Accounting for Market Share

QuickenOne of the fastest growing areas in software sales over the last two years has been in the personal and small business accounting market. The biggest players were quick to take advantage of the introduction of the GST and the government software purchase grant of $220 for small business midway through 2000.

Even today, however, traditional market leaders Quicken and long time industry mainstay MYOB still have a lot of potential customers to fight over.

According to figures released by Quicken themselves, 37 per cent of Australians find saving “too difficult” and three quarters contribute only the compulsory eight per cent of their salary into superannuation. The result, say Quicken, is that 56 per cent of Australian will have only $10,000 per year to live on after retirement.

Long the bogeyman used to frighten people into everything from real estate to pyramid selling schemes, the dreaded spectre of an underfunded retirement will doubtless take the stage in Quicken’s marketing as they prepare to release their new version in January.

When Quicken hits the market anew, it faces some very staunch competition in MYOB. From PC User magazine this time last year; ‘this software is user-friendly and well suited to its market. MYOB’s interface is clear and concise, offering all the standard features and new time costing and billing functions.’

And MYOB appears to have a history of putting their money where their mouth is. The same reviewer called Data-tech (MYOB’s publisher) technical support “extremely impressive”, and as early as 1997 they won an award in the prestigious Australian Customer Service Award — a strange place for any software or computer company in many opinions.

But Quicken obviously banks on giving MYOB a run for its money. According to their statement, “over 17 million people worldwide are avid Quicken devotees, however, this figure is expected to escalate with the launch of the new Quicken Personal 2002 version”. The new Quicken, which ranges from $80 to $120, is considerably cheaper than MYOB’s FirstAccounts at around $200.