I believe that Quickbooks Online is the final piece of the puzzle for Intuit to control the financial world for you at home, at work, and in the eyes of the government. You may not realize this but Intuit owns the 3 top finance web applications in the world:
- Mint.com – Personal Finance
- TurboTax – Tax Finance
- Quickbooks – Business Finance
As all three services make the transition from driving to Best Buy, picking up the latest version of TurboTax or Quickbooks, and installing on your computer via CD, to a cloud based solution, Intuit is unlocking an absolute gold mine of data. Intuit can now take that data from their over 65 million accounts, and make it available to developers like ProjectionHub who will cut and slice the data in order to provide incredibly valuable information to a wide range of customers. As my day job, I manage a small business loan program, I can think of several ways that we could use Intuit data to make our job of lending money easier. These are just a few of the ways that I believe Quickbooks Online, and it’s partner programs Mint and TurboTax will change the world for lenders, investors and small businesses everywhere:
- Predict Business Failures – As a lender and business consultant I would love to be able to take the Quickbooks data of a small business and compare it to aggregate industry data. For example, an application could easily be developed to compare your restaurant’s sales, margins, cost of goods sold, labor costs, etc to the aggregate of all other restaurants that use Quickbooks Online. This would tell me what areas the business needs to improve on. The data can go way beyond that though. A couple of clever statisticians could find trends that might show that a business with certain sales levels, certain margins, etc fails 40% of the time within 5 years. You could find commonalities with the businesses that succeeded, and focus on those areas for your business. No longer do we need a thousand management consultants to tell us their idea for how to improve our business, the data will speak for itself, and the numbers don’t lie.
- Benchmark Against Industry in “Real Time” – I already mentioned the idea of benchmarking and comparing your business to other businesses in your industry, but you could take this a step further and compare your business in real time. Many Quickbooks users are entering in data on a daily basis for their business. You could watch your daily sales at your coffee shop compared to daily sales of all other coffee shops around the country. Maybe you run a promotion and business picks up by 10%, and you assume it is because of the promo you are running, but if you noticed that other coffee shops in your region also saw a spike in sales, you might realize that it was not your ad, it was the fact that it was exceptionally cold this week and more people wanted a warm beverage.
- Simplify Loan and Investment Approval – Finally, I believe that when Quickbooks Online is connected in a coherent way with Mint.com and TurboTax, Intuit could vastly improve the loan and investment approval process. Lenders typically want to look at both personal and business financial information. Mint can provide the personal, Quickbooks can provide the business financial info. Since you can put anything you want into your Mint and Quickbooks account, a tax return is typically used to validate that you are telling the truth. TurboTax can provide that information quickly and easily for both the personal and business finances. I could imagine a day when the bank clicks one button that brings all this data together and gives the person a score immediately that will describe their creditworthiness. This level of information would put the credit score to shame. Credit score information would still be important, but it would be only a small piece of the overall puzzle, instead of the primary number that most banks look at.
I truly believe I am only scratching the surface with all of the really crazy and cool things that we will be able to do with Intuit data someday. I would like to develop an app here at ProjectionHub that utilizes this data that is now becoming available, I just need to focus in on one core problem that this data can help solve, and then build it. Any ideas?