After a string of frustrations in the job market, Daniel Abok began thinking of how to unchain himself from the shackles that held back his dream of owning a tech company in 2019.
His world view was that any company worth its salt would confirm permanent employment to a diligent, hard-working intern after six months, but that never happened.
“It was hoping against hope. I had been on internship for 17 months yet there was no indicator of being hired. So I quit,” the 32-year-old says.
Seeking to create a Kenyan brand in the global software market, Mr Abok developed the idea of building solutions to address the numerous constraints SMEs face in integrating with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications.
He narrates that he had completed several successful accounting projects before, and though he was not a modern programmer at the time, he took time to learn various programming languages with the help of his friend.
This, he said, helped him cut costs of hiring expensive software engineers that were asking for up to Sh2 million to create the solution.
“That is how Kidaftari Accounting was born. I only seek to help Silicon Savannah minimize the overdependence on expensive foreign software. It is time we believed in our own tech talent,” says the Nairobi-based techie.
He set out to create a solution to help small and medium businesses that remain underserved and marginalized when it comes to affordability of modern technology.
“I just didn’t know what it was until a personal challenge to build a whole accounting system hit me. I fear regrets more than I fear failure. So I had to give it a proper effort,” he remarks.
Since its launch last year, Kidaftari Accounting now boasts of 50 active clients. From sole proprietors, beer distributors, non-profits, retail shops, sports clubs, manufacturers, processors and recently saccos, Mr Abok says the solution has been just what many businesses in Kenya’s micro-economy were missing.
The app and web-based software comes with Kilipo, an in-built M-Pesa integrated digital wallet for every account that can be used to not only receive cash but also do payments from the balance.
It is also programmed to do project costing, especially in assessing the financial performance of various business areas.
“It is the perfect solution for group invoicing where one operation is used to post similar invoices to many clients seamlessly,” he adds, saying users only part with Sh1,000 per month or Sh11,000 per year to use the service compared to Sh28,000 per annum when using foreign applications such as Sage and Quickbooks.
The Impala rugby club has used the application for player expense management for individual sports players while manufacturers such as Eldoret Ice Cream, Puremix Premium Foods and Sweet De Laat use it to manage inventories in its production operations, from input to output.
Users can also load transaction documents to various master data required in payment processing, such as invoices while also helping design critical accounting books such as balance sheets, trial balances and profit and loss computation.
“I just released a module to help saccos manage membership finances, balances and loans of their members,” the Mathematics and Computer Science graduate of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and graduate ACCA accountant from Strathmore University reveals.
When this writer visited Sips and Taps, a wine and spirit joint at Ongata Rongai, customers were placing orders for various brands of beer, brandy, wine, whisky and spirits, some as take-aways while others sat to enjoy their booze.
At the order counter was the general manager, Ms Lynne Kibet who disclosed that she has been using the Kidaftari software since April this year.
“I use this application for stock taking and inventories. I can trace all digital receipts in the system while it also helps me in clientele maintenance because it is M-Pesa integrated,” she told this writer, as she processed payments from a customer on a desktop computer.
Ms Kibet further expounded that since she began using the software, it has been easier to monitor sales. In the case of restocking, the system alerts her via SMS and email about the quantity and name of liquor brands landing in the shelves.
“It has minimal maintenance costs. You only need the internet and this reduces the human effort of tallying and noting down everything manually. I handle at least 50 customers daily so it records sales instantaneously,” she explained.
But more critical for her business and all other retail ventures is that the software comes with Big Data analytics so users can know which brands are moving fast during which days and recommend scheduled restocking. “It helps me make stock decisions faster.”
For Felix Otieno, who runs a posho mill and cereals shop at Rongai’s Chapchap area, the software helps him key in voluminous sales data on his smartphone’ lauding its cloud-based data management.
“Even if my phone gets lost, I can access my account from a laptop or the cybercafé. Initially I used to record everything in a book. At the end of the month, I would take the book to the store owner to check the figures. But nowadays, he can track all daily sales from wherever he is,” he said.
Mr Peter Mbuga, treasurer of Positive Psychologists Association of Kenya told Digital Business he uses it to compute quarterly debit and credit accounts, adding that it helps him avoid errors of double entry while saving him time and energy.
“It is flexible while it leaves an audit trail of all entries. It gives me all the reports I need for the organization. Am pretty impressed by the talent in Silicon Savannah,” he said during the interview at his office in Ngumo.
Additionally, online accounting software allows you to give different access levels to different users. This way users can tailor permissions based on the set of accounting or bookkeeping functions that they need to carry out.
Despite the triumph, Mr Abok calls on Kenyans to trust locally created brands as that’s the only way to decolonize the African brain in the current tech revolution.
“Africa needs to believe in itself. So much that the rest of the world can trust African innovations,” says the Cisco cyber security certified professional.
One of the biggest advantages of cloud-based accounting software, is that all accounting data is safely secured on the cloud.
This means that the data is covered under layers of high-end encryption algorithms, making it a lot safer than keeping it on the office shelf. And the best part is that all of the data is synced at all times. So not only is it more secure, but it’s also fresh.
Just to give you a better idea, when businesses were using desktop-based accounting software, accounting data had to continuously be backed up. After all, the data was stored on a hard drive. And as you probably already know, hard drives are quite delicate. They can get destroyed, wiped, or simply get corrupted and become unusable.
As a result, businesses had to dedicate quite a bit of time to integrating accounting and accounting data into their disaster recovery plans. This in turn meant higher costs, and more time wasted.
With online accounting software, you’ll never have to worry about backing up your data – the system will do it for you.