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Decoding intuit inc (intu): a strategic swot insight.

Intuit Inc showcases robust revenue growth and solid net income in the latest quarter.

Investments in AI and technology reorganization reflect a forward-looking approach to innovation.

Seasonal patterns in tax-related products continue to influence quarterly financial results.

Competitive pressures and the need for continuous innovation represent ongoing challenges.

Warning! GuruFocus has detected 10 Warning Signs with INTU.

Intuit Inc ( NASDAQ:INTU ), a leading provider of financial management, compliance, and marketing products and services, has recently filed its 10-Q report for the quarter ending October 31, 2023. The company, known for its flagship products such as QuickBooks, TurboTax, and Credit Karma, has demonstrated a strong financial performance with total net revenue increasing from $2,597 million in the previous year to $2,978 million. Net income saw a substantial rise from $40 million to $241 million, indicating a robust financial position. This SWOT analysis delves into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as revealed by the latest financial data and strategic disclosures in the 10-Q filing, providing investors with a comprehensive view of Intuit Inc's current standing and future prospects.

Financial Performance and Market Position: Intuit Inc's recent financial performance underscores its strength in the market. The company's net revenue saw a significant increase, driven by a rise in both service and product segments. This growth reflects Intuit's strong market position and its ability to capitalize on the demand for financial software solutions. The increase in net income from $40 million to $241 million demonstrates the company's profitability and operational efficiency. Intuit's leading position in the U.S. market for small-business accounting and DIY tax-filing software is a testament to its brand strength and customer loyalty.

Investment in Innovation: Intuit Inc's commitment to innovation is evident in its substantial investments in research and development, which totaled $680 million for the quarter, up from $625 million the previous year. The company's focus on AI-driven platforms and the reorganization of technology functions to support its overall platform indicate a strategic approach to maintaining its competitive edge. By prioritizing AI and emerging technologies, Intuit is well-positioned to enhance its product offerings and customer experience.

Seasonal Dependence: Intuit Inc's financial results are significantly influenced by the seasonal nature of its tax-related products. The company's Consumer and ProTax offerings experience a distinct seasonal pattern, with higher net revenues typically concentrated in the period from November through April. This seasonality can lead to fluctuations in quarterly results and may impact investor perceptions and stock volatility.

Operational Challenges: Despite strong financial performance, Intuit Inc faces operational challenges, as indicated by the increase in total costs and expenses from $2,521 million to $2,671 million. The rise in costs, particularly in selling and marketing, research and development, and general and administrative expenses, suggests that Intuit must continuously invest in these areas to sustain growth. Managing these costs effectively while continuing to invest in innovation will be crucial for maintaining profitability.

Opportunities

Expansion into New Markets: Intuit Inc has the opportunity to expand its presence in international markets, which currently represent approximately 10% of consolidated net revenue. By leveraging its strong product portfolio and brand reputation, Intuit can tap into the growing demand for financial technology solutions globally, potentially increasing its market share and diversifying revenue streams.

Strategic Acquisitions: Intuit's financial strength and cash flow from operations provide it with the capacity to pursue strategic acquisitions. These acquisitions can enhance its product offerings, expand its customer base, and accelerate entry into new markets or segments. Intuit's recent reorganization and investments in technology also position it to integrate new acquisitions effectively, driving long-term growth.

Intense Competition: The financial technology sector is highly competitive, with both established players and emerging startups vying for market share. Intuit Inc must contend with competitors who may introduce superior products, deploy new technologies, or offer free services, particularly in the tax, accounting, and personal finance platform businesses. Staying ahead of the competition will require continuous innovation and strategic marketing efforts.

Regulatory and Security Risks: As a provider of financial services, Intuit Inc operates in a regulatory environment that is subject to change. Compliance with new regulations, data privacy laws, and security standards is essential to maintain customer trust and avoid legal penalties. Additionally, the risk of fraudulent activities by third parties necessitates ongoing investment in security measures, which could increase operational costs.

In conclusion, Intuit Inc ( NASDAQ:INTU ) demonstrates a strong financial foundation and a commitment to innovation, positioning it well in the competitive financial technology landscape. However, the company must navigate the challenges of seasonal business patterns, operational costs, and intense competition. Opportunities for growth through international expansion and strategic acquisitions are countered by the threats of regulatory changes and security risks. Intuit's ability to leverage its strengths and address its weaknesses while capitalizing on opportunities and mitigating threats will be critical for its continued success and investor confidence.

This article, generated by GuruFocus, is designed to provide general insights and is not tailored financial advice. Our commentary is rooted in historical data and analyst projections, utilizing an impartial methodology, and is not intended to serve as specific investment guidance. It does not formulate a recommendation to purchase or divest any stock and does not consider individual investment objectives or financial circumstances. Our objective is to deliver long-term, fundamental data-driven analysis. Be aware that our analysis might not incorporate the most recent, price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative information. GuruFocus holds no position in the stocks mentioned herein.

This article first appeared on GuruFocus .

Business Wire

Cautions About Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including expectations regarding: forecasts and timing of growth and future financial results of Intuit and its reporting segments; our prospects for the business in fiscal 2024 and beyond; our growth outside the US; the timing and growth of revenue from current or future products and services; our corporate tax rate; and the timing and impact of our strategic decisions and initiatives on our business; as well as all of the statements under the heading " Reiterates First-quarter And Fiscal Year 2024 Guidance."

Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties may be amplified by the effects of global developments and conditions or events, including macroeconomic uncertainty and geopolitical conditions, which have caused significant global economic instability and uncertainty. Given these risks and uncertainties, persons reading this communication are cautioned not to place any undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. These factors include, without limitation, the following: our ability to compete successfully; our ability to develop, deploy, and use artificial intelligence in our platform and products; our ability to adapt to technological change and to successfully extend our platform; our ability to predict consumer behavior; our reliance on intellectual property; our ability to protect our intellectual property rights; any harm to our reputation; risk associated with our ESG and DEI practices; risks associated with acquisition and divestiture activity; the issuance of equity or incurrence of debt to fund acquisitions or for general business purposes; cybersecurity incidents (including those affecting the third parties we rely on); customer concerns about privacy and cybersecurity incidents; fraudulent activities by third parties using our offerings; our failure to process transactions effectively; interruption or failure of our information technology; our ability to maintain critical third-party business relationships; our ability to attract and retain talent and the success of our hybrid work model; any deficiency in the quality or accuracy of our offerings (including the advice given by experts on our platform); any delays in product launches; difficulties in processing or filing customer tax submissions; risk associated with climate change; changes to public policy, laws or regulations affecting our businesses; legal proceedings in which we are involved; the seasonal nature of our tax business and other factors beyond our control; changes in tax rates and tax reform legislation; global economic conditions (including, without limitation, inflation); exposure to credit, counterparty and other risks in providing capital to businesses; amortization of acquired intangible assets and impairment charges; our ability to repay or otherwise comply with the terms of our outstanding debt; our ability to repurchase shares or distribute dividends; volatility of our stock price; and our ability to successfully market our offerings. More details about these and other risks that may impact our business are included in our Form 10-K for fiscal 2023 and in our other SEC filings. You can locate these reports through our website at http://investors.intuit.com . Fiscal 2024 full-year and Q1 guidance speaks only as of the date it was publicly issued by Intuit. Other forward-looking statements represent the judgment of the management of Intuit as of the date of this presentation. Except as required by law, we do not undertake any duty to update any forward-looking statement or other information in this presentation.

INTUIT INC. ABOUT NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES

The accompanying press release dated September 28, 2023 contains non-GAAP financial measures. Table 1 reconciles the non-GAAP financial measures in that press release to the most directly comparable financial measures prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). These non-GAAP financial measures include non-GAAP operating income (loss), non-GAAP net income (loss), and non-GAAP net income (loss) per share.

Non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered as a substitute for, or superior to, measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. These non-GAAP financial measures do not reflect a comprehensive system of accounting, differ from GAAP measures with the same names, and may differ from non-GAAP financial measures with the same or similar names that are used by other companies.

We compute non-GAAP financial measures using the same consistent method from quarter to quarter and year to year. We may consider whether other significant items that arise in the future should be excluded from our non-GAAP financial measures.

We exclude the following items from all of our non-GAAP financial measures:

  • Share-based compensation expense
  • Amortization of acquired technology
  • Amortization of other acquired intangible assets
  • Goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges
  • Gains and losses on disposals of businesses and long-lived assets
  • Professional fees and transaction costs for business combinations

We also exclude the following items from non-GAAP net income (loss) and diluted net income (loss) per share:

  • Gains and losses on debt and equity securities and other investments
  • Income tax effects and adjustments
  • Discontinued operations

We believe these non-GAAP financial measures provide meaningful supplemental information regarding Intuit’s operating results primarily because they exclude amounts that we do not consider part of ongoing operating results when planning and forecasting and when assessing the performance of the organization, our individual operating segments, or our senior management. Segment managers are not held accountable for share-based compensation expense, amortization, or the other excluded items and, accordingly, we exclude these amounts from our measures of segment performance. We believe our non-GAAP financial measures also facilitate the comparison by management and investors of results for current periods and guidance for future periods with results for past periods.

The following are descriptions of the items we exclude from our non-GAAP financial measures.

Share-based compensation expenses . These consist of non-cash expenses for stock options, restricted stock units, and our Employee Stock Purchase Plan. When considering the impact of equity awards, we place greater emphasis on overall shareholder dilution rather than the accounting charges associated with those awards.

Amortization of acquired technology and amortization of other acquired intangible assets . When we acquire a business in a business combination, we are required by GAAP to record the fair values of the intangible assets of the business and amortize them over their useful lives. Amortization of acquired technology in cost of revenue includes amortization of software and other technology assets of acquired businesses. Amortization of other acquired intangible assets in operating expenses includes amortization of assets such as customer lists, covenants not to compete, and trade names.

Goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges . We exclude from our non-GAAP financial measures non-cash charges to adjust the carrying values of goodwill and other acquired intangible assets to their estimated fair values.

Gains and losses on disposals of businesses and long-lived assets. We exclude from our non-GAAP financial measures gains and losses on disposals of businesses and long-lived assets because they are unrelated to our ongoing business operating results.

Professional fees and transaction costs for business combinations . We exclude from our non-GAAP financial measures the professional fees we incur to complete business combinations. These include investment banking, legal, and accounting fees.

Gains and losses on debt securities and other investments . We exclude from our non-GAAP financial measures credit losses on available-for-sale debt securities and gains and losses on other investments.

Income tax effects and adjustments. We use a long-term non-GAAP tax rate for evaluating operating results and for planning, forecasting, and analyzing future periods. This long-term non-GAAP tax rate excludes the income tax effects of the non-GAAP pre-tax adjustments described above, and eliminates the effects of non-recurring and period specific items which can vary in size and frequency. Based on our current long-term projections, we are using a long-term non-GAAP tax rate of 24% for fiscal 2024. This long-term non-GAAP tax rate could be subject to change for various reasons including significant acquisitions, changes in our geographic earnings mix or fundamental tax law changes in major jurisdictions in which we operate. We will evaluate this long-term non-GAAP tax rate on an annual basis and whenever any significant events occur which may materially affect this rate.

Operating results and gains and losses on the sale of discontinued operations . From time to time, we sell or otherwise dispose of selected operations as we adjust our portfolio of businesses to meet our strategic goals. In accordance with GAAP, we segregate the operating results of discontinued operations as well as gains and losses on the sale of these discontinued operations from continuing operations on our GAAP statements of operations but continue to include them in GAAP net income or loss and net income or loss per share. We exclude these amounts from our non-GAAP financial measures.

