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:
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:
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.
Alex Chriss, Intuit’s SVP & Chief Product Officer, Small Business, commented that he felt the next 18 months would see more innovation than the previous 2 decades at intuit!
So, I am sorry #StephSocial (who made the point to tell me my conference reviews aren’t designed for her short-attention span #snap), but with this year’s review of Intuit’s annual conference, I have so much to write about, it is actually going to be longer than my previous articles!