A couple of London-based designers have taken the Cloud accounting revolution to its logical conclusion with Brightbook – an application designed for freelancers and sole traders. Brightbook grew out of the experiences of graphic designer James Henderson and his colleague Warwick. “Warwick and I both run small businesses and the one thing we don’t enjoy is bookkeeping,” said Henderson. “I’ve tried other solutions like Sage and some of the online ones, but they just made me feel worse. Ultimately they’ve done things I haven’t wanted them too.”
Henderson describes Brightbooks as a “mashup” of all things they wanted a bookkeeping service to do. “I wouldn’t say it competes with Sage; the main thing we’re doing that’s different is changing the way people feel, because that’s fundamentally what the issue was.”
On first sight, Brightbook is definitely not your average accounting software – the interface is a vivid pinky red and the interface lives up to the designer’s claim of simple-minded user-friendliness. Even more attractive for the casual user is the price – nothing. You just log in and start using it.
The program lives up to the launch publicity, but how will Brightbooks make its money? After much deliberation and comparison with other online web offerings, Henderson and Leicester decided to go down the free software route. “Our goal is to make the free version a no-brainer that will do most things a small business wants. Ultimately we want to build a base where we can get as many users as possible and then develop paid-for features,” Henderson said.
Having signed up some 1,200 users through its FaceBook page and from a bit of pre-publicity, the developers are trying to recruit enough customers so that it can provide advertising opportunities and targeted financial services.
Accountants will also be part of Brightbook’s second marketing phase. “We’ll be offering this as a platform to their clients. We really want to work with accountants and help them overcome the frustration of sending paper around.” Having won over his own accountant, Henderson claimed, “Brightbook will be fantastic from an accountant’s point of view. You’ll be able to log in, get the details and you’re off.”
AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.