Over the last few years I’ve tried my hand at predicting the year in cloud accounting and related biztech ahead, publicly critiquing my efforts at the start of the following year. Call me silly, call me brave, call me whatever you like. I do it because I feel too few are willing to back up their guessing with reflection. So rather than complain about it, I do what I think others should.
The stated theme of QBConnect 2018 was “anything is possible”. I tend not to be a believer in the life philosophy of infinite possibilities. I don’t think it possible that I could break the world 100m sprint record held by Usain Bolt in the process of winning the 100m Olympic final. At 41 I’m too old to start on this momentous life goal. I wasn’t genetically endowed with a sprinter’s body, an elongated gate nor a mass of fast twitch fibres. Aspiring to such a lofty goal would be ludicrous (at my age especially), and assured of failure. So in summing up the Negative teams argument, if I can’t aspire to break Usain’s 100m world record and win the 100m gold medal, anything is NOT actually possible…
On the 18th of October, Matt joined Sholto Macpherson of Digital First fame to preview his talk at Accountech Live on the SMERP Dilemma.
As it stands in 2018, there is a challenge for larger SMEs to decide between SME Cloud Accounting platforms like Xero and QBo, plus ecosystem “add-ons”, or significantly more expensive and flexible, yet less user-friendly comprehensive Business Platforms like Salesforce, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and MYOB Advanced.
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).
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!
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.