As you may have heard, we have taken a majority stake in AccountsVision, why would we do that. We tried to do deals with other vendors, you would know the names, but some of them would not even talk to us or just never called back. So we looked around for someone who did not have an "old" business model to protect. Emily Coltmann pointed me into the direction of AccountsVision and I am very grateful for that. There are several reasons why we feel AccountsVision fits well within our organisation.
Firstly we like the guys at AccountsVision and enjoyed our discussions with them about where we believe the small accounting practice and their clients, the very small business users, are going. We will use our joint expertise to maximise the benefits for the small practice that can be gained by utilising SaaS and our unique online live services model.
Secondly, I have been talking about the need for a SBI – Small Business Infrastructure. This does not only include providing things like web-site, online shop, email, accounting software, online file-store, basic CRM, etc to the small business user. Infrastructure is far more than that, typing, telephone services, parcel services, company formation, cash control and invoicing, all those services performed by real people, that most people in big organisations take for granted. Our accounting partners will be able to gain from this approach two-fold. They will be able to utilise the technology to streamline their own organisation and safe money at the same time.
For example, I hear from our partners, that it is more and more difficult to get qualified staff. Using our CashBook service, we have been able to de-complicate book keeping, by allowing admin staff to enter clients receipts and then have a book keeper do the double entry. We will be offering online training courses and tutorials for these admin CashBook users in the near future. However nobody has to wait, our 24×7 live support is happy to help with any questions anytime.
Our accounting partners also benefit from our free product offer for all their clients. That means not only can our partners offer CashBook and AccountsOffice free of charge to their clients, but also OnlineOffice. This unique offering will further enhance the competitive advantage of our accounting partners, reduce customer churn and make them into "THE" small business advisor in their area.
Thirdly, we and AccountsVision share the vision, that the accountants are the most important ingredient in the SBI approach. We make it faster and easier for Accountants to deal with admin issues, like preparation of annual accounts, to allow for more (chargeable) consulting time, for the accountants benefit and that of their clients. This is partly reality already with the seamless integration of the AccountsVision product with our own product line.
By making AccountsVision part of WinWeb, we will accelerate the development of our small accounting practice vision, by helping accountants to manage their business and clients better and faster, leaving more time to help small business clients to stay in business.
Following this acquisition, AccountsVision will resume total admin responsibility for our accounting partner relationships within a few weeks. We do not force any one to use both products, they will still exist as individual products, but we will try to make our joint accounting partners an offer they can not refuse, based on superior products, better service, very competitive pricing and real partnership.
I would also like to announce the opening of our new development centre in India to further speed up new developments, localisations for new markets, and enhance our API activities. The impact of this should be noticeable within the next few months. With over 100,000 users, we are getting real good usage data and product feedback, which will allow us to make our products more user friendly and with our new development centre we will be able to react faster.
I have been criticised for not talking about the AccountsVision deal with our Gold Partners before it happened and I am truly sorry about that. But my experience with M&A deals tells me to be careful what you announce. I think this deal or a similar deal was the next logical first step. When you look at our product offering it is fairly obvious what we will do next, payroll. We will try again to find an reliable outsourcing partner, failing that we will have to find different ways to give our clients what they need.
Finally my current talks in Australia and New Zealand have helped to formulate a set of offerings and localisations for these markets with the same focus on small business mortality. Here the Government bodies are far more small business orientated and that will make for some speedy rollout of our services.
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