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Reckon looking to take on Xero by joining cloud accountancy battle

Friday, 8 February 2013 | By Warwick Goodman

Reckon is aiming to shake up the Australian accounting software market when it launches its first cloud-based product Reckon One in the next quarter.


The cloud-based accountancy software market, with Xero and MYOB vying for market share, is heating up for start-ups, but Reckon, which has been around for more than two decades, believes it has something unique to offer.


Clive Rabie, CEO of Reckon, told StartupSmart that not only will users access and operate the software through the cloud, the sale and delivery of it will also all be done online.


This allows very flexible customisation of the product for users when they purchase, as each can tailor their version to their specific needs. This is something that can’t be achieved with traditional over-the-counter retailing.


“It’s been developed on the ‘right for you’ development methodology,” says Rabie.­ “You can tailor the products to your needs.”


Rabie believes this user-centric approach sets Reckon One apart from its competitors.


“Where most of the competitors provide two or three products in a suite, with ours you can choose different personalities and scale it differently, so you can create one of hundreds of products and you only pay for what you need.”


“We are also developing quite a range of applications that are part of the product, including mobile applications. We are developing these ourselves rather than going through third parties like our competitors have often done.”


Reckon has mostly finished with the development of the product, but Rabie explains that with accounting software it is an ongoing process, even after the product is launched.


“Well I can tell you one thing about the development, it’s never really done,” he says. “It’s always a journey, it’s never a destination.”


Rabie believes understanding the wants and needs of clients and making accounting easier for them is crucial to stay on top.


“I think that obviously understanding the domain and the needs of the clients are important. Most accountants don’t want to understand a big range of products.”


Chris Ridd, Australian managing director of Xero, says Reckon is late to the emerging cloud-based market.


“It is heating up,” he says, “and it’s interesting now to see the incumbents scrambling to react to what’s going on.


“I think it’s interesting that it’s taken Reckon this long. They’re years late to the market with this cloud product. It’s taken them a long time to wake up to what’s going on with cloud software.”


Ridd says Reckon has got a lot of work on its hands to get its version up to a standard the market expects.


He says: “People think we’re an overnight success but we’ve been around for seven years.”


“For years MYOB and Reckon have been double dipping, charging for both, but we want to bring these two worlds together and charge once. And we’re going to continue to focus on free value-added tools.”


Ridd seems very confident about Xero’s position in the market.


“We’ve seen incredible momentum in our business. Now in Australia, we have over 40,000 customers and 135,000 globally. In Australia we are signing up over 100 new customers every business day. It’s incredible momentum.”


However, Ridd says he welcomes the innovation and competition in the cloud-based software market.


“It is really exciting at the moment. And it’s about time. We want to turn the market on its head. Accountants have been starved of innovation for too long.”