Chances are that the end of each month you send a stack of invoices, statements, credit notes, etc... to your accountant so he/she can fill up the tax return form, figure out your profit & loss and help you with a budget. You also probably try to do most of this work yourself or hired a part-time employee possibly a family member to avoid paying for extra accountant hours. Chances are that unless you're a neat freak you have a complete mess of paperwork and it takes you more then 5 minutes to find out how much each clients owes you. You also probably worry that if you loose paperwork you might loose a lot of money.
We were faced with this issue on June 2014 and just couldn't bear the idea of loss of data, there had to be something better. After a few days of research we found a lot of good products on the market however most of them required a lot of training or where simply too expensive. This is where we decided to build our own accounting package which would need to tackle all these issues:
- - Easy to use
- - Automatically take back-ups
- - Organize data by client / supplier
- - Let us know how we where doing financially at a glance
- - Show us financial history
- - Portable
- - Paperless
- - Reliable
- - Receive / Process payment
- - Create documents such as Invoice quickly
- - Have basic reporting of profit & loss
- - Secure
This was by no means goign to be an easy task but one that would save us a lot of time and money in the long run, so we started developing this package.
Portability & Easy to use
We managed to overcome these 2 challenges with a single blow by going in the cloud. We all have internet connected devices therefore it was a no-brainer to go the cloud with this system but the challenge here was the design, it had to be so intuitive that someone that has no clue what accounting is could use it. This was acheived by simplifying all technical terms to simple english that everyone understood and added icons to demonstrate the actions. We also tried to plugin as much automation as possible such as; When creating a receipt we automatically show a list of invoices issued to that client as to make the process faster and more intuitive. Forget about the idea of manually inputting User IDs & document IDs we use plain english through out the package therefore you will type "Peter" to search for Peter's data and NOT #02589
Ability to create professional documents easily
The accounting system is based around the idea of ease of use therefore being able to create Invoices, Cash Sales, Receipts, etc... quickly was a top priority that is why we spent hundreds of hours coming up with a very intuituve interface which enables the user to create documents quickly. Some of the features include; Create Invoice from Quote, Create Receipt from Invoice, Displaying of totals as you input them, Preview of documents before storing, etc...
Organised data & Paperless
Being neat is key in any area of business however in accounts it even so more important, our accountant caries a packet of coloured stickers to organise all his paper work. This was un-acceptable in our package so we group all the data by client / supplier; All Invoices, Cash Sales, Receipts, Purchases,... neatly organized into a panel per client / supplier. This way you simply search for "Peter" and all his data is availble at a glance. This also meant that we could wave goodbye to paperwork all together, as all the data is in the system already we never need to go back to our box files where all hard copies are stored. All crucial information is just there infront of you; Sales, Payment, Balance,...
Hopefully your business is thriving and money starts to come in. In the perfect world everyone pays in full right away which would make life so easy but a lot of business like to barter and give partial payments to split the expense across multiple months. This is why we have an easy to use payments system which allows the user to bind a payment with an invoice or account so that he/she can track what invoices have been paid, which are pending and which are partially paid by how much. With this feature you can forget those days where you kept stapling receipts to an invoice until it's fully paid.
Financial history & basic reporting
With all this data in hand it was a no-brainer to add reports such as; Sales, Payments, Creditors, Debtors, etc... however we also needed the history per client and the history of our profit & loss. The solution came in the form of a very simple panel where you choose the report type and it would automatically spit out the relevant data in an easy to understand fashion using graphs, tables & links to the actual documents. This meant that we could see how we where doing from year to year, month to month and even day by day! Our accountant loved this feature, we would simply specify "Sales for October" and his job is done, all he needed to do from that point was to fill out the legal forms. The reports section also includes a Tax report so we didn't need an accountant anymore to submit our VAT return, we would simply copy paste from the interface.
Security & Back-up
Being that this accounting package is in the cloud some might think that their accounting data is not safe. To the contrary we strongly believe in our infrasture and can garantuee better security then your safe in the office this is due to the fact that we implement the lastest and greatest in security features such as 4096-bit encrypted communications to the server. Also with the data being in the cloud and managed by us it also enables us to take backups more easily and more frequently in-case something happens to our servers. The backups are taken daily, monthly & yearly. This means we have a full backup of all your data at hand if anything breaks.
Multiple Accounts & Companies
At first we thought of building this product as an internal accounting tool however when we decided to sell it we had to cater for 2 major issues; Companies have multiple employees that need to access the system, users will need to manage multiple companies. This is why we created a "Settings" and a "Profile" section where users could upload their personal details such as name, email, picture, etc... and also manage the company profile by being able to change company logo, company name, title of document columns such as the word "Total" in an invoice or "Balance Due" in a statement. With these systems in place now a manager and the users could see how they were doing and from that data a manager could decide if he/she has under/over performing employees.
Since we're developers we try to make our code as re-usable and expandable as possible this why this accounting package already has the functionality built-in for future releases of plugins such as; Stock Keeping, Payroll, POS, and much more.
What is planned for the future
Innovative Accounts is our baby and we take extreme care of it that is why for now we just plan to get client feedback and improve according to the feedback received. As soon as we have the best base layer out there we will start creating those plugins we mentioned earlier and will turn this package into a complete business tool kit with; Mobile alerts, Calendars, etc...