be vulnerable to a hacker.
Ive put my entire payroll on the system and social security numbers etc. are there for the asking if someone wanted to get them, she said.
Like many companies, Intuit is building an online relationship with its clients through the Internet. Should someone hack into Intuits main computers, it is possible for a lot of companies to be exposed to identity theft and other mischief.
This concern aside, it would appear that the small business landscape belongs to Intuit with few competitors.