What happened

Shares of financial software company Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) rose 24.8% in 2018, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The gain was particularly impressive given that it marks a significant outperformance for the stock relative to the overall market. Highlighting the market's woes in 2018, the S&P 500 declined about 6% during the year.

Intuit stock's outperformance was driven by strong business performance, including accelerating revenue growth and a huge increase in QuickBooks Online subscribers.

QuickBooks Online on a tablet.

Image source: Intuit.

So what

In Intuit's fiscal 2018, which ended on July 31 of last year, revenue jumped 15% year over year. This was a significant acceleration compared with Intuit's 10% year-over-year revenue growth in fiscal 2017. In addition, Intuit's year-over-year revenue growth in its first quarter of fiscal 2019 continued to outpace fiscal 2017 revenue growth, rising 12% year over year. 

Intuit's profitability is improving even more rapidly. GAAP and non-GAAP earnings per share increased by 25% and 27%, respectively, in fiscal 2018. For the first quarter of fiscal 2019, GAAP EPS was $0.13, up from a loss of $0.01 in the year-ago quarter. Non-GAAP EPS for this period jumped 71% year over year to $0.29.

Also, Intuit's QuickBooks Online subscriptions have notably soared, rising 41% year over year to 3.6 million subscribers in the company's fiscal first quarter of 2019.

Now what

In Intuit's fiscal first-quarter earnings release, published Nov. 19, 2018, management was optimistic about the coming quarters. "We are off to a strong start this year, with overall revenue growth of 12 percent during the first quarter, with strength across each of our businesses," said then-Intuit CEO Brad Smith.

Check out the latest Intuit earnings call transcript.