Since 1999 Quicken New Zealand has moved buildings seven times due to growth. And, thanks to the recent acquisition of EasyBooks, its offices are filling fast yet again.
The company was started by managing director Kerry Wood and his partner in 1999, along with one staff member who is still employed today. The company now has 24 staff and a customer base of close to 40,000 users through the entire range of products.
“For some reason, people seem to stay with us,” says Wood. “People enjoy being treated as people, and when you spend close to 40% of your time working or thinking about work, it is important to create a good environment.”
Ngaio Merrick, newly appointed general manager at Quicken, says she was surprised to see the closeness between people working for and with the company.
“Our employees work hard, but there is always laughter to be heard around our offices. Kerry has been great at giving his staff opportunities and more responsibility, which also means we can have staff work across roles.”
Quicken has experienced continuous growth, even through slow periods in the market.
“To us the market is fine,” says Kerry. “We have a great channel and we are looking to grow over the next year. I’m quite bullish about the next 12 months.”
MYOB is the competitor to Quicken, but both Kerry and Merrick believe that being slightly smaller than the competition is a good thing.
“I believe we are on fair footing. Our advantage is that because of our size we can be more agile. I used to work for a dotcom company where decisions had to be made on the hour, and Quicken is the only other place I’ve worked at that keeps up with that pace,” says Merrick.
Kerry says one of Quicken’s strong points is its ability to respond quickly to support calls, of which the company receives around 300 each day.
“If you are calling someone for support, you want it right now and not tomorrow. Because of our size and our staff we are able to give great service quickly.”
Continuous growth in the marketplace is on the agenda for Quicken, but Wood points out that action speaks louder than words.
“It’s never about the plans to do something; it’s about actually doing it. The company should change dramatically in the future, and we are looking to acquire other players in the market.”
Quicken’s product range is aimed towards small and medium enterprises, with prices being layered for possible upgrades to the software.
The company is also looking to grow its online business, with more and more applications moving online.
“Online applications is a very powerful tool for the smaller businesses and it is an exciting area to explore. It also has certain security implications such as removing data from the physical drive, so laptop thefts might not result in loss of data.”
Educating staff as well as resellers is high on the agenda, and Quicken recently completed its annual conference.
“We do a lot of training — it is great for us to meet with our customers. I feel that there is a connection between us and the customers that spans over a purely professional level.
“We’re fortunate in the fact that we have a very good product, and that we’re operating in a business where everything is always moving,” says Wood. “If you’re standing still, you’re actually moving backwards.”