If leading the accounting industry is a chess game, then Intuit’s leadership is definitely making moves. The financial solutions developer recently announced the appointment of Rich Preece as the leader of its Accountant Segment in the Small Business Group. Preece, who has been with Intuit for 14 years and most recently served as vice president and managing director of Intuit, Europe, will take over for Jim McGinnis, who will serve as vice president of product management in Intuit’s ProConnect Group.
As the leader of Intuit’s Accountant Segment in the Small Business Group, Preece will focus on championing the initiatives that support accounting professionals worldwide, and continuing Intuit’s mission to help accountants save time, grow their practice and become strategic advisors to their clients.
“Following Jim McGinnis as the leader of the Accountant Segment, I have big shoes to fill, but I’m most excited about continuing Jim’s work by extending the deeply-rooted relationships with accounting professionals to solve their pain points in dynamic and innovative ways. I want our accountants and ProAdvisors to see me as their partner,” said Preece.
Preece, originally from the UK, started with Intuit working for their ProSeries professional tax product. He returned to the UK in 2013 to lead the QuickBooks UK business, where he focused on establishing awareness and localized QuickBooks Online offerings in the UK and France. Under his leadership, QuickBooks Online has experienced more than 200 percent year-over-year growth while doubling its employee base in the UK and France. This growth is largely in part due to Preece’s commitment to partnering with accounting firms to help them grow and make a difference.
“During my time in the UK, we worked hard to grow our customer base and build meaningful partnerships with thousands of accounting firms. We had to earn their trust through our actions and I plan to bring that same deep sense of partnership and true commitment to the success of our U.S. accounting professionals to help them grow, save time and make a difference,” said Preece.
Preece’s global experience has given him a unique perspective that will assist him in his efforts here in the U.S., but he also understands that there are slight differences in the way clients view accountants and the services they provide in the UK compared to in the U.S. A recent Intuit survey found that nearly 70 percent of small to medium enterprises in the UK expect their accountants to be financial advisors, and 62 percent require professionals to introduce new offerings and services in order to become a trusted advisor. However, only 40 percent of small business owners in the U.S. consult with an accounting professional in this way. Small businesses in the U.S. either are not aware or are not taking advantage of the valuable advice accounting professionals can provide.
“There’s clearly a gap to fill in the U.S. market. While it’s up to the accountant themselves to educate businesses about the strategic and advisory services they can offer, it’s up to us to provide the tools that help them offer those services successfully,” said Preece.
Preece already has a plan in place for the first three months in his new position. As leader of the Accountant Segment, Preece is committed to working with accounting professionals to identify working solutions as well as areas of improvement. He will focus on the ins and outs of accounting professionals’ daily routines to better understand what they need to be successful. Accountants can also look to connect with him at this year’s QuickBooks Connect in San Jose. Preece will work closely with Intuit’s product and engineering teams to evaluate user feedback to continuously innovate and add new features to QuickBooks Online Accountant. Training is also a big initiative for Preece, who plans to roll out newly specialized courses and training resources for accounting professionals and their practices that will focus on becoming a modern day practice.
“While my positions at Intuit have involved service to accounting professionals, it doesn’t mean I don’t have homework to do. Intuit’s mission has always been to provide the best products and services to help support accounting professionals, so my plan of action is simple: gather intel, iterate and implement,” said Preece. “I’m also well aware that 89 percent of small businesses say they are more successful when working with an accountant and, as such, one of my priorities will be to create more connections between small businesses and accounting professionals so that both can achieve long-term profitability and growth.”
A key factor in forging successful relationships between accountants and their small business clients continues to be cloud adoption. The cloud and mobile have genuinely changed how society as a whole works, communicates and collaborates. More and more small businesses have come to view accounting professionals as business advisors and expect an on-demand, anytime, anywhere service. As such, cloud adoption continues to be a priority for Intuit as the company recognizes the major impact it has on how small businesses engage with accountants and the type of services they expect.
“In the last year, we saw more customers subscribe to QuickBooks Online than QuickBooks Desktop – so we want to make sure that accounting and bookkeeping professionals are well-positioned to be strategic advisors to their clients and take their firms to the next level,” said Preece. “Whether it’s a feature update to QuickBooks Online that automates a manual process or adding more app partners to our arsenal, we’ll continue to implement ways to help accountants save time in order to focus more on their roles as trusted advisors. I’m confident in our team’s expertise, passion and drive to continue creating best-in-class offerings that help accounting firms on their journey to becoming Firms of the Future.”
Preece looks forward to his future with the Accountant Segment. And while the accounting industry has changed – and continues to – he believes Intuit’s mission remains the same at its core.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work across many parts of Intuit’s business including the accounting professional, small business and consumer tax divisions,” said Preece. “Intuit has a long tenured history of success and I’m proud to be a part of it. We’re just as innovative, dynamic and focused on solving big customer problems today as we were when Scott Cook first started the company.”
See inside October 2016
Awards in the Accounting Profession
Recognition should not be taken lightly. Those who have been recognized by our magazine and other publications in the accounting arena stand out, but not just because they do their jobs well. They are recognized for expertise, dedication ...