By Patrick Bonnaure, founder of ProLedge Bookkeeping Services
Everybody talks about how companies like Apple, Microsoft and Google have fundamentally changed the way the economy operates. In the world of small businesses, which drives an enormous part of our economy, I would still put Microsoft at the top of the list of game changers simply because of Windows and Office, but this is changing fast. The company that doesn’t immediately make the list is Intuit, but the reality is that QuickBooks has become a formidable engine of growth.
If I look at ProLedge’s own client base, a significant portion of our clients are in QuickBooks at least four hours a day. Many of them have QuickBooks running all day. In the morning, they open email AND QuickBooks. All day long, they produce invoices, estimates, make collection calls, pay bills, etc… For many businesses, QuickBooks has become their nerve center, their dashboard. They could do without Word or Excel for one day, but they couldn’t do without QuickBooks. For some small businesses, QuickBooks has become as vital as email. This is remarkable.
The most stunning part is that Intuit has done this by flying under the radar screen. Sure, if you are an investor, a CPA or a bookkeeper, you can’t miss a company worth $18 billion with 8,000 employees, but most small business owners know a lot less about Intuit, the company, than the more glamorous tech companies out there. However, Intuit’s grip on its market is as strong if not stronger than any tech company. Intuit is as close to a monopoly in small business accounting as you can get and they’ve done this without alienating their customers, which is quite a feat. There is no doubt that there are plenty of people complaining about Intuit’s tech support, but at least they provide tech support. When was the last time that you were able to call Microsoft for a problem with Excel or Google for a problem with Gmail?
Intuit has grown by remaining truthful to his founder’s values. Like most high tech billionaires, Scott Cook is smart as a whip, analytical and aggressive, but unlike many of his peers, he is not arrogant and he is very patient. You can see this in how QuickBooks was built: one improvement at a time, no glamour, but a lot of common sense. It works and it has changed how small businesses are run. Well done and thank you.