The reconciliations of the forward-looking non-GAAP financial measure to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures in Table 1 include all information reasonably available to Intuit at the date of this press release. These tables include adjustments that we can reasonably predict. Events that could cause the reconciliation to change include acquisitions and divestitures of businesses, goodwill and other asset impairments, sales of available-for-sale debt securities and other investments, and disposals of business and long-lived assets.

Investors Kim Watkins Intuit Inc. 650-944-3324 [email protected]

Media Kali Fry Intuit Inc. 650-944-3036 [email protected]

intuit strategic plan

Intuit's CMO has a plan to help the company seize a new $30 billion revenue opportunity

  • TurboTax parent company Intuit has focused on marketing its own brand.
  • Intuit wants to increase revenue per customer as it intros services that cut across its sub-brands.
  • Intuit CMO Lara Balazs dishes about her plan.

Insider Today

For most observers, it seems as if Intuit is entering 2024 the same way it usually does: an influx of advertising, including a splashy Super Bowl spot , touting TurboTax to help people get through the dreaded tax season.

But the stakes are much higher this year because Intuit, which hosts an investor meeting January 18, is entering 2024 with what it calls a "branded house strategy," which it first started implementing last March. The idea was to push the Intuit name itself into the consumer consciousness, alongside individual brands like TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mailchimp, and CreditKarma.

"We realized after doing studies that when people know that these brands are from Intuit, purchase intent goes up and additionally trust goes up in those brands," Intuit CMO Lara Balazs told Business Insider.

While Intuit isn't yet a full year into this transition, very early returns suggest the decision is paying off. Intuit's stock was soaring by the end of 2023, up nearly 50% from the beginning of the year, and revenue in the first quarter of its fiscal year, reported in November, was up 15%.

But there's still a big test coming. The new marketing strategy will have to support some of Intuit's newest and most important revenue-driving initiatives that cut across its different sub-brands.

Earlier this month, Intuit for the first time integrated TurboTax's capabilities with QuickBooks and Credit Karma. Company CEO Sasan Goodarzi has stated that increasing the average revenue per customer, or ARPC, is key to its current and future performance.

Another key way Intuit will increase that all-important ARPC is through Intuit Assist, a generative AI-powered assistant for small businesses and consumers that rolled out across TurboTax and Mailchimp in late 2023, and will come to QuickBooks and CreditKarma in the first half of 2024.

If the Assist products catch on, they'll push Intuit's business beyond the well-known tools that people use to manage their finances by themselves.

CEO Goodarzi touted the importance of Assist during Intuit's November earnings call: "It will change our relationship with customers as we move from a transactional workflow platform to a trusted assistant that our customers rely on daily to power their prosperity."

And providing that financial assistance, Goodarzi said during an investors conference in December, represents a $30 billion opportunity that Intuit has not claimed.

Related stories

But TurboTax competitor H&R Block is also reaching for this opportunity, and has gone on the offensive with its own AI-powered tax assistant, released in December. A bevy of new H&R Block ads tout the assistant, and takes a shot at TurboTax: "So long, TurboTax!" shouts one actor in a recent spot.

"Comparative marketing is a common practice and we've used it for many years to help consumers easily see the benefits of working with H&R Block," an H&R Block spokesperson said.

Given the competitive environment, Intuit needs to make sure people know of its own offering.

"People just aren't aware, because of how strongly we grew the do-it-yourself perception within TurboTax," Balazs said.

And pushing the message across the house brand can be key to shifting this perception, said DJ Stout, a partner at the design firm Pentagram.

"Intuit's move to reintroduce its brand in a way that reflects its core and the way the brand and its sub-brands engage with its users is a smart idea because it allows Intuit to celebrate, examine, and adjust its brand and address elements of the identity that may or may not be working for it and its customers," said Stout.

Rebuilding old tech to chase a big bet

Intuit is also gearing up for another revenue-driving disruption that will rely heavily on Balazs' marketing chops: the company is pushing its products to the mid-market, which Intuit defines as companies that have 10-100 employees.

Goodarzi has described the mid-market as one of Intuit's "big bets" to drive revenue growth. But grabbing these customers required Intuit to rebuild its marketing infrastructure.

"One of the things we shifted that has helped us greatly is our go-to-market technology was very much aimed at the consumer," Balazs said. "What we realized is that we have to start including a mid-market orientation." This meant that Intuit also had to make sure it was capturing leads and feeding them back to the sales team dedicated to the mid-market.

It sounds easy, but Intuit is a 40-year-old company that started on the ancient DOS operating system and had a lot of legacy tech.

"There was a tech debt, but we've leaned into it and updated," Balazs said.

Watch: Amazon's Claudine Cheever is optimistic about how AI will transform the customer experience

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Roth IRA and Roth 401(K) planning strategies

Roth IRA

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Written by Jim Buffington, CPA

  • Modified Apr 1, 2022

Roth IRA accounts and Roth 401(K) plans are retirement accounts funded with after-tax dollars that grow tax free and provide tax-free qualified distributions.

A qualified distribution is any distribution from a Roth IRA that is made after a five-year holding period beginning with the first taxable year for which a contribution was made to a Roth IRA, and the distribution is made on or after age 59½. Distributions that are not qualified are subject to income tax and a 10% early withdrawal penalty on the earnings portion of the distribution, but not the contributions.

Anyone who has earned income can contribute to a Roth IRA, as long as they meet certain requirements concerning filing status and modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). Those whose annual income is above a certain amount, which the IRS adjusts periodically, become ineligible to contribute directly to a Roth IRA, but may still be eligible to contribute to Roth 401(k) plans or make a backdoor Roth IRA contribution.

