Did you know that accounting software Tally is over two decades old? When and how it came on the scene, made inroads and quietly revolutionsed the way accounting is done, we are not sure of. But if such a revolution was to happen on the mobile phone, we would be able to track the trajectory better.
We recently heard of the Book Keeper app, an accounting app developed by Just Apps Pvt Ltd for small and medium businesses on Android, iOS and Windows desktop platform. It allows the user to maintain his company books, on his smartphone/tablet/PC. The user just needs to enter daily business transactions and Book Keeper does all the double-entry accounting and generates various financial reports automatically.
Varun Mendiratta started work on Book Keeper immediately after he finished college in July 2011. The idea to develop an accounting app struck him during the last year of his post graduation in June 2011, when he saw his brother, a trader who travelled a lot for business carry a laptop everywhere for accounting purposes. There weren't any accounting mobile apps back then in the market. So Varun started work on the Book Keeper app along with his friends, Abhishek Behl and Rohit Birla.
Book Keeper is the brainchild of Varun Mendiratta, who has done his Masters in Computer Science from Delhi University. Varun handles the Android version of Book Keeper and looks over the development of the app on other two platforms, iOS & Windows. Abhishek Behl – also a Masters in Computer Science from Delhi University is fully responsible for handling the iOS version of Book Keeper. And the third partner, Rohit Birla is fully responsible for handling the Windows desktop version of Book Keeper. Rohit has done his masters from Bharati Vidyapeeth, New Delhi.
The target market for Book Keeper is SMBs who use Excel/Paper Notes, or online or offline accounting software to maintain their accounts. “Our target market is businesses with an annual turnover of up to Rs 10 crores (all around the globe) who do not require complex accounting systems like Tally/Busy. Our strategy is to remain offline, offer multi-platform access and an easy-to-use interface. We have started with a dedicated mobile app for accounting on all major devices and OS. Later, we shall provide wireless sync across various devices,” says Varun.
Book Keeper has an edge over online software because it is an offline product, which resides and runs independently on the mobile device of the user and runs across multiple platforms of Android, iOS and Windows. Varun says that since its launch they have had 400,000 of combined downloads across all three platforms. “It is also very easy to use with no prior accounting know-how required. For example, all your company data that is present on Android will work on iOS and vice versa,” says Varun.
Where Book Keeper comes in is where Tally failed to keep pace. Using Tally requires some level of training, but in case of Book Keeper, the app is pretty simple to use and there is no special training required. Another moot point is the smartphone space which is revolutionizing most areas of business today, and the lack of a Tally mobile app is glaring.
Book Keeper can store any number of transactions, and all user data is stored on user devices locally. Book Keeper does not have access to company databases. Users have the option to backup this database to their mailbox, DropBox etc.
Some of the competitors of Book Keeper in the market are mAccounts, which is present only on Android, and Easy Books that has presence on iOS and Mac OS. Book Keeper also has plans to launch the Book Keeper Cloud app that can wirelessly sync their data among different devices and platforms.
They have added a new feature ‘Sync with Tally’ which helps the user to import Tally data into Book Keeper and export Book Keeper data into Tally. They are planning integration with QuickBooks as well. They will also be launching an ‘Import from Excel’ feature, as many small businesses still use Excel to manage their company books.
The registered company that Book Keeper belongs to is called Just Apps, and the company’s revenue for financial year 2012-13 was $10,000. Varun says they are set to increase their revenues by 80% this year and projects revenues of $60,000 for FY 2014-15. All growth so far has been organic and has been achieved without any marketing/advertisement.
Besides Book Keeper, the other apps that the firm has launched in the market are Teacher/Tutor Earnings Manager -- an app for all teachers/tutors to help them keep track of their classes/lectures, their earnings etc. This was launched in August 2011. And Speed Dialer: a widget app that can help quick dialing of your favorite contacts.
Besides the core team, they have a team of seven engineers -- five employees and two MCA interns. They also have an experienced Charted Accountant on their advisory board, and a finance mentor who is helping with marketing/advertisement of the app, company financials and raising funds. A bulk of users for Book Keeper -- about 60% is from India, followed by users from the US and UK.
“The app is available as a free download on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. It is among the top searches for keywords like accounting, book keeping, accounts etc,” says Varun about their performance. They are also marketing Book Keeper via Facebook Mobile app installs ads (Android & iOS both), and have plans start with Google AdSense/AdMob in the coming months.
Taking a leaf out of the Tally book, Book Keeper has identified distributors of desktop accounting softwares like Tally/Busy in various cities and has started a Book Keeper distribution/reseller program whereby these distributors can earn by selling Book Keeper to their potential customers.
Varun says their immediate goal is to reach 10,000 paid users by end of financial year 2014-15. “We want to localize the app in regional Indian languages. After becoming market leaders in India, we want to formally enter international markets. However, a major challenge has been in hiring quality engineers. Their degree doesn’t matter, what matters is their intelligence and their passion to work for startups. So, it is difficult to find like-minded people,” he says.
Whether Book Keeper can achieve market dominance as Tally did is something to be seen, but given the way smartphones are changing consumer habits, user adoption surely promises Book Keeper the initial push.
Check out the site : https://bookkeeperapp.net/
Download here : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bookkeeper