In July 2015, Geniac caused quite the stir in the Accounting World when Grant Thornton announced that they were to invest up to £22m funding in the high growth start-up to access the SME accounting market. Less than 3 years later and their clients have been stunned to learn that the company is to close its doors in April 2018, as Geniac “are not making the progress we wanted”.
Through a combination of personal account management and leading technology, Geniac’s ultimate mission was to take the pain out of accounting, tax, HR, and payroll services to “give entrepreneurs their time back, so they can focus on growth”. This premise was desirable, simple, and achievable, given the technology available. The news worried some smaller accountancy practices that traditionally operated in this space, although Ecovis were confident in our blended approach of innovative personal service through cloud accounting technology.
So, where did Geniac’s business model go wrong? Was it the failure of the personal account management or the leading technology that they employed?
The technology underpinning most of Geniac’s accounting offering was Wolters Kluwer’s Twinfield solution, a cloud accounting technology Ecovis first rolled out in 2012 – long before many other firms became involved in the Cloud accounting space. Whilst Twinfield has recently been challenged by rivals in the market such as Xero, it remains an incredibly good piece of software for the SME market and has many features that set it apart from its rivals.
Knowing how good Twinfield is as an accounting solution can only lead us to point the questioning finger at the personal account management being offered.
When we first heard that Geniac would be offering all-inclusive accounting support for as little as £115/month, we questioned whether this would be possible. How could the Grant Thornton-backed service possibly find the time to personally get to know their clients, to truly understand the businesses, and to add value in their growth strategies? From speaking to users of Geniac’s service, it would seem the price didn’t quite reflect the product. These ‘add-ons’ cost extra and therefore would inevitably have put a strain on the team delivering these services at such a low level of recovery.
So, what next?
The news of Geniac closing their doors after Grant Thornton pulled both their funding and their backing has caused great concern for Geniac customers who have been given less than one month to find a new accountant. Someone to get to know their business and get to grips with the software currently in use. For Ecovis, it’s business as usual and we will continue to successfully work with entrepreneurs and small businesses in the SME market as we always have done - by using a successful mix of personal service and cloud technology at sensible prices.
If you need an alternative to Geniac who is familiar with Twinfield with an outsourced accounting function, please give us a call to discuss how we can help your business move on from this blip as seamlessly as possible so that entrepreneurs “can focus on growth”.