Intuit releases Workforce to bolster portfolio of on-demand economy products

Intuit Workforce complements Quickbooks Self-Employed, the company's toolset that helps contract workers manage their finances and taxes.

Intuit continues to sharpen its focus on independent contractors, announcing Tuesday the launch of Workforce, a product designed to help companies find, manage and scale their on-demand talent.

The Workforce product stems from Intuit's acquisition in March of Playbook HR, a startup that offered solutions for managing hiring, onboarding, and compliance needs for freelancers and independent contractors working for on-demand marketplaces.

Since the acquisition, Playbook HR was woven together with QuickBooks Online Self Employed, which debuted in January as a scaled-down version of Intuit's legacy personal accounting app.

Some key components of Workforce include an API that allows companies to accept, update, and export data, as well as communicate with talent through email and text message, schedule new workers and review documents.

Workforce also helps businesses run compliant background checks, send legally binding e-signatures, and create custom tests and training courses for workers.

Looking at the bigger picture for Intuit, the Workforce product makes a lot of sense considering how the company has reoriented its product line in light of several shaky financial quarters.

As part of last its quarterly earnings Intuit said that it would divest several business units, including Demandforce, QuickBase and Quicken, in order to focus on more successful products.

All signs indicate that Intuit has chosen the on-demand economy as its primary new frontier. The company cites data that suggests 7.6 million Americans will work regularly in the on-demand economy by 2020, more than double what that figure is now.

"The rapid growth of the on-demand economy is reshaping the U.S. labor market, with on-demand workers expected to grow to 11 per cent of the nation's 66 million U.S. contractors," said Alex Chriss, VP and GM of Self-Employed Solutions at Intuit. "This massive growth brings new complexity in worker management, payments, and tax distribution."

Inuit says there are almost 200,000 prospective on-demand workers already on the Workforce platform. Since acquiring Playbook HR, Intuit has also added 70 companies, including Luxe, Deliv, OrderUp, Washio, Favor Delivery, Eden and Saucey.