Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Where innovation meets purpose: Impactful careers at Intuit

A league of tech pioneers at Intuit are shaping the future of data, innovation, and purpose-driven success

Published: Jan 10, 2024 03:46:54 PM IST
Updated: Jan 10, 2024 07:17:55 PM IST

Where innovation meets purpose: Impactful careers at Intuit

If data is the new oil, technologists and engineers are the new architects shaping the structures of the digital age. These are the boots-on-the-ground people, who are extracting valuable insights from vast digital reservoirs and getting to build exciting new innovations for the world. If you're a technologist, engineer, data scientist, project manager, or engaged in work that is data and AI adjacent, there's never been a better time to be you, and you know it.

The Goldilocks zone, where you can innovate, learn, make great connections, have a work-life balance, grow at a pace, and find purpose in what you do is the ideal place to be. Do these companies and workplaces exist? Definitely, and these are the companies that have employed ample foresight, disruptive practices and a design thinking approach.

Some companies have had that magic from the very beginning. Take Intuit for example. 40 years ago, Intuit’s founder Scott Cook sat at his kitchen table watching his wife struggle to balance the family checkbook – and he just knew that there had to be a better way. Scott created Quicken, a revolutionary new way to use technology to manage personal finances, and Intuit was born.

This was a game changer, in a sea of complex products. It was an easy to use personal finance tool that actually saved people time! It delivered a superior experience. It made people better at personal finance. Customers who used it loved it.

It set the tone for Intuit's approach to innovation. Intuit has never stopped asking that same basic question: how can technology be used to solve their customers’ most important problems?

Intuit's customer obsession fuels them to stay ahead of the curve

In a history that spans DOS to the web, to mobile, to cloud, and now AI, Intuit has ensured that their customers are always armed with the right tools and technology to grow and prosper. In short, what Intuit brings to the table, as an employer, is purpose.

Engineers and technologists at Intuit live and breathe its mission of powering prosperity around the world, and have the satisfaction to see the solutions they build, help small businesses as well as empower consumers to achieve their financial goals with minimal effort, and complete confidence. Intuit doesn't just talk-the-talk about integrity.

Intuit's customer-driven innovation and Design for Delight (D4D) innovation philosophies have given the world products such as Intuit QuickBooks, TurboTax, Credit Karma and Mailchimp. Design for Delight is a series of three principles which represent how they innovate at Intuit:

Deep Customer Empathy: creates shared understanding, insights, and motivation to improve the lives of customers. This is about gaining empathy by observing people where and when they are experiencing pains or problems.

Go Broad to Go Narrow: to focus their energy on what's most important.

Rapid Experiments with Customers: so they can test their solutions quickly, and learn what works best and what doesn't, saving valuable time and resources when making their next decision.

Each of Intuit's products has fueled Intuit's growth into a mission-driven, global financial technology platform company with 100 million customers and 18,200 employees across 20 offices in 9 countries and over 1700 employees in India. Read more about Intuit India.

Intuit's Secret Sauce: An Inclusive Culture, Transformative Innovation, and Empowered Employees

In the last four decades, Intuit has continued to build exceptionally strong teams and to contribute to the larger community in significant ways. Intuit India is home to nearly 22% of Intuit’s engineering talent and is their second largest engineering hub for Intuit. Since 2010, Intuit has been on India's Best Companies to Work For list by the Great Place to Work. It has also been on Economic Times' list of India’s Best companies to work for over a decade , and in the top 100 Best Workplaces for Women as well!

This surprises no one. Overall, Intuit's tech roles are 34% staffed by women, and women make up almost 40% of Intuit's executive roles. Just as it does with customers and it’s employees, Intuit goes the extra mile to empower communities around them as well.

It begins with hiring: Intuit's diverse hiring approach is aptly called Assess for Awesome(A4A). A4A offers a unique opportunity for candidates to engage in tasks and strategic thinking similar to their prospective roles. This process includes presenting to a small team, allowing for the evaluation of creative and strategic thinking, as well as a glimpse into both soft and hard skills, culture and value fitment. Key elements of A4A include the involvement of ‘Awesome Assessors’ from diverse backgrounds, crafting demonstrations by candidates, and providing same-day hiring decisions.

There is also ample scope to grow your skills and capabilities while at Intuit. For example, company-wide tech events such as Global Engineering Days, is a week-long time for technologists at Intuit to focus on their passion projects, outside of their day-to-day work and deliverables : bugs they're eager to fix, features they want to build, tool integrations, or just a flow that they want to overhaul. It is also a great time to explore outside perspectives and indulge in meaningful discussions with teams across the board. Some of Intuit’s more unconventional initiatives includes a No meeting afternoons: A powerful step toward uninterrupted coding time for engineers, thus increasing productivity

Then there is the Intuit Again program which is a returnship program designed to help technologists chart a path back to a full-time career after taking a break for caregiving purposes. This supportive, structured 16-week program combines skill refreshers, mentoring and hands-on application of skills to make a smooth transition back into the workplace.

Their Intuit Rise - Girl Child Education program is another such initiative. Launched in 2017, this initiative by Intuit India aims to empower the future of young girls, who are from lower income backgrounds and do not have access to education, by providing holistic education support, including after school education, life skills training and career guidance. With the bold goal of supporting one girl child for every employee at Intuit, the program is being spearheaded by employees through referrals and partnering with the right NGOs who are working with the same cause. The program has so far benefitted around 1500 girl children.

The company is also a strong advocate for the LGBT community and supports them through its processes, inclusive culture and world-class policies including medical insurance, counseling and safe spaces and gender affirmation surgery. This has resulted in Intuit being certified as a Gold employer in the India Workplace Equality Index (IWEI) 2023. This is India’s first comprehensive benchmarking tool to measure progress on LGBT inclusion in the workplace.

Happy teams make happy customers. As Sasan Goodarzi, Intuit's CEO says, "Our mission to power prosperity around the world is why we show up to work every single day to do incredible things for our customers. Our values guide us and define what we stand for as a company." The incredible things he refers to here, are possible because of a culture of innovation that threads its way across the organization.

The next wave of disruption at Intuit

Innovation and disruption remain foundational at Intuit. From Quicken in 1983 to Intuit Assist in 2023, the focus for Intuit has always been to find ways to make the best use of the latest technologies in ways that translate into real world utility for customers. So while the world is enamored with generative AI and using it in ways both predictable and unpredictable, novel high concept and high utility, Intuit is digging in, and going back to the basics.

There's no additional fluff here, or features one doesn't need, or bells and whistles that add to the form. Intuit Assist brings the power of Generative AI to individuals, small businesses, self-employed and many more to manage their money, time and effort with much greater efficacy. Intuit Assist empowers users with AI-powered insights on all aspects of finance, taxation, cash flow, operational excellence, consumer behavior and much, much more; helping them make decisions that give them the biggest bang for their buck. It's the AI powered assistant that everyone promised, and finally, Intuit delivered.

For the technologists out there who want to test their mettle, flex their gray matter, and make a real difference in the world: here is an organization that puts people before profits, contributes to something bigger than itself, believes in building people up and setting them up to succeed, respects and meets you where you are. It also empowers you to create a legacy you know you'll be proud of.

Learn more about Intuit here.

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