The plot Quickens

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Reckon Ltd, trading as Quicken Australia, has reiterated this year's commitment to building on its maiden profit of $2.3 million.

At Thursday's AGM in Sydney, Reckon chairman Geoff Tomlinson said the software vendor aimed to grow market share this year by releasing new versions of existing products, offering new services and educating a target market of small to mid size businesses.

“According to Taxpayers Australia, there are over 600,000 small and home-based businesses [for example] yet to introduce computerised systems to help handle their BAS and their invoicing as well as to manage their overall finances,” Tomlinson said in his address to the meeting.

Reckon in March announced it had achieved its first profit since listing in 1999, recording a $2.274 million gain for the year to December 2002 compared with a $785,000 loss in the previous year.

The second half of 2003 would see the releases of QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions and the latest Payroll Premier standalone payroll software, QuickPOS 6.0 for SMB retailers, and CashBooks 2004 home and small business accounting software.

“These will all have a key role to play if we are to achieve our goal for 2003, which is to consolidate the turnaround in performance we achieve in 2002,” Tomlinson said.

Clive Rabie, Chief Operating Officer at Reckon, said the company will focus on 'doing what it does better' in the coming year. “The company came from some major losses a couple of years ago although it has come around and we still believe there's room for improvement in our sales and business model,” he said.

MYOB was still a “fierce competitor” with Quicken in Australia's relatively small market. However, he added that partners Microsoft and Intuit were continuing to invest in Reckon.

Upgrades of existing versions of Quicken software would continue to represent 18-20 per cent of Reckon revenue. Roadshows and other marketing programs had successfully encouraged users to trade up despite the tight budgetary constraints experienced by many SMBs.

Rabie said the company also voted to pay one cent a share to each shareholder due to a reduction in capital. Shareholders should receive their payments in about a month. No shares will be cancelled.

Cash flow for the first quarter of 2003 was positive, with cash reserves at 31 March at $12.6 million, an increase of $529,000 from the balance at 31 December.

“This represents a positive turnaround of $953,000 from the same period last year at the end of which there was a negative cash flow of $424,000,” Tomlinson said. By end 2002, Reckon had as customers more than 320,000 SMBs, 160,000 individuals, and 40,000 registered users of Quicken online financial services.

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