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Editor's Corner: The Intuit-TSheets Buy

Dec 5th 2017
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When news happens in our world, we would rather step back from simply 'reporting'  in order to provide some insight and an opportunity for you to discuss when news happens that impacts you and your clients. In this case, I’d like to share my thoughts and get discussion around Intuit buying TSheets.

I can assume that, with the way news travels, you have at least seen or heard from a colleague that Intuit has made moves to buy one of its long-time third-party application partners TSheets – a small-business focused time tracking technology provider -- for approximately $340M.

Once the transaction closes, Time Capture will become a new offering within Intuit’s Small Business and Self-Employed Group with TSheets CEO Matt Rissell assuming the leader role reporting to Intuit's VP & GM of Self-Employed Solutions Alex Chriss. It was also reported that all TSheets employees will remain on at its Eagle, Idaho headquarters where Intuit will also have staff.

Of significant note is a statement from Rissell in a blog this morning, who said: “TSheets will remain an open platform by maintaining and building partnerships with other best-of-breed solutions. We believe that together with Intuit we will accelerate our ability to deliver seamless end-to-end experiences for the customers we mutually serve.”

One would like to believe that TSheets can and will maintain relations with other core accounting partners that it has, but it could prove difficult over time. That of key Intuit competitor Xero comes to mind, as does its integration partnerships with Sage and Reckon who also do compete with Intuit on some level.

The fact that this news was announced on the first day of the US Xerocon 2017 is also worth noting, but I’m not going to read into that too much. Overall though, this move on Intuit’s part shouldn’t be so surprising.

Intuit has a long history of acquiring solutions that they themselves haven’t built and that fit will into their mid to long-term plans for their small business customers. And, as is the case with TSheets, if there is a network of accountants (as users or recommenders) to go along with the buy, it’s gravy.

I do want to note though that one of the specters hanging over the accounting application market, nay the small business application market is the sheer volume of like technology that exists. I am of course referring to other time tracking apps, expense reporting, data analytics, invoicing, expense management, inventory management and a dozen other categories. At some point, consolidation needs to happen and this buy is a pretty significant indicator of that.

In fact, if you have any doubt of the size you need look no further than this ecosystem chart put together by Accountex, which shows how the app ecosystem has doubled in the past 18 months alone.

Now I am no prognosticator, nor do I claim to be. I have witnessed changes in the accounting profession and related technology for nearly 16 years and I have spotted trends and seen flags from time to time. Consolidation can and will happen, make no mistake and exactly how it will impact you and your clients will depend on your own ability to pivot and communicate and on the relationships you maintain with core accounting and third-party app providers.

I’ve said my piece for now, it would be great to hear from you!

Replies (2)

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Liz Farr
By Liz Farr
Dec 7th 2017 18:44 EST

Does this mean Intuit is planting a stake in the debate over hourly billing versus value pricing?

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Seth F
By Seth Fineberg
Dec 8th 2017 10:53 EST

Good point, Liz but I wouldn't go that far. Time still needs to be tracked and factored in to a value pricing situation. But, moreover TSheets, in terms of user base, has predominantly small business customers who have employees/staff that have time and scheduling needs.

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