Intuit delivers solid Q4, cuts Q1 earnings outlook, finishes with 4.5 million QuickBooks Online subscribers

Sasan Goodarzi, CEO of Intuit, said sales growth was driven by its small business and self-employed group.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Intuit closed out a strong fiscal year and continued to grow its QuickBooks Online subscriber base and grow its small business footprint.

The company reported a fourth quarter operating loss of $153 million, or 17 cents a share, on revenue of $994 million, up 15% from a year ago. Non-GAAP loss for the fourth quarter was 9 cents a share.

Intuit was expected to report a fourth quarter non-GAAP loss of 15 cents a share on revenue of $961.9 million. Intuit makes the bulk of its annual revenue in its second and third quarters due to tax season.

Sasan Goodarzi, CEO of Intuit, said sales growth was driven by its small business and self-employed group. For fiscal 2019, Intuit reported revenue growth of 13%, ahead of its projection of growth of 8% to 10%. Goodarzi added that Intuit's plan was to use artificial intelligence throughout its portfolio to enable businesses and consumers to make better decisions. On a conference call, Goodarzi added:

We delivered another strong quarter Small Business & Self-Employed Group with Online Ecosystem revenue growth of 35% in the fourth quarter and 38% in fiscal year 2019. Online ecosystem revenue is at a $1.8 billion annualized run rate, and we continue to expect it to grow more than 30%. We continue to prioritize online services to deliver more value for our customers by addressing their biggest pain in our points. We're working to achieve our vision of being the center of Small Business growth by helping our customers get paid fast, manage capital and pay employees with confidence.

For the fiscal year, Intuit reported revenue of $6.8 billion, up 13% from a year ago, with operating income of $1.9 billion.

As for the outlook, Intuit projected fiscal first quarter revenue of $1.1 billion to $1.135 billion, up 9% to 11%, with non-GAAP earnings of 23 cents a share to 25 cents a share. Wall Street was looking for non-GAAP earnings of 34 cents a share on revenue of $1.12 billion.

For fiscal 2020, Intuit said revenue will be between $7.44 billion to $7.54 billion, up 10% to 11%, with non-GAAP earnings of $7.50 a share to $7.60 a share.

Among the key figures:

  • QuickBooks Online subscribers totaled 3.2 million in the US and 1.3 million internationally.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed subscribers topped 1 million.
  • QuickBooks Capital has funded $441 million in cumulative loans in less than 2 years. 

Goodarzi said the company's strategy is to use AI to address multiple business pain points. 

The evolution of our strategy is to become an AI-driven expert platform. This is about becoming an open, trusted and easy to build on platform where are we and other partners solve the most pressing customer problems and deliver awesome experiences. It's about significantly accelerating our application of artificial intelligence, which progressively learns from the rich dataset across the platform To bring this strategy to live, we're applying artificial intelligence to accelerate speed to benefit, revolutionize using our customer experiences. We're also solving one of the largest power of problems our customers face, lack of confidence, by connecting them with experts on our platform.   

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