Accounting 2.0 at CloudAve
In an ongoing series of reviews and analysis pieces, CloudAve will
be taking a deep look into accounting software for the new world.
See previous posts below;
This time we take a look at Australian vendor Saasu.
Introduction & Background
Saasu is a private company that was started nearly a decade ago by Marc Lehmann (Bankers Trust, Deutsche Bank, Advance Bank) and Grant Young (Info-onscreen, Telstra, WWF, eMedia). Since then they’ve taken on further investment but they remain privately held by a small number of shareholders.
Saasu only has full functionality in Australia at this time. Their international strategy is to release "functionally broad and shallow" offerings internationally that generally aren’t fully customised for taxation and payroll. Their are 50 countries thus far released as beta zones – these have some basic taxation information but probably not enough to rely on at this stage.
The chart below details pricing plans, functionality between the different tiers is similar however file size varies and the corporate account has high volume API, Payroll and transaction allowances.
The user experience
If I had to use one description for Saasu’s UI it would be industrial. While other companies dive in and try and look like Web 2.0 consumer applications, the impression with Saasu is that it has come from the other angle in terms of aesthetics – it looks and feel like a high level enterprise application. That’s neither good nor bad – if anything I’d say that the look of Saasu might be a turn-off to the web/design community while manufacturers and the like will appreciate it’s robust feel.
Saasu has it all – of all the new players (ie those who don’t come with a long history of installed applications) Saasu has the highest level of functionality by a long shot.
Given that Saasu has been going for such a long time, one would expect their offering to really cover the bases in terms of functionality. Saasu doesn’t disappoint – from Point of Sale to Inventory, from Payroll to relationship management – Saasu really does it all.
Saasu has two way bank integration, and backs this up with their banking integration guarantee which basically gives users free subscription extensions if their particular bank is not supported within a period of time. Two way bank integration means that, like other applications users can import their transactions into Saasu, ready to be coded and reconciled. Unlike other apps however Saasu customers can process payments within the application and output a file which can be uploaded to their bank for payment.
Saasu has built in payroll – other applications prefer to integrate with third party payroll vendors, or sell their own payroll solution as an "add on" however Saasu seems to have the perspective that most of its target businesses have employees, so payroll is a core function of an accounting application. Only Australia has complete payroll support while other jurisdictions have payroll but without specific employee tax functions.
As a sales tool Saasu covers all the bases. It allows for inventory and even goes as far as to allow for combination items (ie Item A is made up of 3 * widget 1, 2 * widget 2 and 1 * widget 3). It’s not a full ERP system and isn’t designed to be used for raw material stock control however.
The security issue
To say that Saasu take security seriously is something of an understatement. Their "basic" security page is a comprehensive document and they also have extra information about backups and data storage protocols. In terms of data extraction, Saasu say that;
Technically capable people can also program a custom extraction routine if they wish used our connectors and save the information in any form that suits you including multiple premises but that is entirely up to you. You just need to register as a technical developer with us first.
It’s great that Saasu provides for that functionality but personally, I’d prefer the ability to be able to extract my data via a one button click.
APIs – connecting the dots
Saasu is as thorough with its API as it is with security – their online documentation is extensive and there is a long list of vendors who have partnered with them. There are also a number of partner companies who provide an a-la carte service and can build custom API integrations with existing customer software. Saasu comes with a built in connector for Salesforce.com, allowing for full CRM/Accounting integration.
Saasu believes that business can leverage social media to their advantage – to this end Saasu integrates with LinkedIn, Facebook and Myspace.
If you’re a business that needs the full range of software tools, and are either in Australia or will be satisfied with partial regional support, Saasu could be for you. It owns a central position in the market place – while other payers focus on very small businesses, Saasu’s broad functional offerings should prove sufficient for businesses up to several hundred people.
Currently the international tax reports are being created and templates are being created for pay-items on payroll. The backend architecture has already been moved to a template model allowing for relatively quick and easy regional customisation – this will occur as demand dictates.