The business resource planning farm league, QuickBooks add-ons, QuickBase

Filed in Accounting, Business, Intuit QuickBooks by on November 10, 2008

Oliver Marks is a hard-working ZDNet writer and a consultant on ‘Enterprise 2.0’ strategy and tactics. His Collaboration 2.0 blog has these excellent November 8 articles:

I discussed the Unified Smart Grid and the Ultimate Web 2.0 Collaboration at“The Business Resource Planning Farm League” article is even more exciting for QuickBooks and QuickBooks add-on users, especially as it cites two of my articles:

  • Think about it: huge numbers of people now trust Intuit with their sensitive financial information in web-based tax and accounting applications, 15 million by this reckoning.

    • The Truth About Foolish Forecast: Intuit Closes the Books


  • Intuit can make a credible case for being the most security-conscious – and the most trusted – cloud vendor, pushing forward earlier this year with successful promotion of the concept that the cloud is the safest place for sensitive data.

Oliver obviously has unique credentials. He recently judged an Intuit QuickBase (QuickBooks add-ons) contest, with, “an intriguing cross-section of small business problems solved by brand new… applications that tied into… Intuit… Ingenious mash-ups of online maps with GPS devices and geocoding…, online event organization and ticket selling, workflow management, lightweight content management, and other useful-looking tools… clearly had immediate utility… this… is unlikely to keep ERP strategic planners in the big vendors awake at night…, they are likely to help the small business owner sleep better.”

YES! Exactly! The Business Resource Planning Farm League is all about the fast, easy and inexpensive QuickBooks add-ons (as I first named them 8 years ago). They now include many QuickBase web database applications. The Business Resource Planning Farm League QuickBase applications combine ease of use, speed, and flexibility, at low cost ($3 per user per month, after the first 10 users for $249). I have been talking to my Intuit friends about cutting the entry-level price for QuickBase ( – Intuit CEO Brad Smith: “You’re fantastic Mike. Absolutely fantastic!” Former CEO Steve Bennett: “Keep raising hell when Intuit does something wrong!”) This is not far-fetched, as a quick email I sent recently got some QuickBooks price changes. Quicken online was $3 per user per month and is now free. QuickBooks Online is now $10 a month and QuickBooks add-ons start a $0, so I find it hard to suggest QuickBase at $249 per month for as few as three users. I believe QuickBase would be much more attractive QuickBooks add-on to small groups if it started at $10 – $15 per month for the first few users. Intuit could switch to its existing pricing by the time there were 32 and 19 users respectively. This might be even less if those using starter pricing saw ads for QuickBase and QuickBooks add-ons custom programming, which they might well want. Clicking on the ads, or paying QuickBooks developers, could earn money for Intuit. QuickBase revenue and exposure also would increase with free or low-cost listings of QuickBase applications on the QuickBase add-ons site ( Intuit also has long known the ultimate reason for wanting this: QuickBooks add-on users upgrade QuickBooks twice as often.

The Business Resource Planning Farm League QuickBase is such a good QuickBooks add-on that more than half of the Fortune 500 use it, so this may no longer involve The Business Resource Planning Farm League. It is a further example of why I said thousands of business units, at the largest companies, should use QuickBooks (Why should you upgrade to QuickBooks 2009? Outgrowing QuickBooks: No Way!

After writing about these large company business units, which should use QuickBooks and QuickBooks add-ons, I found Intuit officially suggests QuickBooks for up to 500 employees (though I would use their outsourced payroll for anything like this). The 17,000 largest firms have more than a million business units, with an average of only 60 employees. Therefore, more than 500,000 of these units are probably not outgrowing QuickBooks and QuickBooks add-ons, much less most smaller companies.

QuickBooks add-ons, including The Business Resource Planning Farm League QuickBase, do far more than making small business owners sleep better. These small businesses can save a fortune by not only avoiding outgrowing QuickBooks but by even avoiding the upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise. Many can save even more time and money while reducing the many errors and duplicate entries they have in Excel spreadsheets and manual procedures.

This is why I have been pushing Intuit to open all its products to developers since 1998 when I took over a QuickBooks beta forum to discuss QuickBooks add-ons. At the time some QuickBooks add-on developers said Intuit was actively hostile to their efforts. However, by 2001 Intuit made QuickBooks add-on developers their #1 priority. Developers filled needs Intuit could not, while letting QuickBooks remain simple and inexpensive. As mentioned, QuickBooks Add-on users also upgrade QuickBooks twice as often as other users. Now the fastest, easiest, least expensive and most accurate way for small and medium businesses to do more with QuickBooks involves 500 mature, tested and reviewed QuickBooks add-ons and many more QuickBase add-ons. I am now starting to upgrade my free http://QuickBooks site.

It looks like we have three or more times the 8,000 QuickBooks add-ons links we found the last time we looked.

This MAY by why Oliver is wrong to say, in The Business Resource Planning Farm League, that it, “is unlikely to keep ERP strategic planners in the big vendors awake at night…” Software legend and Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy said, “No matter how much talent your company has, most of the smart people don’t work for you.” That might be especially true for even the largest software vendors, which are unlikely to be able to match the 75,000 independent QuickBooks add-on developers that Intuit has. These developers already have links to big company EDI, database, SalesForce, and web programs, so they may compete on programs that let thousands of users batch process exchanges with QuickBooks and QuickBase data. This vastly expands the size of companies that can use QuickBooks and QuickBooks add-ons like QuickBase. In addition, Intuit also keeps growing the number of users that can simultaneously use their products. Web applications, and the new QuickBooks 2009 Adobe form batch processing option, can let thousands of users add data to QuickBooks. Intuit also has a track record of dominating the markets it enters, with very high customer satisfaction. It also does not charge for its QuickBooks or QuickBase software development kits or limited support. This brings to mind the Linux and related open-source effort, which Microsoft and other vendors have every reason to fear. Therefore, The Business Resource Planning Farm League might conclude that every big software company should want to cooperate with Intuit or fear it.

On the other hand, I apologize for things said before that may have been misleading. Many of my 15 million QuickBooks, Quicken, TurboTax users and Intuit employees use web-based versions of these programs. I believe all can download and update programs on the web and get integrated Live Community web support. Many also use web online banking and various QuickBooks add-ons. However, most of these users do not yet use what I would call web-based programs. I also may have been misleading in using the caption Intuit Pushes Deeper Into Cloud – the safest place for data. This safest place statement is unquestionably true. I often suggest that my Intuit friends, other vendors and industry reporters adopt it, but until now it seems to have been mainly mine.

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

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