Running a successful accounting practice was all in a day’s work for Paul and Paula Murray. Yet the South Australian couple found they were still hitting pain points when it came to providing practical solutions for connecting their client’s information to the spreadsheets and tools they were using on a daily basis.
Paula tells Kochie’s Business Builders (KBB) that it was after attending the first Xerocon (accounting solution Xero’s annual industry conference) a few years ago that her husband Paul came back filled with enthusiasm and bright ideas of how to change the way their practice did business.
“He was so excited. He said the whole space is changing and moving to the cloud will provide opportunities. So, we began to look at this seriously and commenced the journey of transitioning our practice from a server base to a cloud-server hybrid.
“But we soon found there were a few holes in the process that weren’t met by the add-ons third-parties provided. Paul has a background in IT, so he started building a few tools and plug-ins to fix these gaps in the process.”
Paula said after several conversations with their Xero rep, the pair discovered they were not alone in their pain points when it came to integrating a cloud solution.
“Paul realised with Xero’s help that there was a broader application for what we were doing and that what worked for us could be a solution for others too.
“So AccountKit was born as a tool for accountants to use in their own practice, in conjunction with their move to the cloud. Moving out of spreadsheets and helping them to gain efficiencies and improve capacities.”
At present AccountKit works with Xero, Xero Practice Manager and integrates with a slew of DMS options such as SuiteFile, Dropbox and Now Infinity. Paula says they are continually revising the tools on offer.
She insists their understanding of the accountant’s journey is integral to AccountKit’s value proposition and tells KBB they have the insider know-how to ensure they are providing useful tools to accountants to ease their transition to the cloud.
“We really like being able to talk to our clients from an experience level. ‘We know what you are going through because we went through it too’.”
What started as a side-business has become a real going-concern for the Murrays.
“It’s funny because I say I have a regular job that is nine to five and then I have this side gig that has me working ‘til nine or ten at night. We have three developers working for us now and a salesman too and Paul is really driving the development side of AccountKit.”
Paula attributes the success of their add-on to the fact that they are working in the industry themselves.
“There seems to be an inference that everybody is looking for advice on how to run their practice – but I’d disagree,” Paula muses. “Most accountants know how to run their practice, they’re just looking for the right tools for what they particularly do. There are over 10,000 accounting firms in Australia and I highly doubt one is the same as the next. So it’s about providing them with the tools that suit their needs.
“And that will look like something different for everybody. We can obviously speak to the accountants and say – here’s what worked for us – they will never get a hard sell from us. We just offer solutions. And sometimes in these conversations, they might come up with a suggestion for us of a different way to do things. That’s a great opportunity for us to develop something that will help others as well.”