- Mid-market cloud program now targeting SMBs
- Broad feature set, complex reporting and payroll
- White labels software for accounting firms
Is there room for yet another competitor in the cluttered accounting software market for SMBs?
Shoebooks, a little known cloud accounting program, has typically sold to mid-size companies and claims a customer base of 3,500 businesses. It has taken advantage of Xero’s marketing push to target small and medium businesses looking for a cloud accounting program with a broader set of features.
“In the past 10 years we dealt with clients in the $20 million to $50 million range, companies that have very complex reporting and payroll,” said Andrew Oldham, Shoebooks’ national sales manager.
“Thanks to the likes of Xero we have something in the marketplace that for the same price someone will get a hell of a lot more (in features) and it’s hosted in Australia.”
Shoebooks included general ledger, payroll, job and project costing, inventory, timesheets and calendar. Prices ranged from $29 a month to $59 a month depending on the number of modules.
Shoebooks’ greatest success was its recent selection as the recommended accounting program by the Franchise Council of Australia, an association covering 7,500 franchisors and 30,000 franchisees.
One reason Shoebooks won the recommendation because it is 100 percent owned and operated in Australia, and all support and data is supplied locally, Oldham said. Shoebooks’ mid-market experience sets it apart from other vendors because it’s prepared to customise its application for individual customers.
“Our experience in the medium enterprise side of town is that you can’t fit everyone in one box. We can walk into a business and look at whether it requires additional features, custom screens and reports. We ask what is going to make your business really efficient and then custom build it for them,” Oldham said.
Shoebooks has begun to establish a network of certified partners which it will provide with training, bookkeeping and leads.
Shoebooks believed it could create a market by giving firms greater control over the accounting experience. Its competitors often use partners as de facto sales and marketing teams. “Xero has been very good at getting firms to market Xero but what it takes away from is their own branding,” Oldham says.
Shoebooks allowed firms to white-label its software. Clients saw the firm’s logo when they logged into the accounting platform instead.
Vinod Sharma, managing director of A-Plus CPA, began using Shoebooks several months ago. Sharma disliked Xero and Saasu because he felt a lack of control over the clients’ experience.
When a client uses Xero or Saasu, “it’s not related back to your accounting firm. You need something that tells your clients they are dealing with an accounting office and that their data has been looked after by someone professional,” Sharma said.
Aside from franchises, the company has targeted remote workforces such as in the construction industry. “Sub-contractors can jump online and add their time against a project,” Oldham said. The sub-contractors’ hours filter into the project module so a builder can track costs associated with a job and invoice them to the client directly.
One of Shoebooks’ largest clients is a group of pubs staffed by 500 employees working in six locations. The group was previously using MYOB and had five administrators managing the accounts and payroll, Oldham says.
After moving to Shoebooks, staff entered their own timesheets and the tills’ takings were recorded directly into the system. The group got rid of four administrative positions and $160,000 in wages.
“One of the biggest things is they can see the performance of the group or bring up the Albert Park hotel and pull up full financial reports and sub-divisions – how the front bar of the or the cellar or the restaurant is performing,” Oldham said.