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More cloud accounting tools hit UK

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12th Jun 2013
Editor in Chief AccountingWEB
Columnist
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Three cloud accounting software developers turned up at the Accountex event in London last week hoping to gain a foothold in the UK market. And more are waiting in the wings.

The new entrants come from Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands and include two that may be familiar to UK accountants.

Ireland’s Relate Software is the company behind Surfaccounts.com. Dutch developer Exact, meanwhile, has sold its mid-range ERP system here for years, but came to Accountex to gauge the UK’s readiness for Exactonline.com, which is already available in the Netherlands.

But the company with the most ambitious claims at the event was saasu.com, which has been offering online accounts since 1999 in Australia.

UK managing director Daljit Bahia was a seed investor and has come to this country to continue its international expansion.

“Aussies are very good at new technology,” he said. A lot of good technology ideas have been picked up and rebadged by US suppliers. At saasu.com, he added, “We were there first and we’ll hold on to it. Because its cloud, it’s a lot easier for an Australian company to manage.”

Competition in the UK for all the new cloud contenders will be stiff, not just from local cloud developers such as KashFlow and FreeAgent, but also from Xero and established players such as Intuit and Sage.

But Sage’s hold on the UK holds no fear for Bahia, who has been watching the UK for several years. “We had our own monster in the shape of MYOB. It took a number of years for them to feel strain but the cracks started to appear a few years ago. And guess what? They’ve introduced a cloud application.”

He also said that saasu will be able to differentiate itself is in the sophistication of its underlying technology and responsive design, which can adapt to the screen size and operating systems of different devices.

“We realise where the market is going will be iPad, mobile and table. You need to be ahead of the game. People want to raise sales orders, purchase orders do management accounts and link in from their handheld smartphones. Can it be done? Yes it can.”

Mobile apps are also on the radar for Relate’s Surfaccounts, which launched in Ireland in March. The software currently can take quotes and orders through to invoices and includes a product catalogue and CRM functions including opportunity tracking and a sales pipeline analysis. While still in its embryonic stages, tablet and smartphone apps are promised for contacts, quotes, orders and invoicing.

Accountex was something of a “toe-dipping” exercise according to Relate managing director Ray Rogers. Compared to the UK, “Ireland is virgin territory for cloud accounting,” he said. “We’ll be promoting Surfaccounts through our existing customers, but firms are already coming to us and asking to demonstrate it,” he said.

There is no question that cloud is surging forward and disrupting the software market, with FreeAgent/IRIS OpenBooks, Xero and KashFlow leading the charge. But with 40-50 different systems to choose from, there is unlikely to be room for all the new entrants in the long run. But for the time being Richard Messik, a long-standing cloud champion and consultant for e-conomic, sees all the new arrivals as a healthy boost for the cloud  market. “Competition is good - the more there are, the more acceptable they will be,” he said.

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By carnmores
12th Jun 2013 14:54

well john here are my bullet points
the market share of online is still  small , how many of these onliners can afford the spend necessary and for how long , will they be able to get a decent return?software providers are getting the message on price things are better value nowinterestingly Kashflow went to to business start up exhibition next door and had an enormous stand, was that a better call?what will happen to the the added value products such as autorec and bankline in an online age?there are some very comprehensive solutions on display, such as Exact , might these prove to be too comprehensive for most users? thanks for the sweets by the way but my teeth werent up to the job!has inStream from celaton got a fantastic solution for reading and saving volumes of incoming invoices?is Xero soon promised stautory accounts addon a game changer? is free payroll software a viable and useful model eg PaySuite ?is free accountancy software a way forward eg Quickfile?on accounts and other pratice software i particularly liked the look of Digita's hosted desktop and the upgraded client hub for TaxcalcIris cloud solution is based i believe on PTP and is an entry level product , how long will it take the full Iris product to the cloud or will they too go to hosted?finally i havent been to Custom House for 30 years my old pub opposite the station is now an Ibis (no not Iris) styles hotelmy goodness the change at the royal victoria and albert is breathtaking

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By carnmores
13th Jun 2013 14:01

john

you really should give this informative exciting piece more prominece :-)

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By Robert Lovell
13th Jun 2013 14:49

Thanks carnmores

Many thanks for your comments - really useful to have all of your points about the market.

John's actually at a conference today but I'm sure he'll respond once he gets a chance.

We'll certainly be looking to give the piece more prominence in the week ahead.

Best regards

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By Scott Hider
14th Jun 2013 12:24

Thanks John

Firstly, thank you for speaking at the event and also for posting a great piece about the landcape of cloud within the accounting market. I watch with interest to see what happens.

Feed back from exhibitors and visitors alike has been fantastic and over 50% of the exhibition space for the 2014 event is already sold which is a great indication of the future success of the show.

Scott Hider

Event Director

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