Accounting of the future - Finansavisen

Brothers in balance

"Future's accounting"

– Change hurts, but it's even worse not to, says Macody.

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The founders meet their customer wearing a red cap which says "Make Accounting Great Again"

As kids, older brother Sebastian and younger brother Daniel Jara sat on their father's lap when he was førte bilag. Their father was an accountant, and one of the first words the boys learned was "reconciliation". They had no idea what it was, except that it took a very long time and was incredibly boring.

– We probably have some entrepreneurial blood running through our veins. Our parents have started several companies, says Daniel Jara.

And accounting cannot have been so tedious, because both boys took a degree in finance, and now have many years of experience in accounting. Sebastian has, among other things, a background as an authorized accountant, he worked with the cloud-based accounting system Xledger, and also has IT education that led to a job at Knowit. Daniel has worked with several different accounting systems, and has a background from both Amesto and KPMG.

– It's about how to make processes more efficient, and in 100 percent of the occasions the answer has been digitization. In ten years we have seen that accounting systems has flaws. Especially reconciliation could be done much better.

It is done manually, takes time and is expensive. Here we have seen that we can streamline significantly, says Daniel Jara, who met Robert Bansal when they both worked in Amesto.

– I am educated as an accountant, but has never worked as one. When I was a fresh graduate there was a financial crisis, and I got a job in Ica Norway where the process of implementing SAP was in progress, says Bansal, who has many years of experience as a consultant, and has experience from Amesto, Schibsted and recently as a financial manager in Relokator.

Together, these three accountants established the company Accountflow in 2017. Using machine learning, they have specialized in reconciliation and automation of this process.

In the first round, the efficiency gain is around 50 percent. It should then be possible to reach an efficiency improvement of 80 percent.

In October last year, Eric Macody Lund joined the team. He has a background from Telenor Digital and has worked with business development, marketing and start-ups.

STILLER MANNSTERKT PÅ KUNDEMØTE: Fv: Eric Macody Lund, Daniel Yara, Robert Bansal, Ronny Bergstrøm (Tet), Kristin Grøtte (Tet) and Sebastian Jara having conversations about reducing reconciliation.

- When I met these boys, I was sold. Accountflow is the accounting of the future, says Macody Lund.

Already in 2012, the brothers bought the domain name and the idea came a few years later. Sebastian had programmed a spreadsheet with macros for reconciliation and other functions that helped automate parts of the process. Many people found out about this spreadsheet, and there are not few accountants who have made use of his spreadsheet over the years. Many asked if they could buy it.

That's when I thought we could build this up in the cloud and make it more intelligent. A static spreadsheet is not good enough, but one that can be expanded with the future's best way of solving things. One that you can build new functionality into, one that has flow, says Sebastian.

Now Accountflow uses a development environment in Sri Lanka – an environment they knew from earlier. At the end of 2017, the boys with the characteristic red caps had a meeting with the largest accounting firms. Although the product was not finished, the response was overwhelming. Everyone wanted to buy it when it was finished.

It was supposed to launch in August 2018, but things took longer than we expected. At the same time, we spoke to even more potential customers, and everyone said they wanted it as soon as it was ready, says Daniel.

– Is it finished now?

All core templates are ready, such as bank, general ledger, accruals and soon payroll. We work closely with Tet, the country's seventh largest accounting agency. They also have thoughts on which other functions we should develop, continues Daniel. Senior consultant Kristin Grøtte at the accountancy agency Tet says that salary reconciliation previously took between 30 and 60 minutes. Now it takes a fraction of the time.

Accountflow receives payroll from ERP and financial systems, and with one push on a button, all reconciliation information is retrieved automatically from Altinn without having to go back in to finalize it. Salary reconciliation now takes less than 10 minutes, says Grøtte.

– Do you get income this year?

Yes, we have customers and more are waiting in line. Our target group is accountants, agencies and large companies that have their own finance department. The price model is a subscription solution with payment per user per month. This year, we estimate a turnover of around NOK 2 million, says Bansal, which adds:

Around 80 percent of the accounting is done in the same way all over the world. It's just a matter of small adjustments. 95 percent of everyone in the accounting industry has a spreadsheet as the one Sebastian developed. In three years from now, we expect to have a turnover of NOK 100 million in Norway. In five years, turnover will also come from the other Nordic countries, Great Britain and Benelux. In the long term, we have ambitions for the USA and Japan as well.

Our goals is to be best at reconciliation in Norway, and in a few years – hopefully best in the world.

e-newspaper can be purchased here: [utgave 11.05.19]

Daniel Jara (32), Sebastian Jara (35), Robert Bansal (32) and Eric Macody Lund (31).

Turnover of NOK 100 million in Norway in three years, and within five years also to have turnover in the Nordics, Great Britain and Benelux.

Deliver the future's reconciliation of accounting.

100.000 from Innovasjon Norge, 1,5 million kroner in start-up loan from Innovasjon Norge, 1,5 million kroner in loan from banks and 1 million kroner from StartupLab.

Major shareholders is the Jara brothers, Robert Bansal and Ronny Bergstrøm. StartupLab owns 8 percent.