What were statistics about worldwide small business formation doing in a presentation by a senior Intuit executive? After all, Intuit has spent more time pulling out of other countries -- Japan, for example -- than it has spent moving into markets other than the United States in the last few years. There’s not much about QuickBooks that’s international. But there, in an investors’ day presentation by SVP Brad Smith, was a slide showing the number of SMBs outside of the United States (325 million), that many QuickBooks users do business outside of the United States, and that the number of SMBs started somewhere other than in this country are 17 times the rate here. The response to my query to Intuit about these statements was that there’s nothing in the immediate future. However, I don’t think that someone as smart as Brad put those statistics together just for comparison to U.S. figures. He makes about $1.25 million a year. People making that much money don’t tend to do things by accident when they present to Wall Street investors, at least not with figures that specific. Those statistics are part of a slide about trends, and it’s got to be hard for a company in search of growth to ignore the international market and numbers of that size. Besides, the recent alliance with Google also suggests that the Internet will pull Intuit users into other markets. If businesses increasingly accept credit cards -- Intuit has moved into the payment processing business -- and its software line can handle businesses with larger operations -- with the advent of QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions -- it’s hard not to end up with international aspirations. Of course, it will be easier to expand with multi-lingual and multi-currency capabilities. But I bet Intuit gets there in the next two to three years.
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