Intuit’s QuickBooks is used by millions of small businesses around the world to manage their finances. It’s a program full of useful features for just about every small business owner and is a friend to business’ accountants.
With the success of Quicken for home users and QuickBooks for small businesses (including QuickBooks many vertical versions) one would think that Intuit had the SMB accounting and financial market wrapped up.
But it didn’t.
Gary Sulentic, Senior Brand Manager for the QuickBooks Group at Intuit explained that Intuit counts 20 – 22 million small businesses in the US. QuickBooks is used by about 6 million of them and there are about 2.5 million businesses started every year.
Out of these numbers Intuit’s research showed that there’s a pocket of businesses (around 9 million) that need a more powerful program than Quicken but less powerful and complex than QuickBooks.
With this in mind Intuit has created QuickBooks Simple Start.
Simple Start is not a “dumbed” down version of QuickBooks with features simply stripped away, but a program that is specifically designed for small business owners whose accounting needs are very basic. For example, right now they may just do everything by hand and/or use Excel. Money comes in, money goes out. Maybe they invoice but maybe they don’t. Sure they have to write a few checks per month but basically it’s your local one-person architect, your two gal plumbing shop and etc.
These businesses don’t need the breadth of QuickBooks functionality like inventory, tons of reporting options and etc. They just need to see their cash flow and manage their invoices and bills.
QuickBooks Simple Start is the perfect product for this group of businesses.
In designing QuickBooks Simple Start Intuit wanted to give users three benefits:
1) A very easy to use product that was easy to get started. Simple Start has only three interview screens (compared to QuickBooks dozens of screens) and takes only a few minutes to get up and running
2) Essential financial tasks. Business must pay taxes, many generate invoices, take care of bills and etc. Simple Start lets them easily do all of these basic tasks.
3) Big Pay Off. It makes no sense for customers to use Simple Start and realize that it’s just as easy to do things by hand. Using Simple Start customers have the ease of a computer program with the simplicity of a pencil and paper.
QuickBooks Simple Start has an MSRP price of $99.95 – so it’ll probably be on store shelves for $80 or so.
The perfect example of the intuitiveness of this product is a menu item that reads, “Invoices that Haven’t Been Paid”. Many accounting programs, including QuickBooks would label this with some arcane accounting name, following founder Scott Cook’s vision, Intuit chose to keep even the menus simple and intuitive.
QB Simple Start comes in two versions – an online edition ($10 per month after the first year, which is included in the initial purchase price) and a regular software edition for the computer.
Users buy the software and can then select to use the web version or software version. Later on, if they made the wrong choice, they can go back to the other version.
QuickBooks Simple Start goes on sale October 4.
Intuit’s gone downstream to reach businesses who want an as simple to use product as possible. What’s next? Will Intuit make a product for the larger business market that NetSuite is going after?