With all the recent talk of the new on-demand economy, you could be forgiven for believing that the notion of …
Early this week it was announced that Intuit, the company behind products like Quickbooks and Turbotax, acquired TSheets. The deal makes plenty of sense- Intuit and TSheets both have a small business audience, which had prompted their integration many years ago. This newly minted partnership will help strengthen their foothold in that market even further. However, in our two decades of being in the time tracking industry, we have seen several acquisitions of a similar nature with mixed results.
When a deal like this happens, it’s easy to see the glass half-full at first. But, while the arrangement might be great for the companies involved, it’s current and future customers typically end up taking on most of the brunt, and have to deal with not just the good, but the bad and the unexpected.
If Quickbooks is your payroll or invoicing solution, then this deal is great for you. The acquisition will naturally bring about tighter integrations between Quickbooks and Tsheets, making time tracking, invoicing, and payroll much easier.
Customers of TSheets and Intuit can now also benefit from a wider range services, especially if they are in the small business and self-employed space.
As with all acquisitions, the buyer now has a greater incentive to push their new software to their customers and prospects, and vice-versa. So if you have an ecosystem that is in competition with Quickbooks or TSheets, overtime you may see the support for it start to dwindle. You have to ask yourself if you’re ready to implement TSheets or Quickbooks at the cost of your current ecosystem.
Businesses also tend to outgrow Intuit pretty quickly, so this new partnership will make it difficult to breakaway from one or both as the company scales.
Moreover, time tracking is not part of Intuit’s core. This is a company primarily focused on finance and payroll. Time tracking, which was once the center priority of TSheets, might now become a side product of a larger corporation. This could mean reduced R&D investments and quality of service. Critical resources will spend time on core businesses around payroll & billing, affecting service and support for TSheets.
We have already seen this happen once with Intuit back in 2011 when they dropped support for their time tracker and time and billing software. If time tracking isn’t one of their core priorities, it can easily get sent to the chopping block if the acquisition doesn’t go as planned.
Time is universal in any business, yet few companies actually understand the value of it. Time can eat of up to 60% of a company’s cost if they are unable to connect their time spent to outcomes produced.
Too often companies are willing to compromise on their time management software, or don’t think about it at all. So what if the integrations are not as great? So what if the product is not innovating? So what is the support is a little slow? In the grand scheme of things, they see tracking time as just a means to an end, when in fact it should be the complete opposite: an asset.
What companies don’t expect with an acquisition like this are the hidden costs associated with not having time as a critical resource. A software that doesn’t support your unique needs can very easily lead to overhead if it doesn’t integrate well, errors if it’s not easy to use, revenue leakage if it isn’t able to help you see time against projects or clients. You can also pile up your liability or run the risk of penalties if you’re unable to accurately handle time off and compliance with time tracking. So, when deciding what a deal like this means to you, be sure to ask: will my time be this company’s number one priority?
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