A new Irish start-up, Billfaster.com, claims to have found one solution which will help address the cash flow and slow payment issues experienced by many businesses.
With more than 2,000 small businesses already signed up, Billfaster.com offers an easy-to-use, online invoicing and cash-management system. It helps businesses create and send invoices and manage payments in just three clicks.
Speeding up the invoicing cycle helps people get paid faster and reduce the amount of paperwork your business creates. Business owners need no prior accounting experience to use the system and it takes just a few moments to set up.
Having noticed that traditional accounting systems only catered for users with extensive accounting expertise, Rod Condell decided to capitalise on his 20 years of software expertise to start the venture with his business partner, SME adviser Liam Birkett.
“Traditional packages such as Sage or Quickbooks are too complicated for many business owners. They take a lot of learning and they have too many features,” Condell explained.
“The beauty of Billfaster.com is in its sheer simplicity. The business owner, with no accounting experience, can use it with ease and enjoy the real benefit – getting paid faster. Accountants love the system, too, as it helps their clients stay organised and they can easily download the information they need.”
The cash flow challenge
Irish businesses are notoriously slow payers and this coupled with the recessionary lack of credit available to SMEs will make for a challenging 2010. A TNS MRBI study conducted on behalf of O2 late last year found that 32pc of senior SME executives thought cash flow would be their biggest challenge in 2010.
Cathal Cusack FCCA, partner in Cusack Garvey Chartered Certified Accountants, works with many small to medium-sized businesses.
“Cash flow is a constant challenge and a particular concern for any business in a start-up, or growth phase,” said Cusack.
“Anything that shortens the cash cycle is a great help. Most businesses measure debtors on the basis of days outstanding from date of invoice. They tend not to focus on how quickly the invoice is actually issued – the quicker the invoice is issued the quicker you will be paid, it is that simple!”
While many entrepreneurs excel in business, they sometimes struggle with their accounts as their focus is on day-to-day operations. The invoicing and accounts can easily get out of control.
“Billfaster.com helps users create and process even large volumes of transactions very quickly. It will also have particular appeal to those who are not office based, like consultants, sales people, or those on the road.
“Having just left a customer, they can email a quote or an invoice within a few minutes of leaving a meeting direct from an iPhone, BlackBerry or laptop. We’ve had a good response with over 2,000 accounts opened in the first few weeks.”
“Running a small food company and café with eight staff can be a challenge for someone with no interest in computers or accounts,” said Martin Ansboro, who runs Honest to Goodness Cafe in Dublin.
“The Billfaster.com system allows me to take care of the basics in just a few minutes a day. We needed something simple to record cash takings, keep track of suppliers and corporate customers, generate invoices and manage payments. I was surprised how easy Billfaster was to use.
“You just follow the instructions on each screen… so there isn’t much to learn. What surprised me most is that I now have a much better understanding of where my costs lie so I can take steps to reduce them.”
Billfaster.com translates easily to foreign markets and the company plans an official launch in the US and Australia in early 2010.
By John Kennedy
Photo: Irish start-up Billfaster.com offers an easy-to-use, online invoicing and cash-management system