Small Business Spotlight: Kashoo

Who:  Jim Secord, @KashooOnline

What: An app that makes accounting simple for small businesses

When: 2009

Where: Vancouver, Canada

How: Initially, Kashoo was a contract-for-hire business that specialized in making customized software for clients, says CEO Jim Secord. “Every small business owner puts off book-keeping and accounting to the last possible minute,” says Secord, “and we were no different.”

Recognizing that accounting was “a necessary evil,” but feeling that there must be a better way than Quickbooks, Secord and his team set out to build an app that makes accounting easy by harnessing the power of cloud computing. With Kashoo’s iPad app, “you can take your book-keeping wherever you are,” says Secord.

There are currently 60,000 Kashoo accounts, says Secord, and the company’s annual revenue is approximately $1 million, though Secord says that estimate grows on a monthly basis, taking into consideration new users. Kashoo charges $20 a month for its premium service.

Biggest challenge: Secord says that customer acquisition was the greatest challenge, because accounting is something people just don’t want to think about.

One moment in time: At the same time, Secord says that the opportunity to see the user base grow in a relatively short period of time has been Kashoo’s greatest accomplishment.

Best business advice: “Don’t listen to people! The more people that oppose your idea, the more powerful it is,” says Secord. Prior to building the app, Secord heard from many people that the iPad was for consumption only, and that people wouldn’t want to manage their accounting on a tablet.

Most influential book: Secord points to Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs as having a great impact on him, particularly with regard to the passion that Jobs had to make great products. “He didn’t let too many outside influences sway or deter him,” says Secord.

Follow Gabrielle Karol on Twitter @GabrielleKarol