The newly floated MYOB continued on its shopping spree last month by scooping up Ace Payroll, a 20-year-old New Zealand veteran in the payroll space.
MYOB has quite a taste for Kiwi companies. Ace is the third NZ acquisition after enterprise payroll provider PayGlobal and local bank feed aggregator BankLink.
I asked James Scollay, MYOB’s general manager for SME solutions and the driving force behind the deal, what the Ace story was all about.
Digital First: So, what’s with the Kiwi thing?
Scollay: It’s about our long term commitment to New Zealand payroll. When you’re just focused on Australia and New Zealand you can afford to go really deep. We want to be really deep and long in these markets with long-term commitments and deep strategic plays.
And yes, it’s the third New Zealand technology business (we have acquired) in three years. We love those guys.
Digital First: Why did MYOB buy Ace Payroll?
Scollay: Ace has been around for 20 years in New Zealand and is one of the biggest players for a decade. They have thousands of customers and are one of the top providers of payroll to SMBs in New Zealand. They have been on our radar for a while.
It’s a deceptively strategic deal for us. It reinforces our position in New Zealand payroll, gives us a great customer base for the next payroll and gives us a chance to move them all to the cloud.
Digital First: What is the Ace Payroll software like?
Scollay: Payroll in New Zealand is about depth of knowledge about the area and the services around that. It’s a relatively straightforward product that does a single job really well and they have great support. We reviewed their numbers and their customer satisfaction rates and retention rates are market leading.
Digital First: What are the plans for adding them to the cloud?
Scollay: We will offer those customers a chance to move online and take advantage of online accounting and online payroll. Ace don’t offer accounting software. Those customers will then have access to our online accounting products and can move to online payroll.
We have proven with AccountRight Live that if you make it seamless for customers to migrate to the cloud those customers will migrate.
Digital First: Where do you see payroll heading?
Scollay: The big thing about payroll is getting rid of complexity. Our online products already do that. Paying your staff is at the heart of the relationship between the employer and employee. We need to think about how we can we add to that relationship.
Digital First: You recently bought PayGlobal which also does payroll (although for enterprise). Why did you want to buy another payroll provider?
Scollay: Now we’ve got desktop payroll, online payroll and enterprise payroll. We didn’t buy them for the technology, although we will continue to offer it to that customer base.
This extends our position in the marketplace. We’re not adding a huge number of customers because there is an overlap. There are still more people using MYOB than any other solution in New Zealand.