Reckon’s credibility has taken a severe beating over the past year due to a number of unfortunate events which has left many partners and customers feeling both disenchanted and disenfranchised. The issues encountered include:
- Loss of brand awareness compounded by a failure to deliver an effective SEO strategy
- Delays in the rollout of cloud software Reckon One and the continued lack of core functionality in the product
- Delays both in the rollout of Reckon Accounts Hosted V2 and ongoing system disruption
The relationship between Intuit and Reckon terminated in February 2014 and one element of this was that Reckon could no longer use the name ‘QuickBooks’ for any of its products. Reckon embarked on a rebranding exercise well in advance of the cutoff date but acceptance and recognition of this name change has been limited, it is hard to change a name that has become so familiar for so long.
Reckon is falling behind on SEO; do a Google search on key words ‘accounting software’ and Reckon doesn’t even make it on the first page. Try ‘desktop accounting software’ and both Xero and QuickBooks Online (neither if which are desktop products) rank ahead of Reckon which comes in at number 4, with MYOB at first position. Try ‘Cloud Accounting Software’ and Reckon comes in at number 11 with its Reckon One product – clearly Reckon is falling behind its competitors in getting its product out.
Reckon delivered a Hosted version of Reckon Accounts some four or five years ago. It proved to be a popular solution for both existing and new customers, but whilst users appreciate the flexibility it delivered, the product has been extensively criticised specifically with regards to its cumbersome initial registration, clunky login processes, frequent drop outs, problems with printing and backups. In September last year, Reckon announced the development of Version 2 of the Hosted product to address these issues. The announcement was well received and beta testers have been happy with the results however, nine months later this product is yet to make it to market.
During the last weekend of May, Reckon commenced on the first step in the implementation of the upgrade which involved migrating its servers from older Equinox to world class AWS. Whilst Reckon confidently announced at the conclusion of the weekend that the migration was successful, ‘Maintenance has been completed without a hitch’ this proved to be a very premature announcement as a host of customers either could not log in, experienced multiple drop outs or suffered performance issues in the days following the upgrade. Whilst, two weeks later many of these issues have been addressed, intermittent technical issues are still being experienced and there are many unhappy customers around the country.
In May 2013, Reckon hosted a series of high profile roadshows to showcase its new cloud accounting product ‘Reckon One’. These were well attended and received tremendous support. Unfortunately that was where it stayed until February 2014 when there was a very quiet soft release of the product. Reckon’s credibility took a beating in those intervening months as it became obvious that even a barebones product was not going to be immediately forth coming. Right now the product is on the market place but it still has a long way to go to compete with current incumbents Xero and QuickBooks Online.
So is there any light at the end of this long and rather dark tunnel? Daniel Rabie Strategic Director of Reckon confidently announced at the annual NSW Accredited Partner conference last week that Reckon Accounts Hosted V2 and key functionality including Payroll and the migration off Silverlight for Reckon One would be delivered within six months. Rabie agreed that Reckon has in the past overpromised and under delivered but that this was a thing of the past. Going forward Reckon will communicate more effectively with its partners and customers and promise only what it could deliver he asserted.
So what can we expect?
Reckon Hosted Version 2
- Streamlined sign up process.
- More streamlined login process so that all users can access Reckon Accounts Hosted from any device without the need to install any plug-ins such as Citrix.
- Support for all HTML5 browsers – currently the standard product will only run on Internet Explorer.
- Open APIs to enable third party products to integrate into Reckon Accounts Hosted – this has been promised since Reckon Accounts Hosted was launched.
- A single version of Reckon Accounts Hosted – currently there is a different version for Mac, ipad etc. from Windows.
- Improved printing capabilities and improved performance in report generation.
- Improved data file backup management capabilities providing greater visibility and control.
- Improved performance for users in areas with low bandwidth.
- Delivery of Payroll functionality.
- Move off the restrictive and outdated Silverlight platform.
- Improved entry of dates – using keyboard.
- Issues with Manual upload of bank transactions to be addressed.
- Allow multiple tabs to be open at once.
I for one am hoping that Reckon will deliver this time. I remain committed to the functionally rich Reckon Accounts product and the hosted version is an integral part of this family. Customer loyalty and patience that has been wearing thin over the past few months was sorely tested with the upgrade a couple of weeks ago. Reckon can’t afford to get it wrong again: customers just aren’t so forgiving when it is key accounting data that is at stake and there are other options in the marketplace. So lets revisit in six months.