MYOB CEO Tim Reed took the opportunity to praise the brand’s community of accountants and bookkeepers for their unwavering support of small business at the keynote opening address at MYOB Partner Connect in Melbourne.
The leading cloud-based business solution software provider announced a raft of new features for its platform effective immediately, including the expansion of its MYOB Portal to provide all MYOB partners with a consolidated view of client’s files.
The move comes following the brand’s ambitious plans to reach one million online subscribers by 2020.
“At MYOB, our purpose is to help businesses succeed,” says Reed.
“Accountants and bookkeepers are the lifeblood of our business, our vision of the Connected Practice places our partners at the centre of business advisory.”
Reed says he is proud of the work the brand is delivering to strengthen its mantra of the Connected Practice and explains MYOB is building bridges and vital relationships “between accountants and bookkeepers and their clients to ensure they can create a thriving business for themselves and the people they serve”.
Speaking of the brand’s legacy during his ten years tenure in the role as the company’s CEO, Reed told KBB the world is a different place to when he started at MYOB.
“The rate of innovation has grown materially, which is why we now spend 100 million on R&D compared to 10 million a decade ago. I think the opportunity to innovate is exponential…. Look at the mobile platforms. The iPhone is only just ten years old… So that means the way we did business and the way we thought about business was different.
“One of the biggest things that have changed for me is pace. Our expectations of immediate gratification have changed.
“They are much greater than they used to be. You just assume you can get it done. And I think that has come through to us in the way we run our businesses as well.”
He said MYOB has undergone an enormous transformation in the past decade; from the way they sell their product to the solutions they provide their customers.
“We used to be 100 per cent desktop. Today we offer online solutions. 80 per cent of our sales were through retail stores. Today, maybe one or two per cent. In terms of licencing, we have moved to a subscription model.”
Reed says just as the digital revolution has transformed MYOB in the past decade, so too has it changed the working environment for its 100s of 1000s of practitioners. It’s a brave new world. While Deloitte had predicted automation would bring about the demise of the industry, Reed believes the innovation has freed accountants and bookkeepers up to spend their time providing more valuable services to their customers than simply number crunching and data entry.
Where previously they would have spent a vast majority of time installing software and updates, now he estimates 70 per cent of their time is spent on providing advisory services. While thanks to the brand’s innovative cloud-based solutions, accountants and bookkeepers now have access to their client’s data in real-time 24/7.
One thing that hasn’t changed for the brand is its sense of purpose, staying true to its mantra of ‘connected practice’.
“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. 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.”
Reed acknowledges many businesses were probably originally founded with the same sense of passion and purpose but suggests few have maintained it.
“I think a lot of businesses can get lost on that journey. We are just very fortunate that it is still there. What has changed for us, however, is how we deliver that purpose. Now decisions don’t flow top down any more. We have six different nations and 50 different tribes and they all have their own purpose and are empowered to make decisions. As a leader of the business, I have to make sure we have the systems in place to make sure we make the good decisions.”
Reed is also not afraid to throw MYOB’s weight behind the small business owners its services support. He tells KBB he has just spent the last few days in Canberra meeting with ministers following the cabinet reshuffle. He says he is mindful of the role MYOB can have in lobbying for small business to alleviate their pain points.
“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. 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.”
MYOB’s pay it forward attitude has seen the company go from strength to strength. Recent initiatives have included scholarships for women in STEM and a course to bridge the skills gap for those returning to work. In a sector that has a reputation for lagging behind in terms of gender equity, the brand is leading the charge.
“I’m a male champion of change,” says Reed. “I have made commitments to addressing gender inequality in our business and I’m delighted at the progress we’ve made in the past few years. At MYOB we are at 44 per cent women – up from 38 a few years ago. But we still have a gender pay gap. Not because the men and women at MYOB who do the same roles are paid differently – because we do an audit on that every year – but because the roles that men and women play in our business are different. Software engineers are highly paid roles and it is an area where we have the least gender balance in our organisation.
“So, we sat back and thought how do we address that? To do that we need to get more women into the industry. 17 per cent of computer science graduates in Australia are women. So it’s hard, but not impossible. One of my meetings yesterday in Canberra was with the Minister for Women and we talked about what we need to do. We need to drive awareness to get to schools earlier and drive girls to stay in science and maths.”
Reed says he believes in the importance of diversity and inclusion.
“It will bring better outcomes for your business and your customers. More diverse teams are more likely to solve difficult customer problems and will come up with greater creative solutions. You have to appreciate all skills and varied experiences,” he says.
The author was a guest of MYOB at Partner Connect.