It was nearly two years ago that we started planning ... perhaps thinking about would be a little more accurate. We visited the US three or four times in 2013 to listen. To listen to accountants, bookkeepers, and other opinion formers:
Was the Receipt Bank solution useful for these professionals?
Was there room for us?
Were they adopting butt solutions in their practices?
Were they interested in what technology could do for them?
To all of these questions the answer was varying degrees of YES. Some emphatic... and some a quiet yes... nevertheless consistently yes.
Still no decision was made. We had booked a stand at the first Xerocon in the US, this would allow us to get a really clear view of where the early adopters were at. As usual Xero did a terrific job of outlining a vision for the modern practice, and their place and the role of add-ons in it. Spencer, Ian, Peter and Michael at Xero were all encouraging.
We knew that the US would be different. We just didn't know how...
Slowly a plan emerged. Perhaps it was while watching the America's Cup, from the amazing event that Xero hosted overlooking the racing in the San Francisco Bay.
Perhaps less of a plan and more a list of requirements. We needed to complete integrations and work with the people who were already contributing technology and thinking about what the modern accountancy firm would need to use to thrive and prosper in the future.
The work on this started early in 2014. First Bill.com, then Gusto, and finally QuickBooks Online with UK, Canadian, Australian, and finally US versions. Stands were booked for QuickBooks Connect and the Sleeter Conference in Las Vegas. At the time the dates in October and November seemed a long way away...
A key part of the plan was that we needed to hire someone who knew the landscape. After a lengthy courtship Damien Greathead of the 2020 Group agreed to join. Ten years of consulting to American accounting firms has given him almost a unique perspective and made him the outstanding candidate. If he thinks the time is right that is encouraging...
Slowly the pieces were coming together.
So on November 3rd 2014 our US office opened - a modest first step, nevertheless perhaps the end of the beginning... The next steps will be about learning, and when the opportunity presents, to generously contribute what we have to offer. It would be wonderful to see numerous US accountancy practices achieving 30% growth year on year like the Wow Company, one of our current Partners.
Thank you to all who have given their time and insight to get us to this point. We hope to build on the foundations that you have so generously provided.