Is there life after QuickBooks for Intacct?

Online accounting vendor hopes that a new $14m round of funding will be enough to establish is as the natural alternative for growing companies that are ready to graduate from QuickBooks.

A few months ago, I interviewed Mike Braun, CEO of Intacct, literally five minutes after he showed up for work on his first day at the company. Understandably, he wasn't able to say much at the time about what changes he planned to make at Intacct, but he did promise to get the company noticed. This week the company announced a $14 million slug of new funding that will give Braun the resources to deliver on his early promise.

Braun has identified a clear mission message for online accounting vendor Intacct, as he explained to me last week in a pre-brief ahead of yesterday's announcement: "We really want to be the company that's about life after QuickBooks."

Braun (pictured) believes Intacct is ideally suited to fill what he sees as a gap in the market, serving companies that grow beyond the typical QuickBooks customer profile of 20 employees or less. "I've been one of these companies several times in my life, and the problem is, the next best alternative is really expensive," he told me. Growing companies end up writing out big checks when they "graduate" beyond QuickBooks to packages from Microsoft, Sage and other traditional vendors. The typical cost of implementation is in the $75-100k range. Compared to paying "a couple of hundred bucks" to get started with Intacct the choice should be no-brainer, Braun believes.

Of course Netsuite is the on-demand vendor that instantly springs to mind when thinking of such companies, but Braun observed that "Netsuite is doing a good job of moving away from the market. They're positioning themselves against SAP. QuickBooks graduates aren't thinking about graduating to SAP."

In addition, Braun makes the point that the issue for such companies is more than simply switching out one product for another. It's also about changing the way the business operates as it becomes a larger, more complex organization. "It's not just a product change, it's a change in business process," he explained.

The challenge will be getting the message out, which Braun has a number of strategies to do. But gaining visibility will be hard. This week's announcement got a small write-up in Red Herring, but little else besides this posting. Perhaps people have given up on Intacct ever making a big splash in the market, having already worked its way through $50 million plus of venture funding in earlier rounds. With the right leadership, though, I'd say the new round of $14 million could be enough to turn around Intacct's fortunes. So far, Braun seems to be giving the company the leadership it needs. It'll be interesting to see how the story progresses.