Intuit Inc., the maker of Turbo Tax and Quicken software, on Thursday reported a slightly lower net loss for its first fiscal quarter as revenue from its small business products improved.

For the three months ended Oct. 31, the company posted a net loss of $64 million, or 21 cents per share. That's compared with a loss of $70 million, or 22 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding one-time items, the company said it lost 10 cents per share in the quarter. By that measure, analysts on average expected a loss of 12 cents per share, according to FactSet.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company paid its first quarterly dividend of 15 cents per share, or $45 million, during the period. The company also approved a 15-cents-per-share dividend to be paid Jan. 18 to shareholders of record Jan. 10.

Intuit typically posts a loss in its first fiscal quarter, when there is little revenue from its tax businesses to offset its relatively steady expenses.

Total revenue for the quarter improved to $594 million, from $532 million a year ago. The boost came largely from the small business products, where revenue increased 13 percent. The company said subscribers to its QuickBooks Online accounting software grew by 40 percent and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions grew by 28 percent.

The company said its consumer tax division generated $41 million in revenue, an increase of $12 million, as more consumers filed extended returns.

Total costs and expenses were $688 million, up from $636 million a year ago.

For its fiscal second quarter, Intuit said it expects adjusted earnings of 43 cents to 47 cents a share on revenue between $1 billion and $1.02 billion. Analysts are forecasting earnings of 43 cents a share and $1 billion in revenue.

Shares of Intuit were flat in after-hours trading, after closing down $1.70, or 3 percent, at $51.75.