This article is submitted by Mariam Ali.
Bookkeeping is the activity of keeping a record of the financial transactions of a business. Traditionally, this was done through pen and paper, and shop-owners would maintain several books and reconcile them manually at the end of each month. Now, there are apps and softwares that can help do this much faster, and much more conveniently. However, there are still a number of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME’s) in Asia that rely on the traditional pen and paper method of bookkeeping.
To solve this, several startups have jumped into the space, and designed apps that are very simple and easy to understand, and can help transform the way transactions are recorded in these small businesses. They help reduce the errors in bookkeeping, save time in reconciliation, and help users make better decisions. The following are some of the leading bookkeeping apps in Asia:
Khatabook, the simple bookkeeping app in India has raised a total funding amount of $186.5M and operates in over 4000 cities across India. It operates on the vision of digitizing the small shops in the country by providing a simple cash management app that sends free payment reminders through SMS or WhatsApp when payment is due. Moreover, it has an additional feature of collecting payments directly through the app through QR-enabled payments with a 0% fee. Currently, Khatabook does not have a revenue source, but they have a userbase of more than 50M merchants managing shops and businesses through this app, in 95% of Indian districts.
Khatabook aims to help all types of businesses keep track of their financial transactions and credit histories and enable them to accept payments online in all parts of the country, and hence offers the app in 13 Indian languages, catering to a diverse audience in the country, along with providing 24/7 multi-lingual customer support service. Lastly, the app provides complete safety and security of data, along with automatic data backup so that if the user loses their phone, the data remains safe through the automated backups. Khatabook enables MSMEs to digitize their accounting and credit transaction records and helps them grow their businesses.
OkCredit, founded in 2017, is another bookkeeping app in India that has raised funding of $84.9 million. The product is similar to Khatabook, where they offer collection reminders, data backup, multi-language support, and the ability to generate reports and account statements for your business on your device anytime. What differentiates the two apps is that in Khatabook, there is the additional feature of making multiple digital
books, called ‘Khatabooks’ to manage multiple businesses and accept online payments directly to bank accounts. On the other hand, the unique selling proposition for OkCredit is the simplicity of their app, which enables efficiency and convenience to retailers who have been used to maintaining traditional ledgers for years and are hesitant to make the shift. The OkCredit app also allows the customers to view the amount they owe to a specific merchant through a webpage link that shows the history of credit transactions between the customer and the merchant. This increases trust and makes the entire process more transparent. OkCredit currently has over 10 million downloads, 5.5 million active daily users, and operates in over 2,800 cities. They are rapidly growing into all parts of the country, and with India going through mass digitization, they have a high potential to grow further.
Bukuwarung is a bookkeeping app that is focused on Indonesia and has raised $80M in funding. It was founded in 2019 by two Indian entrepreneurs and has been rapidly growing to provide services across accounting, commerce, and payments. These include bookkeeping, digital payments, inventory management, bulk transactions, and an e-commerce platform to help retailers digitize their operations. Through these services, Bukuwarung aims to accelerate the growth of small businesses and allow them to have an organized method of cash management that could minimize accounting errors, and also allow them to have greater financial inclusion by having access to bank credits, which was previously not possible due to their disorganized financial records.
Unlike Khatabook and OkCredit, Bukuwarung has a revenue source, and they start charging merchants once they cross a certain number of payments, and also make money through the financial services that they provide. As a result, due to a large number of their users and payments volumes, they have been able to make enough revenues to sustain the business, and over 90% of the funding they raised is yet to be used. They aim to use this in growing their platform to offer an even greater amount of services in the future.
Bukukas, with a funding amount of $69 million, is another bookkeeping app based in Indonesia, that is growing rapidly. They have included other services, like online payments and an e-commerce platform to the app, to provide more value to its users. Bukukas currently has over 6.3 million businesses on the platform, with around 3 million monthly active users. They provide the option of sending WhatsApp reminders, with a payment link that allows customers to pay immediately, improving the recovery time of the credited amount. Bukukas also offers inventory management, invoicing, and data-based decisions by allowing merchants to record sales, expenses, and cash transactions in the app, and then identifying top-selling items, expense categories, and alerting them when something needs to be sourced. Moreover, through this data, it provides automatic calculation of profits and debit-credit records to help businesses maintain proper accounting records and grow. This helps merchants in not only bookkeeping but also other aspects of the business.
mKhata, a bookkeeping app in Pakistan with an undisclosed amount of funding has over 100,000 installs, and more than 30,000 active users managing their businesses through the app. With Pakistan having a retail market of around $152 billion, there is a huge potential for bookkeeping apps to step in and change the way these merchants are recording their transactions, especially post-covid where people are more open to a technology shift. MKhata aims to digitize the bookkeeping process for all businesses, and hence the app is offered in both English & Urdu and is made very simple to understand. The app offers automated collection reminders, free SMS transaction alerts, detailed reports, and online backups, helping users in reducing errors, making data-based decisions, and using time more efficiently. Moreover, when a transaction is entered by a merchant in the app, it also automatically reflects on the customer’s app, along with a free SMS, enabling complete transparency and trust. Currently, over 70% of Pakistan’s economy is undocumented, and mKhata is working towards decreasing this gap and enabling better financial inclusion.
Lista is a bookkeeping app in the Philippines that has raised an undisclosed amount of funding. It caters to MSMEs in the country and provides tools to help these businesses manage their credit transactions, and thus enabling financial inclusion. The services provided by Lista include tracking debts, recording transactions, and generating and issuing invoices. Since around 99.51% of business establishments in the Philippines come from MSMEs, there is a huge market for the digitization of the traditional bookkeeping approach. With this app, Lista provides merchants with a free and secure way of going digital and keeping a record of their transactions. The app aims to use the funding from their pre-seed round to grow bigger and help digitize more businesses in the Philippines.
Vyapar, an app-based in India that has raised $5M in funding also offers bookkeeping, and other services around billing, inventory, and accounting to merchants in India. Through the app, you can send reminders through SMS, WhatsApp, or emails for faster recoveries of lent amount, and also make GST bills and share them with customers. In addition, Vyapar also offers inventory management to help merchants grow their businesses. The app was launched in 2016 and have been working on their vision of digitizing the MSMEs in India. Vyapar is completely free to use, and its unique selling proposition is its user accessibility and affordability.