The Silicon Review
The Story So Far
US corporations lease trillions of dollars of assets to run their businesses. Many companies lease the factories they use to manufacture products, the data centers they use to run computers, and the office buildings they use to manage operations. Companies also lease equipment, like the forklifts used in their warehouses, the laptops used by their sales team, and the trucks used in their supply chain. But despite the massive amount of spend invested in these business-critical assets, few companies have an enterprise system in place to manage their leasing program. In fact, most companies would struggle to produce a list of all the assets they lease and where they are located.
Michael Keeler, CEO of LeaseAccelerator, is changing that. For 15 years, Keeler has been pursuing a vision of permanently disrupting the multi-trillion dollar leasing space with a suite of applications specifically designed to manage the procurement, tracking and accounting of leased assets. In 2003, he founded LeaseAccelerator.
The company started its journey when it rolled out the first version of its Enterprise Lease Management application to the market in 2004. The first release provided a single application to track all of a company’s leases across the enterprise. At that time, words like ‘cloud computing’ and ‘software-as-a-service’ were not yet in anyone’s vocabulary, but LeaseAccelerator’s application was designed from the beginning as a hosted, multi-tenant architecture.
In 2007, LeaseAccelerator introduced its second application, Enterprise Lease Sourcing, which was designed to save companies 6-8% on equipment leases by leveraging cloud-based procurement strategies. With the Sourcing application, companies can distribute RFPs for IT, fleet, material handling, and other equipment leases to a global network of 500 banks and financial institutions.
In 2009, in anticipation of the release of new lease accounting standards that would be required by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, LeaseAccelerator introduced its Accounting application that companies could use to provide the reporting needed for US GAAP filings as well as to ensure Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.
Over the past 10 years, LeaseAccelerator has experienced tremendous popularity and has continued to expand product features, geographic footprint, and customer experience for all three of its applications. Today, LeaseAccelerator is one of the leading corporate FinTech providers and pioneers in the fast-growing Enterprise Lease Accounting software sector.
In Conversation with CEO, Michael Keeler:
Q. There is nothing more important for a successful small business than a well-defined mission and vision statement. Can you tell us your Mission and Vision statements?
We started out with a vision of using technology to simplify and automate the business processes for leased assets such as buildings, computers, forklifts and trucks. And today, we are the leading provider of Enterprise Lease Accounting software for Fortune 500 companies. Our short-term mission through 2020 is to help companies move quickly and smoothly to the new lease accounting standards. The standards are a component of “New GAAP” and are one of the biggest accounting changes ever. In the coming years, trillions of dollars of leases will transfer onto corporate balance sheets. Beyond 2020, our mission is to help companies convert their leasing programs into a competitive advantage that improves free cash flow, accelerates technology adoption and provides greater business agility.
Q. Any company, big or small, must have the sense of authenticity and originality to succeed. Is your company a ‘leader’ or a ‘follower’?
LeaseAccelerator is the pioneer of the new software category of Enterprise Lease Accounting. Most of our competitors entered the market in early 2016 only after the new accounting standards were published. We introduced our first version of lease accounting software back in 2009, so our product is more mature than the products of many of our competitors. Since then we have maintained leadership in both our product capabilities and our support services.
Q. “Earning trust and respect of consumers is through consistent focus on delivering high quality in all of our actions,” how do you interpret this statement?
Customer success is an important aspect of our culture! As a software-as-a-service provider, LeaseAccelerator does not sell perpetual licenses but instead generates revenue from subscription fees. If the customer is not successful, then they will not renew the subscription. As a result, we are ensuring that customers not only purchase our software but also are successful in their business goals, which is one of our top priorities.
Our product development, technical support, quality assurance, finance and marketing teams follow the lead of an independent customer success organization that is charged with helping companies achieve their objectives.
Q. Do you have any new products ready to be launched?
As the deadline for compliance by the US Securities and Exchange Commission approaches in January 2019, the primary product development focus is on enhancing the capabilities of our existing Enterprise Lease Accounting software application. The new standards are creating a significant work effort for even the largest companies and most of them will require more sophisticated asset management, financial accounting and internal audit capabilities enabled by our software.
Q. Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?
LeaseAccelerator is growing rapidly. We are planning to double the size of our team in the next 12 months as we grow our client base and partnerships. Also, we will be expanding into Europe during 2018 and perhaps the Asia Pacific in 2019.
In 2020, we will shift from our short-term strategy of helping companies comply with the new lease accounting standards towards our long-term strategy of enabling finance organizations to leverage their leasing programs as a source of competitive differentiation in the marketplace.
The Man Behind the Picture
Michael Keeler is the CEO, President, and Founder of LeaseAccelerator as well as the Chairman of the Board. An expert in lease accounting, Michael has been the primary force behind the growth and vision for LeaseAccelerator and Enterprise Lease Accounting, a new category of business applications that has one of the fastest growth rates of any software segment. A serial entrepreneur, he has more than 20 years of experience in building software businesses.
Prior to founding LeaseAccelerator, he served as President of Onmark Corporation, an international IT leasing company. Before Onmark, Michael founded and managed two software companies, DataZen (1999-2002) and Ecologic Corporation (1993-1999).