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DateMonday, March 01, 2010

Free  Accounting 4 Start-Ups

Irish Start-Up - Aims to Helps Small Businesses Get Paid Faster
 Founder Ron-Condell with model Aoife Brennan at the company's launch in FebruaryAn Irish start-up called  has developed  an accounts package designed to  help  start-ups address the cash flow and slow payment issues that plague many businesses here. Business owners need no accounting experience to use the ultra simple package and it takes moments to set-up.



Irish businesses are notoriously slow payers. Coupled with the lack of credit available to SMEs, this makes  business particularly challenging in a recession Speeding up the invoicing cycle helps people get paid faster and reduces the amount of paperwork a business creates.



Since it was founded last October, more than 2,000 small businesses have signed up to use's free accounting package which offers an easy-to-use online invoicing and cash management system. It allows businesses  to create and send invoices and manage payments in just three clicks.  The package is based  online, where all  invoices are backed up, and   users can sign in  and out  in 60 seconds.



Founder Rod Condell, (Pictured) who  spent a year developing the package, formally  launched the venture in February with help from his  business partner, SME advisor Liam Birkett.


Condell decided to capitalise on his 20 years of software development expertise, after he noticed that traditional accounting systems only catered for users with extensive accounting expertise.  Birkett helped  Condrell to develop the product and get  backing  for the launch.


Condell  said: "Traditional packages such as Sage or Quickbooks are too complicated for many business owners. They take a lot of learning and they have too many features. The beauty of is in its sheer simplicity. The business owner with no accounting experience can use it with ease and enjoy the real benefit - getting paid faster. Accountants love the system too, as it helps their clients stay organised and they can easily download the information they need."



Martin Ansboro, who runs  the Honest to Goodness Cafe in Dublin is  one of the 2000 users who've signed up since the company began. " saves me hours every week, said Ansboro.


"Running a small food company and café with eight staff can be a challenge for someone with no interest in computers or accounts! The system allows me to take care of the basics in just a few minutes a day.


"We needed something simple to record cash takings, keep track of suppliers and corporate customers, generate invoices and manage payments. I was surprised how easy billfaster was to use. You just follow the instructions on each screen... so there isn't much to learn. What surprised me most is that I now have a much better understanding of where my costs lie, so I can take steps to reduce them," said Ansboro.



ROUNDUP330.pngLike Ansboro, many entrepreneurs excel in business, but  often struggle with their accounts as their focus is on day-to-day operations. So invoicing and accounts can easily get out of control.


 " helps users to  create and process even large volumes of transactions very quickly.


It will also have particular appeal to those who are not office based, i.e. consultants, sales people, or those on the road. Having just left a customer, they can email a quote or an invoice within a few minutes of leaving a meeting direct from an i-phone, blackberry or laptop.


" We've had a good response with over 2,000 accounts opened in the first few weeks,"  Condrell continued.


Rod Condell began his career as an engineer working for Amdahl Ireland, where he rose to operations manager.  After 14 years with Amdahl, he  worked as a management consultant with both small and large companies globally and then founded an Irish accounting software company that has developed both small and medium offline and online accounting solutions. He sold on that business, whose products  are still in use today. In 2008 Condell identified new opportunities in the way  the internet is used by small businesses.



A TNS MRBI study conducted on behalf of O2 last year found that 32% of senior SME executives thought cash flow would be their biggest challenge in 2010.



Another user, Tracy Kelly  Founder of Touchstone Communications, said  "Accounts can be a real challenge for start ups. A small consultancy like ourselves can survive for an initial period managing the accounts through Excel, however, as the business matures, your accountant will recommend an accounting package.   Using  these packages can be a challenge in itself - it takes four to six months  of practice to really familiarise yourself with the day to day entries - so  it can be very frustrating. There is a real need for a simpler accounting solution to help business owners stay on top of their accounts."



Cathal Cusack, FCCA,   who is a partner in Certified Accountants Cusack Garvey Chartered   and works with many small to medium sized businesses, explained why controlling cash flow is so crucial for start-ups: "Cash flow is a constant challenge and a particular concern for any business in a start-up or growth phase.


"Anything that shortens the cash cycle is a great help. Most businesses measure debtors on the basis of days outstanding from date of invoice. They tend not to focus on how quickly the invoice is actually issued - The quicker the invoice is issued the quicker you will be paid, it is that simple! translates easily to foreign markets and the company  is planning  an official launch in the United States and Australia in early 2010.




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