Even without a current tax deduction, Roth IRA and Roth 401(k) strategies are effective strategies to create long-term tax-free growth, with significant retirement and estate planning advantages.  

Advantages of tax free Roth plans over taxable accounts

  • Same investment options. The investment options and insured account balance options are the same, depending on the plan custodian, for taxable accounts and Roth plans.  
  • Liability protection.   Taxable accounts are usually subject to lawsuits and not exempt from bankruptcy proceedings. Roth IRA assets are often protected from lawsuits and exempt from bankruptcy filings, depending on state law. Employer-sponsored 401(k) plans, including Roth contributions, are safe from lawsuits.  
  • No tax reporting. In a taxable account, investment income is reported annually on the individual’s tax return, including short-term gains, interest, dividends, long-term capital gains, and sometimes K-1 reported income, which can be onerous to collect and report. Roth accounts do not require annual reporting.  
  • Tax free. Taxable accounts are required to pay tax annually at varying tax rates from the marginal ordinary income rate to preferred capital gain tax rates. Roth accounts accumulate income tax free and qualified distributions are tax free.  

Advantages of tax free Roth plans over tax deferred retirement accounts

  • No age limit. Roth contributions may be made at any age, as long as the owner has earned income, unlike traditional IRA contributions that may not be made after reaching age 70½.
  • No RMDs. There are no annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) similar to pre-tax plans, so Roth plans can continue to grow if distributions are not needed for the Roth owner.
  • Greater tax savings. Tax preparers often focus on the current tax deductions of traditional IRA and 401(K) contributions to reduce current tax liabilities, but financial planners often get more excited about the long-term tax-free growth of Roth IRA and 401(K) designated Roth accounts. As illustrated in the example below, tax-free Roth plans   reduce taxes more than tax deferred plans when viewed over the taxpayer’s lifetime.  

Advantages of Roth strategies for estate planning

  • No income tax. Traditional IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans will incur income tax when distributed to non-charitable beneficiaries, but Roth plans will not incur income taxes because the distributions are tax free.  
  • Tax free growth for beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are required to take minimum distributions from a beneficial Roth account over their lifetime. This provides flexibility to take a lump sum or keep funds in the account to continue to grow tax free, and only make minimal distributions.
  • Bypass probate.   Roth plans usually transfer at death through a beneficiary designation, and can bypass probate.

Risks and considerations

  • Estate tax.  Similar to other assets, Roth plan assets are subject to federal estate tax, although most estates are below the current estate tax exemption.
  • Tax law changes. Tax laws change and it is possible that contributions to Roth plans may be curtailed, which would impact long term planning.
  • Early withdrawal penalty. The earnings portion of non-qualified Roth distributions are subject to income tax and a 10% early withdrawal penalty. The Roth contribution portion is not subject to income tax or an early withdrawal penalty, such as traditional IRAs and pre-tax plans.  

Using common assumptions, this example illustrates how Roth plans can result in more tax savings than traditional IRA and pre-tax retirement plans.  

A taxpayer, age 50 in the 22% federal tax bracket, contributes $7,000 annually to a traditional IRA plan until age 65, when the person retires and begins drawing annual distributions over their lifetime. Taxpayer’s total contributions to the IRA would be $105,000 and the total tax savings from the annual IRA deductions would be $23,100.

Assuming a 7% return on investment until retirement and 5% annually in retirement, the account would grow to $175,903 at retirement, and create an annual annuity for the next 20 years of $14,115. Assuming a 15% federal tax bracket on annual distributions in retirement will result in a marginal annual tax cost of $2,117, or a total tax paid of $42,345 over 20 years, which is 83% higher than the tax deduction savings from the IRA deductions.

Using a Roth IRA, instead of taking the traditional IRA deduction, would yield $0 immediate tax savings, but save $2,117 annually on the tax-free distributions, or $42,345 over 20 years.

Modifying the assumptions will change the results, but in most long-term scenarios, tax-free Roth plans result in less total tax paid than tax deferred plans.   Generally, the more the account balance grows, the higher the Roth tax savings will be over pre-tax plans, which makes them particularly attractive for young workers who could benefit from decades of tax-free growth. Roth plans are also good for anyone who expects to be in a higher tax bracket in retirement.

For most taxpayers, the best strategy often includes both pre-tax retirement plan contributions and Roth plan contributions to maximize long-term wealth and tax savings.   Employer sponsored 401(k) plans often have company matching on pre-tax contributions to increase the participants total savings. With both plans available in retirement, advisors can help manage the annual taxable income, while providing the cash flow needed.  

As part of regular tax planning, document client goals, including those around retirement, saving, and other financial objectives. This strategy, and other tax saving strategies, may be part of the roadmap to help achieve client goals.  

To communicate the tax savings for this strategy, calculate the annual growth of the Roth plans and multiply by the marginal tax rate(s). The annual account growth is tax-free income.  

Annual limits and phase-out range  

For 2021, the limit on annual contributions to an IRA (traditional or Roth) remains unchanged at $6,000, plus an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution limit for individuals age 50+.

For 2021, the income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $125,000 to $140,000 for singles and heads of household. For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is $198,000 to $208,000.  

For 2021, the limit on annual contributions to a 401(k) (pre-tax contributions or designated Roth contributions) account remains unchanged at $19,500, plus an additional $6,500 catch-up contribution limit for individuals age 50+.  

For 2021, the Federal Estate Tax exemption is $11,700,000 per decedent.  

