Intuit's Q2: Earnings, outlook look stable ahead of busy tax season report

All eyes should really be on Intuit's outlook, with Wall Street revenue expectations jumping from just under $800 million to more than $2.37 billion next quarter.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Intuit is in the throws of tax season right now, and while most analysts and shareholders are likely more concerned with the outlook for Q3, let's take a look at the past quarter first.

The small business software provider reported a net loss of $37 million, or 13 cents per share (statement).

Non-GAAP earnings were two cents per share on a revenue of $782 million, a 12 percent decline annually.

Wall Street was looking for two cents per share and revenue of $778.88 million.

Intuit had adjusted its own Q2 projections just last week in reflection of a "later tax season opening," reasoning that the Internal Revenue Service did not begin accepting tax returns until January 31.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company was aiming to deliver between $775 million and $780 million in revenue with non-GAAP earnings of a penny to two cents per share.

Both last week and today, the company stood by the full fiscal-year guidance for revenue growth between six and eight percent (a range of $4.44 billion to $4.525 billion) and earnings per share to rise between 10 to 13 percent ($3.52 to $3.60 a pop).

In prepared remarks, CEO Brad Smith attributed the company's "momentum" to a platform shift in the direction of the cloud:

While the tax season is just underway, we are encouraged by our product innovations, our focus on filers with simple returns and a strong branding campaign. This momentum, along with early-season unit growth, give us confidence we're off to a good start.

For example, QuickBooks led overall subscriber growth in Q4. The total QuickBooks subscriber base grew by 26 percent, but QuickBooks Online jumped by 30 percent annually.

Additionally, TurboTax units grew seven percent all the way through February 15, while TurboTax Online alone grew 11 percent.

Intuit Chief Financial Officer Neil Williams also highlighted the small business department, which grew in revenue by eight percent annually. While adding that revenue guidance for the SMB unit remains on track for growth of 10 to 12 percent for the year, Williams noted that much of that will be driven by a melange of "customer acquisition and mix improvement and less from price."

For the current quarter leading up to the big push right before the end of tax season on April 15, Wall Street expects Intuit to deliver big time with a forecast of $3.50 in earnings per share and revenue of a whopping $2.37 billion.

Intuit offered a Q3 revenue guidance range of $2.325 billion to $2.4 billion with earnings between $3.46 to $3.51 per share.

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