5 digital accounting software companies helping small businesses, MSMEs go digital
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of being ‘digital’. While the Digital India programme, launched by the Government of India in 2015, spurred the adoption of technology among Indian businesses, COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown and social distancing norms brought to light how ill-equipped Indian SMBs and MSMEs were when it comes to digitisation.
Even as customers moved online and digitisation became a vital part of the ‘new normal’, SMEs and MSMEs have been struggling to go digital to survive.
Accounting, for example, is a vital part of running any business. However, for ages, countless SMBs and MSMEs have been following a conventional approach, handling their accounts manually. But, in this era of accelerated digital adoption, it is time to go digital.
SMBStory has come across five platforms that are helping small businesses, MSMEs, and even large corporates digitise their accounting and step up their transformation to become truly tech-enabled businesses.
Bharat Goenka co-founded Tally Solutions in Bengaluru 34 years ago. While he was from a textile trading family in Kolkata, his love for technology led him to experiment and build an accounting software that could help traders upgrade from traditional bookkeeping.
Little did anyone know that in less than 15 years, Tally would become synonymous with accounting. Today, the company is known as India’s largest company in the accounting software realm.
The software major said it aims to help small businesses access critical data anywhere, anytime, with remote access technology, and wants to focus on improving the experience of the software by building multi-device access. It said it is also investing in the cloud, and will be making a slew of announcements soon.
The lockdown in India disrupted various industries and crippled the cash flow in the MSME sector. While small businesses mull halting production, changing their business model, and deferring payments, they also need to boost their financial literacy to understand their costs better.
Technology can play a key role in enabling financial literacy without disrupting business operations.
“With technology solutions to boost financial literacy, business owners can understand the true cost of running the business. This helps them decide the pricing for their products or services. They can also easily manage quotations, customer data, invoices, and GST with technology solutions,” says Aditi Puri Batra, Country Manager, Intuit QuickBooks India.
For 15 years, Intuit QuickBooks has been working in India to build financial management solutions for small businesses.
Intuit QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based financial management solution for small businesses launched in 2012. In 2019, the company launched an online practice management solution specifically designed for Chartered Accountants (CAs) to grow their practice and easily manage their clients.
Together, QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Online Accountant provide an integrated experience for practice management, accounting, and Goods and Services Tax (GST) filing in a single place. Our goal through our products is to make the life of our customers in India easier, be it small businesses or accountants, and enable them to leverage technology to grow their business. In the era of the shift to digital, we want to help small businesses make this transition more smoothly.
In the modern era of digital accounting, helping MSMEs adapt is a business opportunity in itself. Bengaluru-based entrepreneur Sumit Agarwal (35) identified this opportunity when he was working for Intuit’s QuickBooks, an accounting software package for small businesses.
With just Rs 8 lakh in savings, Sumit decided to set out on a mission to offer MSMEs simplified solutions to do their accounting and inventory management. In 2016, he started Vyapar, a simple business accounting and inventory management application for small businesses.
“By using Vyapar, an entrepreneur can stay on top of his/her finances, collect payments on time, keep track of inventory, generate GST reports, and make smarter business decisions,” Sumit tells SMBStory.
In the 1990s, Delhi-based entrepreneur Dinesh Gupta sold computers and accounting software to enterprises.
The electronics engineer also undertook projects for custom software development and provided professional IT services under his company Digitronics Infosolutions. However, he felt his business was more suited to building his own product than being a reseller or developing custom software for others.
In 1994, Dinesh and his younger brother Rajesh launched BUSY, an accounting software for MSMEs, at IT Asia ’94 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. For three years, the product was developed under the software division of Dinesh’s company Digitronics.
In 1997, they started BUSY Infotech, a bootstrapped sister company, to develop and market the BUSY accounting software.
Through the software, the brothers reached out to MSMEs and managed their accounts, business processes, and operational controls.
They tried to make the solution useful across geographies, industry verticals, and customer segments such as FMCG, retail, manufacturing, trading, distribution, and services.
After the sudden demise of his father, Logesh Velusamy struggled to manage his family’s numerous businesses efficiently. The Coimbatore-based entrepreneur had quit his high-profile corporate career to run his family’s various businesses.
Working at leading IT solutions and business consultancy companies like IBS Software and Accenture had given the electronics engineer a flair for technology. However, he was simply unable to find the right technology tools to manage the various aspects of his family’s businesses.
Logesh realised the market did not have a singular solution for managing cash flows, understanding revenue leakage, and accessing vital business data for his family’s MSMEs in electrical wholesale trading, poultry, feed manufacturing, textile retail, and other sectors.
“Without a skilled accountant, I could not identify cash flows between different legal entities. There was no existing solution that solved the various problems I was facing with managing several companies. But my background led me to believe such issues could be solved with technology, and it was indeed possible to build such a solution,” he tells SMBStory.
First, Logesh interviewed over 100 MSME owners to understand more about the challenges they faced in running their businesses. “Then, I partnered with solutions architect Gopinath Nallappan who felt the problem would be interesting to solve. In 2012, we started Effitrac in Coimbatore. Till date, Gopinath, his brother Suresh, and I have invested $500,000 in the company,” he says.
Effitrac built an end-to-end business process management solution which is customisable and caters to over 14 MSME sectors such as food processing, textile manufacturing, general engineering, and more. Logesh engaged technology partners to customise and implement Effitrac’s solution to large enterprises as well.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta