Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: AccountsIQ
Tony Connolly founded Visor Ltd. in 2004 in Ireland and since then the company managed to set foot in the UK, Australia, India and the United States. Its fully hosted Software as a Service (SaaS) accounting platform accountsIQ, initially launched in 2007, is intended to help businesses that need a common platform for managing and benchmarking multiple entities.
The platform targets primarily small and medium-sized enterprises allowing them to take advantage of a SaaS offering enabling users to manage their entire accounting process via the Internet and without in-house IT infrastructure. Being a common platform, accountsIQ provides access to accounting software for multiple entities like clients, franchisees, subsidiaries and company branches.
The market for accounting, invoicing and financial cloud-based solutions evolved rapidly in the last years and many start-up companies challenged traditional accounting platforms offered by well known vendors. At present, accountsIQ is not quite a unique cloud-based platform but it still offers functionality that makes the platform a good choice among a growing number of competitors betting on Cloud Computing solutions.
Unlike many traditional software platforms, accountsIQ allows users to access accounting records and business documents simultaneously and in real time. It provides online collaboration tools from multiple locations while featuring real-time business intelligence and KPIs via a dashboard.
The platform is fully scalable when it comes to user and transaction volumes and is designed in modules, which allows users to add at will the modules they need.
Visor boasts unrivaled business analysis and reporting functions are implemented in the platform although other SaaS accounting platforms offer similar functionality. Key features of accountsIQ include possibilities for multi-jurisdiction, multi-currency accounting procedures and a full business analytics facility, featuring both financial and non-financial measures. The platform allows also cash-flow forecasting and management directly from data within the system while enabling users to manage multiple entities from a single admin layer for practices and franchisors.
Budget and revised budget by GL and business analysis code updated directly from Excel functionality is available, and the software allows consolidation of results in multiple base currencies for group reporting and benchmarking. Just like its main competitors, the company offers integration with third party systems using webservice APIs.
A growing number of accounting software is designed in modules and accountsIQ was among the first web-based platforms to offer such a model. Actually, accountsIQ allows customers to add modules to an existing basic accounting functionality. All system modules are fully integrated with several modules, like Cash-flow Forecasting and Management and Group Consolidation, combining information from the entire system allowing consolidated view of customers’ data.
Integration is the key to success for most business software applications and accountsIQ is not an exception to the rule. The system can integrate with online e-commerce web stores, CRM systems, EPOS, payroll systems, stock control allowing automated data transfer form various external applications. The API of accountsIQ covers major data-sets like customer account details, supplier account details, product information, sales quotes and orders, etc.
Further more, the platform enables banking integration functionality including collection and auto reconciliation of statements, generation of electronic payment files, generation of electronic direct debits requests allowing linking of bank lodgement back to individual receipts. A data import tool manages import of data from major accounting systems like: Sage, QuickBooks, TAS Books, MYOB, etc.
Visor claims that its system is well protected from external attacks due to its top-level firewall protection and immediate deployment of the latest anti-virus and security patches. Data security is accomplished via security controls that include three levels of authentication to access the system and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption technology to protect the transfer of data. The company utilizes its servers only for the purposes of the accounting service, creating independent databases for each client, which means that no data is shared within the same database.
Like many other start-ups, accountsIQ was backed by venture capital investors during its initial stage of development. The first round of funding raised EUR 1 million by Enterprise Equity and the AIB Seed Capital Fund in 2009. A second round of funding followed the same year with Data Electronics Group (DEG) leading the round worth EUR 3.5. Existing investors also took part in this round of funding.
Those financial injections helped the company to commercialize its product and expand to new markets worldwide. However, the company will experience, if not already experiencing, a growing pressure from cloud-based peers offering accounting platforms as SaaS.
Many competitors are providing innovative accounting solutions and accountsIQ will have to invest heavy in further development of its product to retain its competitive advantage.
By Kiril Kirilov