Reporting on Intuit's
Intuit's profits dropped 15% year over year in the second quarter (to $0.34 per share), despite an 11% rise in sales, as higher marketing spending ate into profit margins. Seeing this, Forbes drew an analogy between the firm's historic rivalry with H&R Block
Forbes sees a similar situation developing with respect to QuickBooks accounting software, which faces competition from U.K. rival Sage and local foe Microsoft
So far, so good
These are reasonable takes on the news. I don't disagree. But when I look at Intuit's story, something entirely different jumps out at me: Thank goodness these guys bought Digital Insight! You see, in a quarter in which QuickBooks revenue climbed a bare 5%, TurboTax sales attained double-digit growth only with prohibitive marketing costs, payroll revenue flatlined, and professional tax revenue dropped 19%, Intuit's "financial institutions" division (specializing in online banking and bill paying) was the shining star. This division, essentially Digital Insight under a new name, posted $72.3 million in revenue.
Intuit didn't say how much growth that added in total, but having followed Digital Insight for years before the acquisition, I can tell you that the $72.3 million in "financial institutions" revenue was about 28% higher than the $56.7 million Digital Insight booked on its own in the quarter ended in December 2005 -- its final quarter before the buyout. To me, that suggests about 14% growth, making it easily Intuit's best-performing division. What's more, it appears that "financial institutions" contributed close to 90% of what little revenue growth Intuit achieved in Q2.
Why should investors pay attention to this tiny Intuit division? Well, there are two reasons: First -- just because Intuit's most famous for TurboTax and QuickBooks, that doesn't mean those products are all there is to the company. "Financial institutions" could well drive growth going forward.
Second, while the online banking software industry has pretty much been carved up and swallowed up by larger companies over the past two years (Carlyle Group got Open Solutions, and Fiserv
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