To hear Kamozo founder and managing director Mark Hill tell it, his cloud practice scheduling and tracking tool first came to life at the Practice Excellence event.
“I was at the Practice Excellence Conference in 2014 and we were asked to tell the person next to us what was going to make a real impact on our firm in the next two years. I told him I had this idea to build a program that would help accountants track their due dates.”
When the session moderator asked participants to share what they had heard, the other accountant told the rest of the audience and Hill had to make a 2min speech describing the idea in my head.
“I came out of that session with a belief in the marketplace for my product,” Hill said.
“I spent the next two years of blood, sweat and tears to build it and launched it at Accountex this year.”
The impetus for Kamozo grew from the problems Hill had within his own firm several years ago. “I couldn’t manage due dates and track time,” he said. “I was picking up penalties, so I went to [Kamozo co-founder and technical director Vincent Pirolli] and asked him to build something that did what I needed it to do.”
The original SQL Server database pulled deadlines from the trackers in Digita’s practice software suite and updated them on a single job tracker screen. After using this configuration successfully for several years, “I had a light bulb moment that that we might be able to offer to a cloud-based version to other practices,” Hill said.
“With the job tracker, I could see all of the work required in a given period on one screen. It enabled me to monitor the practice on a higher level. If I was signing up clients, I could forecast resources and see from what I had to deliver in the next nine months that I needed another accountant in the practice.”
Kamozo is based on a collection of dashboards, starting with a daily practice manager’s view that lets them see the time being logged by each member of staff, with each work stage displayed at the top of the screen. Any overdue tasks will show up as alerts in the dashboard’s right-hand panel.
Kamozo costs 22-30p per client, per month, depending on how many clients you have. The scale is set out on an interactive slider on the company’s website that starts at £30/month for up to 100 clients.
Ten firms had experimented with Kamozo before Hill and Pirolli took their new application to last month’s Accountex event. They came away with 200 enquiries from show visitors.
As the program develops, Kamozo will extend its links to applications such as TaxCalc, Xero and Practice Ignition. “Wherever we can find a way of sharing client data with other applications, it can only be a good thing,” Hill said.
He remains convinced there’s a gap in the market for what Kamozo offers: “The feedback from Accoutex is that out of scope work isn’t something other people are looking at. It’s an area where things sometimes fall through the cracks, because users can’t put time through for a job, because it’s not marked as a job for the client.”
Kamozo will let users bill out of scope services and produce a report summarising the services provided for which clients will be reluctant to pay. “You can decide to give it away as goodwill, but at least you can put a number on it,” said Hill.
The amount of work looming for the transition to HMRC’s Making Tax Digital regime is causing a lot of concern among practitioners, but the Kamozo founders recognise a sales opportunity when they see one.
“All it’s going to do is expand the amount of due dates and deadlines and expand the potential fines and penalties practices will get,” Hill said. With as many as 16 pressure points involved, it can only help increase demand for Komozo as practices struggle to keep up with all the deadlines.”