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Intuit earns more from Web

The financial-software firm is looking for more sources of revenue, CEO Bill Harris says.

Intuit booked nearly 10 percent of its revenues last year from Internet sales and services and closed about $500 million in mortgages last year from the personal finance software maker's Web site, CEO Bill Harris said today.

"It looks like we'll close more than half a billion in closed loans,'' the Intuit chief executive said, speaking at the Nationsbanc Montgomery Securities conference in San Francisco today. The figure represents the total value of mortgages closed from Intuit's Quicken.com Web site.

Harris also spoke enthusiastically about the prospects of significant revenue from offering payroll services to small businesses, a market Intuit entered in September with small business versions of its QuickBooks business software and Quicken personal finance programs.

Plans include selling 401(k) retirement plans and insurance services to small companies, he said.

"The issue for us is how to connect with our software products and create new revenue opportunities," Harris said, noting that selling services "provides dramatically more revenue per customer" than simply marketing boxed software. In addition, services are cheaper for Intuit to sell because the company can use online channels and telemarketing.

"We have the opportunity to take services for big companies and take them all down to small businesses," he said.

Intuit's Web TurboTax offering, which lets users prepare their tax returns and file electronically from Intuit's Web site, should broaden the market for Intuit's TurboTax tax-preparation software, he added. Priced at $10 or $20 depending on a return's complexity, Web TurboTax opens a market of users who don't want to pay $30 or $40 for the boxed software product, Harris said.

Harris said that in 1998 there were 10 million users of Quicken, the program for organizing one's personal finance.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.