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Mobile: A New Way to Solve Old Problems

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During my recent participation at CTIA’s MobileCon, I spoke about how mobile has reinvented Intuit’s ability to improve our customers’ financial lives.  For Intuit, mobile is far more than a new platform to reach customers. It also presents unique opportunities to develop innovative solutions to old problems.

Both of these elements of mobile are at work in our tax business.  An exciting example is SnapTax, which allows individuals to file a simple tax return directly from their mobile phone.  Tax filers take a picture of their W-2 with their smart phone and the app reads the information from the form using optical character recognition. The entire filing experience takes just 10 minutes. SnapTax uses the unique power of mobile to do something we could never do elsewhere.

For those with more complicated taxes, you can start your tax return on your phone, and then finish it online. Your data follows you seamlessly across whatever platform is most convenient for you at the time.

We’ve also used mobile to create solutions that fit with our customers’ busy, on-the-go lifestyles.  MoneyDue is an app that converts appointments in a phone’s calendar into invoices. As soon as small business owners finish an appointment – whether it’s giving a music lesson or painting a house – they can convert that appointment into an invoice and send it right from their phone. For small business owners on the move, this service simplifies their lives and saves them time and money. It is a solution Intuit could not deliver before the age of mobile.

Developing new mobile solutions extends beyond the world of smart phones. In India, where more people have greater access to basic cellphones than the Internet, we saw an opportunity to improve the lives of farmers.  Fasal is a service that allows farmers to use the SMS text messaging function on their phones to locate the highest market prices for their goods.  The service now has over 1 million users and allows farmers to increase the sale price of their crops by 15-20 percent.

New offerings like these have all of us at Intuit excited about mobile.  As a company, we have always organized ourselves around a simple core mission: improving people’s lives by saving them time and money.  Now with mobile, we have a powerful set of new tools to continue our journey and develop new innovative solutions for our customers.

Tayloe Stansbury

Tayloe, senior vice president and chief technology officer, leads Intuit's engineering teams to deliver innovative and successful offerings that drive commercial growth. With more than 25 years of experience in the software industry, Stansbury previously served as chief information officer of VMware.

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