Quickbooks pricing revisited

The pricing information in this post is now of of date.

I can save businesses $500+. But should I?

Quickbooks remains by far the most popular small business accounting platform capturing about 4 in 5 businesses in this market. The services I most commonly work with – accounting, taxes, banking services, financial planning, payroll and benefits – often stem from this core accounting system. Over the years the pricing of QuickBooks has varied dramatically and the marketing promotions seem to be in a state of constant change. It reminds me of auto dealer promotions. I can’t keep up with the offers. In fact, I can’t even keep up with understanding my own monthly bill where Intuit debits my bank account for the multiple business accounts and various services.

Today I had two different communications about QuickBooks pricing.

First a business owner who is not a client sent an email asking if I could offer a discount on QuickBooks. I shied away because I don’t want to be in the software selling business and explained that I usually offer it as part of other more valuable services.

Then, by chance, this afternoon I misdialed trying to reach Intuit’s ProAdvisor support and was on the phone with an Intuit sales representative instead. In a short conversation he convinced me to take five more QuickBooks Plus accounts for resale or distribution. They offer the subscription at half price ($25 instead of $50) for three months but for the next few days I can get it at half price for two years. (That is a different deal than the last time I talked to them and I have no idea what it will be in the future).

Intuit really likes accountants like me1 who are essentially an unpaid sales force. Users should theoretically be flocking to buy their QuickBooks service from independent accountants who can save them more than $500 over the first two years. But like many marketing programs, it doesn’t work as well in practice as in theory.

The question is: Do I want to use the QuickBooks discount offer as a marketing tool? In theory it could be a good idea but in practice I don’t have any success stories to cite as examples. If I were to offer QuickBooks n this way, how should the offer be constructed?  I’m open to ideas and plan to speak with my marketing resources this week.

1 CPAs are required to disclosed and reach an understanding with clients if they are being paid compensation for selling a product. This is not the case with Intuit QuickBooks because there is no commission or other compensation. However, Intuit does offer the opportunity for accountants to purchase and then resell the product at a higher price. My experience is that the QuickBooks pricing promotions to accountants have been complicated (bundled purchases, rebates and and changing terms) so I don’t actually know my actual cost.


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