The Melbourne conference kicked into gear with a preliminary half day dedicated to Accredited Partners, at Hyatt Melbourne which boasted both a superb venue as well as ideal proximity to transport and convenient car parking within. APs were treated to a night of entertainment as well as a Cocktail gathering on the Thursday night where Kim Chapman was deservedly awarded the 2015 Accredited Partner of the Year award.
The Keynote address by MD Sam Allert referencing today’s ‘disruptive’ business environment,  and greater need for tracking KPI, announced the strong Reckon profit in first half year of 2015.

This well demonstrates the strength of the RECKON brand versus competitors who have been in significant loss situations in same period by MYOB  and Xero or declines in revenue/profit by others, like Intuit.

As Strategic Director,  Daniel Rabie followed up nicely with a well explained insight to global trends that surround the decisions that Reckon are taking with their deployment of solutions for business. A key focus today, is on having the necessary tools in place to provide business analytics as well as compliance reporting.   Reckon are addressing this well with their Agile approach to using API and developing a strong underlying technology base to promptly react with the growing challenges from interfacing to credit organisations, banks, Government agencies and inter-company transactions.

Panelists provided a terrific interactive session for Bookkeepers and Accountants keen to explore strategies for growing their businesses. These sessions provided invaluable comparison and feedback to the audience as questions relating to value-added services, pricing, marketing and the need for greater IT awareness were tabled and discussed. Today, there is a growing need for firms to extend their services to provide software advice, and goal-seeking/business coaching consulting services, and to consider outsourcing these services to satisfy their customer’s needs. With the increased dependence on Cloud services, there needs to be a parallel increase in providing something tangible to market and demonstrate the reporting services provided. Simple strategies like presenting monthly dashboard KPIs/analytics help keep the firms name up front with key clients.

Reckon continue to involve and openly share their direction with APs  on not only the end-user products:  Reckon Accounts (desktop), and the securely hosted Reckon Accounts Hosted and Reckon ONE products in Amazon’s Data Centres in Australia but also their long standing Practice Management suite of products for Accounting firms.

As a long standing Professional Partner of over 20 years, Alchester Business Systems took time out to look at the Practice Management side of RECKON products, and gained a great insight into how the business end of the industry has been enjoying a huge array of product offerings. Reckon APS Solutions  encapsulates no less than 14 integrated  product modules within the PM suite. What was drawn from the presentations of APS and related Virtual Cabinet document management and Portal offerings, well demonstrating the paperless office directions being taken.

Key tips, tricks and business efficiency clues were found in many of the sessions, including “Geek Speak” (Jason Hollis / Tony Tran), “Work Tools” (Renee Herbert) and a simple-language overview of building a digital presence using website tools and optimisation strategies that bore out the importance of keeping it simple, and presenting meaningful content to raise interest in one’s business. (Well presented by Matthew Butler – Marketing Manager, Reckon). This information coupled well with presentations by Amazon Web Services, about their secure data centre operations. This provided an eye-opening examination of how risks of data loss can in fact be decreased by migrating operations to a data centre (Cloud) based environment.

Presentations delivered directly from the Product Managers (Dean Darke, Ed Blackman, Neil Rustige and Simon Hutchison) made a great impact on gaining a clearer direction of the overall roadmap being pursued, in a time when technology advances and consumer demands are at an all time high. Amongst the many practical messages taken away from the conference, are:

  • Future dependence on browsers, not operating systems, and the consideration of software update automation strategies
  • Pending legislative changes that will require secure distribution of information
  • Increased interest by business of workflow efficiency improvements and the tools that assist this
  • The increased need to evaluate inhouse systems compatibility/impact along with internet access before contemplating Cloud solutions
  • Mobile devices providing ever increasing solutions for POS, information sharing and data access
  • The benefits of bundling a choice of modules in a “Software As A Service” (SaaS) business model for delivering IT solutions
  • The opportunities available from integrating solutions from a variety of some 500 Software Developer Partners using API for ie: CRM, ERP, Manufacturing 
  • The fine print behind the authorisation methods for Bank Data feed interfacing – taking the direct Bank approach rather than just Yodlee
  • The changing trends in how website ranking takes place in 2015
  • The continued interest in personal range of products for investment planning and personal budgeting – ie: Home & Business
  • Key articles helping users with planning migrations to new versions of Reckon and operating systems.  
  • Growing roles where suitably qualified/experienced APs with IT knowledge can assist fellow Accountants and Bookkeepers.
  • IDC statistics of the enormous growth in Cloud technology deployment – Presented by Clayton Brown, AWS, and Zack Levy CIO Reckon)
  • Valuable tips for improving website presence
  • Diplomatic observation of “Issues”  versus  “It’s You’s” – and the polite pro-active way of sharing the good oil to address any technology queries

Bottom line: The collective skills of AP’s with Accounting, Bookkeeping PLUS Computing/IT experience, can ensure that End-Users and AP’s alike can enjoy the full use of the fine Reckon product range.