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Bigger not always better for business software 

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START-UPS and large enterprises operate with different management styles. Long-standing experience helps sizeable enterprises establish highly professional, well-regulated, and clearly stipulated procedures.



Top managers, rather than employees who directly deal with the productive or administrative tasks, guide the work process in most traditional organisations. The predetermined direction of the company is then handed down to operational-level employees. In the long run, they are in reality being trained to be a "professional doer", rather than a "visionary thinker".
But not all organisations work this way.
Some start-ups, for example, may adopt a traditional management style during the early stage while proving themselves in the marketplace. As they achieve growth and establish a loyal customer base, the organisation might open itself up to more participatory discussion, encourage workers to take the initiative and encourage feedback that could improve the organisation's success.
Due to this difference in working styles in comparison to larger corporations, start-ups have an opportunity for dynamic movement towards innovation. Their innovations, in many cases, are initiated from addressing problems in their own workplace. They spot difficulties happening within a team and create an innovative solution for fit. They later introduce the solution to market. 
Take, for example, the case of FlowAccount ( This is cloud accounting software targeted at start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The company boasts that their system allows data to be input in one minute.
Kridsada Chutinaton and his co-founders launched the company almost 10 years ago. They had their own experience inputting expense and sales figures for their new company, and found that the only available accounting software at that time was designed for big businesses, which was expensive and user-unfriendly due to these companies' complex requirements. The software had also been created by a foreign developer and was incompatible with the Thai language. These complexities made it unusable by SMEs, freelancers and holiday-entrepreneurial students.
Recognising the accounting challenge his company faced, Kridsada thought about the approach adopted by lifestyle products, including MUJI and IKEA. The two brands have a philosophy of offering products that offer simple but pleasing designs and are easy to use, affordable and suitable for most people's needs. He also found inspiration in the way the airline industry had changed its approach. Whereas flight tickets used to be expensive because airlines offered a full range of services, today's low-cost airlines avoid unnecessary services. Now flying is within reach of just about everyone.
From these observations of his own and other companies, FlowAccount's co-founders asked: "Why don't we have accounting software that implements the same philosophy as that of MUJI, IKEA and low-cost carriers?"
After all, freelancers, stand-alone entrepreneurs and small businesses are not professional accountants. They don't need a 100 per cent comprehensive system, but rather an easy-to-use interface that anyone can understand without an accounting background. 
Based on this insight, the co-founders sought out others who had experienced similar problems with complex accounting software and researched people's needs, eventually resulting on the solution that became FlowAccount. In 2015, the software joined the AIS The Start-up project and its precise presentation landed the business its award as Start-up of the year. 
That victory was just the start. FlowAccount maintains a minimalist and user-friendly design. Its philosophy has subsequently attracted a steadily increasing number of consumers, as well as investment from Thailand and overseas.
On August 30, FlowAccount announced a joint venture with SBI Investment, a Japanese venture capital firm in the financial technology (Fintech) sector, along with additional investment from Beacon Venture Capital, Golden Gate Venture and 500startup.
FlowAccount is a distinctive senior in AIS The Startup project. It regularly shares experiences with junior fellows, inspiring them to build a warm-hearted community. 

Srihathai Prammanee is head of AIS The StartUp, Advance Info Services Plc. (AIS)

Published : September 10, 2017