The need for online accounting

Written on 26 May, 2011 by Var Fernando
Categories Reach AccountingTags accounting software

In the year 2000, business owners already had enough to do and when GST was introduced, they were lumbered with more paperwork and compliance costs. On top of that, the Internet was exploding.

I believed the shift from purchasing desktop software to simply using online software services would be as disruptive as the shift from DOS to Windows. Can you remember way back to 1985, when we were all using Lotus 1-2-3 to do spreadsheets? It was inconceivable that in a just a few short years, Lotus 1-2-3 would be wiped out by Microsoft Excel and yet, it happened.

By 2004, it was clear the Internet had set in motion the irreversible decline of desktop software, which meant that someday, accounting software was destined for the Internet.

What I didn’t know at the time was how the accounting software industry would respond to the Internet era. MYOB single-handedly created the accounting software industry thanks to a marvelous product and incredible brand development.

Would MYOB embrace the Internet? Not a simple decision, for doing so would mean cannibalising their core revenue stream. On the other hand, doing nothing would open the door for bold new entrants.

My bet was that the incumbents would sit on the sidelines and watch for a while to see how the landscape unfolded. I figured that if they did nothing for a few years, I would have just enough time to put a team together and build an online accounting package, from the ground up.

First and foremost, a gun software developer had to be found. The person had to be young yet experienced, highly skilled, gifted and an entrepreneur. Even more important, he would have the character traits that allow him to transition from getting the job done with his own hands, to becoming CTO, capable of seeing the big picture while delivering on details.

It was hard to find that person. Melbourne isn’t San Francisco. I got lucky one day when I placed an ad in Seek. Don Buchanan was courageous enough to answer my call to action, and when he joined, our venture truly began.

We then headed into the development phase, which can be described with one word: toil. There was always too much to do. The days turned into weeks, months and finally, years. It was tough going but our persistence paid off and our product was ready.

Along the way, Xero emerged from New Zealand offering cloud based accounting software to small and medium sized enterprises around the globe, in particular, to New Zealand, England, the U.S. and Australia. They were a listed company, well organised and professional. Accountants took them seriously, so did investors and journalists. Xero convinced the marketplace that online accounting software was the best way for progressive companies to operate. Bravo to Xero.

With two formidable companies in the marketplace, what could Reach Accounting offer that would make a difference? Well, we are different from MYOB and Xero in one particular area - we serve only small business. Our laser focus on this market segment has two benefits.

First, our product is simpler because it doesn’t have all those complex features that are necessary for medium sized enterprises, which is why Reach is so clean and easy to use.

Secondly, we understand that business owners can’t afford expensive software, so we sell our subscription for around half the market price.

Business owners appreciate these differences, as do we.

Var Fernando is the CEO of Reach Accounting. Reach offers easy-to-use online accounting software that’s tailored specifically for Australian small business.

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