MYOB’s Tim Reed is a rare breed among Australian CEOs, demonstrating an ability to adapt to changing circumstances much like the accounting software business he leads.
He’s also in tune with the company’s longevity and resilience.
Earlier this month, MYOB marked 20 years since it first listed on the ASX – within a decade it was back in private hands, then returned to the ASX under Reed and then owners Bain Capital in 2015, having raised $833 million, giving it a market cap of $2.1 billion.
Just four years on, MYOB left the ASX for a second time in May this year following a takeover by an affiliate of US private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The accounting firm has now been traded five times in 20 years.
Reed has been the company’s CEO for more than half that time, nearly double the tenure of a typical Australian CEO.
A Male Champion of Change and advocate for diversity and technology to drive innovation, Reed also understands work/life balance and the power of a good night’s sleep.
Last year, asked by the AFR about where he gets his best ideas from, he said: “When I sleep. If something is on my mind and I can’t quite reconcile it I will often find I wake in the morning with a new sense of clarity.”
The father of three teenage children and Geelong Cats supporter grew up in ta small country town and in the rare moments he can find snare time off, is happiest riding horses through the bush.
But for now his purpose is to drive value in the MYOB business for its new owners. KKR’s flagship Asian Fund III finalised the deal in May following shareholder approval the previous month and a long courtship.
Reed said at the time that “the past year has been an eventful one for MYOB in which we accelerated our investment in the MYOB Platform and fast-tracked its delivery to our customers.”
Two years earlier he’d pledged to invest $100 million annually in R&D, 10 times more than a decade earlier, and now it was coming to fruition.
“This rollout helped us to achieve even greater online subscriber growth and propelled us to a leading position in Australia and New Zealand’s online accounting market,” he said.
“Now with KKR’s support and expertise, we are even better positioned for future growth. I am confident the business will continue to thrive well into the future, and am excited to embark on MYOB’s next chapter.”
MYOB is used by around 1.2 million businesses and accountants across Australia and New Zealand. It offers ongoing support through client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants
His goal is one million online subscribers by 2020, as he explained at last year’s MYOB Partner Connect, where he spoke of how dramatically accounting had changed in that time because of technological change.
“The rate of innovation has grown materially,” he said.
“We used to be 100% desktop. Today we offer online solutions.”
While 80% of sales were through retail stores, now it’s maybe 1-2%” and the business has moved to its subscription model.
Central to his thinking, however, is the MYOB mantra of “connected practice” is the combining of technology with humanity to help small busines operators succeed.
“One of the gifts that our founder gave me – and I’m only one of two CEOs that the company has had – is that this is a company that was built from a sense of purpose,” he said.
“It was a company that was built to try and ensure our client’s success. It was built on a belief that small businesses are an important part of any thriving community.
“They provide jobs, they invest in training people they create a tax-base around which the rest of the community can live and thrive. Anything we can do to support small businesses and lead to the success of small businesses will lead to stronger communities. That is ultimately what we believe and what drives us at MYOB.”
He entreated small business owners to maintain their passion for their business in a manner similar to the fire that burns inside him to keep MYOB at the forefront of accounting.
“MYOB exists to help business to succeed. We can do a lot through our software. We can do a lot by reaching out to our partner community – the accountants, bookkeepers and IT consultants around the nation,” he said.
“But partly what we also want to do, is set the right regulatory framework that makes it easier to run a business not harder to run a business. Single Touch Payroll is a great example of that – so we will work with the ATO on change programs on how to make it a positive experience for small business and with the government on how it is going and whether we are ready to roll it out to all businesses in the future.”
- Additional reporting from Cec Busby.
Tim Reed is number 4 on our KBB Power List as voted by you.
The KBB Powerlist is proudly supported by Google Ads. Business growth, made easy.
Get in front of customers when they’re searching for businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps. Only pay for results, like visits to your website or calls to your business. Learn More.
Listen to our First Act podcast: The Google Power List share their origins stories and inspiring tales.