Intuit CEO Brad Smith, You’re Fantastic Mike! Abolutely fantastic!

Filed in Intuit QuickBooks by on July 9, 2018

Intuit CEO Brad Smith wrote me many emails

The first Intuit CEO I impressed was not Intuit CEO Brad Smith

The current Intuit CEO Brad Smith was not the first Intuit CEO that I impressed. Steve Bennett was the Intuit CEO before Brad. It was while Steve was CEO that I became the only person to win two #1 Top Tester awards for QuickBooks beta (pre-release) testing. The key to this was to get Intuit to listen closely to the many changes that I and many others felt it should make. Fortunately, these Intuit leaders had long been committed to making the changes users wanted, as Intuit had long been eager for user direction.

I later learned that Intuit was began as one of the originators of what became known as software engineering. It is now a standard best practice. Intuit did not release Quicken until its founder had students and women’s club members repeatedly test every version. He then had his programmer partner use his test results to revise Quicken every night. It was during this period that Intuit got its first patent. It covered a technique for the Quicken computer to know when paper checks were properly positioned for printing. As a result, Intuit timed experienced computer experts trying to install 34 competing programs and print a check. They averaged more than 30 minutes, when they could do it at all. When Intuit then gave computer novices the same test, they all completed it within 5 minutes. Quicken was soon #1, against these 34 competitors.

Soon after the release of QuickBooks, I began answering many newsgroup and forum QuickBooks questions. At one point a friend told me I answered about 7,000 such QuickBooks questions. I was especially active when I could not answer a question or when it seemed that a user had not been appropriately helped by Intuit tech support. This made the QuickBooks tech support manager a repeated contact, as he and other Intuit leaders gladly followed up on my suggestions.

All this resulted in my  appointment to the first QuickBooks ProAdvisor Customer Advisory Council. I took time out for this, even during a Council meeting, to work on a QuickBooks payroll tax protest. This became very costly for Intuit, as it decided to drop the increase. CNET later wrote this about it:

This major victory for consumers of Intuit’s financial products was almost certainly caused by a gigantic hue and cry in the Internet discussion group known as “biz.comp.accounting.” Block, the owner of a Florida tax consultancy BlockTax, is the moderator of the discussion group and led the battle against the new fees.

Despite this (or because of it), Steve later wrote,

“Keep raising hell when Intuit does something wrong.”

Brad’s first email, before becoming Intuit CEO Brad Smith

Brad first wrote to me in 2003:

I am reaching out to you by way of this e-mail in hopes that we can schedule a 30 minute call to make introductions and briefly discuss ideas and key areas of focus. I understand that this is the busiest time of year, but have also been told by many Intuit executives such as Rich Walker, Tom Allanson and others that you have been quite open to taking the time to assist Intuit, are a tremendous voice of reason and are one of our most impactful and innovative Professional Advisors.

 Brad Smith Intuit CEO

Brad Smith Intuit CEO

Rich Walker led the QuickBooks Advisory Council and Tom Allanson led TurboTax. Brad later wrote that the Steve actually told him to contact me BEFORE coming to Intuit. He soon created the Intuit website that I wanted. It let users propose and vote on QuickBooks changes. Brad and I exchanged countless other emails. There were many fast email exchanges, including on Saturday and Sunday. Brad even apologized when travel delayed him. He especially apologized about his delay during a trip to India. Of course, I gladly reported all this activity, as much of it related to what others wanted.

Brad later wrote this in one such email, which he then promptly gave me permission to quote.

“You’re Fantastic Mike! Absolutely fantastic!”

The path to Brad Smith Intuit CEO

Brad began in the QuickBooks division. One of the many times that we exchanged emails was when I wrote about a developer friend. He had a problem with a QuickBooks update crashing his keyboard-macro payroll add-on. Brad got QuickBooks programming involved the day I wrote, even though it was the week before Christmas. Within three days QuickBooks was testing a program revision. My developer friend tested the change on the 4th day after I wrote. All QuickBooks users got an email to download the change on day 5. Brad made all this happen, thought we both knew that having him do nothing would mean more payroll business for Intuit!

Brad soon became the head of TurboTax. We continued our many emails while he was there, thought I was then using Intuit ProSeries Tax.  I repeatedly pushed Brad to use tech support backed user-to-user forums, to avoid long phone support delays. When he did this, the forums were a big help. They also produced very big savings for Intuit, compared to the former phone-only support.

Brad became Senior VP of the Small Business Division (including QuickBooks) in May 2006. That was when I told him that his repeated fast transfers meant he would soon be Intuit CEO. Meanwhile, he quickly added tech support backed user forums for QuickBooks. These resulted in far better help for users, far bigger savings for Intuit and an international award. He became Intuit CEO Brad Smith in January 2008 and Intuit products have rapidly gotten better ever since.

Thanks to Brad and his team, Intuit now includes:

    • QuickBooks – 7 million users (3.8 million current sales + 3 years of QB Desktop extended use)
    • TurboTax – 31 million users (2016)
    • Mint – 20 million users (2016)
    • Many millions of Payroll, Payments Professional Tax and other users.
    • Quicken – once 12 million users, has since been sold

2017 QuickBooks video ad, with Intuit CEO Brad Smith

About the Author ()

Fastest, easiest, accurate, low-cost QuickBooks! Intuit - QuickBooks CEO, "You're fantastic Mike! Absolutely fantastic!" Tax fighting CPA.

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