iplicit powers up for mid-market harvestby
Responding to recent coverage on the growing demand for mid-market accounting systems, iplicit chief executive Lyndon Stickley was keen to expand on the factors driving that growth.
As many cloud accounting developers have already pointed out, remote and hybrid working patterns have played the strongest role in driving sales of mid-market cloud accounting systems such as iplicit.
The underlying market opportunity spurred the founders and investors in iplicit to recruit a “heavyweight” board to accelerate the company’s growth, led by chief executive Lyndon Stickley (pictured above).
“The mid-market is grossly underserved,” Stickley told AccountingWEB this week. “Any organisation serious enough to have a finance director who wants something more than Xero, they don’t have much to choose from. There’s a real void out there.”
Many mid-size organisations have been living with disconnected desktop and SME systems “like toothache” for years, he added, using spreadsheets to move information around. The “why fix it if it’s not broken?” tendency paralysed finance departments during the past decade, but hybrid working models that evolved during the pandemic cracked open the market with increased demands for connectivity, Stickley said. “Finance directors are now recognising the need to look at cloud finance.”
Origins of a cloud challenger
According to Stickley, iplicit has the right product ready to meet this surge in demand. The program was originally written by ERP consultant Ian Andrews, who wanted to simplify enterprise accounting software and put it in the cloud. “He saw it as a golden opportunity to replace Exchequer, which had had its day. Windows had become old hat in a cloud world,” Stickley said.
As things panned out, “We realised it wasn’t an Exchequer play. This is a Sage, Pegasus and Access play – or for anyone who’s got an on-premise system with no clear cloud path,” Stickley said.
“By a good dose of luck and engineering, we’re building for a significant opportunity based on all those users who are increasingly feeling pain. With the end-of-life announcements for QuickBooks Desktop and old versions of Sage 50, there are hundreds of thousands of organisations out there that need to make the move to cloud.”
Then and now
Looking back at how the global financial crisis suppressed demand for mid-market systems, Stickley highlighted the differences between then and now: “In 2009 the mid-market had nothing on offer to drive efficiencies as the downturn hit. They were all in a pond of clunky, on-premise systems that didn’t offer any cost savings if they changed.”
Then Xero came along to “give the industry a kick” with a system that was simple and effective.
“What you saw with Xero, you’ll now see with iplicit in the mid-market,” Stickley predicted. “As finance directors tighten their purse strings, the fundamental difference now is what’s on offer is a true cloud system. During a downturn, it will let you rip out weeks and months of manual work, for example with report writing, or drive efficiencies with consolidated information and working with hybrid workforces in new ways.”
In contrast to Xero’s “beautiful” accounting software, Stickley uses a gardening metaphor to emphasise iplicit’s more powerful approach. “Xero is fantastic, but at some point you need to swap the push lawn mower for a sit-on mower. You wouldn’t need one for a little garden, but for a couple of acres it makes sense,” he said.
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AccountingWEB’s Editor at large has been with the site since 1999, rising from news editor to editor in chief, global editor and head of insight. As a roving editor, he continues to investigate the profession's use of technology around the world. He devotes his spare time to technology history and an oddball collection of stringed instruments...