Kenyan startup Digital Horizons is aiming to alleviate the bookkeeping burden on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through its accounting software Cleanbill Litebooks.
Speaking to HumanIPO, the company’s founder, Joe Karuri, said Cleanbill operates using the cloud and everything is done online, easing processes in the office and doing away with paperwork and the challenges that often plague people who do not know how to use Quickbooks.
“Bookkeeping was a big challenge even for us, I couldn’t use the Quickbooks software and I resorted to printouts from word to print invoices,” said Karuri.
“Other SMEs were facing the same challenges so we said let us solved the problem we are facing and the one our peers are facing, and we came up with Cleanbill. Actually our products are specifically designed for SMEs.”
Cleanbill Lite books for accounting was first tested in 2010 and all that is needed to use the application is an internet connection and a computer.
A user then logs onto the website, processes their accounting and logs out.
The application is described as user friendly, but it has been designed not to throw-off professional accountants.
In fact, professional accountants were consulted in the making of the software by Karuri to ensure it was suitable for them and follows accounting principles.
Digital Horizons deals with this kind of client in a different way as they let them sell it as their own, distributing it to their own customers and giving the company a cut of the profits.
Since it is cloud based, owners of SMEs who also have day jobs can use them to check their accounts as they work, as for accountants they are able to manage their clients’ books under one ledger giving them limitless geographical reach and speed in service delivery.
Cleanbill Litebooks for accounting also comes in a suite alongside other apps from the company, such as the payroll for companies that want to automate their payroll process, Cleanbill website management (website builder) and Cleanbill leave management.
A Cleanbill Human Resources management software is in the pipeline and it will compliment the jobs done by the payroll and the leave management version.
“You can use all of them, in fact if you integrate them they become stronger together,” advised Karuri.
It will cost KSh9,000 (US$103) to Ksh 13,000 (US$148) per year to use Cleanbill Lightbooks accounting, and KSh9,000 (US$103) to KSh60,000 (US$685) for the payroll application.
For light use the apps are free forever.
Among the challenges that Digital Horizon faces in rolling out the product is skepticism with cloud computing and a lack of awareness as they say that when it comes to creating awareness they have barely scratched the surface.
Their advertisement has been largely by word of mouth and referrals.
Expansion is the long term plan, but at the moment they are concentrating on Kenya as the company looks to expand their customer base in readiness for a listing on the Nairobi Securities Exchange through the Growth Enterprise Market Segment.
This will give them the capital to venture out to other countries starting with Rwanda.