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Jim Buffington, CPA

Jim Buffington, CPA, is an advisory services leader with Intuit® Accountants. He has 20+ years of professional experience in sales management, public accounting, strategic alliances, product marketing, business process design, new business development and strategic planning. Connect with Jim on Twitter @jimatintuit. More from Jim Buffington, CPA

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Artificial intelligence in strategy

Can machines automate strategy development? The short answer is no. However, there are numerous aspects of strategists’ work where AI and advanced analytics tools can already bring enormous value. Yuval Atsmon is a senior partner who leads the new McKinsey Center for Strategy Innovation, which studies ways new technologies can augment the timeless principles of strategy. In this episode of the Inside the Strategy Room podcast, he explains how artificial intelligence is already transforming strategy and what’s on the horizon. This is an edited transcript of the discussion. For more conversations on the strategy issues that matter, follow the series on your preferred podcast platform .

Joanna Pachner: What does artificial intelligence mean in the context of strategy?

Yuval Atsmon: When people talk about artificial intelligence, they include everything to do with analytics, automation, and data analysis. Marvin Minsky, the pioneer of artificial intelligence research in the 1960s, talked about AI as a “suitcase word”—a term into which you can stuff whatever you want—and that still seems to be the case. We are comfortable with that because we think companies should use all the capabilities of more traditional analysis while increasing automation in strategy that can free up management or analyst time and, gradually, introducing tools that can augment human thinking.

Joanna Pachner: AI has been embraced by many business functions, but strategy seems to be largely immune to its charms. Why do you think that is?

Subscribe to the Inside the Strategy Room podcast

Yuval Atsmon: You’re right about the limited adoption. Only 7 percent of respondents to our survey about the use of AI say they use it in strategy or even financial planning, whereas in areas like marketing, supply chain, and service operations, it’s 25 or 30 percent. One reason adoption is lagging is that strategy is one of the most integrative conceptual practices. When executives think about strategy automation, many are looking too far ahead—at AI capabilities that would decide, in place of the business leader, what the right strategy is. They are missing opportunities to use AI in the building blocks of strategy that could significantly improve outcomes.

I like to use the analogy to virtual assistants. Many of us use Alexa or Siri but very few people use these tools to do more than dictate a text message or shut off the lights. We don’t feel comfortable with the technology’s ability to understand the context in more sophisticated applications. AI in strategy is similar: it’s hard for AI to know everything an executive knows, but it can help executives with certain tasks.

When executives think about strategy automation, many are looking too far ahead—at AI deciding the right strategy. They are missing opportunities to use AI in the building blocks of strategy.

Joanna Pachner: What kind of tasks can AI help strategists execute today?

Yuval Atsmon: We talk about six stages of AI development. The earliest is simple analytics, which we refer to as descriptive intelligence. Companies use dashboards for competitive analysis or to study performance in different parts of the business that are automatically updated. Some have interactive capabilities for refinement and testing.

The second level is diagnostic intelligence, which is the ability to look backward at the business and understand root causes and drivers of performance. The level after that is predictive intelligence: being able to anticipate certain scenarios or options and the value of things in the future based on momentum from the past as well as signals picked in the market. Both diagnostics and prediction are areas that AI can greatly improve today. The tools can augment executives’ analysis and become areas where you develop capabilities. For example, on diagnostic intelligence, you can organize your portfolio into segments to understand granularly where performance is coming from and do it in a much more continuous way than analysts could. You can try 20 different ways in an hour versus deploying one hundred analysts to tackle the problem.

Predictive AI is both more difficult and more risky. Executives shouldn’t fully rely on predictive AI, but it provides another systematic viewpoint in the room. Because strategic decisions have significant consequences, a key consideration is to use AI transparently in the sense of understanding why it is making a certain prediction and what extrapolations it is making from which information. You can then assess if you trust the prediction or not. You can even use AI to track the evolution of the assumptions for that prediction.

Those are the levels available today. The next three levels will take time to develop. There are some early examples of AI advising actions for executives’ consideration that would be value-creating based on the analysis. From there, you go to delegating certain decision authority to AI, with constraints and supervision. Eventually, there is the point where fully autonomous AI analyzes and decides with no human interaction.

Because strategic decisions have significant consequences, you need to understand why AI is making a certain prediction and what extrapolations it’s making from which information.

Joanna Pachner: What kind of businesses or industries could gain the greatest benefits from embracing AI at its current level of sophistication?

Yuval Atsmon: Every business probably has some opportunity to use AI more than it does today. The first thing to look at is the availability of data. Do you have performance data that can be organized in a systematic way? Companies that have deep data on their portfolios down to business line, SKU, inventory, and raw ingredients have the biggest opportunities to use machines to gain granular insights that humans could not.

Companies whose strategies rely on a few big decisions with limited data would get less from AI. Likewise, those facing a lot of volatility and vulnerability to external events would benefit less than companies with controlled and systematic portfolios, although they could deploy AI to better predict those external events and identify what they can and cannot control.

Third, the velocity of decisions matters. Most companies develop strategies every three to five years, which then become annual budgets. If you think about strategy in that way, the role of AI is relatively limited other than potentially accelerating analyses that are inputs into the strategy. However, some companies regularly revisit big decisions they made based on assumptions about the world that may have since changed, affecting the projected ROI of initiatives. Such shifts would affect how you deploy talent and executive time, how you spend money and focus sales efforts, and AI can be valuable in guiding that. The value of AI is even bigger when you can make decisions close to the time of deploying resources, because AI can signal that your previous assumptions have changed from when you made your plan.

Joanna Pachner: Can you provide any examples of companies employing AI to address specific strategic challenges?

Yuval Atsmon: Some of the most innovative users of AI, not coincidentally, are AI- and digital-native companies. Some of these companies have seen massive benefits from AI and have increased its usage in other areas of the business. One mobility player adjusts its financial planning based on pricing patterns it observes in the market. Its business has relatively high flexibility to demand but less so to supply, so the company uses AI to continuously signal back when pricing dynamics are trending in a way that would affect profitability or where demand is rising. This allows the company to quickly react to create more capacity because its profitability is highly sensitive to keeping demand and supply in equilibrium.

