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Intuit Focuses on AI to Drive Growth

Posted on Friday, May 31st 2019

According to a recent IBISWorld report, the US tax preparation industry has grown 2% annually over the last few years to $11 billion this year. The market is dominated by two key players – Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) and H&R Block. But as self-prepared tax returns continue to grow at a faster pace than assisted tax returns, Intuit will keep that advantage. Reports reveal that for the recently ended tax season, self-prepared tax returns reported a 3.3% growth compared with a 1% decline in the number of returns filed by accountants and other tax professionals.

Intuit’s Financials

Intuit’s third quarter revenues grew 12% over the year to $3.27 billion, marginally ahead of the market’s expectations of $3.26 billion. It recorded an adjusted EPS of $5.55 which was 15% higher than previous year’s earnings and better than the market’s estimated EPS of $5.39.

By segment, Small Business and Self-Employed Group revenues grew 19% over the year to $887 million driven by 32% growth in the subscribers for QuickBooks Online. It ended the quarter with more than 4.2 million subscribers. Self-Employed subscribers within QuickBooks online rose to around 970,000 from 680,000 a year ago.

For the quarter, revenues from Consumer Group grew 10% to $2.2 and revenues from the Strategic Partners Group grew 4% to $208 million.

For the current quarter, Intuit forecast revenues of $948-$968 million with an adjusted net loss of $0.16-$0.14 per share. The market was looking for revenues of $884.5 million for the quarter. Intuit expects to end the year with revenues of $6.74-$6.76 billion and an EPS of $6.67-$6.69. The Street was expecting an EPS of $6.54 for the year.

Intuit’s Origami Acquisition

Earlier this week, Intuit announced the acquisition of advanced data integration, ingestion, and analytics platform, Origami Logic. Mountain View-based Origami Logic provides analytics tools to its customers. Origami Logic has developed technology that can analyze and gain insights from multiple data sets. Its platform collects data from a variety of sources and translates them to actionable insights quickly and efficiently. Intuit plans to leverage Origami Logic’s tools to create an AI-driven expert platform. It will integrate the technology within its solutions to organize, understand, and use data to deliver personalized insights to their customers. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Origami Logic was founded in 2012 and had raised $64.5 million through four funding rounds from investors including Viola Ventures, Saban Ventures, NextWorld Capital, DAG Ventures, Icon Ventures, Jeb Miller, Accel, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Marker. It did not disclose its financials, but Owler estimates revenues of $6.6 million annually.

Intuit is focused on creating an AI driven expert platform. It wants to become “an open, trusted and easy to build on platform” where it, along with its partners, can provide the end customers with the ability to address their individual and small business tax and finance needs.

It is working on building an AI-based platform that can learn from the large data sets across its platform, and transfer the learning to its customers through experts. TurboTax Live and Quick Books Online already offer their expertise, but it wants to expand the benefit of live expertise to the areas of tax, bookkeeping, and financial advice. The recent acquisition of Origami Logic will help it build the strong data architecture it needs to drive this AI-based platform.

Its stock is trading at $248.08 with a market cap of $64.3 billion. It had soared to a record high of $272.14 earlier last month. Like other technology stocks, it too had fallen to a 52-week low of $182.61 in December last year.

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