- iFirm more important than iBizz
- Open to alternatives with Yodlee or direct feeds
- CCH injecting a lot of capital to expand iFirm
Information services company CCH Australia said it hoped to continue buying services from financial data aggregator BankLink after the company announced it was selling to CCH’s rival MYOB. BankLink supplied bank feeds to CCH’s cloud accounting program iBizz as well as MYOB’s cloud programs AccountRight Live and LiveAccounts.
Although CCH had just launched client-side accounting program iBizz, it was more interested in selling its iFirm practice management software for accountants.
“It’s interesting all these developments with BankLink but our longer term play is engaging directly with accounting firms as opposed to selling millions of dollars of software to SMEs,” said Russell Evans, CEO of Wolters Kluwer Asia Pacific, parent company of CCH Australia.
The accounting software and services industry frequently drew competitors to cooperate, Evans said.
For example, CCH acquisition Business Fitness New Zealand held very valuable learning materials for accountants to which competing vendors wanted access. Sharing those materials with MYOB and other competing vendors would increase revenue for Business Fitness New Zealand and improve access for accountants.
“It’s just to illustrate that it’s a reasonably complex market. One day we can be competing against a vendor and the next day we will be having conversation about cooperating,” Evans said.
“I can’t speculate on the outcome of the acquisition by MYOB of BankLink but given the level of competition and cooperation I think there’s enough variety of vendors in the marketplace to hopefully continue our relationship with BankLink,” Evans said.
CCH would consider bank feeds from alternative suppliers such as global financial data aggregator Yodlee or forming direct feeds with banks, Evans said. “We continue to look at alternative areas of supply in all aspects of our business, particularly given the way technology is evolving so rapidly,” Evans said.
CCH had no direct relationships with banks to access bank feeds. However, parent company Wolters Kluwer had taken this approach for its European cloud accounting program Twinfield.
“Between the directors of MYOB and the guys at Bain Capital they’ve spent a lot of money on BankLink. I congratulate them. I’m sure they won’t want to do anything to damage that asset, it’s a very high performing business,” Evans said.
CCH Australia was in the final stages of taking a “significant amount of capital” from parent company Wolters Kluwer to develop the client accounting aspects of iFirm, Evans said. The company had a well-defined roadmap to establish client accounting and create a premier brand for firms across Asia, Evans said.
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