Google and Intuit Partner Up

Michelle Megna

Updated · Sep 14, 2006

Google and Intuit, makers of the small business accounting software QuickBooks, announced a partnership that will integrate Google’s listing and marketing tools into the 2007 version of the bookkeeping suite due out this fall.

“Google understands the Web better than anyone else,” according to Intuit president and CEO Steve Bennett. And no one sells more small accounting software than Intuit, which has sold more than 3.7 million copies of QuickBooks. By combining forces through the strategic alliance the companies hope to help those millions of businesses sell more online.

Small businesses who buy QuickBooks 2007 will be able to design and manage search-advertising campaigns with Google AdWords, list their businesses on Google Maps and use the listing service Google Base to get items on the search giant. The QuickBooks Product Listing Service is designed to let sellers automatically upload inventory data and photos to Google Base, which places merchandise, often with a shopping bag icon, in a separate listing on top of the organic Google search results. That service is driven by StepUp Commerce, a former Intuit partner that finanial software vendor acquired today.

Google and QuickBooks Partner
Who said accounting and marketing don’t mix? Google’s tool will have promenient place on the QuickBooks homepage.

The advantage is that small business owners will be able to complete these tasks with a click or two from within their accounting package, avoiding the need to re-key data into the program. QuickBooks 2007 will also add the Google Desktop to help small business search for customer data. Because it’s integrated into the accounting software, searches can be managed by security levels set QuickBooks 2007. For example, a employee without the proper permissions couldn’t search for sensitive financial information.

To sweeten the deal, the companies are offering a $50 AdWord credit to QuickBooks clients. They can use AdWords to advertise themselves online by selecting search terms related to their product or service and creating customized ads that show up when shoppers search on Google for those products or services.

It appears Google is trying to reach both online and offline small business owners — and their ad dollars. The company hopes to gain one million new advertisers from the Intuit coupling, Eric Schmidt, Google CEO said during a conference call following Wednesday’s announcement.

Google, in turn, believes those without a Web site can still profit from online marketing and search queries and is offering to host free profile pages for firms without Web sites. The free profile pages will server as landing pages, in essence providing a destination for potential customers who click on an online ad.

“To me, the trick is velocity,” Schmidt said. “How quickly can you get a customer online and making money. The quicker you can do that the happier they are.”

And, it appears that if things go well next year, we’ll see more joint ventures between the two companies. Schmidt said, “We see this as the beginning of a much bigger partnership.”

Michelle Megna is managing editor of

Dan Muse contributed to this report.

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