The Fundamentals

If Intacct were an NBA star, it would be Tim Duncan who played his entire 19 year career with the San Antonio Spurs and quietly put up All Star numbers that led his team to multiple championships with remarkable consistency. He did it by focusing on the fundamentals: consistent execution and teamwork — and without seeking the limelight.

Intacct’s acquisition yesterday for $850m by Sage wasn’t magic, a single moment of inspiration, one giant leap of faith, or (as much as I love CEO Rob Reid) a superhuman CEO. The company made disciplined decisions about segments to serve (Ideal Customer Profile), delivered Whole Product Solutions for those segments, built and optimized an efficient sales and marketing engine, dedicated themselves to customer success, compensated the team based on Net Promoter Score, and built a company that was repeatedly named a Best Place to Work. In other words, they focused on the fundamentals: consistent execution across the board and great teamwork.

When Brian Jacobs from Emergence showed the company to Bob Spinner (Jackson Square Ventures) and mein May of 2007, it had struggled to $2m in ARR. They entered the largest segment in enterprise software, financial management, focused on mid-market companies. SaaS companies focused on Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) don’t have market size problems, they have “customer access” problems. It requires highly efficient marketing, effective lead qualification, and high velocity sales. Many companies try, but it’s harder to do well than it looks.

There were many demanding years where we couldn’t tell if it was the beginning of the hockey stick because compounding small numbers at solid (but not spectacular growth rates) takes a while to add up to big numbers. But the management team kept adding talent, building great products for vertical markets, and selling to and servicing customers. At numerous junctures, the board debated how much to invest in new products, how to deal with withering assaults from bigger competitors, and whether to accept uninspiring offers to buy the company. Management approached each challenge with a clear eyed view. The board challenged one another and the management team, and the team always did a great job of staying the course.

Focus. Discipline. Analytical. These were this team’s basic tools. They are a talented team of hard-working people who solved real problems for their customers and don’t shy away from open discussion of difficult topics. Their success proves how much focusing on fundamentals still matter.

Intacct’s mission will continue with Sage, to deliver the cloud Financial Management Solution their customers need for their entire business journey.

It has been an honor to work with Rob Reid, Aaron Harris and the rest of the Intacct team. It’s important that the Intacct story be told, both as a testament to their hard work and to show other entrepreneurs their path to success.

So congratulations to the extended Intacct team and community. Thanks for letting me be a part of the journey.


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