The makers of Turbotax created a new, free tool to help startups hire faster

Intuit’s known for its tax tools and for being a part of most accounting departments, thanks to its Quickbooks software. But the accounting giant wants to enter a new arena: hiring.

Its new product, Intuit Workforce, is designed to make it easier for on-demand economy startups to hire thousands of independent contractors, especially when they’re just launching.

“What we found with a lot of these on-demand companies is that they were starting out scrappy and using like a GoogleDoc to get their first few contractors working, and very quickly that broke and they had to go build their own product,” said Alex Chriss, VP of Self-Employed Solutions in Intuit’s small business division.

The free tool from Intuit serves as that funnel and starting step, helping startups who use workers to do anything from delivery to valets get their applications down from thousands to a sizable hiring pool.

Intuit Workforce helps track applicants through a pipeline, sending automated messages to candidates to those who meet the criteria or working with third parties to do background checks. The analytics also comes with a dashboard to show where the bottlenecks in the company’s hiring process are and make sure there’s enough qualified candidates in the pipeline to meet the startup’s needs as it grows, Chriss explained.

“When you bring on somebody, you have to figure out how to manage them through a process,” Chriss said. “It’s very similar to hiring a single employee, but they’re doing this on steroids in an on-demand company, where they’re bringing in tens of thousands of people potentially every month in order to meet the demand.”

Many of the larger on-demand startups, like Uber and Lyft, have already moved past this pain point and built their tools in house. Those are incumbents in the field though, and many companies trying to build up work forces of thousands only have a few dozen workers. After Intuit acquired Playbook HR in March, it developed and signed on more than 70 companies for Workforce, including on-demand companies like parking valet startup Luxe, laundry company Washio and food delivery service Deliv.

“It would be a shame if the hundreds of on-demand companies out there each had to build their own version of this,” Chriss said.

The move is part of a larger trend of companies, both incumbents and new startups, jumping in to take advantage of the growing sector. By Intuit’s own research, the number of on-demand workers has grown from zero a few years ago to 3.2 million today and will jump to around 7.6 million by 2020.

And while it may be Intuit’s first foray into more of the hiring side of HR, Chriss hinted that in the future Workforce could expand to work with its other payroll and payments products, becoming a one-stop HR and financing portal for startups.

“If you added up all the contractors they’re responsible for, you’re talking tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, in multiple locations and multiple countries,” Chriss said. “They’re thinking about how to manage that on their own when they only have a few dozen employees. It’s a fascinating problem, one that I think Intuit Workforce solves really well.”

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