Here is the secret: why Intuit Will Not Have Mint or Yodlee Exports to QuickBooks, Quicken or Xero. I recently posted a version of this at Community-powered support for Mint.com, under Quickbooks desktop integration with Mint.com. Surprisingly, it survived initial moderation.
In 10+ years as QuickBooks insider, with fast CEO email exchanges up to six times a day (even on Sundays), I never got denials when suggesting why QuickBooks did not introduce killer features fast. This especially applied to my 2004 suggestion for importing all bank and credit card accounts with one click. Quicken (not QuickBooks) now has this. I also wanted automatic scheduled updates, similar to what we have with any antivirus or drive defragmentation program. I even wanted QuickBooks to use its Dun & Bradstreet relationship, so we could choose from a list of our accounts, with numbers and optional overnight verification, instead of having to manually enter each account name and number and wait for immediate feedback.
Senior Intuit execs thought these were great ideas, requiring very little programming. Their top download person called and spoke to me for more than 30 minutes. However, Intuit did not use these ideas quickly, so we got Mint in 2006. Intuit also did not use them by 2009, so it paid $170 million for Mint and dropped Quicken Online. Intuit is still not using them in QuickBooks 2012, so Xero is growing faster than any version of QuickBooks. This is amazing, considering that current Intuit CEO Brad Smith (even before he was CEO) once saved a friend in four days, during the week before Christmas, at my request. He did so with a QuickBooks fix. To me, the speed of this fix showed the secret of why Intuit will not soon have Mint or Yodlee exports to QuickBooks, Quicken or Xero. It also shows why QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online and Quicken will not soon have direct Mint-type imports. It was even a factor in my telling Brad that he would be the next Intuit CEO, two years before he was.
This very serious secret problem, not developer priorities, often stops Intuit from quickly using the best QuickBooks upgrade ideas, or from quickly creating a Mint to QuickBooks or Quicken transfer program. It relates to the type of improvement sandbagging Intuit successfully used when Microsoft last attacked QuickBooks. Absent such an attack, the very serious secret relates to QuickBooks already having around a 95% market share. That giant market share means Intuit cannot afford to wipe out competitors like Xero or Zoho Books (which have automatic nightly downloads and powerful account assignment Rules – think Outlook Rules on steroids). It also relates to not wanting to lose a third Justice Department anti-monopoly lawsuit. That is the secret: why Intuit will not soon have Mint or Yodlee exports to QuickBooks, Quicken or Xero. It also is the secret of why Intuit will not soon have direct bank and other financial institution imports into QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online or Quicken. If it did this, Intuit could lose much more than it could ever gain from a few more customers. Shhhh!
Fortunately, independent CPAs like us are not so limited. We already have developers creating a Mint or Yodlee to QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online and Xero import program. It will be great until many users realize that all QuickBooks versions are now overly expensive to buy and far too expensive to use with CPAs. By the way, after 28 years of using Quicken and QuickBooks exclusively, I now am #2 in the U.S. for the number of Xero clients (List View).
After all, why pay $5 to $10 a month for a QuickBooks importer, as a few suggest, if Xero automatically imports everything directly into the right accounts, for $12 a month? This is a Xero Partner price, but my price is your price. After all, the best way to get better products is to help increase competition.