Thursday, November 20, 2014

TECH THE CLOUD STORM: Inside The Billion-Dollar War For The Future Of Accounting In Australia

Alex Herber for Business Insider Australia writes: The battle between Xero, Intuit and MYOB in Australia makes for a fascinating case study in strategic maneuvering.
At stake is dominance in the $1 billion market for booking-keeping for millions of Australian businesses, mainly small- to medium-sized ventures. All three companies promise to make life easier for small businesses, allowing management to focus on growth and products rather than the drudgery of accounting.
Xero entered the market a couple of years ago, giving users a fresh option and now it’s looking to expand its US operations and grow the customer base.
In a show of how important the US market is to Xero, it announced today it was shaking up its management in North America because it was “dissatisfied with execution and leadership” over the last six months – not a long time to allow a management team to prove itself.
Leveraging its success in New Zealand, where Xero processed about one third of the country’s GDP in transactions last financial year, it listed in Australia and is open about its plans for US expansion which are already underway with the acquisition of Seattle-based payroll startup Monchilla in a deal worth over $4 million.
With the US being Intuit’s home turf, it’s paying very close attention to the activity in the Australian market which Xero is trying to use as base camp for an assault on the US.
When one moves, the other responds. Both are growing quickly, but still standing in the shadow of MYOB, the incumbent behemoth.

The startup support battle

On Tuesday Xero announced it had struck a partnership with startup incubator Fishburners with its Australian MD Chris Ridd saying the company wants to champion startups. More on that here.
On the very same day Intuit Quickbooks Online announced it will be a primary sponsor of Startup Weekend Australia which gets going this week.
It’s a case of “Anything you can do, I can do…”, well, if not better, they’ll at least try something.
Intuit said the sponsorship would help deliver a national series of events for the country’s growing startup community.
Intuit Australia MD Nicolette Maury said startups have been at the centre of the company’s success, adding it wants to be known as a 30-year-old startup.
“Intuit QuickBooks Online is committed to being a part of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Australia and, together with Startup Weekend Australia, is proud to be here for our startup and small business community,” she said.
Xero said its accounting software helps small business do better by streamlining accounting processes.
Maury said the Intuit offering helps startups do better because it helps them “realise the power and potential of their businesses”.
“We want startups to be successful and we help make that happen by providing intuitive financial management solutions in the cloud so they can run their business from wherever they are and always know the status of their finances to make the best business decisions,” she said.
Business Insider asked both companies for comment on the timing of the announcements.
Xero MD Chris Ridd said:We have had a long term involvement with the start up community in Australia, and having once been a start up ourselves, we have a natural connection to this community. We continually find Xero is very popular and highly subscribed to by startups and so we are keen to invest and give back. We see continued efforts by our competitors to replicate some of our successful programs we are involved in and on numerous fronts, but it does not distract us from the work that we are doing and we continue to see outstanding growth in our business as a result of that focus.
Intuit MD Nicolette Maury said:“Intuit has always been committed to being a part of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the markets we operate in, and we’ve had a long history of collaboration with startup organisations around the globe, including The Global Innovation Forum, Startup Weekend in Canada, TiE in India ,and others. Startups and small business have been at the heart of Intuit’s success across the world, and here in Australia over the past two years, and conversely our QuickBooks Online offering has been part of the success story of many entrepreneurial ventures. We are fiercely passionate about providing innovators with the tools, guidance and resources they need to launch successful ventures and joining forces with Startup Weekend Australia is a great way for us to support this mission and showcase our commitment to the local startup community". [snip].  The article continues @ Business Insider Australia, click here to continue reading....


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