Joanna Pachner: Given how quickly things change today, doesn’t AI seem to be more a tactical than a strategic tool, providing time-sensitive input on isolated elements of strategy?

Yuval Atsmon: It’s interesting that you make the distinction between strategic and tactical. Of course, every decision can be broken down into smaller ones, and where AI can be affordably used in strategy today is for building blocks of the strategy. It might feel tactical, but it can make a massive difference. One of the world’s leading investment firms, for example, has started to use AI to scan for certain patterns rather than scanning individual companies directly. AI looks for consumer mobile usage that suggests a company’s technology is catching on quickly, giving the firm an opportunity to invest in that company before others do. That created a significant strategic edge for them, even though the tool itself may be relatively tactical.

Joanna Pachner: McKinsey has written a lot about cognitive biases  and social dynamics that can skew decision making. Can AI help with these challenges?

Yuval Atsmon: When we talk to executives about using AI in strategy development, the first reaction we get is, “Those are really big decisions; what if AI gets them wrong?” The first answer is that humans also get them wrong—a lot. [Amos] Tversky, [Daniel] Kahneman, and others have proven that some of those errors are systemic, observable, and predictable. The first thing AI can do is spot situations likely to give rise to biases. For example, imagine that AI is listening in on a strategy session where the CEO proposes something and everyone says “Aye” without debate and discussion. AI could inform the room, “We might have a sunflower bias here,” which could trigger more conversation and remind the CEO that it’s in their own interest to encourage some devil’s advocacy.

We also often see confirmation bias, where people focus their analysis on proving the wisdom of what they already want to do, as opposed to looking for a fact-based reality. Just having AI perform a default analysis that doesn’t aim to satisfy the boss is useful, and the team can then try to understand why that is different than the management hypothesis, triggering a much richer debate.

In terms of social dynamics, agency problems can create conflicts of interest. Every business unit [BU] leader thinks that their BU should get the most resources and will deliver the most value, or at least they feel they should advocate for their business. AI provides a neutral way based on systematic data to manage those debates. It’s also useful for executives with decision authority, since we all know that short-term pressures and the need to make the quarterly and annual numbers lead people to make different decisions on the 31st of December than they do on January 1st or October 1st. Like the story of Ulysses and the sirens, you can use AI to remind you that you wanted something different three months earlier. The CEO still decides; AI can just provide that extra nudge.

Joanna Pachner: It’s like you have Spock next to you, who is dispassionate and purely analytical.

Yuval Atsmon: That is not a bad analogy—for Star Trek fans anyway.

Joanna Pachner: Do you have a favorite application of AI in strategy?

Yuval Atsmon: I have worked a lot on resource allocation, and one of the challenges, which we call the hockey stick phenomenon, is that executives are always overly optimistic about what will happen. They know that resource allocation will inevitably be defined by what you believe about the future, not necessarily by past performance. AI can provide an objective prediction of performance starting from a default momentum case: based on everything that happened in the past and some indicators about the future, what is the forecast of performance if we do nothing? This is before we say, “But I will hire these people and develop this new product and improve my marketing”— things that every executive thinks will help them overdeliver relative to the past. The neutral momentum case, which AI can calculate in a cold, Spock-like manner, can change the dynamics of the resource allocation discussion. It’s a form of predictive intelligence accessible today and while it’s not meant to be definitive, it provides a basis for better decisions.

Joanna Pachner: Do you see access to technology talent as one of the obstacles to the adoption of AI in strategy, especially at large companies?

Yuval Atsmon: I would make a distinction. If you mean machine-learning and data science talent or software engineers who build the digital tools, they are definitely not easy to get. However, companies can increasingly use platforms that provide access to AI tools and require less from individual companies. Also, this domain of strategy is exciting—it’s cutting-edge, so it’s probably easier to get technology talent for that than it might be for manufacturing work.

The bigger challenge, ironically, is finding strategists or people with business expertise to contribute to the effort. You will not solve strategy problems with AI without the involvement of people who understand the customer experience and what you are trying to achieve. Those who know best, like senior executives, don’t have time to be product managers for the AI team. An even bigger constraint is that, in some cases, you are asking people to get involved in an initiative that may make their jobs less important. There could be plenty of opportunities for incorpo­rating AI into existing jobs, but it’s something companies need to reflect on. The best approach may be to create a digital factory where a different team tests and builds AI applications, with oversight from senior stakeholders.

The big challenge is finding strategists to contribute to the AI effort. You are asking people to get involved in an initiative that may make their jobs less important.

Joanna Pachner: Do you think this worry about job security and the potential that AI will automate strategy is realistic?

Yuval Atsmon: The question of whether AI will replace human judgment and put humanity out of its job is a big one that I would leave for other experts.

The pertinent question is shorter-term automation. Because of its complexity, strategy would be one of the later domains to be affected by automation, but we are seeing it in many other domains. However, the trend for more than two hundred years has been that automation creates new jobs, although ones requiring different skills. That doesn’t take away the fear some people have of a machine exposing their mistakes or doing their job better than they do it.

Joanna Pachner: We recently published an article about strategic courage in an age of volatility  that talked about three types of edge business leaders need to develop. One of them is an edge in insights. Do you think AI has a role to play in furnishing a proprietary insight edge?

Yuval Atsmon: One of the challenges most strategists face is the overwhelming complexity of the world we operate in—the number of unknowns, the information overload. At one level, it may seem that AI will provide another layer of complexity. In reality, it can be a sharp knife that cuts through some of the clutter. The question to ask is, Can AI simplify my life by giving me sharper, more timely insights more easily?

Joanna Pachner: You have been working in strategy for a long time. What sparked your interest in exploring this intersection of strategy and new technology?

