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Why Quickbooks did not work out in India

The company has four million customers globally, with less than 1-2 per cent in India.
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Intuit, an accounting software provider, has decided to pull its QuickBooks product from India after a decade of operation here. QuickBooks’ products and services for accountancy and small businesses will no longer be available from January 31, 2023. The company stated that it is not accepting any new subscriptions in India – it applies to all the services like QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Online Accountant, QuickBook Time, and QuickBook mobile app. It has further asked its customers to download their data and transition out of the product.

This development seems too sudden, and the company has not offered any specific reason for it yet. “​​This difficult decision to discontinue QuickBooks has been made as the company can no longer deliver and support a product that meets the needs of customers in India,” the official statement says. The company has four million customers globally, with less than 1-2 per cent in India.

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For now, Intuit’s decision to pull QuickBooks from India, which affects 30,000 businesses, is seen to be a great opportunity for competitors like Zoho and Tally to fill in.

Intuit QuickBooks’ India journey

QuickBooks’ suite of offerings includes cloud accounting, inventory management, cash flow management, and invoicing. It also provides an online practise management solution for chartered accountants through QuickBooks Online Accountant.

Intuit introduced QuickBooks in India in 2012, but even before that, the cloud-based accounting solution was running in alpha and beta versions for 12 months. When it entered the India market, QuickBooks positioned itself to target 2 million broadband-connected small businesses. At that time, Tally was QuickBooks’ biggest competitor, having a strong presence in the small and medium space.

Over the years, QuickBooks gained popularity in the Indian market. Some of its selling features include affordability, accessibility, ease of use, ease of installation and maintenance. In an earlier interview with Analytics India Magazine, Saurabh Saxena, India site leader and vice president, Product Development at Intuit, said that the India team has been responsible for building several foundational capabilities of QuickBooks Online Advance products, like workflow automation platform, reporting platform, roles-based access, power tools for power customers, customisation, among others.

In one of the major milestones, QuickBooks was made GST compliant in 2017. This helped customers to create transactions with the new GST tax rates without disruption and customise invoice templates to display specific information.

In the latest development, Intuit India announced an agreement with Visa in March this year to strengthen business propositions for SME customers in India. It was touted to be the first of its kind for Intuit QuickBooks in India. This agreement was to develop joint value propositions and thought leadership in the SME space.

Possible reasons for QuickBooks withdrawal

Like several other industries, SMEs are rapidly digitalising their processes – digital bookkeeping, payments, inventory management, and delivery. SMEs are boosting their investment in technology.

Despite the opportunities that this field offers, it also has unique challenges which may be difficult to traverse. Given what constitutes SMEs – from local grocery to suppliers to big brands, creating a one-fit solution does not make sense. It is important for SME-focused players to have specific knowledge of the requirements and the understanding of challenges to offer appropriate solutions.

Over the years, several homegrown accounting software vendors have entered the market – Zoho being one of the prime examples. The Indian government’s AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign may have played a role in promoting these homegrown businesses.

Huge opportunities for competitors

Soon after Intuit made the announcement regarding QuickBooks, Zoho announced that it is open to supporting and serving customers of QuickBooks and helping them transition smoothly to their platform.

“Zoho Books has been in the market since 2011. We have a very strong customer base in India which is rapidly growing. We are hyper-focused on strengthening and expanding our operations in the country. We are fully committed to helping businesses take care of their finances and fulfil their GST and any other regulatory-related obligations. We will work continually to serve businesses by providing them with a world-class, future-proof financial management solution which they can rely on while growing their business. We would be glad to support QuickBooks customers in India looking for an alternative solution. We have a dedicated team focused on making the transition as smooth as possible,” Prashant Ganti, head of products – Tax, Accounting & Payroll, Zoho said.

Another major competitor that has been around in the market even before QuickBooks is Tally. It currently commands more than 75 per cent of the market share and has 2 billion users. Apart from accessibility and ease of use, Tally’s popularity mainly comes from the familiarity factor and user acceptness. With the exit of a major competitor, Tally’s popularity is set to soar even more.

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Shraddha Goled
I am a technology journalist with AIM. I write stories focused on the AI landscape in India and around the world with a special interest in analysing its long term impact on individuals and societies. Reach out to me at shraddha.goled@analyticsindiamag.com.

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