Populous – Counting Beans?
The business plan tells you a lot about the steps a company intend to take to grow the business. Read the plan careful and you can glean tidbits from the plan as to what they intend to do. Populous is no different and their UK business plan was a very good read indeed.
Populous issued their UK Business Plan laying out the UK roadmap for the years ahead. The plan will be tweaked as trading conditions dictate so it is not set in stone. The business plan is not just a tool used to pitch to investors, it is also a roadmap that gives a macro view to how to grow the business and is very insightful.
There is one particular line that piqued my interest:
Populous will also seek to deliver a seamless experience by integrating ourselves into their accounting and bookkeeping software.
How does Populous intend to meet this goal?
The accounting and bookkeeping software used by businesses are usually proprietary and once a certain software is adopted it cannot easily be changed. The software providers will have a captured customer for life.
The accounting and bookkeeping software providers include:
Acumatica, Agresso, AME Accounting Software, Aplos Software, Aria Systems, Banktivity, CGram Software, Cheqbook, ClearBooks, Coda Financials, Eclipse, FinancialForce.com, Fortora Fresh Finance, FreeAgent, Gem Accounts, JD Edwards, Invoiceit, Liberty Accounts, Microsoft, Moneydance, MYOB, NetSuite, NewViews, NOSA, Open Systems Accounting Software, Oracle Applications, Pastel Accounting, QuickBooks, Quicken, Reckon, Sage, SAP, Tally Solutions, TRAVERSE, Wave Accounting, Xero, You Need a Budget and Slick Pie.
As you can see the accounting software market is very competitive and I am sure that there are more out there that are not included on the list. Does Populous intend to integrate with each and every one of these providers? For Populous to do so would be a huge undertaking and with the large number of accounting software providers in the market it would take a very long time.
Is Populous therefore going to enter the accounting and bookkeeping market with new disruptive blockchain technology to meet their goal of integrating with the customer’s account and bookkeeping software?
The accounting software market is already saturated as you can see from the large numbers of players. A newbie in this field with no proven track record will find it very difficult to compete against those existing accounting solutions. Populous will tackle this market symmetrically.
The business plan lays out how Populous intends to break into this field to realise their goal. In the first 3 years, Populous will aggressively market the brand with a marketing blitzkrieg to build up reputation, brand recognition and above all build a large customer base.
Once the Populous name has gained recognition with a large base of loyal customers Populous will then start the process to create a seamless experience through integration of Populous with the accounting software used. According to the plan, this may take 1 to 2 years.
The plan sounds feasible with easily obtainable objectives.
Are Other Accounting Software Integrated With Factoring Companies?
There already are accounting software that allow access to factoring services by being able to upload accounting information to the factoring companies to obtain a quote. I think that this is not the “integration” which Populous is referring.
Populous can easily do the same also by requesting a button on the accounting software GUI that will link to Populous’s invoice factoring website. However that does not add value to Populous and will probably even cost Populous a small fee for this small piece of electronic real estate.
However, Populous intends to be more than just linking to the website.
Why Would Accounting Software Providers Integrate?
The accounting software market is very competitive and each would be looking for ways to distinguish itself from the rest in this crowded field. Since there are so many players and accounting is the same whichever software you use, it is very difficult to distinguish oneself from the competition.
The account software providers will do anything to keep their customers happy because once a customer is lost to a competitor there is no coming back because of the tedious need to migrate from one platform to another. The companies’ accounting infrastructure is also something you do not want to mess with!!!
If their customers want something incorporated then they will work with them to accommodate their requests even if it means providing a customised solution to individual companies. Customer service is probably the defining factor between success and failure of adoption of a particular accounting software.
However Populous has something which they will want!
What Makes Populous So Special?
Populous has the tool which will be of value to all businesses big or small and through this tool, Populous will be an indispensible part of a business’s financial decision making process. This tool will add value to decisions made on financial matters.
What is this tool that everyone will want?
Populous has a tool that can do predictive analysis. In the hands of accountants it takes all the human guess work out of predicting future financial needs. The “guessing” can be done by this predictive analysis tool instead.
It could be argued that by doing so it is tantamount to giving away the family jewels but you could see this as another revenue stream in the making by Populous. By licensing this feature to accounting and bookkeeping software Populous can extract yearly or even monthly licensing fees from the software providers.
Populous will not be giving away the code because I would guess that a patent would be applied to protect its intellectual property rights.
There are approximately 3 million businesses in the UK and if even just (say) 100,000 businesses decide to use this feature the “passive income” from the licensing fees would make a huge contribution to Populous’s bottom line.
Since these accounting software are used globally, the integration of the predictive analysis tool will give Populous exposure to the global market. That is free marketing! It would probably also revolutionise the accounting process.
The accounting software providers will be less reluctant to share accounting information with Populous because Populous is not in competition with them. In fact Populous do not even need them to provide data so they can rest assure their family jewels will be safe.
Populous will have all the data already in the XBRL data set. Theoretically, the predictive analysis can be done using the information stored in the accounting software because they should be common to both the company and Populous since accounts are required to report in the XBRL format.
In fact companies using their own database to predict financial needs can be vetted against the XBRL data set Populous will have if they come to Populous for financing. Since the XBRL data are audited record submitted to the government this will add an extra layer of safeguard against fraud to investors buying invoices.
Populous do not even need all the software provider to include this service because the accounting software will serve different segment of the market which Populous will be competing in. However if any accounting software provider request the additional feature I see no reason why it could not be provided.
Through the predictive algorithm or “Forecasting Oracle” companies can look ahead to gain an insight of possible future liquidity needs. This will make Populous’s predictive analysis tool an indispensible part of any company’s financial decision making.
With the help of predictive analysis, companies can plan for the eventualities by either going to traditional lending institutions or budget with Populous in mind in advance. Through the accounting software, Populous can expend its’ market and also have another revenue stream adding to profits.
PS. Market Update
Thank you to @hanvan in the Populous Slack Channel who kindly forwarded me the link where I could download the latest market information for trade factoring.
The latest numbers shows the trade factoring market has contracted. In 2013, the market was valued at $3 Trillion but in 2016 the market shrunk to $2.4 Trillion. The China market is no longer the largest factoring market in the world ceding the lead to the UK whilst the UK also experienced some contraction. This is a reflection on the state of the world economy.
Nevertheless, for Populous to birth as the world economy is contracting will test its mettle. As a newbie to the factoring industry and unlike existing factoring companies, Populous has nothing to lose and everything to gain. In fact Populous will be needed more than ever.
Bringing in innovation to a tired old market, Populous will prove itself a giant in the industry. Populous can only go from strength to strength and will emerge even stronger.
Other Populous Posts
My other posts can be read by clicking the links below.
Populous - Size Does Matter!
Populous – Breaking “NOT OFFICIAL” News!
Populous – Full Steam Ahead on the Spur Line?
Populous – I’m in a Relationship!
Populous – Business Synergy In Action?
There are more posts on Populous and you can find them here.
Should you have any questions concerning Populous you can approach Populous through their Slack Channel, Bitcointalk forum or Twitter Account for answers and clarifications.
This is NOT Financial Advice
In my humble opinion, the risks to the downside are small compared to the potential upside rewards. This should not be construed as financial advice but an opinion only. As usual do not invest more than you can afford to lose as these investments can go to zero and always do your own due diligence.
Feel free to comment as you see fit below.