Yuval Atsmon: I have always been intrigued by things at the boundaries of what seems possible. Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke’s second law is that to discover the limits of the possible, you have to venture a little past them into the impossible, and I find that particularly alluring in this arena.

AI in strategy is in very nascent stages but could be very consequential for companies and for the profession. For a top executive, strategic decisions are the biggest way to influence the business, other than maybe building the top team, and it is amazing how little technology is leveraged in that process today. It’s conceivable that competitive advantage will increasingly rest in having executives who know how to apply AI well. In some domains, like investment, that is already happening, and the difference in returns can be staggering. I find helping companies be part of that evolution very exciting.

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intuit strategic plan

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Intuit (INTU) Earnings Expected to Grow: Should You Buy?

The market expects Intuit ( INTU Quick Quote INTU - Free Report ) to deliver a year-over-year increase in earnings on higher revenues when it reports results for the quarter ended April 2024. This widely-known consensus outlook is important in assessing the company's earnings picture, but a powerful factor that might influence its near-term stock price is how the actual results compare to these estimates.

The stock might move higher if these key numbers top expectations in the upcoming earnings report, which is expected to be released on May 23. On the other hand, if they miss, the stock may move lower.

While the sustainability of the immediate price change and future earnings expectations will mostly depend on management's discussion of business conditions on the earnings call, it's worth handicapping the probability of a positive EPS surprise.

Zacks Consensus Estimate

This maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks and other accounting software is expected to post quarterly earnings of $9.34 per share in its upcoming report, which represents a year-over-year change of +4.7%.

Revenues are expected to be $6.63 billion, up 10.3% from the year-ago quarter.

Estimate Revisions Trend

The consensus EPS estimate for the quarter has been revised 0.2% higher over the last 30 days to the current level. This is essentially a reflection of how the covering analysts have collectively reassessed their initial estimates over this period.

Investors should keep in mind that the direction of estimate revisions by each of the covering analysts may not always get reflected in the aggregate change.

Earnings Whisper

Estimate revisions ahead of a company's earnings release offer clues to the business conditions for the period whose results are coming out. Our proprietary surprise prediction model -- the Zacks Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) -- has this insight at its core.

The Zacks Earnings ESP compares the Most Accurate Estimate to the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter; the Most Accurate Estimate is a more recent version of the Zacks Consensus EPS estimate. The idea here is that analysts revising their estimates right before an earnings release have the latest information, which could potentially be more accurate than what they and others contributing to the consensus had predicted earlier.

Thus, a positive or negative Earnings ESP reading theoretically indicates the likely deviation of the actual earnings from the consensus estimate. However, the model's predictive power is significant for positive ESP readings only.

A positive Earnings ESP is a strong predictor of an earnings beat, particularly when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold). Our research shows that stocks with this combination produce a positive surprise nearly 70% of the time , and a solid Zacks Rank actually increases the predictive power of Earnings ESP.

Please note that a negative Earnings ESP reading is not indicative of an earnings miss. Our research shows that it is difficult to predict an earnings beat with any degree of confidence for stocks with negative Earnings ESP readings and/or Zacks Rank of 4 (Sell) or 5 (Strong Sell).

How Have the Numbers Shaped Up for Intuit?

For Intuit, the Most Accurate Estimate is higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate, suggesting that analysts have recently become bullish on the company's earnings prospects. This has resulted in an Earnings ESP of +0.41%.

On the other hand, the stock currently carries a Zacks Rank of #2.

So, this combination indicates that Intuit will most likely beat the consensus EPS estimate.

Does Earnings Surprise History Hold Any Clue?

Analysts often consider to what extent a company has been able to match consensus estimates in the past while calculating their estimates for its future earnings. So, it's worth taking a look at the surprise history for gauging its influence on the upcoming number.

For the last reported quarter, it was expected that Intuit would post earnings of $2.29 per share when it actually produced earnings of $2.63, delivering a surprise of +14.85%.

Over the last four quarters, the company has beaten consensus EPS estimates four times.

Bottom Line

An earnings beat or miss may not be the sole basis for a stock moving higher or lower. Many stocks end up losing ground despite an earnings beat due to other factors that disappoint investors. Similarly, unforeseen catalysts help a number of stocks gain despite an earnings miss.

That said, betting on stocks that are expected to beat earnings expectations does increase the odds of success. This is why it's worth checking a company's Earnings ESP and Zacks Rank ahead of its quarterly release. Make sure to utilize our Earnings ESP Filter to uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they've reported.

Intuit appears a compelling earnings-beat candidate. However, investors should pay attention to other factors too for betting on this stock or staying away from it ahead of its earnings release.

An Industry Player's Expected Results

Synopsys ( SNPS Quick Quote SNPS - Free Report ) , another stock in the Zacks Computer - Software industry, is expected to report earnings per share of $3.01 for the quarter ended April 2024. This estimate points to a year-over-year change of +18.5%. Revenues for the quarter are expected to be $1.51 billion, up 8.4% from the year-ago quarter.

Over the last 30 days, the consensus EPS estimate for Synopsys has remained unchanged. Nevertheless, the company now has an Earnings ESP of -1.55%, reflecting a lower Most Accurate Estimate.

When combined with a Zacks Rank of #4 (Sell), this Earnings ESP makes it difficult to conclusively predict that Synopsys will beat the consensus EPS estimate. The company beat consensus EPS estimates in each of the trailing four quarters.

Stay on top of upcoming earnings announcements with the Zacks Earnings Calendar .

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Fact Sheet: Biden- ⁠ Harris Administration Releases Version 2 of the National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation   Plan

May 7, 2024

Read the full Implementation Plan here

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released Version 2 of the National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan which outlines actions the Federal Government is taking to improve U.S. national cybersecurity posture.  This updated roadmap describes 100 high-impact Federal initiatives, each intended to substantively increase our collective digital security and systemic resilience.  These critical implementation actions are informed by the challenges and opportunities we face in cyberspace, as identified in the 2024 Report on the Cybersecurity Posture of the United States .

