Billfaster’s Co-founder and COO – Business Development – Chantel De Paor joins us to share insights into their cloud accounting software business – billfaster.com – Chantel takes us on a journey of African Innovation that started in Durban and now has gone global. BillFaster is now based in Ireland – the Silicon Valley of the EU – and Chantel unpacks the innovation and the mystery of Cloud computing and shares their insights into the market that is easy to understand and implement – from product and service range; adaptability to suit your needs; security and how this innovation is a simple solution to the burgeoning entrepreneurship market in Africa.
Chantel De Paor in conversation with BizRadio’s Grant Jansen
Podcast | Click HERE to listen
A bit more about BillFaster:
- billfaster.com (billfaster) is a cloud accounting software as a service, that provides simple yet highly functional invoicing, expense tracking and accounting for small businesses and startups globally.
- Billfaster has over 400 customers with a total of nearly 8,000 signups, and is looking to accelerate its growth and establish itself as the natural choice of cloud accounting for small businesses the world over.
- No accounting knowledge required, up and running in 30 seconds, first invoices have been sent to clients within four minutes of signup.
- All customers have converted without any direct sales intervention from billfaster.
Working with small businesses and start-ups for over 20 years, the promoters recognised that SMEs needed to be able to invoice, manage cash, and track expenses on a daily basis, without getting caught up in the accounting detail that accompanies such transactions. This required a simple system that separated the business needs from the accounting needs for the user.
- Billfaster was developed in 2009 to address these needs and provide a new choice of business system for small businesses and start-ups globally. It is a web based service that users can access from any internet device, anywhere, and at any time.
- The market was tested with a beta version and an Google Adword campaign in Nov 2009 which resulted in over 2000 signups in just 8 weeks. This proved the global demand for such a product, and the ability of billfaster to achieve this reach.
- Billfaster differs from other invoicing and accounting solutions by offering a complete invoicing, cash planning, and expense tracking system that is “simple by example”, and completely automates the accounting in the background, thereby eliminating the learning curve, complexity, time, and costs associated with existing solutions.
Rod Condell – Co- founder and CEO, architect and design
30+ years in IT industry, Rod was Operations Manager for Amdahl Ireland Ltd, an American multi-national large scale computer manufacturer, managing 7 departments, with over 150 staff reporting to him. He was a key part of the introduction world class manufacturing, continuous process improvement, and proactive prevention techniques during this time. Originally an engineer, Rod has extensive hardware and software experience, which together with his management experience and knowledge, is well positioned to grow billfaster to a global software provider. With an MBA from the Open University, Rod has also tutored for the Open University management diploma courses, and later was instrumental in designing and attaining NCEA accreditation for Griffith College, Dublin Diploma in Management, as well as tutoring for them for a number of years.
After Amdahl, Rod operated as a management and technical consultant for both large and small businesses in Ireland, UK, and the US. These included Microsoft, Campbell Bewley Group, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Europlex, and many others. He then wrote and sold a mid range manufacturing and accounting solution to a small number of distributors in Ireland, the UK and the US. He built a large scale remote alarm monitoring system in the US that used mobile tower signals. The scale was millions of customers, with tens of millions of transactions, and included an automated billing engine. This gave Rod the experience to architect large scale databases, such as required in billfaster.
Chantel De Paor – Co- founder and Chief Operations Officer, business development
13+ years in Accounting Software industry, originally studied mechanical engineering at Witwatersrand University, SA, Chantel has worked in both sales and support management roles in online and desktop accounting software solutions. She worked in support management for mid-range US ERP software manufacturer Epicor Software, a US multi-national providing both Tier 1 and Tier 2 ERP and accounting software solutions. She then led the Sales and Support team for Australian Accounting software provider, Sybiz Software Ltd. where she managed a team of 10 support and sales staff, supporting thousands of clients in Ireland and the UK.
In addition, Chantel has also successfully bought and sold a number of businesses in South Africa, including solutions in banking, insurance, as well as owning a restaurant, giving her valuable insights to small and large business accounting needs. She also holds an honours diploma in Psychology, and brings key skills in developing the emerging channel of online accounting for billfaster, vital customer, channel and support knowledge to the business, and her experience in the growing SaaS channel gives billfaster the edge to grow a global online presence.
- Bllfaster is a “simple by example” invoicing, cash and expense tracking system, with automated accounting that is delivered over the web, whose premium features are accessed for a small monthly fee. This is known as Software as a Service (SaaS) , and can be accessed by any browser enabled device including PCs, MACs, tablets, including iPads, Android and Windows RT tablets, and smartphones, including iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows 8 mobile devices.
- Billfaster operates and stores its information on servers located in a centrally hosted secure environment. This eliminates the need for users to store programs or information on their own servers or computers, greatly reducing their IT costs. This is often referred to as cloud computing.
- Billfaster is a “simple by example” small business system that separates the business needs and the accounting requirements for small businesses and start-ups globally.
- It is delivered through the web and is offered as a Software as a Service (SaaS) where the initial needs are free to experience the simplicity, build trust, and provide a natural upgrade environment to the premium editions.
- Billfaster saves users time and money because they are up and running immediately, no training time or costs incurred, and can get paid faster because invoices and statements are emailed immediately to their customers.
- Billfaster’s lean and agile approach to all aspects of the business has resulted in greatly reduced cost of delivery compared to competitors in sales, support and development. This allows billfaster to charge greatly reduced monthly fees compared to competitors.
- The accountant does not need to learn another new system and can receive data and reports from billfaster that is compatible with most standard spread-sheet or accounting systems.