- Includes automatic bank coding, contacts, invoices and statements, GST, reports.
- $5 a month, BankLink fees for feeds extra.
- Only sold through accounting firms.
Financial information services company CCH Australia launched its Xero rival iBizz in New Zealand last month at a cut-price rate of NZ$5 a month. iBizz lacked key Xero features such as payroll and online invoicing but included online accounting, automatic bank coding, contacts, invoices and statements, and GST and reports.
The NZ$5 a month fee for unlimited users and access the cloud accounting program undercut Xero’s cheapest retail version which cost NZ$29 a month. However, access to bank feeds in iBizz was provided by BankLink and charged separately.
iBizz was targeted at cashbook-type clients, said Russell Evans, CEO of CCH Australia. Xero sold a basic ledger version without bank feeds to accounting firms for $5 a month, with discounts for firms transferring large volumes of clients from competing programs.
CCH had moved iBizz from beta to mainstream launch and was marketing it in New Zealand in conjunction with BankLink. “We’re getting a pretty good take-up of that product. It is not just about price point, it is about visibility of their clients’ position,” Evans said.
iBizz was only sold through accounting firms and couldn’t be bought by businesses directly from CCH.
“Our decision to give an accountant iBizz at $5 a month makes it very easy for an accountant and owner to work in a connected manner,” Evans said.
CCH planned to release the program to Australian accounting firms in June. CCH planned to be first to market with its cloud-based tax program in Australia the following month.
CCH was committed to selling iBizz only through accounting firms, Evans said. The low price would increase the adoption rate of cloud accounting software within firms, he added.
“By making it $5 it becomes a very easy conversation for an accountant to have with their small business owner. For us it wasn’t about being disruptive or undercutting the market. It was about empowering them,” Evans said.
iBizz also gave accountants a view of an SMB owners’ books in real time as both owner and accountant could look at the same account online from their own offices.
“The SME doesn’t want to pay any more for looking backwards. They want a trusted adviser so they can look forwards,” Evans said.
iBizz was tightly integrated with CCH’s cloud-based practice management system, CCH iFirm, which it acquired from New Zealand company Acclipse last year.
Both programs were designed to streamline the process of producing tax returns in accounting firms.
“CCH iFirm is absolutely aimed at helping accountants make the process of tax compliance far more streamlined yet still ensuring a high degree of quality assurance,” Evans said.
“By doing that it helps the accountants free up their time to provide advisory work back to their small business clients.”
CCH had designed iFirm to work with accounting software from other vendors. Accountants had been holding back from cloud accounting because they didn’t want to be stuck with one vendor, Evans said.
“If I go with Xero and can only promote Xero, accountants are objecting to that,” he said.
Cloud software was moving out of the early adopter phase to the early majority, Evans said. Eight of 10 accountants contacted by CCH wanted to talk about the cloud tomorrow, he claimed. “A third of conversations are looking to move straight away. The rest of them are contemplating a move in the next 12 to 18 months,” Evans said.
“We’re getting towards that tipping point. We will see a quantum shift in accountants moving some of their business into the cloud.”
CCH was holding a roadshow in June and July to promote its cloud software.
Image credit: CCH