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Intuit’s Edge Challenged By H&R Block This Tax Season

Posted on Monday, Feb 21st 2011

Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU), the maker of QuickBooks and Turbo Tax accounting software, last week reported its second quarter results that missed its revenue guidance due to a delay in electronic tax filings. Intuit expects the delay to shift about $60 million revenue to the next quarter, and its shares are trading about 8% higher after the earnings report. Some analysts, however, say that Intuit is facing stiff competition from H&R Block.

Intuit’s Financials

Second quarter revenue grew 5% y-o-y to $878 million, missing the company’s earlier guidance of $920 million to $940 million. Operating income decreased 20% over the year to $111 million or $0.23 per share, from income of $139 million or $0.35 per share in Q2 of fiscal year 2010. Intuit repurchased $530 million of its shares in the quarter and has $1.1 billion left in its share purchase authorization. It ended the quarter with cash, equivalents, and investments of $1.17 billion.

Consumer Tax revenue was down 6% mainly due to taxpayers waiting longer to pay taxes; the filing date is April 15. The company estimates the delay will shift $40 million to $60 million in business from the second to the third quarter but will not change revenue for the tax season. Overall, the company expects revenue from consumer tax preparation to climb 10% to 13% this year.

Accounting Professionals revenue declined 2% and Financial Services revenue grew 3% in the quarter. Revenue from Other Business grew 5%.

Financial Management Solutions revenue increased 21%, driven by strong growth in QuickBooks Enterprise, and Online. Employee Management Solutions revenue grew 11% driven by increases in online and enhanced payroll subscribers, as well as strong retention. Payments Solutions revenue grew 7% as merchants grew 14% and transaction volume per merchant grew 1%. Intuit GoPayment, a mobile offering that lets merchants accept payments over their iPhones and other devices, has become an effective customer acquisition channel that competes with an offering from private company Square.

Total Small Business Group revenue grew 15% driven by strong growth in QuickBooks Enterprise and Online. Intuit saw 52% growth in online subscribers for QuickBooks to a total of 241,000, or about one-fifth of a total of 1.4 million QuickBooks users.

Steven D Jones on Wall Street Journal reports:

“Intuit has offered an online product for a decade. Sales began taking off in the past two years after the company added functionality and small-business clients became more comfortable with storing data online, Chief Financial Officer Neil Williams said in a separate interview.”

The recession has also contributed to a rise in the do-it-yourself tax filing preparation. However, Liana B. Baker on Reuters reports that analysts say Intuit’s dominance could be challenged in the 2012 tax season by H&R Block after its acquisition of a digital tax preparation software company last year:

“Chief Executive Brad Smith brushed off concerns that Intuit would lose market share next year because of the acquisition.

“Putting those two together certainly will be a win for H&R Block but it doesn’t change the game for us — we have to stay laser focused on our customers and make sure our product delivers a better value,” Smith said in an interview.”

Teresa Rivas on Barron’s reports that about 60% of Intuit’s business comes from hosted services or the software in their own data centers through a Web browser. This cloud computing model not only saves costs for Intuit; it also gives it an edge over competitors.

For the third quarter, Intuit expects revenue of $1.76 billion to $1.83 billion, or growth of 10% to 14%. It expects GAAP operating income of $1 billion to $1.5 billion or GAAP diluted EPS of $2.01 to $2.18. Analysts on average expect earnings of $2.22 per share and revenue of $1.82 billion.

Intuit also reiterated its full-year fiscal 2011 revenue and operating income guidance. For the full year 2011, Intuit expects revenue of $3.74 billion to $3.84 billion, growth of 8% to 11%.It expects GAAP operating income of $980 million to $1.015 billion or GAAP EPS of $1.93 to $2.00. Intuit is trading around $54 with market cap of about $17 billion. Its 52-week range is $31.58 to $54.68.

Chart forIntuit Inc. (INTU)

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