In March 2023, President Biden signed the National Cybersecurity Strategy and defined an affirmative, values-driven vision for a secure cyberspace that creates opportunities to achieve our collective aspirations.  The first National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan (NCSIP), published in July 2023, presented the initial outline of government actions to accomplish the 27 strategic objectives described in the Strategy.  This second NCSIP includes 31 new initiatives and sees six agencies leading initiatives for the first time.  It builds upon the work from NCSIP Version 1.  33 of 36 initiatives (92%) in the first NCSIP with a completion date on or before the second quarter of fiscal year 2024 have been completed.  The remaining three initiatives remain in progress.

This next phase of the NCSIP follows the progress to date and displays the Administration’s commitment to transparency and accountability as the National Cybersecurity Strategy is implemented.  

Since day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has been clear in its vision for shared cybersecurity.  The National Security Strategy, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and other major Administration initiatives are moving the Nation toward a more equitable economy, a safe, secure, and trustworthy artificial intelligence ecosystem , a more cyber secure space systems ecosystem , a more competitive cyber workforce , and a stronger democracy.  New initiatives are included under each of the five pillars outlined in the President’s National Cybersecurity Strategy.  Highlights of the new initiatives include:

Pillar 1 | DEFEND CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Boosting the security and resilience of critical infrastructure and essential services through the following actions.

  • Healthcare and Public Health Sector by strengthening cyber resilience for hospitals and communities and through identifying Healthcare and Public Health Sector-specific Cybersecurity Performance Goals ultimately increasing patient safety;
  • Education Facilities Sub-sector by establishing an Education Facilities Sub-sector Government Coordinating Council to promote cybersecurity best practices with state, local, Tribal, and territorial entities across education facilities; and
  • Water and Wastewater Systems Sector by promoting the adoption of cybersecurity best practices across the sector to help utilities prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from cyber incidents.

Pillar 2 | DISRUPT AND DISMANTLE THREAT ACTORS

Leveraging all instruments of national power to make it harder for malicious actors to mount sustained cyber-enabled campaigns that would threaten the national security or public safety of the American people by:  

  • Strengthening collaboration between Federal, state, local, Tribal and territorial law enforcement, private sector, and international partners to develop a whole-of-society approach and prevent, deter, and disrupt cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime committed by juvenile offenders, consistent with the recommendations from the Cyber Safety Review Board’s Review Of The Attacks Associated with Lapsus$ And Related Threat Groups Report .

Pillar 3 | SHAPE MARKET FORCES TO DRIVE SECURITY AND RESILIENCE

Shaping market forces to place responsibility on those entities best positioned to reduce risk and forging a more trustworthy digital ecosystem by:

  • Building upon the National Security Council-led effort to announce a cybersecurity labeling program for smart devices to protect American consumers – the “U.S. Cyber Trust Mark.”  In March, the Federal Communications Commission finalized an order to create a voluntary cybersecurity labeling program for wireless consumer Internet of Things products.  This program will help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions, differentiate trustworthy products in the marketplace, and create incentives for manufacturers to meet higher cybersecurity standards.
  • With funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, mobilizing teams from National Laboratories to research and develop cybersecurity labeling for energy products .

Pillar 4 | INVEST IN A RESILIENT FUTURE

Leading the world in the securing resilient next-generation technologies and infrastructure through strategic investments and coordinated, collaborative action by:

  • Implementing the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy .  The Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) is working across the Federal Government to build up the national cyber workforce, increase its diversity, promote skills-based hiring , and expand access to cyber education and training that will accelerate opportunities for Americans nationwide seeking good-paying, middle-class jobs in cyber.

Pillar 5 | FORGE INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS TO PURSUE SHARED GOALS

Creating a world with shared commitments to international standards that promote security and working with partners to improve supply chain resilience:

  • Catalyzing the development of open and interoperable, standards-based networks through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s investments of over $140 million from the $1.5 billion Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund .  These investments will help drive competition, strengthen global supply chain resiliency and lower costs for consumers and network operators.

The NCSIP is a living document that will be updated annually.  It is published to define a path for cybersecurity coordination and promote transparency.  ONCD will continue to coordinate implementation of the President’s National Cybersecurity Strategy, and partner with the Office of Management and Budget to ensure funding proposals in the President’s Budget Request are aligned with NCSIP initiatives through issuance of an annual Administration Cybersecurity Priorities memorandum. 

Read our Cybersecurity Posture Report here

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Baltimore City Public Schools is updating its strategic plan to emphasize the academic and interpersonal skills students will need to succeed in and out of the classroom.

In 2017, City Schools created its " Blueprint for Success ." The district is updating its strategic plan following the COVID-19 pandemic and a changed global landscape.

The new plan, " Portrait of a Graduate ," essentially tweaks the three pillars already established in the previous plan, which are academics, wholeness and leadership.

Input on the new plan came from within the school community.

"We went back to our community, the community within Baltimore City, to say, 'When we get through all of the education needs and the numbers, what is it that are your hopes and dreams for your young people?'" Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises said.

After the input from the community and City Schools students, the district came up with core competencies that include confidence, effective communicators, responsible and global citizens, as well as adaptable and flexible, and creative and innovative thinkers.

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    Baltimore City Public Schools is updating its strategic plan to emphasize the academic and interpersonal skills students will need to succeed in and out of the classroom. In 2017, City Schools ...

  24. Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office Multi-Year Program Plan

    The Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP) sets forth the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office's (HFTO's) mission, goals, and strategic approach relative to broader clean energy priorities of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).Aligned with the priorities in the U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap, the MYPP identifies the challenges that must be overcome to realize the full ...