Fiscal 2011 was such a great year for Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU ) that the company has decided to pay a dividend for the first time in its history. The first dividend will be $0.15 a share, with a yield of 1.33%, and it'll be paid on Oct. 18.
Three sectors helped the company this year and stand poised to continue to in the future.
Small-business accounting leader
Intuit has many business segments, but is probably best known for its small-business accounting software QuickBooks. Growth in QuickBooks Online and Enterprise Solution drove the revenue growth, but all versions of QuickBooks continue to sell well, with revenue growing 11% for the year. In the realm of small-business accounting solutions, QuickBooks is the leading software, beating out competing offerings such as Sage Group's Peachtree Accounting, Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Small Business Manager and NetSuite's (NYSE: N ) Small Business.
QuickBooks integrates well with other Intuit offerings, especially for small businesses that have employees. Payroll customers grew by 2% last year despite the tough economy. Although payroll-management levels have not quite reached the levels of Paychex (Nasdaq: PAYX ) and Automatic Data Processing (Nasdaq: ADP ) , it is an added benefit to QuickBooks customers to have a payroll solution that works specifically with the software used to track business financials.
Furthermore, more merchants are using Intuit Payment Solutions, growing the number of merchants by 11% for the year. Small businesses are moving away from other services, including eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY ) service PayPal, and integrating Intuit payment processing on websites, at retail terminals, through QuickBooks, and even by using smartphones with special card readers.
Do your own taxes
There's more to Intuit than QuickBooks. Revenue growth of consumer-tax software TurboTax grew 13% for the year on unit growth of 12%, meaning that the revenue increase was not simply due to higher prices. With an estimated 19 million people filing their own taxes this year, TurboTax was poised to be a beneficiary. H&R Block (NYSE: HRB ) tried to expand its personal-tax business by acquiring TaxACT, a move that the Justice Department ultimately blocked in May, citing antitrust concerns. The attempted purchase, however, shows how desperate Block was to compete with Intuit in this lucrative and growing sector.
See where your money went
Lastly, Intuit has emerged as the premier provider in personal-finance management software with Quicken. Quicken emerged victorious in 2009 after a long head-to-head battle with Microsoft Money to win this lucrative market. Throw in its acquisition on Mint.com the same year, and Intuit has provided the tools to track personal finances.
Of course they do
The management team at Intuit expects growth in all aspects of its business next year. Add to the potential of more dividends in the future, and it becomes an interesting company to keep an eye on. As it continues to expand its business offerings, it may be better positioned to compete with the other companies I've mentioned. I'll be following this company closely, and I urge you to do the same by adding it to your watchist.