For many entrepreneurs one of the toughest hurdles, apart from raising startup capital, is finding reliable and pocket-friendly software. This is what Tanzanian Eric Mutta sought to solve when he created Minishop in
"Many of my friends would ask for help when using other accounting systems because they were often outdated, expensive and never quite did what was needed," he said.
When everyone who saw Minishop liked it and bought it for commercial use,
"Minishop is designed for mostly small businesses which are chronically underserved by existing solutions yet they make up a majority of the businesses in any given economy," he explained.
He defined his creation as an accountant in a box that keeps track of sales stock and expenses giving entrepreneurs more time to do what they enjoy rather than worry about the business aspects of their ventures.
The design of the software is simple and those with no computer experience whatsoever can be taught how to use the software in three days.
The design is founded on strict engineering standards, which makes numbers more reliable and difficult for employees to tamper with and steal from their boss. Minishop uses modern data bases unlike other popular accounting packages which were created in the late 80s and 90s, reducing the risk of files becoming corrupted.
In addition to taking double entry book keeping and making it electronic, the software accepts transaction commands like sales and expenses and automates them.
The software in itself is not for sale, entrepreneurs pay a start-up fee to cover installation, training and data entry assistance during the first 30 days. After that they pay a monthly subscription of Sh1, 500 and receive free updates along with regular visits from assigned agents.
"What we provide is small business support services, business owners don't just want to see the numbers they want to understand them and make better decisions. We provide Minishop to crunch the numbers and an agent to help you apply them to strategic decisions," he explained.
Recently, telecommunications giant Safaricom launched an online accounting software for SMEs, indicating the growing interest in boosting electronic accounting.
"Unlike what the Safaricom Sage partnership is offering, Minishop is cheaper because it does not incur the related Internet connectivity costs and is more reliable since it is not affected by failing or slow connections," explained
"It has better local support thanks to our agent model which includes monthly visits where agents cross-check receipts and verify stock levels against the system," he said.
The software engineer is taking
The 30-year old was studying in
The software was proposed as a way of helping small businesses get loans by slashing the time and costs of preparing required financial statements by up to 89 per cent.
"Bringing Minishop to
Small businesses can now receive personalised agent attention like their Tanzanian counterparts on a monthly basis after having the offline software installed.
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