Reckon is number two in Australia for accounting software sales but the last in a field of six strong players in launching its cloud accounting program. This is a huge week for Reckon because its national roadshow will be the first time loyal accountants and bookkeepers, other than alpha testers, will get a peek at the browser-based program Reckon One.
While MYOB and Xero have set a cracking pace in the move to cloud software, Reckon’s loyalists have been waiting. Melbourne’s roadshow has over 1,000 accountants attending, Sydney around 800, when I checked on Friday. South Australia sold out in two days.
Reckon needs to impress its partners with a program and a philosophy that makes sense – and a rapid-development roadmap to catch up to the leaders. Although the company is late to the game, it’s not rushing to market. Reckon One won’t launch until July.
Partners will also meet the new management team comprising new recruits and promoted execs. The young guns will need to impress, reassure and inspire partners in equal measure.
Reckon has the self belief that it is up to the task, but the task is huge. Xero claims it is adding 200 businesses a day, fueling a growth rate over 200 percent. Intuit has played a spoiling role with QuickBooks Online by contacting Reckon partners directly and offering it at a heavily discounted $4.95 a month.
MYOB is finally kicking into gear as it sorts out its APIs and throws marketing muscle behind AccountRight Live. Saasu is due to launch its 2.0 overhaul by the end of the year.
And CCH, which has every firm in the country in its customer database, is pushing iFirm and the $5-plus-feeds iBizz.
Definitions of cloud software are a little pliable so to clarify: Reckon One will operate from the internet browser only in a similar manner to Xero, QuickBooks Online, MYOB LiveAccounts, CCH iBizz and Saasu.
It is not a desktop accounting program that syncs the data file to the cloud, like MYOB AccountRight Live.
But Reckon continues to sell QuickBooks desktop accounting software (rebranded as Reckon Accounts) and its QuickBooks Hosted service, which runs the desktop accounting software from Reckon’s data centres through a remote connection.
While rivals have an answer to one or two products, no vendor has all three. There are legitimate reasons to stay with feature-rich desktop accounting software (especially for larger or regional companies). Reckon will be hoping its one-stop shop will give partners and their clients enough reason to stay loyal.
Reckon One won’t match Xero for features at launch. Payroll and other features are promised later in the year or early next. But it has to be solid – otherwise the loyalists will lose hope.
Reckon, over to you.
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