By Ibrahim Bashir
Waveapps is one of the most popular small business accounting platforms that many African entrepreneurs and businesses live by everyday. So it came as a rude shock when the company announced they are withdrawing from Africa and other regions around the world to focus on a primary market – North America. I am not here to cast aspersions or piss on the strategic plan of a company, but to focus on how to move forward and why it is important to continue using tools like Wave to improve your financial record management.
Running a business is hard, especially for the business person in Africa! Like the saying goes – “only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches” Having run several small businesses in Nigeria as well as supported my friends and clients in setting up their businesses, we know how much it pinches. Key for you – the business owner is to always know your numbers, by keeping track of who owes you, what you have generated in revenue, how much you are spending and what taxes to pay among others. It sounds so easy, but this is hard to manage with the kind of payments and IOUs from customers and this is why we need tools to help us keep track of these numbers or else, they will just get lost under a pile of paper or in a folder on your computer.
Waveapps over the years offered free accounting services that a lot of us took for granted for our bookkeeping given the fact that as a small business, employing accounting personnel is a major luxury that is a necessity but beyond reach for most businesses. Using WaveApps has made it easy to create invoices, bill clients and keep track of everything without the need of a full time accountant – music to the ears of every entrepreneur!
One thing we know is that managing financials of a business no matter the size is a key factor for successful growth and sustainability. Another factor is access to finance, which is a mirage for SMEs especially in Africa. According to a recent study by PWC in Nigeria, a major reason why financial institutions do not provide loans to businesses is as a result of lack of adequate financial data. This is why solutions like Wave are necessary for businesses today.
Without exaggerating, I am sure there are more than 10,000 business owners in Africa using Wave and yes – they were pained over the news. Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives out there that we as business owners can use and get probably better results. Here are a few solutions out there that you can use to manage your business financials in 2021. Mind you, I am only focusing on African based solutions as it is most likely that if they decide to take the same approach as Wave, they will focus on their core market – Africa!
Dillali is the number one income and expenditure management tool for the micro and small businesses in Africa. Launched in January 2021, this platform is designed to be easy and quick to use, with everything you need as a business from invoices, expenses, reports, projections and inventory. It also works in all parts of Africa and around the world. Also, you get support in transferring your data from Waveapps to Dillali.
This is a great service that does the job! It is mainly focused on the Nigerian market and can be used to generate invoices as well as process payments via their platform
If you are a freelancer and digital service provider looking to use mobile wallets or credit or debit cards to collect payments for your invoices, then Tuaneka is for you. Keep your phone close for registration verification. One drawback, they only support a limited number of currencies (three African currencies, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe)
Paypod (South Africa)
Paypod offers an unlimited free service for SMEs in South Africa. Its key features include quotes, clients, invoices, expenses, credit notes and payments. Getting started is pretty straight forward and very detailed in the entries that need to be made for generating invoices and others.
This is designed for the microentrepreneur and will work well for retail and trading based micro businesses. Key features include stocks, sales and reports. Onepluseoneafrica is a non-profit and is free.
Accounteer (Nigeria) – www.acconteer.com
Alegra (South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya) www.alegra.com/en/nigeria/
One thing is certain with the African solutions out there – there is a lot of room for improvement. This is why we created dillali, we are making consistent efforts to be the best solution all round for businesses in Africa and in other emerging markets. Our priority remains – simplicity!
While there are many solutions like Waveapps, we believe it is time to look inward to create great platforms for businesses in Africa by Africans to the world. It starts with a small step, which these solutions are focusing on achieving. We have all witnessed the power of technology and how it is changing the way we interact and do business, I believe this is a great time to be starting or running a business. It can only get better with all the tools out there to make your life easier, letting you focus on running and growing a great business.
Despite the disappointment of Waveapps leaving the African market, I am confident that African solutions will easily fill the void. Please try any of the solutions out there and share your experiences with everyone. I am also curious to see the other services not mentioned here. You can drop me a mention on twitter so we can share with the world.
*Ibrahim Bashir is a strategy and business expert who has supported several businesses in starting up in Nigeria.
*He is the cofounder and CEO of Dillali.com – an income and expense management tool for businesses. You can follow him on Linkedin and Twitter