Now we are six

When I was one,
I had just begun.

When I was two,
I was nearly new.

When I was three,
I was hardly me.

When I was four,
I was not much more.

When I was five,
I was just alive.

But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.

So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.

Author: A.A. Milne

 Shoeboxed Birthday Apr 2016

When I sat down to write this blog about our company turning 6, I immediately thought of AA Milne’s poem and anniversary gifts.  Read on.

There’s the old story of someone giving their friend, new to the startup founding game, some advice: “the first year is always the hardest”. The two friends meet at the end of the first year and the person receiving the advice says, “well, I’m glad the hardest year is over!”. His wizened friend said, “Did I say that? I meant the 2nd year is the hardest!”… and so it went on. As in AA Milne’s poem, we look back and see how naive we were but how much we learned each year and while we now have a smug confidence of where we are now, we know we are only 6.

And what of anniversary presents?  Well according to Wikipedia depending on whether you follow UK or US traditions, the first 2 years are ‘covered’ by paper and then you move on.  A great analogy to all you small business owners out there … we’re trying to help you get beyond the paper!  We still have about 70% of our customers sending in paper to us (30% using the app or submitting via email or Dropbox), but we’re happy, as our relationship with you matures :), to move beyond paper.  6th anniversaries are celebrated with Iron and Sugar … I’m not going to push any analogies here, but go for it in the comments below – if it makes us smile, we’ll send you a Bendy Man!


Reflections on 6 years?

We once did a PR piece on how GST is inaccurately applied, especially on hand-written receipts – about 10% of them. The number of times people divide the total charged amount by 10 to back out GST (it should be 11)… ho hum. We can only flag it, as we do in your account.

You wouldn’t believe the politics in receipts!  There was the small business customer who said ‘my accountant can’t use the data you produce – I want my money back!’ Us: ‘Really? We dispute that, but you’re the customer – here’s your money’. Two weeks later, the same accountant signs up and in the receipts submitted on behalf of the same small business we notice the invoice from accountant to small business owner for Data Entry, almost 10x what he’d pay if he was on our Classic plan!  Ouch.

Or the successful plumber who ran about 3 or 4 vans.
Us: ‘So, how many hours do you spend on data entry each month?’
Him: ‘Oh, about 3 hours a week.
Us: ‘And who’s doing that for you?’
Him: ‘The wife.’
Us: ‘Well for $50 a month, we could take that off her hands’

Him: ‘Nah … she does it on a Saturday night, when I go to the pub!’ A NO SALE.

We’ve found that our sweet spot in sales is either execs or managers with painful expense reports and nagging HR/Finance departments OR the very small businesses, too small to have an in-house data entry person or accounts payable person. Once someone other than the business owner (or family member!) is cleaning up the invoices & receipts, it is hard to displace ‘Mary’ who’s been coming in once a week for 15 years. But even then, we convince some.  🙂

And the receipts we’ve seen! A $400K invoice for a …errr … piece of defence equipment … no more details – our customer privacy policy forbids it. This was automatically categorised as Office Equipment – that’s why you still need a bookkeeper! We’ve had lots of goodies sent to us (we presume by accident) in our Magic Envelopes: licences, passports and an iPad!  We want you to sweep all that paper off your desk into our envelopes, but seriously guys – take some care! Don’t worry, all those items were returned.

Selling is hard and you don’t know what Marketing works! We’ve tried door-to-door, calling our warm leads, bundle deals, on-line ‘deal’ websites … all with mixed success.

We love the relationship we have with all the cloud accounting vendors (MYOB, QuickBooks, Reckon, Saasu, SageOne, Xero … listed alphabetically to avoid any insult). And of course, our bookkeeping and accounting pro-partners. And in our 5th year we started getting the attention of bigger players: Telstra, PwC, SageOne bundling with us and some others we can’t name yet.

And we’re at the stage where the ATO and business groups are seeking our opinion on e-invoicing and the future of the online accounting/bookkeeping world.

We are feeling the love, but it’s no time to want to be 6 “now and forever”.

According to Tim Reid, MYOB CEO, at a recent roadshow, only 20% of small business in Australia are on cloud accounting. In terms of product cycle we are still in the Growth stage of this industry.

So, here’s to a successful 7th year for all of us and let’s all work together to have a happy, more productive and successful 2016!

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Ev Meyer
Ev Meyer
8 years ago

7th year is always the most fruitful. Best of luck and may your success continue to unfold with ease and Grace

Rai The star
Rai The star
8 years ago
Reply to  Ev Meyer

Thank you Ev! Appreciate it 😀

John Birse
8 years ago

Congratulations Simon and the Shoebox Team on six years of support to bookkeepers and business owners. Automating the data entry process brings about the challenge of dealing with change and learning to focus on how we can add value to our client rather than adding to their costs. Shoebox have allowed bookkeepers to have more clients which are processed more efficiently letting us focus on better analysis of business information. Thank you Shoebox for being part of our journey.

8 years ago
Reply to  John Birse

Thanks John. We appreciate the ongoing support from Jim’s and the ICB, too 🙂

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