Why Intuit Is Being Quiet About The AI Powering Its New Assistant – Forbes

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There’s some good news for electric cars, but bad news for electric car makers.

First the good news: A new study from Atlas Public Policy found that the cost of electric car ownership over a seven-year period is less than that of a traditional gasoline-powered car. The analysis took tax credits, maintenance and fuel into consideration for the analysis, and looked at five vehicle categories. Electric sedans, pickup trucks, mid-size SUVs, compact SUVs and compact sedans all had a cost of ownership that ranged from under $200 less to more than $10,000 less.

But the bad news: The electric car industry seems to be in neutral. Tesla, which is most commonly associated with the EV market, is one of the worst performing stocks on the S&P 500 this year, seeing its share price decline 30% in 2024 alone as a result of falling profits, weak revenue growth and negative analyst reports. (Not to mention the scandal about the compensation of CEO Elon Musk.) Rivian laid off 10% of its workforce and paused a planned $5 billion production facility. And Fisker has paused its production for six weeks as it teeters close to bankruptcy. Mainstream buyers are becoming much slower to adopt the technology, and large automakers are changing the mix of the vehicles they are making, building more hybrids and fewer EVs.

Can the cost-comparison numbers in the Atlas Public Policy study help rev the EV industry up a bit? It’s hard to tell at this point. Consumers looking for new vehicles may be drawn to the overall savings of an EV, but in order to buy one, they need to be able to afford a new vehicle in the first place, as well as deal with higher interest rates if they need to take out a loan. Essentially, the current economic situation dictates that in order to realize the savings of an EV, they need to spend more to get there. And as availability is dropping, it’s possible that prices may also increase. On Monday, as Tesla announced a price increase on its Model Y vehicles, it saw a 7% boost in its stock price.

It’s getting close to the federal income tax deadline, and millions of people are logging into Intuit’s TurboTax to help prepare and file. This year, Intuit is inaugurating a generative AI assistant to help users with their taxes, as well as assist customers using the company’s QuickBooks, CreditKarma and Mailchimp platforms for business and finance. I talked with Intuit CFO Sandeep Aujla about AI and his work with the company. An excerpt from the interview is later in this newsletter.


The Federal Reserve meeting begins today, but most analysts don’t see a change coming in interest rates just yet. While inflation may be calming down, it’s not quite under control. The February Consumer Price Index showed more inflation, as did the Labor Department’s February producer price index0.6% higher than January and 1.6% more than a year ago.

The only positive economic note last week was a reduction in average mortgage rates. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly rates survey, last week’s average was 6.84% for home loans less than $766,550. Considering that average rates have been above 7% since the beginning of February, this is good news, but for potential home buyers, it still isn’t much relief. Forbes executive editor Bob Ivry writes the high mortgage rates—as well as the resulting much lower housing turnover—are two factors that seem to be putting the housing market out of reach for many in the U.S. And as this one section of the economy struggles, its prevalence in American life tends to reinforce the belief among ordinary people that the entire economic picture is bad.

This week got off to a slightly better start as many tech stocks rose following reports of a potential deal between Apple and Google to bring generative AI from Gemini to an iOS update later this year.


The United Auto Workers union may be expanding to foreign car makers’ plants. Workers at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to join the union after 70% of the plant’s workers signed union cards within 100 days. The plant, Volkswagen’s only one in the United States, employs 5,500 workers, and 4,000 are union-eligible. Volkswagen told Forbes it respects “our workers’ right to a democratic process,” adding it will “fully support an NLRB vote so every team member has a chance to vote in privacy.”

After a six-week strike at plants owned by Ford, General Motors and Chrysler and Jeep maker Stellantis last year ended with contracts in which UAW members received increased wages, fairer treatment and cost-of-living adjustments, the union has been campaigning at other automakers’ factories. Workers at Volkswagen’s Tennessee plant and an Alabama Mercedes-Benz plant have moved toward unionization, with majorities of the workers at each supporting it.

Global food, household and personal care behemoth Unilever saw its stocks rise 4% on Tuesday after the company announced it will cut 7,500 jobs and undertake the long-talked-about spinoff of its ice cream business. These cuts, which represent about 6% of the company’s global employees, will affect primarily office-based roles, Unilever said. Divesting Unilever’s ice cream business—which has five of the world’s top-selling ice cream brands, including Ben & Jerry’s, Wall’s and Magnum—has been widely discussed since the company’s unsuccessful takeover bid for GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer arm in 2022. In a statement, the Unilever board said the job cuts, spin off and other technology-led efficiencies will help the company save $868 million over the next three years.


Last week, Washington, D.C. and social media channels were abuzz with a bill quickly working its way through the House of Representatives to force TikTok, owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, to be sold to a U.S. entity within six months or be banned. The legislation is based on concerns the U.S. government has had about the popular Beijing-owned short video app for years: The Chinese government could be using it to spy on Americans. TikTok is extremely popular with Gen Zers, influencers and marketers, but the bill could also have a big impact on U.S. businesses that work with China. Analysts have started parsing which would be the most affected if the legislation passes. Apple and Tesla, Wedbush analysts wrote, are the U.S. businesses most dependent on China now. About half of the third-party sellers on Amazon are based in China, Rosenblatt analysts wrote. Oracle gets about $1 billion in business from TikTok, though Bernstein analysts feel the company’s valuation will stay intact because of growth from other customers and new services. But Meta has the most to gain and the most to lose. While displaced TikTok users and advertisers would be likely to migrate to Facebook, Instagram and Threads, a huge chunk of Meta’s current ad revenues come from other companies based in China, including viral discount retailer Temu.


