This just in (well, it came in at about 10pm UK time last night, but I was watching thirtysomething) – Intuit will be incorporating Google functionality (mainly AdWords and Froogle, by the looks of things) into its next version of Quickbooks.
I’m a big Quickbooks fan – we use it to manage the books for my wife’s business – despite (or perhaps because of) its quirks and kind of faux-nineties crappy-looking interface. If you’re thinking of setting up in business, it’s really the first thing that you should buy (after you’ve bought yourself a computer to run it on, anyway). We waited 18 months to finally get onto Quickbooks, and are still catching up now. 🙁
The thing that struck me when using Quickbooks is how comprehensive it is – it already has a full stock-management function, can pay suppliers and employees directly, and of course generates all the required reporting (like annual accounts and tax returns) automatically. So it seems like a very obvious step to allow Quickbooks users to promote their products from within the product.
What would be very cool would be to be able to create a complete, stand-alone online store run and maintained through Quickbooks. It wouldn’t have to have very fancy functionality to be useful to many businesses, I think – the level of capability of Actinic would be fine (there’s a stock tip: look out for Actinic being bought by Intuit). Being able to submit product info into Froogle is one thing, but having a site to call your own is quite another. If they wanted to, they could use Google Checkout as the payment engine.
But this is a smart move on Google’s part – there are millions of small business owners out there using Quickbooks, and this is a perfect way to reach them. It should help them extend further out into the tail – though the more advertisers they get on board, the more expensive the advertising becomes; eventually there has to be a point where paid search becomes uneconomical for certain types of business. I’ll come back to this topic in a future post.