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Poking the bear

Now in its 10th year, Sleeter Group’s Accounting Solutions Conference in Las Vegas has become a mainstay in the accounting industry with accountants, bookkeepers, thought leaders, and vendors convening around the world of accounting.

We’ve attended for three years now and have seen the conference evolve from a desktop-centric to a more cloud-centric feel. The proliferation of online apps catering to the needs of accounting professionals was very apparent across the trade show floor. It’s really cool to see this sea change of accounting professionals picking up cloud tools and really starting to understand the power of  online accounting solutions.

Below is a photo of one of our happy new Gold Partners, Carol Hower from TeamWorks. She has jumped into the new world of online accounting and is loving it.

Carol & Arthur at the Accounting Solutions Conference

Intuit vs. Xero

The playful jabs throughout the conference between Intuit and Xero are a good sign of healthy competition. Accountants and small businesses all over the world are going to benefit. Intuit hasn’t had a credible challenger in the accounting space and it’s time they did. Here’s our CEO Rod Drury with Intuit CEO Brad Smith:

Rod Drury & Brad Smith at the Accounting Solutions Conference

When I first started at Xero just under two years ago I was asked how I thought Intuit would respond to Xero’s entry into the US. It was pretty clear to me that they had two choices. One was to buy us out and the other was to try to emulate our success and compete. Since we were not, and are not for sale, option two is the only way forward.

Intuit has increasingly emphasized their efforts with Quickbooks Online. Intuit’s Brad Smith covered this at length in his keynote. Intuit is working hard to re-architect and retrofit their solution to look, feel, and operate like a web app. Moving a product which was built in 1999 to a modern web app is not an easy task. There has been some progress, but it may be that Quickbooks Online will have to start over from the ground up, which would be a massive investment. Xero has put in seven years and $200M to date in creating a cloud product so it’s a long way for Intuit to catch up.

Apps working together

We are in an era where web services and contemporary APIs allow for data to pass back and forth easily and effortlessly. And setting up these integrations in some cases only takes seconds. This was a central theme at the conference. Desktop fails miserably in this area and is one of the reasons we don’t see anyone investing in desktop solutions anymore.

As many of our customers and followers know, we have over 300 apps that now integrate with Xero. Quickbooks Online say they have  approximately 60. Intuit stated that they don’t want a large ecosystem and prefer to focus on a select few add-on applications that they’ll make work well with Quickbooks Online.

At Xero, we have a very different perspective. We see these application developers and companies as entrepreneurs and pioneers. We want to help and work with them all. Together we can change the way small businesses all over the world run their businesses making them more productive and efficient. That feels really good. It is a massive community effort and every application that wants to do the same, we absolutely want to partner with them and build this together.

Thanks to Doug & Sherrill Sleeter for another great conference and congratulations to achieving 10 years of success. Looking forward to next year…

 

6 comments

Gayle Buchanan
7 November 2013 #

Love that our Rod always looks at the bigger picture … and makes every one of us feel special. Brad Smith – being in that photo means you are kinda special too.
btw Kiwis Rock *Smiles*
Where’s Douglas?

James
8 November 2013 #

Glad you are not for sale. For what it is worth my shares are not for sale either! Rock on.

Todd
8 November 2013 #

Poking the bear, that’s a funny title. Nice to see these 2 titans of industry enjoying a friendly moment. From everything I’ve heard Intuit is being forced to react to the upstart Xero. Just how quickly such a behemoth can counter is open for debate.

Mike Block CPA
8 November 2013 #

I have been happier and more exited by Xero (and its WorkflowMax and WorkPapers) alone than I had been in the last 50 years in accounting. Rod, your post was an all time high. I hope Brad respond’s in kind. As I am about to post in my blog, both companies are really doing wonders for each other, for everyone who uses any of your products and for everyone that should soon do so.

Margaret Carey
11 November 2013 #

agree with Mike – business users are the winners here.Web based accounting software is intuitive and easy for non-accounting users to understand, empowering business owners to use it. Intuit is very focused on delivering an improved user experience and is taking the challenge from Xero very seriously. Focus from Goliath and David is delivering the best customer experience. With a flatter management structure and modern code Xero has an advantage but Intuit has grit and determination and its sheer size and market dominance will ensure the battle will continue.

Wayne Schmidt
13 November 2013 #

I decided to invest in going to the Sleeter Group conference and the quality presenter and content was world class. Personally I think Australia and New Zealand firms are more proactive in fixed fee and value based pricing models. With the USA market place moving more towards the cloud., the industry and clients all will benefit in the long term, bury those servers in your office.

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