A SaaS FM-based accounting offering?
I don't think that's FM's sweet spot if you are after the user-base that say a QuickBooks has.
Hi rgiamm ,
an accounting app can be challenging: taxes calculation varies from places to places and generating salaries may also be tricky.
Maybe you could survey potential customers to learn if they are happy with commercial solutions. Whatever the size of an accounting application and the targeted audience, the recipe is always the same: include functionalities that are common. That may be fine for some, but for others that have specific needs - there are always companies with specific needs - they feel bad because they can't get what they need.
My definition of a good accounting package: simple and fast to use. That means you have to pay attention to the UI.
I think if you can find a niche, that the best way to go.
On the other hand, I hear a lot of "I hate quickbooks, but what else can I use?" comments.
We link to quick books and a staff member has to manually enter data simply because API limitations for Quickbooks prevent a straight forward posting of this particular type of data directly into QB even though we have ProductiveComputing's plug in for FM to QB integration.
So there might be something to that idea--but QB online--not yet full feature enough for us, would be a major competitor.
We love to hate QuickBooks, but despite our grousing, it does a ton, produces solid numbers, and you can send files to just about any CPA at tax time.
There could be a niche for sole proprietors (I know a lot of artists and freelancers) and others with simple cash-basis needs, but it would depend on how an online solution is priced. A copy of QuickBooks Pro may be overkill, but it's cheaper than a basic FileMaker license, much less with an accounting app on top.
One cloud alternative that is big in Australia/New Zealand/UK and getting bigger in North America is Xero:
Has just reached the 1 million subscriber mark - can also be easily integrated with FileMaker for pushing Invoices, Bills, Purchase Orders etc:
In the Filemaker database I use for the administrative side of my businesses, I have built full general ledger accounting. For the last five years, I have sent my Detail General Ledger report and my Trial Balance (just a summary of the DGL) as PDFs to my tax accountant. That's right, PDFs, not even as Excel files.
By the way, I use the accrual method for my accounting. You need to be very careful with cash method accounting.
I was thinking of a model where the 'maybe' the source code is provided upon purchase, or alternatively, the cost would be very low per user. Developers (or advanced users) can add on and sell that functionality through the ease of Filemaker. All using FM cloud.
Still thinking this through, but current accounting solutions are either weak or do not integrate enough. If you start with a solution, building onto it seems like you get locked in to a proprietary solution that never fulfills its promise.