Based in Sydney, Saasu is a private online accounting software provider, founded in 2000 by Marc Lehmann and Grant Young.
Lehmann came up with the idea for Saasu while working at Deutsche Bank in the late 90s when he saw traders struggling with piles of receipts for accounting even as their trading went online. He then devised a software solution to this, which was to move accounting to the cloud—and make it easier for businesses and accountants.
At inception, the software was targeted to Accountants and owners of Small Medium Businesses (SMEs) because of their role and influence in the business as well as their frequent use of Accounting tasks (which was in line with the monthly subscription model Saasu had in mind).
The software went through several rounds of refinement over the course of three years after being modified to adapt to usability requirements and accommodate requirements from user feedback.
The fundamental set of features was first developed, followed by the packaging and look-and-feel of the product. During this time, the product was presented to Accountants and Business Owners for the purpose of demonstrating the advantages of Cloud Accounting. Subsequently, the product earned itself a great word-of-mouth reputation as a reputable Cloud Accounting product for its features but also because it was priced affordably.
The approach of pricing the product at an affordable price paid off when Saasu had a 200% growth in annual profits as the global financial crisis hit in 2008. At the time, Businesses were searching for cheaper accounting solutions, and turned to Saasu.
Position in the market
Currently, Saasu have more than 20,000 clients in the Australasia region. Reputable clients include McDonald’s and Jim’s Franchise group. Currently, Saasu are looking at a 2012 IPO. Even with a more complete feature set, like a built-in Payroll, Saasu is still targeted at SMEs—as the pricing is still quite affordable.
Saasu is also a preferred Online Accounting Software Partner for many Cloud Accountants because of its more complete feature set and robust feel. Saasu also gives users free subscription extension if a particular bank is not supported within a certain time.
Saasu’s co-founder understands what being a cloud accountant is about, and has built the software accordingly.
Saasu’s strengths are automatic bank feeds, integrated Payroll and Inventory. Even as it is economically priced, some of Saasu’s core features (like Payroll) are only available as add-ons from its competitors. Saasu’s main competitors are New Zealand-based Xero and Australian MYOB Live Accounts. For the most recent side-by-side comparison, see this feature comparison chart.
By having a quick look at this chart, you can see the large array of features offered by Saasu, as compared to Xero and MYOB Live Accounts.
Most notably, Saasu offers more features in the areas of Sales, Purchases, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Inventory, Payroll, Time Tracking and Reporting. Saasu is also offered at only $25 per month for Australian Customers.
The Saasu November 2011 Release contains major enhancements which include the new Quick Start and Automated Bank Feeds (for all Banks Globally). The Quick Start feature provides an intuitive interface for setting up files in three easy steps. The Automated Bank Feeds allows you to select from a broad range of global banks and it also alerts you if attempting to connect to a bank requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA).
In this release, PayPal Automated Data Feeds have been introduced, allowing you to connect your PayPal business account to handle transactions.
One great advantage of using Saasu is that software upgrades in new releases are absolutely free, and occur automatically in the background. Additionally, updated tax tables are included with automatic upgrades, free of charge. This is a major benefit over the MYOB Desktop range for businesses with Payroll.
MYOB Desktop users have the tedious task of being required to upgrade their software every year in order to include the new tax tables. MYOB Desktop options are expensive in comparison to online accounting systems; the MYOB Cover Memberships are $599.50/yr and AccountRight Plus (which includes Payroll) is $849 to purchase. At the end of each financial year, the Payroll functions become outdated and you are then required to pay $599.50 for the upgrade. Although MYOB provides yearly support, it is found that most businesses do not require it, particular if they are familiar with MYOB or have their own Accountant/Bookkeeper.
Saasu Connectors allows all of your business systems to talk to each other. Basically, by using connectors, you are able to integrate several external applications and systems with Saasu, which includes these areas:
● Customer Management
● Point of Sale
● Data Sync and Capture
● Time and Project systems
● Email, Phone, Postal and SMS services
● Supply Chain
● Billing Systems
● Payment Systems
When looking for a suitable Online Accounting solution, one must look at the cost-effectiveness ratio. There is also a misconception that to get a feature-rich quality product, one must pay a big price. Most expensive products do not have an extensive feature set, but the price reflects the big-dollar marketing campaigns which have been used to promote the product in the market.
When the concept for Saasu was conceived in 1998, Marc Lehmann had a vision to make the software affordable for the average SME:
“I formulated Saasu in 1998 to continue that dream with the plan to decimate the cost structure of SME accounting software or at least change the way the big software providers operated in our country. I wanted to build a $1500 online accounting application with inventory, payroll, a light CRM and sell it for $299. That was my plan. This I thought would help empower businesses, save capital expense and put an end to tax table update racket that plagued accounting software in our country.”
Today, the feature-rich Saasu product is being offered at $275 for a yearly Professional subscription.
Saasu’s products and price list can be viewed at http://www.saasu.com/pricing. Consult the page for the most up-to-date pricing.
Cloud-based Computing packages offer the benefit of being able to store your client’s data on a remote server, making it easy to share information that is always up-to-date, but there are few things to note about the security of the data stored on these remote servers.
Currently, Saasu uses servers managed by Rackspace Hosting, which has facilities in Texas, USA and Hong Kong. They also use a separate facility in Australia, managed by Ninefold, a subsidiary of Macquarie Telecom.
Saasu stores client data in multiple countries to create redundancy in the event of a cross-ocean cable failure.
Also, it is worth noting that specific Jurisdictional Privacy Laws apply to the data. For example, if the data is stored on a server in Singapore, then privacy and other laws of Singapore will apply to that data.
In order to ensure that Client’s data is protected, under the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988, Australian businesses must take steps to protect their clients’ personal information before sending it offshore. The best way is to get the consent from the Client, before sending it offshore and practice due diligence.
Overall, Saasu insists that their security is second to none and they invest a lot of money in ensuring that their security protocols and systems and world-class. Lehmann also wants to dispel the myth that Cloud Computing data centres have less protection than centres which offer desktop-solutions.
Reap the benefits of moving your Accounting to the Cloud, and purchase Saasu today. Red 2 Black Business Management, a Saasu Gold Partner (see http://partners.saasu.com/accounting) is a Cloud Accounting, strategic finance and business management provider based in Cairns Australia.
R2B will work closely with you to define your Cloud Accounting requirements and are able to offer cloud accounting packages using Saasu to streamline your business. They can also assist with transition by helping you migrate data from your current system.