StartUp Circle: How HostBooks has changed the way online bookkeeping is done?

By : |July 31, 2020 0

HostBooks: Small and medium businesses are the backbone of the economy. There is also a massive push from the government to favour this segment. Over the period the scale of business and the dynamics have changed a lot and hence the operational complexities. These business owners have to deal with various challenges in their day-to-day operations. These challenges are resulting from lack of optimum manpower, technical knowhow, lengthy time consuming manual process required to keep a track of their inventory, sales, profit and loss.

Hypothetically, a Kirana owner would find it cumbersome to sell his products, maintain records of the transaction, sales, inventory, file regulatory compliances etc all at the same time. So, to record every single transaction, he would require enormous books of account. This will lead to hefty bookkeeping cost and also operational mistakes. The process is even more hectic for e-commerce companies. Thus, all of these companies need an easy-to-go PoS system.

Today, the Point of Sale system is a solution that helps retailers to centralize all the business operations. Thus, we took an opportunity, to talk to Mr Kapil Rana of HostBooks, who is one such FinTech that eases bookkeeping needs.

1. How does the platform work?

HostBooks is Gurugram-based an all-in-one accounting application. As a comprehensive platform for all accounting needs, it minimizes time and manual requirements. It thereby reduces the propensity of human errors. Running on the cloud, it is available to customers on-the-go anytime, anywhere, curbing IT infrastructure costs significantly. Our focus is always to deliver simple but efficient products with a vision to be the leading automated business solution for every small and medium enterprise by significantly saving their cost and time in accounting, reporting, and compliances.

HostBooks accounting software functions via a simple, single-entry window used for record-keeping that can process accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll and inventory, among others. It manages all compliance needs and filing of GST, TDS, e-way bills, POS and Income Tax. HostBooks has also integrated almost all banks within its platform, making the bank recompilation process seamless and with built-in intelligence. It has also helped in reducing the e-way bill generation burden. It simplifies GST billing as well as returns and TDS filings with a single-click filing solution.

Additionally, it supports professionals such as CA, CWA, CS and accountants through its CAAT and collaborative (single-sign-on) platforms in managing all their clients. Then we realized the current need for instantaneous reporting and analysis by owners. So, we offer highly-regulated, seamless management of finances, which can revive accounting needs within seconds.

We are continuously working towards developing more and more tools to support the transformation in the accounting and compliance sector by employing automation, cloud computing, digital document management, and business intelligence reporting tools – integrating all accounting and compliance needs on one platform.

2. How did you come up with the idea?

The conceptualization of the idea goes back to my CA Articleship days. We worked on several desktop-based manual data entry software for clients. During those days, there were multiple challenges of meeting multiple compliance deadlines, dependence on physical office workspace, hardware requirement, entering data multiple times at multiple points. This resulted in multiple outputs. It was a tedious task to meet deadlines for the client due to the absence of automation and data management. In hindsight, these challenges were the seeds of innovation that led to the conception of HostBooks in 2017. With the implementation of GST, one-nation, one tax-reform in 2016, it was conducive to develop our application and begin our services to change the face of the accounting industry.

3. Tell us about the journey and the team.

I grew up in a village, working on my family-owned farm. Although money was a constraint, it didn’t hinder me from becoming a chartered accountant and a CPA while also pursuing my key interest – computers. Thirst for knowledge and an ardent urge to keep learning new things became my main motivator in establishing HostBooks.

The challenges I faced during Articleship persisted in my initial days of practice. All these pain-points led to conceive the idea of HostBooks. We started HostBooks as a service provider in 2015 in the US and started developing the software in 2017 post the implementation of GST. Later, we officially launched HostBooks in the Indian market in January 2018. We started with providing solutions for GST and TDS, gradually understanding the various requirements for SMEs in India, we launched E-way in July 2018, Payroll integration March 2019 and POS (point of sales) in October 2019, by December 2019 we had launched most of our major services and created a holistic business solution.

Initially, we were a 10 member team. Today we are a fun team of 285 people, with an innovative impulse to provide the best services to our customers.

4. What sets you apart from the well-known accounting apps?

As players in the accounting and compliance domain, we are determined on becoming the leading automated business solution for every small and medium enterprise by significantly saving their cost and time in accounting, reporting and compliances.

What sets us apart:-
1. We are the only company which provides all the services. This includes accounting, GST, TDS, income tax, POS and business intelligence tools
2. Our cloud-based solution makes integrated and automated workflow simple and user-friendly, enabling people with minimal computer knowledge to operate and obtain the desired results without a third-party support

The size of the accounting and compliance market is huge. It is estimated to be at Rs 50,000 crore. In our space, there are no immediate competitors. Other players provide some solutions but no entity provides an integrated solution. Most of them are manual desktop-based applications.

5. How do you respond to unsatisfied consumers?

HostBooks being a startup is always able to address the grievances and assistance much sooner as compared to a large organization. We have a dedicated customer services team on front-end as well as the back-end. They address the customer’s concerns on priority. We welcome feedback and concerns from our customers as it helps us to learn and improve our product and services to meet our user’s needs.

6. How are you raising awareness about the product?

Our 360° marketing initiatives are on-the-go. To effectively penetrate the market and strengthen our presence, we use hybrid market strategy through digital as well as the feet-on-street model. We are using social media to build awareness about the changing landscape of the automation industry and also our features. Additionally, we have a strategic alliance with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), and MSME associations and forums, helping us reach the right audiences. We also regularly organize webinars for the CA community on the growth, development, new trends, and training. These initiatives not only brings the community together at one platform but also gives us a chance to increase their familiarization with HostBooks software.

7. What has been your business growth till now?

The covid-19 pandemic has offered a huge opportunity to HostBooks as due to lockdown situations it was important for businesses to move to cloud-based solutions for their operational work. Since HostBooks is a cloud-based solution, it can be accessed anywhere anytime, through a laptop or a mobile phone. We have been instrumental in serving the SME’s as their all-in-one digital business backbone during these trying times. The SME market is huge and a significant part of the industry is digitally challenged. Hence, there is an immense business potential to transform this sector. Currently, we are serving 51K strong users base through the platform, 30% of which joined during the ongoing pandemic.

8. What are your plans for HostBooks?

There are a plethora of business issues still unaddressed. HostBooks is ready to take a lead and provide the best solution. Through our channel network, we have a pan-India presence. We are in the process of making this network stronger, wider, and deeper. We have grown strongly in terms of our monthly run-rate and are targeting 2 lakhs customers; while focusing more on product research and development this year.

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