Secrets of Success: Rich Preece

1. What products or services do you provide?

Intuit’s mission is to improve people’s financial lives so profoundly that they can’t imagine going back to the old way. Our core offering, QuickBooks, is the number one accounting solution for small businesses and accountants worldwide and enables users to run their entire business with confidence and ease.

2. What type of businesses do you work with?
We serve two main audiences – small businesses and accountants. We support small businesses in their quest to start, run and grow, whether they are one-person start-ups or more established local businesses with multiple locations. We also help accounting professionals save time and grow their practices, no matter the size.

3. What problem does your company solve?
We aim to make the task of accounting invisible. We know people don’t go into business because they enjoy doing the books, which is why we’re committed to designing a product that we believe really does free up users’ time to get back to the reason they started a business in the first place.

4. What is your USP?
Our USP is clear. We build products with and for our customers. Intuit spends more than 10,000 hours each year testing our products with customers, taking their feedback and making the changes they need and want. I’m not aware of any other company that literally builds their products, step by step, with customers. That’s what we do and it’s why I’m confident that we’ll always strive to have the best products and services, loved by the businesses that helped to create them.

5. What have you done to make sure you get the right people with the right skills in place?
The one common thread that I make sure runs through my entire team is their passion to help SMEs and accountants succeed.

We’ve recently moved from the M4 corridor to a set of fantastic new offices built in the heart of London Victoria. The energy and vibrancy of the office ensures everyone remains focused on solving our customers’ biggest pain points and improving our products and services every day by listening to their feedback.

6. Do you have any tips for managing suppliers and customers effectively?
Over our 30-year history as a business, we’ve learned that the only way to be successful is to put the customer at the centre. It’s important to realise that your work will never be done – you need to continually evolve your product portfolio and adopt new technologies to ensure you’re always enhancing the customer experience.

Also, never over promise and under deliver. Always treat the customer or supplier with transparency and honesty.

7. Any finance or cash-flow tips?
We know that 44 per cent of SMEs run out of cash or come close within the first three years, and poor financial management is one of the most common reasons why start-ups fail. So, beginning with strong financial footing and then keeping a close eye on the books is vital. Once you’re up and running, getting access to a complete overview of your finances will help you make fast and informed business decisions. This might be looking at a healthy pipeline and deciding it’s time to give your staff a bonus or identifying a need to ramp up sales before it’s too late.

8. Any advice for the Government?
We want to make growing business’ lives easier however we can, so creating an environment where they can thrive is really important to us.

The biggest challenge for SMEs is getting access to capital, so we’d love to see closer partnership between the Government and the private sector to establish legitimate funding programmes that enable both new entrepreneurs to successfully take an idea to market and struggling SMEs to take the next steps and grow.

9. What is your attitude towards your competitors?
The UK market is made up of a number of strong competitors. This is great for customers as it provides them with more choice and great for the industry as it drives innovation. Cloud accounting is still very much in its infancy but I predict that the competitive market will continue to heat up over the next few years.

Cloud software provides fewer barriers to entry for new players, as it’s cheaper and faster to get to market. It will be the most innovative products and companies that will do well, and I am confident that our cloud-based software, QuickBooks Online, will be up there with the best of them.

10. Any thoughts on the future of your company?
I am truly excited about where Intuit is going in the UK. It’s already a household name in the US and we now need to make sure we continue to localise the same great products to help UK-based small businesses and accountants be successful.

Ultimately, our success is our customers’ success and I’m confident in our team’s expertise, passion and drive to continue creating best in class offerings that allow us all to win.