3 Things Intuit, Inc. Management Wants You to Know

As Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) transitions its financial products to the cloud, lots of new opportunities for new offerings and deepened customer relationships are presenting themselves. Highlighting one way Intuit is benefiting from these trends, Intuit's growth rates in its small business online ecosystem revenue has been accelerating -- from 26% year-over-year growth in the first fiscal quarter of fiscal 2017 to 35% in the first fiscal quarter of 2018.

Of course, Intuit isn't the only financial-technology company vying for this fast-growing market. This is why it's a good time to check in on what management is saying about some of the most important areas of its business. Here are some telling quotes from Intuit's most recent earnings call on QuickBooks Capital, QuickBooks Online, and TurboTax Live.

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Intuit doesn't plan on becoming a bank

Unlike financial-technology competitor Square (NYSE: SQ), Intuit doesn't want to become a bank. When an analyst inquired whether Intuit's recent move to put some of its own capital into its QuickBooks Capital loans marked a strategic change in Intuit's practice of using third-party lenders for its small-business loans, management said it rather is a reflection of its efforts to accelerate its feedback loop on its algorithms for identifying lending customers.

Intuit CEO Brad Smith explained:

Investors are likely particularly interested in Intuit's ambitions for its capital arm after Square applied for a bank charter in September. Square CEO Jack Dorsey said in its third-quarter earnings call that by becoming a bank, it will enable the company to innovate faster and create more efficiencies for lending.

Intuit's QuickBooks Online growth engine

QuickBooks Online is arguably Intuit's most important growth catalyst. Investors, therefore, have good reason to keep a close eye on how the product is faring. This is why one analyst asked about the decelerating trend in QuickBooks Online's subscriber growth in recent quarters. Intuit's year-over-year growth rate in Quickbooks Online's subscribers for its last three quarters has decelerated from 59% in the fiscal third quarter of 2017 to 56% in the fiscal first quarter of 2018.

What's the deal? Smith explained:

In other words, while growth rates in QuickBooks Online subscribers may decelerate in the near term, management seems to believe that this deceleration will moderate.

But investors should expect some more deceleration for now. For the full fiscal year of 2018, management expects QuickBooks Online subscribers of between 3.275 million and 3.375 million, up 37% to 42% year over year.

Intuit's opportunity with TurboTax Live

One of the biggest reasons someone might not do their taxes on their own, Intuit has said, is because filers sometimes feel like they need expert help. Intuit's Nov. 30 launch of TurboTax Live attempts to address that problem. "With the launch of TurboTax Live, Intuit has virtualized a personalized professional service that, until now, has traditionally been in-person," Intuit said in its press release about the new feature.

One analyst asked Intuit management to explain how Intuit is thinking about the opportunity with this new TurboTax product. Intuit CFO Neil Williams was bullish:

Pointing to how big the market is, Williams said that of the more than 150 million returns filed every year in the united states, nearly 90 million are filed with the help of an expert.

Overall, the earnings call reaffirmed Intuit's growth opportunities, but analysts' questions also highlighted how investors are watching Intuit's catalysts closely. If growth in QuickBooks Online subscribers decelerates too rapidly, or if new products like TurboTax Live don't prove as successful as management hopes, Intuit shares could take a hit.

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Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Intuit. The Motley Fool owns shares of Square. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.