Who are they? Increasingly, they are cloud users.
Intuit posted their latest quarterly results a couple of weeks ago, as reported in BusinessWire. There were some interesting details that the company shared.
- Subscribers to QuickBooks Online grew 57 percent in the first quarter
- Of the new subscribers to QuickBooks Online, over 80 percent were new customers to Intuit
- Total subscribers to QuickBooks Online are now at 1,159,000
- Intuit’s president and CEO, Brad Smith, said that their momentum comes as the company’s “intense focus on our global cloud strategy takes shape.”
Do the math backwards. In three months, the number of QuickBooks Online users grew by around 421,000. That’s amazing. And those aren’t one-time software purchasers…those are monthly subscribers. And 80%+ of them were new customers gained in the market, not customers cannibalized from the QuickBooks desktop user base. Just imagine the expansion of customer lifetime values going on there.
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So that’s great for Intuit. What does it all mean for QuickBooks users themselves?
Well, in my opinion, it would be logical that Intuit’s “intense focus on their global cloud strategy” would include an intense focusing of their development resources. And therefore, more development for cloud services (including, of course, QuickBooks Online), and less development for desktop products. And therefore, more innovation in QuickBooks Online, and less innovation in the QuickBooks desktop editions. Again, this is just my opinion, but that line of thinking makes sense to me.
Another thing. Earlier this year, Intuit announced that they were putting their Quicken product up for sale and were seeking the right buyer. But Intuit said they would retain Mint.com, their cloud-based personal finance solution. Sell the desktop division, keep the cloud division. To me, this seems like more realignment towards the cloud and away from (even successful) desktop products.
From the desktop users’ point of view, maybe a focus shift — even an innovation shift — is not altogether a bad thing, as long as maintenance and support continue. I have heard over the years a lot of people say “leave well enough alone” when it comes to QuickBooks desktop editions. Well, what if that happened? What if Intuit left well enough alone?
Even if the desktop products stay largely the same in the years to come, I am wondering if their desktop licensing will stay the same. You probably know that Intuit changed their subscription model for Enterprise users last year, making it so you have to pay an annual subscription fee in order for Enterprise to keep working. I’m wondering if a time will come when Intuit brings all their desktop editions (Pro, Premier, Accountant, Mac) to a subscription based model like Enterprise (and like QuickBooks Online).
If they got to that point, all their accounting products would be subscription-based and lined up in the same direction from a strategic revenue model point of view. Tidy.
So, who are QuickBooks users these days? Increasingly, they are QuickBooks Online users. And even when QuickBooks users aren’t cloud customers, more than ever, they are recurring subscribers.