Intuit changes tech development focus, lays off 715

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In a message to employees yesterday, Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi announced that the software giant would be changing its focus from creating an artificial intelligence-driven platform to virtual solutions, omni-channel commerce and money benefits to small businesses, in light of the impact of COVID-19. Intuit will be laying off 715 employees across the company to accommodate this change.

Over the past year, Intuit has been heavily focused on transforming its QuickBooks solutions into AI-driven platforms, with sophisticated automation and new ways for small businesses to benchmark and create more efficiency. Now, Goodarzi said small businesses are rapidly shifting to online-exclusive business models and need help responding to the new reality that the coronavirus pandemic has created. While Intuit will not abandon its focus on AI, it will spend more of its time developing technology for the new economic landscape.

“To align us for the acceleration we need for the future, we will invest in our most strategic areas, and plan to add more than 700 roles to build the capabilities needed as we look ahead,” Goodarzi said in his announcement. “Even though these are decisions we need to make for the future of Intuit, I know they come at an incredibly tough time for those who have been impacted. It is with a heavy heart that I communicate these changes, and I want to be very clear with everyone how we reached these decisions and what we’re doing to take care of our friends and co-workers who will be leaving the company.”

Although Goodarzi wasn’t specific about where the 700 new roles would be added — or where the 715 layoffs were focused — he pointed out three critical areas within Intuit which would be driving the most change. On the technology side, investment will increase in “key engineering skills such as systems engineering, full-stack engineering, data science, data engineering, mobile and native cloud” to help build the speed of development, as well as continuing to build an AI-driven platform.

On the customer relationship side, Intuit plans to hire process engineers, system analysts and workforce analysts to improve efficiency in delivering customer satisfaction. This suggests a more tech-led customer success approach, which is in line with Intuit’s interest in pushing AI to the forefront of its platforms.

In sales, Intuit aims to “transform into a world-class SaaS organization by working to simplify and focus each sales interaction.” The company will invest in skills that target new mid-market customers — another trend Intuit has been following in the past year and a half — while automating and outsourcing simpler sales interactions and up-leveling skills to build a new partner/reseller ecosystem to serve the mid-market.

"The addition of these new roles means both small businesses and accountants will see continued improvements in our products and services," a spokesperson for Intuit told Accounting Today. "We will continue to leverage the latest in technology (AI, machine learning) to create seamless integrations across the QuickBooks platform that add efficiencies in how small businesses and accountants manage their businesses and provide insights to make smart business decisions. Advances in technology and people across our customer care teams also ensure that help is there when our customers need us."

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Coronavirus Intuit QuickBooks Artificial intelligence