Online Revolution in the Accounting Industry.Guest_Blogger | Nov 20, 2012
More and more fields of business are discovering the advantages of online work in general, and online freelance work specifically. In this guest post, e-conomic CEO Torben Frigaard Rasmussen discusses why his accounting software company is firmly-based around an online mindset.
With 60,000 customers, mainly small and medium businesses, e-conomic is one of Europe's leading providers of cloud-based accounting software. When we started out more than 10 years ago, “the cloud” as a concept was virtually unknown, but moving accounting online made a lot of sense, both for us and our customers. From the start, we've focused on giving customers a range of obvious benefits compared to traditional desktop accounting software, including:
- Fixed low costs. With our SaaS model, customers subscribe to e-conomic for a fixed monthly fee and are free to unsubscribe when they no longer require our services. This means that they don't have to make heavy software investments, which is particularly important for freelancers, small business owners and startups whose financial circumstances may be very tight and who may not even be sure for how long they will need access to accounting software.
- No maintenance. The e-conomic software updates automatically as changes are introduced to the system. We release new functionality around every two weeks, but our users never have to spend time or energy updating their software, or even paying external consultants to maintain and upgrade their software. Instead, the updates are simply available when they log on to e-conomic.
- Accessible anywhere. A lot of our customers are frequently on the move, for instance working as contractors or consultants at their clients' premises. Since their accounting data is available in the cloud, they can access e-conomic while they're with their clients in order to look up product prices, create invoices etc.
- Collaborate with your accountant. When subscribing to e-conomic, customers can grant their accountant free access to the system. Instead of sending documents back and forth, customers can simply work with their accountant directly from within the system, with both parties having access to the customer's accounts. This allows for new ways of collaborating that are not tied to meeting up at a particular time and place.
Big changes ahead
In the last 10 years, cloud computing has fundamentally changed the way businesses operate and interact in the global market. But in many ways, we're only starting the see the changes take effect. In a recent study by the International Data Corporation (IDC), it's estimated that online accounting will increase its share of the whole accounting software market for small and medium businesses from 11% last year all the way to 50% in four years.
IDC believes that accountancy firms with small and medium business clients will be forced to embrace and integrate the new trends. This will include utilizing the possibilities for automating and streamlining their business processes to focus more on counseling and consultancy and thus achieve a closer and more long-term relationship with their clients. At e-conomic, we already see this trend in the influx of customers that are referred to us by bookkeepers and accounting firms, with more than 35% of our customers now coming from this source. Additionally, many accounting firms are building their business concepts around e-conomic, marketing themselves as providers of online accounting to small and medium businesses, which has turned out to be a good opening approach with many companies.
Our idea to create a cloud-based accounting system 10 years ago has so far expanded our business to service more than 60,000 customers, with more than 100 employees in nine European countries, and annual revenue of more than 12m Euro. And it looks like the cloud revolution ahead is going to provide even more changes and opportunities for us, our customers and the accounting world as a whole. This will include a large percentage of freelance employees on Elance completing accounting projects.
About the Author
Torben Frigaard Rasmussen joined e-conomic international a/s as CEO in September, 2008, after seven months as Chairman of the Board. Prior to that, he was CEO of Come&Stay, a global e-mail and mobile advertising company, for 6 years. Torben Frigaard Rasmussen currently serves on several boards in the online industry.