Mick Devine knows that budgeting and cash flow management is a critical aspect to every business. So much so, that he co-founded Townsville based software company Calxa, one of the leading budgeting and cashflow forecasting software for not-for-profit organisations and small businesses throughout Australia and New Zealand.
“What we try to do is to make it easier for small businesses, accountants, bookkeepers, and not-for-profits to get management information for their organisation,” explains Mick, who is also the CEO of the company.
“This means, making it easier to do budgets, easier to do cash flow forecasts, KPI reporting, and ensuring you get that information that you need to run the business rather than the compliance side of things that you get from your accounting software.”
The software integrates with accounting systems such as MYOB, QuickBooks Online and Xero, producing error-free reports quickly and easily. The company recently celebrated 10 years in July and Mick and his team are taking time to reflect on the business’ successful development.
“Calxa started in 2008 but it came out of a previous project that I was involved in which was Two Keys Money Manager which first started back in 2000,” explains Mick.
“We did some budgeting software there, but it was our first attempt and we were limited by technology in what we could do, and even though it kept a lot of customers happy we knew we could do better.
“Since starting we have grown organically, with a lot of that growth occurring from outside Australia, especially as we continue to make changes to improve our software.”
Calxa is currently in the process of infusing their application with artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver a granular cash flow forecasting tool for small businesses. Through the use of AI, they are striving for interpretive reporting that will help businesses better understand their financials without having to have an accounting background.
“When we started, our focus was to deliver quality cash flow forecasts and budget reports, which was an experience we wanted to be a better option to error-prone spreadsheets,” continues Mick.
“But we have evolved further and today, our cloud platform automates many tedious tasks relating to complex financial reporting, making finance teams more productive.”
“We will use a process of machine-learning to better interpret numbers, based not just on the individual’s business data but on the data of millions of other similar businesses.”
The adoption of cloud services by businesses in Australia has resulted in a cumulative productivity benefit to the economy of 9.4 billion over the last five years. However, the demand for Calxa’s products is no longer limited to Australia and New Zealand but reaches globally.
“With Australia being at the forefront of cloud accounting, it opens opportunities for us worldwide,” says Mick.
“We now service clients in the UK, the US, and recently in the past months we have also had some from Norway and Singapore.”
The company also has an established donation program for grassroots Not-for-Profits to ensure the community sector can have access to Calxa’s innovative software and ultimately improve their decision-making capabilities.
“Not-for-profit organisations have really complex reporting needs and while we saw that Calxa was a solution to those reporting needs and will save them time, some of the smaller organisations couldn’t afford to buy Calxa because they were tight on funds,” says Mick.
“I previously worked with an organisation in Adelaide called Connection Up who do donations and discounts of technology for not-for-profit organisations, and they seemed like the ideal vehicle for us to help the smaller organisations.”
“They pay a small administration fee to Connecting Up, for just managing it, but the product is free.
So far, Calxa has donated close to $2 million Australian dollars to not-for-profits. They have also provided payment relief to their customers who have been impacted by the economic downturn of the COVID-19 crisis, further fortifying their commitment to supporting businesses through uncertain times.
“During the pandemic, we had a few customers who came to us wanting to cancel their subscriptions because of uncertainty and not having cash, so instead we provided payment relief.
“We came to the conclusion that many of our clients were going to survive much better financially if they had our reporting software.
“This also ensured they would return to us as customers once in a stable environment, which we are already seeing now.”
Mick says more businesses are turning to software companies like Calxa in the hopes of gaining some clarity amidst times of extreme uncertainty.
“With businesses impacted across the world, demand for cash flow scenarios and forecasting apps like ours has skyrocketed,” continues Mick.
“While some of our current clients were struggling, we also experienced a large increase in demand during the pandemic mainly from businesses and accountants who have suddenly discovered the benefits of doing cash flow forecasts when things are uncertain.
“Due to this increase, we are currently looking at how we can grow our team to better handle the additional demand.”
Mick is maintaining an optimistic approach about the company’s future and is already putting growth mechanisms in place to ensure they continue to improve their cash flow forecasts and reports for users.
“There is always change product wise as we are always improving and adding new features,” adds Mick
“I do think most of our growth in the coming years will be from outside of Australia because a lot of our marketing activities take place overseas, particularly in the UK.”
“However, we can run our global business from Townsville because it is an easy place to live that is also filled with lots of opportunities.”
“Plus, it only takes me six minutes to walk to work so that is certainly a bonus.”
Visit website <https://www.calxa.com/product/features/>
By Georgie Desailly for BDmag.