Aussie accountants see the potential
It was great to travel around Australia again as part of the Xero Roadshow. (If you missed the Roadshow join the webinar.)
While the recession has certainly been felt, some states have faired very well, especially Western Australia and Queensland, principally due to the huge contracts the mining companies have with China – spanning the next 20 years and worth hundreds of billions of dollars. This is the key export industry that will provide sustainable economic growth for Australia in the next decade. Banks in Australia have faired better than their counterparts in the US and UK, with the ANZ recently announcing a $A5 billion profit. So it’s still fairly rosy in Oz. While I was in Australia the Aussie dollar reached equal value with the Greenback and since then it’s overtaken it. Wow! Not so good for Australian exporters though.
But Australia is very compliance heavy and the income tax and GST provisions are complicated. There still appear to be efficiency gains to be made by government and big business. While the rest of the world is forced to invest in innovation and R&D to build efficiency, Australia still feels fat. The big opportunity for Australia is to use its strong economy and balance sheet to invest in innovation. If it can do that it will become a very rich and powerful influencer in the global economy.
I visited Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. The accountants we met are upbeat and realise the cloud is going to be the single biggest efficiency and innovation change in their business in decades. They love bank feeds, our information centric dashboards and the Single Ledger concept. They want collaboration, control, visibility and efficiency, which is what Xero delivers. Australian SMEs use accrual accounting and have to keep accurate systems due to the complex nature of GST and income tax. This actually makes it easier to suggest Xero to them. They also understand the difference daily bank feeds make to their ability to monitor the accrual impacts on daily cashflow.
When we did our first roadshows in Australia, just over a year ago, we were getting 15-20 accountants in the room. On this trip it was more like 70-80. Our presentation included a fantastic video interview with MYOB co-founder and now Xero director Craig Winkler and it was great to hear from the ANZ’s Simon Troon on how the ANZ Xero partnership is working. This, coupled with our visibility through Telstra, and our public company status, is helping to position Xero as the leader in the online accounting space.
I like Australia. The opportunity is big and the country very entrepreneurial. I’m looking forward to the 2011 roadshow already.