Aussie Office 365 resellers recruited for assault on Xero

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Aussie Office 365 resellers recruited for assault on Xero

An Australian software company is signing up Office 365 resellers in a bid to take on Xero and NetSuite in the growing Australian cloud accounting market.

'Financials for Office 365' has signed 40 channel partners in Australia, is moving into the New Zealand market next and has plans to expand into Asia, said John Munnelly, chief executive officer of Hands-on Systems, which is behind the product.

“We hope to have 200 partners by end of first quarter next year, by April,” Munnelly told CRN. He said expansion into the Philippines would follow, then other Asian countries late next year.

For resellers, the product could be an opportunity to tap into a growing market that has seen Xero attract 158,000 local customers and MYOB 100,000 online subscribers.

“The plan is this will be the default financials package for someone that has Office 365,” Munnelly said. “Microsoft are helping us launch this. This is really a test for them to see if they can successful in the SMB space."

Importantly, Financials for Office 365 gives Office 365 resellers an opportunity to dip into cloud accounting, unlike some products which focus on accountants as resellers. The theory is that the sale might also have the added benefit of giving customers another reason to stick with Office 365 instead of switching to Google Docs.

In another twist, the product was spun-off from Australian Microsoft Dynamics integrator Hands-On Systems. The company has had a forerunner on the market for two years called Dynamic Business Online, but Financials for Office 365 is a new company and has a simplified user interface.

The product itself is browser-based and built on Microsoft Dynamics. It is designed to work with Office 365 - using Word for saving invoices or Sharepoint to save client orders, for example - but can also run on its own.

While Hands-on Systems has customers with data stored on Azure in Singapore, it now has an early adopter using Azure’s Australian data centre in the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Several other local cloud accounting products have hit the market this year. These include the Deloitte Private Connect platform and Asset-Guru, which was claimed to be the first physical asset management add-on for Xero.

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