The challenges that surround small and medium sized businesses in Kenya are many. One of the needs that has consistently come up in my interactions with many SME’s is the lack of affordable tools to manage and keep tabs on cash flows, payments, and the numerous aspects of financial management that all businesses have.
While one may argue that there are a number of off the shelf solutions such as Quicken and Quick Books ; the Kenyan market presents unique challenges that are not addressed by these solutions, the least being that some features and terms would not apply to local scenarios. Notwithstanding, the cost element of these solutions is viewed as prohibitive and many SME’s would much rather look at having an in-house or outsourced resource to handle this function. While the need for an actual human resource will be there even when leveraging technology, there are certain elements of that interaction that can be streamlined for improved business transparency that will help a business gain control of its financial processes.
Uhasibu is a local cloud based accounting platform build from the ground up to address the needs of SME’s in Kenya. Created by PlusPeople Kenya Ltd , it is run by Michael Pedersen and currently incubated at the Mlab facility in Nairobi, the solution tackles issues that are true pain points for businesses in Kenya, such as tracking partial payments, managing petty cash, invoice creation and tracking and top of the list is ensuring compliance with the Kenya Revenue Authority by generating compliant VAT reports.
That it is also mobile enabled is a plus, meaning one can seal a deal over a cup of coffee and have the proforma out before the waiter brings the bill. With a few clicks one can see a snapshot of their business financially; who are your most valuable clients, which payments have fallen behind, what are your biggest cost centers et cetera.
While one may argue that the feature list is by no means exhaustive, I think it is an excellent first step to getting the small business owner in Kenya to embrace digital tools that afford them better business efficiencies. The development road map, I am told runs into years; with additional features rolled out as the market embraces the service.
While QuickBooks Pro would set you back USD 230 and come with abit of a learning curve, Uhasibu is subscription based currently at Ksh 1,000 per month, which is quite affordable.
Innovation can lie in the creation or adaptation of technology; that Uhasibu have started by addressing the issues that bother small businesses, puts them and their growing consumer base on the right track.