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Business is just getting quicker

01 Sep 2006

With over 19 years in the IT industry Ngaio Merrick has more than enough experience to take on the role of general manager at business software vendor Quicken.  However new roles present new challenges and Merrick isn’t afraid to tackle them head on.

“Actually my biggest challenge is to make procedural and systems changes within the company without changing the essence that is Quicken,” she says.

Previously sales manager with Horizon Pacific and Matrix Applied Computing Merrick describes joining a 100% indirect sales company as a significant change.

“All Quicken’s business goes through the channel – there is no direct sales force – which for me, as a former sales manager, feels very different. Quicken drives the channel and in return it forces us to do things better.”

However she also says that Quicken is like no other company she’s worked for.

“It really is like a big family and it’s very different to be on the inside. Everything happens quickly, decisions are team driven and open communications means there aren’t office politics. That’s an enormous achievement in a company of 20 people.”

Merrick credits CEO Kerry Wood for much of Quicken’s success, both with resellers and an extremely loyal team.

“Kerry is a big personality and there’s a lot of synergy between us. While I’ve been in a number of sales roles it was Kerry who approached me with this awesome opportunity to take the reigns as general manager.”

That synergy means both Merrick and Wood are working towards the same goal; to make Quicken the conduit for all small to medium businesses in New Zealand.

“If a small business has a question about how to run their company then we want them to phone Quicken first. If we can’t help them directly then we’ll happily point them in the right direction.”

Part of the strategy to achieve this goal is through acquisition to consolidate the financial software market.

Last month Quicken acquired cashbook specialist EasyBooks giving the company a further 119 resellers and over 8,000 end users.

Initially, says Merrick, EasyBooks will move to Quicken’s Albany location as a separate company with a full merger further down the track.

“There are other very exciting talks going on at the moment and it won’t be long before more announcements are made. Quicken is in serious growth mode. That’s part of the reason for my appointment because it frees Kerry up to concentrate on what he does so well.”

Merrick says her team is completely un-phased by the acquisition and that for both companies it really is a case of business as usual.

As well as her full time role at Quicken Merrick is mother to two children (10 and 12) and still manages to fit a host of  other activities in.

“I guess I don’t sleep much. I’ve been a Cub leader for 16 years and tutor maths for remedial kids. My real passion lies in helping people become more confident – whether that’s in the workplace or out in the community.”