Recently former Intuit employee David Leary and his fellow #CloudAccounting Podcaster Blake Oliver declared the changing of the guard atop the three “big whales” of worldwide SME accounting tech (Rod Drury moving on from Xero CEO, Brad Smith likewise Intuit and Stephen Kelly unceremoniously removed as Sage CEO) signaled a clear end of Cloud Accounting 1.0 and the industry moving into the 2.0 phase. It’s not only a point hard to argue, it is one that for me, was clearly demonstrated at this year’s edition of Xerocon (South).
Last Thursday, August 16 2018, Xero held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at The Establishment Sydney. Whilst not in the league of a Xerocon as far as attendance (a factor of 100 fewer attendees) or entertainment (I remained 100% sober, even at the after “refreshments”), I have been a regular of Xero AGMs for the last few years due to the access it provides to senior management and the board, both formally during the meeting and informally before and after. Access that filled in a few gaps for me on recent announcements and showed the dynamic of the leadership of the newly, post-founder-succession company. Here are 5 takeaways I garnered from the event:
It’s time the mid-market accounting technology space woke up and realised its 2018. In Australia, MYOB have handed them the “goose that lays the golden eggs” with their decision not to take Single Touch Payroll to MYOB Premier (see my previous article) and yet none of them are in a position to genuinely capitalise, because they aren’t even playing the same game as the likes of Xero and Intuit!
Where are the bank feeds? How about a solid ecosystem of best of breed add-ons? How about AI and machine learning? How about a modern, mobile optimised UI with decent UX design? Why are these the domain of “small business” systems like Xero and QBo at one end and “corporate solutions” like Workday at the other? What happened in the middle?
A recent experience with a client (which is representative of what is going on in the broader mid-market) has really “got my goat” and compelled me to speak out!
MYOB have a significant make or break play in market at the moment and few seem to be commenting on it. And I’m not talking about Practice Management and the abandonment of the the Reckon Accountant’s division acquisition.
Last November I was lucky enough to be invited as guest of Intuit to it’s annual conference in San Jose, California. I had so much to write about the event and the key insights I garnered, I spread my review across two separate posts:
- QB Connect 2017: The Review No-one Else Will Write – Part I
- QB Connect 2017 – The Review No-one else Will Write Part 2
6 months on and the QB Connect event landed in Sydney for the second edition of the Australian conference. Armed with a “media pass”, I was fortunate to gain entry to the main day of the event and a one-on-one interview with Rich Preece, Intuit’s Global Accountant Segment Leader.
There’s been quite a stir around “the industry” over the last month about the churn of key people at Xero. First there was the “succession” of founder Rod Drury, cased in rumours and innuendo, that bears not repeating.
The concern for (not many) investors (judging by the share price since Rod’s departure) was the timing.
WARNING: This article is heavily laced with opinions and is not suitable for consumption by those who are sensitive to strong views…
At the end of March, the ACCC released its preliminary findings into the proposed acquisition of Reckon’s Accountant’s division by MYOB.
2 documents were released:
- A media release dated March 29, 2018, titled “ACCC CONCERNED WITH MYOB ACQUISITION OF RECKON ASSETS“
- A Statement of Issues dated March 29, titled “MYOB – proposed acquisition of Reckon’s Accountants Group“
In short, I find the media release ridiculous, poorly worded and off-point. The Statement of Issues, whilst not without some substance, shows a lack of genuine investigation, understanding of competition and technical wherewithal.
Here goes, my 3rd annual attempt at being an accountable, amateur “futurist” in the Cloud Accounting and general Biztech industry.
2017 proved (for me anyway), more predictable that 2016 (remember 2016 was the year of Trump, Brexit, Cronulla Sharks, Western Bulldogs, Leicester..). By my own marking, my 2017 Biztech predictions saw me score a respectable B upon reflection, after a horrid F for 2016.
So again I saddle up with my futurism skills moving in the right direction and a continued promise to be transparent about my predictions.
For the second year in a row, I started last year with my crack at being a futurist, by publishing my predictions for the Biztech/AccountingTech industry for the year ahead. Unlike most other people who make bold predictions, again I am happy to hold myself to account on how I went.
On the 16th of November it was announced that MYOB (subject to regulatory approval) had acquired the assets of Reckon’s Accountant’s Practice division for $180m. Over the past month, I’ve spoken to more people about the deal, than I care to count. Rarely at my instigation I might add. It seems everyone wants to talk about it! From people close to Reckon to big ticket clients, former staff, current staff and the average man on the street. I was even provided the opportunity of a private audience with senior MYOB execs in a no-holds-barred session in which they laid-bare their core strategies.
I’ve distilled my own thoughts, stolen some from others and now have my opinions and theory of what is to come. Here goes: