CASE STUDY: Kathi Hebbard, Director of The Bean Countess, started her business services firm in 2008, she was living in North Western Australia in a small regional area. The Bean Countess is a small business (with a total of 4 staff) offering accounting, bookkeeping and business systems to a range of different businesses throughout Australia, providing the vast majority of their services in an online capacity.
The Pain Point
The regional accounting firm had staff and clients spread over a large area. It needed an online accounting program that people could access from wherever they were.
The Bean Countess’ office is in Brisbane, Queensland and its bookkeepers are in other parts of Queensland and New South Wales. Hebbard’s clients range from Port Hedland to Perth in Western Australia and New South Wales.
Hebbard only visits one client in person.
“We were looking for software that would facilitate staff living in different locations, clients in different locations and have a smooth workflow for everybody,” Hebbard says.
“At the time, the cloud was only just being talked about and there weren’t many softwares available. I researched all of the cloud accounting software I could find… and there were some that could do certain aspects of the business, but not others.”
JCurve is a relatively new cloud-based application which is a better fit for small businesses than NetSuite, the online ERP system on which it is based.
JCurve Solutions has turned off all other NetSuite modules except for the accounting module which starts at AU$50 per user per month.
As a business grows it turns on more modules as required until it is using the full version of NetSuite.
“JCurve is bringing its capabilities down a level to make it accessible to smaller businesses that don’t have the money to invest in proprietary software. And it’s very adaptable, which is fantastic,” Hebbard says.
Was Set-Up Easy or Hard?
The transition to JCurve was relatively easy for Hebbard due to the small size of her business. “It was just a matter of moving our accounts over to JCurve and setting up our customer base. JCurve helped us a lot with getting the new system initiated and smoothing out any teething issues.”
Who Is It Good For?
JCurve is a good fit for small to medium businesses with multiple locations and wanting flexibility in their back office. “It removes the need for you to have as many administrators or accounting staff on site,” Hebbard says.
“That’s a huge advantage to go and hire your talent wherever it is, instead of limiting yourself to what happens to be in your town or nearby you,” she says.
What I Liked
The workflow capability of JCurve is its best feature “without a doubt”, Hebbard says.
The Bean Countess’ employees could access JCurve straight after implementation through an employee portal. Here, employees can find the tasks assigned to them, log their time and download and upload documents to the system.
“It allows my staff to be very flexible in that they can work from anywhere,” says Hebbard.
JCurve is highly adaptable for businesses in different industries. One client with two retail stores in New South Wales is about to open two more. “She can seamlessly run those four stores on the same software, her inventory and everything, and have no problems whatsoever. That would be a lot harder on different accounting software,” Hebbard says.
JCurve’s modular design makes it easily expandable. Modules include inventory, payroll and CRM, as well as more advanced features such as marketing, e-commerce, multi-currency and more.
What I Didn’t Like
Hebbard’s one complaint about JCurve is the steep set-up cost.
“I think I paid around $10,000 or $12,000 which for a really small business is a really big amount of money. Even for a medium business, it’s still a big hit.
It would be good to see a way to make it more affordable, or to be able to even pay it off over two years might be an option,” she says.
However, she says the recurring costs to renew the license are reasonable.
“For one administrator and support JCurve is about $2,500 per year,” Hebbard says.
“It is definitely a huge step up from the price of the other cloud software for small business… but it has all these other capabilities that basic accounting software just doesn’t have.
“So, it’s really dependent on the needs of your business and we pay for it specifically for the workflow and online filing capabilities. I think it’s worth it.”