As the battle for small-business accounting market share and mindshare heats up, Intuit has introduced a new service — called QuickBooks Trends — that lets owners compare their results with aggregated, anonymized data from other companies.
The service is using data collected by the company over the past 30 years to help small businesses get a better sense of how they compare to other businesses in the same industry or even just to other companies in their geographic location. Here are some of the averages that they can evaluate:
Sales growth metrics
Cash flow ratios
The percentage of sales from new prospects versus existing customers
Annual income (median)
Annual expenses (median)
Expenses by different categories, such as real estate or insurance
"Now you have real metrics to see how you're doing," writes the company on its QuickBooks Blog. "If you want to find out whether an industry is profitable before making the leap to open a business, you can do that. And [if] you want to know whether you should look for cheaper business spaces, you can find that out."