Intuit earnings: Small Business is strong; gearing up for tax season

Intuit, maker of consumer and business financial software, reported better than expected sales for its first quarter as small businesses remained strong.For the quarter, the company reported a net loss of 12 cents per share on sales of $532 million, a 12 percent increase over the year-ago quarter.

Intuit, maker of consumer and business financial software, reported better than expected sales for its first quarter as small businesses remained strong.

For the quarter, the company reported a net loss of 12 cents per share on sales of $532 million, a 12 percent increase over the year-ago quarter. Wall Street analysts were expecting a loss of 12 cents per share on sales of $520 million. (Statement)

The company typically posts a seasonal loss during its first quarter when this is little revenue from its tax businesses. With that said, the company has also enhanced its tax product, TurboTax, for the coming season. The software goes on sale in retail stores on Nov. 26.

In a statement, Intuit President and CEO Brad Smith said:

We completed another strong quarter, getting us off to a good start in fiscal 2011. Our biggest quarters lie ahead of us. Although the macroeconomic environment remains challenging, we’re executing well against our strategy, and that’s driving solid financial performance... The market is clearly shifting to digital, or connected services. That plays to our advantage, and will help drive the next phase of our growth. It’s especially clear in our tax business, where recent competitive events demonstrate the power and acceptance of digital services. That’s our sweet spot. As we look forward to the tax season, we believe we’re well positioned to expand the category and continue to grow share, with a strong marketing effort and a product line that offers customers the easiest-to-use solution at a compelling price.

Specifically, the company said its Small Business Group showed strength across the board and Quickbooks 2011 and QuickBooks Online were receiving positive early feedback. It also noted a "healthy interest" in the new mobile offerings coming to market.

Looking ahead, said it expects 36 cents to 40 cents per share for its second quarter earnings on revenue of $920 million to $940 million, up 10-12 percent. The company also reiterated its full-year 2011 guidance of sales between $3.74 billion and $3.84 billion, and increase of 8-11 percent. Full year EPS is projected to be between $2.36 and $2.43 per share, up 12-15 percent.

Shares of Intuit were up slightly in regular trading, closing at $48.20. Shares were climbing in after-hours trading.

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