Intuit CFO Sandeep Aujla On AI-Improved Experiences

Sandeep Aujla has only been the CFO of Intuit since August 1, but he’s a seven-year company veteran, previously serving in Intuit’s largest business unit, the Small Business and Self-Employed Group. In 2018, Intuit announced it would integrate a generative AI expert platform into its business platforms, which include TurboTax, QuickBooks, CreditKarma and Mailchimp. Just in time for tax season, when millions of people are using TurboTax, the AI assistant Intuit Assist was recently integrated throughout the company’s platform. I talked to Aujla about his first several months as CFO and Intuit’s foray into AI. This transcript has been edited for length, clarity and continuity.

You’ve worked a lot to help the company grow. What are some of the specific steps you’ve taken?

Aujla: It just really boils down to three areas of focus: Always deeply understand the business, deeply understand the customer needs, and linking those customer needs to what could drive your business upside, and then helping the team prioritize the critical few. In a company, the number one constraint is management bandwidth. One, let’s take a look at what are the big boulders we need to go after, and what’s the distraction? Let’s put that to the side. Two, as a financial organization and particularly in my role as the CFO, provide the clarity of what excellence looks like. What’s the goal we’re solving for, and help deliver that. And three, partner with a team. Be a pace-setter for the organization to help the company move at a radically different velocity than it has in the past, and help the company take smart risks. Finance, and particularly the CFO, can help unlock that, because you could help the company say what smart risk-taking is, what wobbles, and how to really move faster to deliver the ultimate ROI.

Some of the very specific things would be in the era of AI. …[Talking to a contractor using the generative AI function on QuickBooks], the one-hour call becomes a five-minute review of the work that AI has done, and a 15-minute call for us. With that, we have saved the customer 40 minutes, and the finance organization has done the work to say a small business values their time anywhere from $50 to $75 an hour. Now I’ve created a monetizable event for AI experiences. That’s a very hands-on way that the team is involved in partnership with the product and go-to-market team to see how we unlock growth for our shareholders while delivering unprecedented benefits for our customers.

How are customers reacting to the AI-powered Intuit Assist options?

Customers have [a tax] question like, ‘Hey, I got a refund last year. Why do I have to pay taxes this year?’ It’s a confidence question, like ‘Did I do something wrong?’ It is able to give them the answer with data and with their tax situation: Here’s what changed, and here’s some of the things that are changing your tax profile this year. …What we are hearing from customers is that our AI answers are one-and-a-half times more helpful than from the era of [prewritten answers to common questions].

…On the Mailchimp side, we’re delivering automations. …A new customer signs up, or a customer filled up a cart but then abandoned it, or a customer hasn’t come back for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. …We’re helping the small businesses set up automations, which they know have a high ROI, but they just take a while to set up.

…On CreditKarma, we are seeing customers get answers to things such as, ‘Hey, do you think I can get approved for a mortgage?’ As opposed to going to a third party on the internet and getting a very generic answer, they get a very contextually relevant answer because we have the data: ‘Here’s what your debt-to-income looks like. Here’s what your liabilities versus your savings looks like. And based on that, here’s our answer to your question.’

…Across all these fronts, we’re getting very good feedback from our customers, and it’s a process of iterating. One of the other things we’re learning is that many of us live in a unique position, where we are very familiar with AI. …For most of the population, AI is still a new concept. We’re putting AI into experiences so the customer doesn’t need to know if this is AI or not. They just think, ‘I have a question on my taxes. Can you help me answer that?’ And we are answering them using AI, and the customer is finding it helpful, but they don’t need to necessarily be like, ‘Oh, this is some AI tool’ or not. They just get a better answer and better benefit from a product.

Does not necessarily knowing Intuit Assist is powered by AI impact the customer experience?

We test a whole bunch. When we say, ‘Engage with Intuit Assist and get an AI-driven answer,’ the customer’s like, ‘I’m just trying to get this stuff done. This is my core to my business. AI is great. I’ll play around with it later, but let me just get my work done.’ …I think AI will go through a journey, but right now it’s more important that we are building improved experiences, as opposed to building new workflows. …We’re just naturally bringing AI to get you the answer, and that is resonating better with the customer.


After many difficult years, longtime “dinosaur” stocks General Electric and IBM have seen a resurgence in recent months, reports Forbes’ Brandon Kochkodin.

$26.3 billion: IBM’s software revenue last year, up from $18.5 billion in 2018

$23 billion: GE’s debt now, down from more than $500 billion in 2009

‘We’re a fundamentally different company and there’s lots of momentum’: IBM CFO James Kavanaugh told Forbes


Adobe Stock Tumbles After Outlook Disappoints


AI can be used to streamline your business, even in the fintech world. Here are some ways AI can help improve financial services.

A recent PwC survey found only six in 10 employees feel their employers trust them. Here are some tips to rebuild trust between executives and workers.


Influencer and YouTube star MrBeast, also known as Jimmy Donaldson, will be hosting an Amazon game show called Beast Games, which will have 1,000 contestants. How much will the winner get?

A. $5 million

B. $34 million

C. $600,000

D. $1 million

See if you got the answer right here.

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