After nearly four years of rapid growth under the leadership of CEO David Boyar, Brisbane-based accountancy-firm software provider ChangeGPS has been acquired by UK-based The Access Group, which is already pouring in resources to accelerate the pace.
ChangeGPS, which was founded by Timothy Munro in 2008 in partnership with Count Financial Group, is the fourth accounting technology company acquired by Access in Australia and New Zealand in the past three years.
Boyar, a chartered accountant who joined ChangeGPS as CEO in 2020, says the company’s technology complements the suite of software currently in the Access portfolio, including Handisoft, Reckon and APS.
Access acquired Reckon’s (ASX: RKN) Accountants Practice Management Group in 2022 for $100 million, but the price paid for ChangeGPS has not been disclosed.
“Access Group lodges over 40 per cent of all individual tax returns in Australia through these software products,” Boyar tells Business News Australia.
ChangeGPS is a bolt-on acquisition that is said to helps accountants improve business efficiency.
“But unlike any other product in the accountancy ecosystem, we also help them to make more money,” Boyar says.
“Accountants are increasingly doing more for clients and clients themselves are asking for more.
“They want clear explanations of their tax position, and they want to understand their options more clearly so they can make decisions about their lifestyle.
“Access is able to do that with the core products that are traditional compliance products.”
Boyar says ChangeGPS helps accountants explain the impacts of tax changes to clients through its automated advice reports.
“Accountants are phenomenal with numbers, but English is not the skill we are known for,” he says.
“Change GPS helps accountants explain to clients why they need different accounting services.”
Although ChangeGPS was founded more than 15 years ago, business growth has accelerated since Boyar’s stepped in as CEO just months before COVID hit.
“My task was to explode this business and we did that – five times the customer base and 10 times the development team,” Boyar says.
“We had seven employees the day I started and half of them were part time. Now we have 16 in Australia and 30 developers in the Philippines.”
Until then, Munro, who is executive director of ChangeGPS, had focused on product development rather than business growth.
In partnership with Count Financial Group, now Count Limited (ASX: CUP), ChangeGPS was founded as CountGPS in 2008 before Munro took full ownership in 2016.
“Back then we were nothing more than downloadable templates from a cloud-based drive which was very innovative at the time,” Boyar says.
“Tim saw an opportunity invest in cloud technology and sought to take full ownership of the business and take it to what he saw as potentially a market leading product for the accounting industry.”
Boyar came on board as CEO after becoming a client of ChangeGPS, using the software in his own accountancy practice.
“We realised we were aligned on mutual values, and we were aligned on enough of a vision to proceed,” he says.
“We have been very fortunate having a working relationship that has lasted four years with such success.”
Kerry Agiasotis, president of The Access Group Asia Pacific, sees the acquisition as strengthening the UK company’s ‘proposition to accounting firms’.
“The acquisition of ChangeGPS is another step towards realising our vision of advancing the capabilities of accounting firms in Australia and New Zealand to help them drive profitable and sustainable growth for their firms and clients,” says Agiasotis.
“ChangeGPS marks the fourth acquisition of ANZ-based accounting technology companies in the last three years, reinforcing our commitment towards helping accounting firms maximise growth opportunities presented by new technologies.
“Our broad range of offerings for accounting firms are enabling them to both lower costs from productivity gains and increase income through new value-added advisory services that help their clients’ business grow.”
The acquisition will see ChangeGPS shift its Brisbane team from its CBD office to a new headquarters at Everton Park. The new office was developed for another Access subsidiary, Fathom which is a reporting, forecasting and financial insights business.
“We’re bursting at the seams in our current office anyway,” says Boyar.
“We’ll have our own space in the new office with both Fathom and ChangeGPS servicing accountants.”
Boyar notes that Access has hit the ground running with its plans to invest in further growth for ChangeGPS.
“We have a new success manager starting Monday, we are currently hiring two more sales roles and we’re forecast to increase our product development spend over the next three years,” he says.
Munro plans to continue working on new ideas and products for ChangeGPS.
“We have some amazing new apps for accountants in the ChangeGPS pipeline, and now being part of The Access Group allows us to help even more accountants to help their clients to have more freedom and live a better life,” he says.
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