Willie Sutton famously replied to the question of why he robbed banks with “Because that’s where the money is.” Ask financial software king Intuit why it’s moving so aggressively into tablets and the answer is equally simple: That’s where the users are.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.-- Tablets were well in evidence at the company’s Innovative Gallery Walk held at Intuit’s Silicon Valley headquarters. Various stations showed off the latest Intuit offerings from banking and its popular TurboTax tax preparation to Mint personal finance and new products like Weave, a task and money flow manager for “pre-Quickbooks” startups and small companies that want an easy way to track expenses and tasks.
Weave began as an experimental in-house project at Intuit for the iPhone that now supports the iPad as well as a Web version.
“We noticed customers have a lot of lightweight apps, like task managers, that don’t talk to each other and we wanted to provide a way to tie everything together,” said Justin Glaeser, the Lead Designer for Weave at Intuit.
The free app lets you track how much you’re spending on any given project or task, keep track of when tasks are completed and receive an alert when they’re done or some other action (paying a bill) is required.
Weave is also a global release that supports and can track different currencies. Glaeser says likely improvements to come, based on customer requests, are a simpler way to handle recurring tasks and scan and attach photos to tasks.
TurboTax has been available for the iPad for three years now, almost since the iPad was first released, and was an immediate success, said William Scarvie, a staff software engineer for the best-selling software.
With the latest version you can do things like scan a W-2 form and the software will recognize the form and figures.
While we all may have spent time preparing our taxes while hunched over our desk and PC going through receipts in a shoebox, Scarvie says that profile is changing and tablets give TurboTax customers a lot more flexibility.
“Now you can work on your taxes in bed, on the couch or even when you’re playing with your kids in the backyard,” he said.
Banking on tablet success
Intuit CEO Brad Smith said the company encourages innovation by small teams including a program that lets individuals spend 10% of their time working on side projects that could prove to be hits. (PHOTO: Intuit CEO Brad Smith)
Teams are typically made up of “enough people that can be fed by two pizzas,” Smith joked. It took such a team 11 weeks to develop their highly rated iPad banking app, building on the company’s success with an iPhone version.
Smith says the average consumer visits a bank 2.4 times a month.
“But with the tablet app, they are interacting with the bank 33 times a month,” he said. “It’s a real opportunity for the bank to strengthen its relationship with the customer.”
Intuit works with a network of banks and financial institutions (1,200 in all) to facilitate home banking and other transactions.
A few weeks ago, Intuit added an Android version (for Android devices including Amazon’s Kindle Fire) of its banking app, which was already available for the iPad.
“There are lots of opportunities with the tablet app because you can do more in your own time, on your own schedule,” Nathan Kane, a product manager for Intuit’s tablet banking service, told TabTimes.
Fred Shurherk, Web Services Manager for Star One Credit Union, said the iPad is used far more often by his customers than the iPhone and more recently, even eclipsed the PC. Shurherk says as a user himself, he appreciates being able to set alerts so he can see when his wife’s used their credit card.
He adds that the “killer app” at the credit union is the ability to remotely deposit checks.