Business strategy

MYOB CEO Greg Ellis explains how the OG fintech transformed to keep its customers at the digital edge

- April 13, 2023 3 MIN READ
MYOB 's Melbourne HQ.
For over 30 years, MYOB has been shaping and shaking-up the small business sector. 

As one of Australia’s first tech unicorns, we led the charge in helping businesses digitise their processes and improve their finances. When we started, loading our software onto desktop computers – via CD-rom – helped many business owners take the first step away from physical paper records, even before programs like Excel were broadly available.

More than three decades later, the business technology landscape is almost unrecognisable from when we began. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operate in a rapidly changing environment, where business owners are expected to have knowledge and visibility of every critical workflow of their business, and every minute counts.

Challenges are coming from every direction – from natural disasters and a global pandemic to interest rate rises and cost-of-living pressures. 

Now more than ever, business owners need to maximise every opportunity to increase their efficiency, productivity and return on investment.

We know digitisation helps. Highly digitally engaged businesses earn 60% more revenue per employee and grow 28% faster than businesses with poor digital engagement.

So investing in digital tools and processes makes a lot of sense for startups and SMEs in 2023, but with an abundance of solutions available, how can businesses streamline their tech approach? This was the question we asked ourselves in our own business evolution. 


A boost for business 

To help SMEs access the digital tools they need, we provided the Federal Government with the evidence base for a digital tax incentive to help cover the costs, culminating in the Small Business Technology Boost announced almost 12 months ago in the May 2022 Budget.

MYOB Greg Ellis

MYOB CEO Greg Ellis

We know one of the main barriers to digital adoption is cost, but a key impact of having these solutions is money saved. Australian SMEs make up the largest employer in the country, and generate more than $700 billion to the economy, so finding every way to help them will have a material impact on our GDP.

To that end we continue our call for the Federal Government to legislate the Technology Investment Boost, which would mean small businesses can deduct an additional 20% of expenditure for digitising of business operations, opening the doors for more SMEs to take advantage of the productivity-boosting benefits of digital operations. 


Businesses face a tough year ahead

In 2023 geo-political pressures are almost certain to continue to impact local businesses. In addition to inflation and interest rates, taxes will rise and the labour and skills shortages will continue, putting additional pressure on the essential SME community in Australia. 

Businesses need to adapt while navigating tough market conditions. So far, Australian businesses have proven resilient, particularly in the face of the unpredictable waves of the past three years. In fact, our most recent SME Success Report found that Australian SMEs are 12% more resilient after facing pandemic-related challenges.

But while Australian businesses may have had the resilience to survive so far, they don’t have the luxury of wasting time, money or resources on inefficient approaches to business management. They need to stay laser focused on the challenges ahead, and ensure they have the tools to help them succeed.


An evolution for our digital world 

Intelligent, data-driven solutions will lead the charge in this next tech chapter, which is why MYOB is taking a next generation view of software as a service (SaaS). We’re going beyond the software plus add-ons model, to provide the combined power of rich integration with the flexibility of single point solutions.

In response to the rapidly changing SME environment, we made the strategic decision to expand from accounting software to a robust business management platform that addresses the core workflows of today’s SMEs. These workflows include supply chain, project and employee management, finances, and of course accounting and tax. 

We’ve drastically altered our product offering to solve the problems modern businesses face, including financial services to expedite payments and increase cash flow; solutions that didn’t exist even a few years ago.

This means the people running small businesses won’t need multiple subscriptions with different providers, seeking support and clarification from a number of different sources. 

They won’t need to subscribe and pay for features in their software that they don’t use. 

And they won’t have the headache of multiple platforms which don’t speak to each other, or the need to train new people on a wide range of digital tools for business efficiency. 

We’ve simplified our offering but expanded the breadth of services we provide, giving customers an efficient, cost-effective solution that addresses their key workflows, to drive efficiency and productivity.

Evolving one of the oldest tech companies in the country would always be a challenge, but with a first-class business management platform launched and ready for sole traders up to those with 1,000 employees, we’re ready to help businesses unleash their potential.

Because the days of online business solutions operating in silos are going the way of paper-based systems and CD-roms. It’s time for a more cohesive approach to small business operations, so that SME founders can focus on business success and growth, ultimately boosting our national economy. 

And with SMEs contributing more than half of the country’s GDP, we can’t afford for them to fall behind.