Software rivals jostle for TaxCalc potential switchers

Up to £750,000 of accountants’ IT investment is up for grabs following Intuit’s decision to pull out of the tax software market.

Following a review of its operations, Intuit decided to exit from TaxCalc – used by hundreds of accountants – and quit UK production of its personal finance product Quicken.

It said that the decision would allow the company to concentrate fully on its QuickBooks accounting software for small businesses. Intuit will continue to support TaxCalc until January 2006.

Intuit director of personal finance Cameron Peters admitted that the timing of the announcement – during the tax season – was not ideal for accountants but the decision was best revealed quickly.

‘Our view is that we wanted to tell accountants as soon as possible about our decision. We wanted them to have as much notice as possible.’

Peters added that Intuit was looking at third parties to provide a transition path for accountants onto another product, but would not reveal who would take on the contract.

With hundreds of potential TaxCalc customers potentially looking to switch, and currently paying £150 for yearly updated versions of the product, Sage, Digita and Iris are looking to snap up the available customers.

Many accountants have already begun to look for alternatives. ‘This came very much out of the blue for its customers,’ said one senior source within the tax software industry. ‘They feel very let down’.

Sage spokesman Ralph Charlton said the taxation software was a market the company took ‘seriously’, and has welcomed Intuit’s TaxCalc customers wanting to make the switch.

Iris chief executive Martin Leuw said: ‘If Intuit is significantly reducing its commitment to the UK, we would be delighted to welcome all its tax, payroll and accounting customers.’

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