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Exact lays claim to cloud global No 3 spot

28th Apr 2015
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Though many UK accountants may not be aware of it, the Delft-based Exact Software now claims to be the number three supplier of cloud accounting systems in the world.

Exact CEO Erik van der Meijden made the boast on a recent visit to the UK to set out the company’s direction following its acquisition by UK private equity house Apax Partners.

Accounting software has traditionally split into different national and operating system camps, van der Meijden explained. “There is no global market for small business software,” he said. “Currently there are a lot of on-premise, traditonal software vendors at the local and regional level. But not a lot of them have global resonance.”

But cloud computing is creating a more global marketplace and creating opportunities for accounting software developers disrupt the market in the same way that Uber and Airbnb have shaken up the taxi and hotel industries.  “They have devised a model where what were local things happening on a local basis are turning into a global business model in the cloud,” he said.

And Exact is strategically positioned to mount a similar global challenge. Where the big international names QuickBooks, Xero and Sage focus their cloud solutions on small businesses, van der Meijden said Exact has a broader cloud portfolio. By offering business software with capabilities for specific industry sectors such as manufacturing, wholesale and professional services, Exact is able to help small businesses with 1-100 employees collaborate on a more sophisticated level with their accountants.

“We think our portfolio is stronger. If someone wants to grow their small business, we have the best offering. If you’re a company with 1-5 people and want to stay that way, you can work quite well with Xero. But if want to go international and expand your business, we have a much better solution.”

Exact has a sizeable footprint in the Netherlands and Belgium, with the UK and Germany following in their footsteps. The next big geography is the US, home to QuickBooks Online, the top global cloud accounting system.

According to Exact, the global league table is as follows, based on published user numbers. (AccountingWEB has not yet confirmed the numbers with the other companies, but will be doing so):

Cloud application


QuickBooks Online










A couple of names are missing from that league table - the two big cloud ERP vendors, NetSuite and SAP. The number of companies using the software are much smaller because there aren’t as many of them. According to van der Meijden, the top-end suppliers are more interested in companies with 500+ employees. “Exact occupy the middle tier between the accounting engines and cloud ERP vendors. We can compare with NetSuite, but Exact really addresses SMEs. Where we stop, NetSuite goes on.”

One of the other key requirements for any global cloud accounting application is to have a big ecosystem of associated third party software devleopers to broaden its reach. While QuickBooks and Xero each boast they have in the region of 400 add-on partners, Exact connects to a portfolio of around 250. “But the basis of our portfolio is different,” said van der Meijden.

“If you’re a small business, you don’t want to take 10 apps and glue them together. We have a solution for wholesale companies that can be complemented with 1-2 apps to make it really effective for that business.”


Replies (3)

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By Erik van der Meijden
30th Apr 2015 11:18

Exact lays claim to global No 3 spot
Great article John!

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Dermot Hamblin
By Dermot Hamblin
30th Apr 2015 11:33

Compare Apples with apples

Thanks John, Good read.


It would be good to confirm the subscriber numbers with the other vendors. Where you can, please compare apples with apples, so that we get a true comparison.

PS - Please ask IRIS Kashflow to contribute.

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Gary Turner
By garyturner
04th May 2015 10:57

Xero now 475,000

We announced our most recent number a couple of weeks ago.

PS. Sage should announce theirs on May 5th.  

Gary Turner
Managing Director, Xero

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