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Intuit to buy software maker

The purchase of Management Reports is part of the company's ongoing push to woo small-business customers to its QuickBooks accounting software and other products.

Financial software and service company Intuit announced Tuesday that it is acquiring another small software maker, part of the company's ongoing push to woo small businesses.

The company said in a statement that it has signed an agreement to acquire Cleveland-based Management Reports, which makes software for commercial and residential property management, for $92 million in cash.

Intuit said the purchase was part of its "Right for My Business" strategy, a campaign the company launched last year to draw small-business customers to its QuickBooks accounting software and other products.

As part of the strategy, Intuit is producing specialized versions of QuickBooks for specific industries and acquiring key specialty software makers. Recent acquisitions have included American Fundware, which makes accounting software for nonprofit groups and schools, and CBS Employer Services, which sells payroll services for small businesses.

The strategy appears to be paying off. Intuit recorded a significant earnings growth for its most recent third quarter, with revenue from QuickBooks and payroll products jumping by more than a third over year-ago figures.

Raymond Stern, Inuit's senior vice president of corporate development and strategy, said Management Reports will operate as a stand-alone business rather than a QuickBooks subsidiary. The company's software includes industry-specific functions along with an accounting application, he said, making it inappropriate for the QuickBooks line.

"Our objective is to provide solutions across the spectrum of customers," Stern said. "For some customers, QuickBooks-branded solutions are the right approach. But we're also going to have these companies that are Intuit-branded and meet the needs of specific vertical segments."

While Intuit has created different flavors of QuickBooks for some specialty markets, acquisition often makes more sense, Stern said.

"My belief is there are many more vertical companies at about the same size for us to consider acquiring," he said. "These are companies that have built great businesses...and we think Intuit can add a lot of value through leveraging our brand."