Intuit Inc.
(INTU) offers small business accounting, personal finance, and tax preparation software to accountants, small businesses, and consumers. Yesterday, the company reported fourth-quarter revenue of $475.7 million, essentially flat with year-ago period.

Intuit saw a fall in sales growth from tax software as the number of tax filers did not increase as per historical levels. Operating expenses rose 3.3% from the year-ago quarter. On a GAAP basis, net loss increased to $116 million, or 22 cents per share, compared to a loss of $94 million, or 19 cents per share, a year ago. On a non-GAAP basis, net loss of 10 cents per share was much better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 19 cents.

For fiscal 2009, revenue of $3.183 billion was up 4% from a year ago, driven by Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings and related services that solve customer problems. On a GAAP basis, EPS was $1.35. On a non-GAAP basis, EPS came in at $1.82, easily beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.57.

Going forward, management does not expect a strong rebound or significant weakening. Intuit is yet to see a sustainable improvement in lead indicators such as retail sales and new business starts. The company also said that expenses would tend to be more frontloaded for the fiscal year as it launches new products in the market.

Intuit provided a disappointing forecast for fiscal 2010. Management expects first-quarter revenue between $479 million and $493 million. On a non-GAAP basis, net loss is projected between 19 cents and 15 cents, wider the consensus estimate of a loss of 8 cents per share.

For full year 2010, Intuit sees sales between $3.30 billion and $3.43 billion, up 4% – 8%. On a non-GAAP basis, EPS is estimated between $1.89 and $1.96, below the consensus forecast of $2.00.

Nevertheless, Intuit plans to focus its efforts on growing market share in its various personal finance and business categories.

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