According to SCORE, 40 percent of small business owners feel that managing accounts is the most difficult part of operating a business, as the process is tedious and intimidating. Accounting sometimes takes a back seat while they're busy juggling day-to-day operations. With the GST rollout in 2017, it has become even more difficult for businesses. Millions of MSMEs in India are registered under GST, but when it comes to accounting, a majority of them cannot afford high-priced and complex accounting software available in the market.
However, maintaining balanced books could save your business in case you land on shaky ground. And here's where cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting platform GimBooks comes into play.
Simplifying the accounting process for small businesses
Founded by Yash Raj Agrawal, GimBooks assists small and micro-sized businesses in India to create and manage documents like GST-compliant invoices, waybills, quotations, purchase orders, delivery challans, manage their inventory and expenses, keep a live track of various business reports and send payment reminders to customers.
Yash worked as a business analyst with Target Corporation before he started his own venture of trading in Pyrolysis products, where he witnessed the need for a modern accounting platform for MSMEs. A technology enthusiast, he always wanted to bring in a modern approach to the widespread traditional businesses in India. With the launch of GST, he believed it was the right opportunity to move in this direction, and GimBooks was launched in October 2017.
"GimBooks is a mobile-first, India-centric platform for micro and small business owners who might not understand the debit and credit of accounting. He is a one-man army when it comes to purchase and sales in the business, but might not be very well versed with accounting. The vision of GimBooks is to make business easy for millions by providing them with an easy-to-use and affordable solution," says Yash.
GimBooks helps users simplify their regular bookkeeping with the help of their Android app Easy Invoice Manager or their integrated website www.gimbooks.com. Their subscription-based model enables users to access a free trial period of 15 days and renew thereafter at an affordable price of Rs 50 per month to continue using the service.
The tedious GST process made easy
The founder says that when Goods and Service Tax (GST) was rolled out, MSMEs were still maintaining physical books. "It was time-consuming to create invoices for customers and follow GST norms and there was a lot of chaos with regard to invoicing and bookkeeping in the initial phase of launch. Hence, we launched an app called GST Invoice Maker," he says. They got a tremendous response from users who asked to convert it into a full-fledged bookkeeping and accounting platform for MSMEs. This transition from GST Invoice Maker to GimBooks has helped them build a customer-centric organisation. Even today, they build their products based on customer feedback.
A marketing-driven do-it-yourself platform
Although there are similar services available in the market, they are either too expensive, not Indian MSME-centric or too complex for ‘bottom of the pyramid’ to understand by themselves. Ease of use is the key design driver in building GimBook's product and technology. They offer a platform that can be used even by a layman or someone who doesn’t have any prior accounting knowledge. Unlike other software that offers a one-size-fits-all form of bookkeeping, GimBooks offers domain-based bookkeeping, where it is customised according to the industry the user is from.
The software is adaptable to the ever-changing dynamic requirements of GST.
"The next set of reforms in India includes e-invoices and reconciliations, and we are set to sail with these reforms to provide users a seamless and hassle-free transition," says Yash.
The app also backs up all transactions online automatically, so that users don’t have to worry if they lose their smartphone - they can also operate from their desktops through the integrated website.
The Raipur-based business is a completely marketing-driven organisation. They have received all subscriptions till date without a single salesperson. They want to keep the organisation lean, which helps them focus on product and technology.
"The advantage is that as it is a do-it-yourself platform, we don’t require a sales team to show people demos every day. We want to be capital-efficient at this stage," he says.
Milestones in the bag and the road ahead
Since its launch, GimBooks’ mobile app has got a tremendous response, crossing a milestone of 500,000 downloads, 60,000 monthly active users and 12500 subscriptions across India. The bootstrapped startup has already crossed revenues of Rs 1 crore and is growing at 20 percent month-on-month. They are operating out of Raipur, but have users present in over 2,000 cities in India.
Recently, GimBooks was awarded the ‘Best Startup of the Year’ by Entrepreneur of the Year Award (EOTY) awards and was honoured to get it from Bhupesh Baghel, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh. They were also the winners of the Shuruaat Bus Pitching Competition conducted by The Global Education and Leadership Foundation (tGELF), in partnership with Facebook, ATAL Innovation Mission by NITI Aayog and Apollo Tyres, which spanned in 13 cities across the country to find social entrepreneurship ideas by the youth.
"The product is absolutely loved by our users and has great potential to grow. Our users have rated us at 4.8 in the play store currently. The app supports English and Hindi languages, and we are soon coming with up with eight more regional languages,” says Meghal Agrawal, CTO of GimBooks.
GimBooks is a Value SaaS startup, accelerated under Upekkha, and is also incubated with the government-recognised incubation centre, 36 INC in Raipur. The startup is now in talks with investors to raise their first round of investment, which will be used for ramping up their product and marketing on a national level.
"We want to stay focused on being marketing-driven for now and will be developing a partner channel in the year 2020. We are also going to introduce GSTR filings soon in the app and on our website," concludes Yash.