Case Study – WhichAddon
Precipitating a Cloud Business
Jeri Murphy and Marlon Wambeek didn’t start their professional lives in the cloud.
The two accountants evolved expertise in cloud solutions, on their own, starting with Xero in 2008. By the time they met some years later, they’d long realized that they enjoyed helping their clients with technology more than straight bookkeeping.
“Oh, we still have to do enough accounting now to do our jobs well, enough to keep that side of it alive,” says Murphy. “But I definitely don’t miss tax returns.”
Murphy and Wambeek launched WhichAddOn in 2015, a cloud software integration and training consultancy with a specialty in businesses that must track and manage inventory. They built up their client base with the proficiency they’d developed over the years in various inventory management, EDI, POS and accounting solutions. It didn’t take them long to see that something was missing.
“We had a client who came along that needed a fashion solution,” Murphy explains. “It was an international fashion brand that had wholesale, retail, EDI requirements and as it turn out Cin7 was the only solution that did all of this all-in-one in the Xero ecosystem.”
Like the truly enterprising cloud integrator he’d become, Wambeek steeped himself in learning everything about Cin7.
“That fashion requirement was the massive thing that pushed us in the direction of Cin7, and we haven’t looked back because now we know what Cin7 can do and how we can help clients with support, training and implementation, at different levels.”
It is a bit unusual even in 2016 for accountants to distinguish themselves as integrators.
“Accountants are only now really starting to build their own integration services within their firm, it’s something that the industry has been telling them not to do for a pretty long time,” Murphy explains. “They’ve been told accountants should focus on what they’re good at and go out and find the cloud integrator to do the add-on work for you, because there are so many add-ons you can’t learn them all.”
Cin7 Means No More Turning Away Big Customers
Murphy and Wambeek had bucked that trend, implementing cloud solutions and training end users in Xero, Vend, DEAR Inventory and MRPeasy, among many others, on behalf of a mix of wholesale, retail and manufacturing clients.
Their sweet spot was helping manufacturing customers, but before WhichAddOn became a Cin7 partner in September 2015, there was a limit to what they could do for bigger firms that needed more layers of functionality.
“Whenever we had customers that didn’t fit with DEAR Inventory or Unleashed, because they needed detailed customer special pricing, EDI or retail all-in-one, we would have to turn them away,” Murphy said. “We had to juggle doing a bit of retail because of the fact that we weren’t able to handle those bigger clients with the solutions that we were using. Cin7 enabled us to narrow down and focus on inventory and manufacturing, to focus on our strong points.”
Bundling Xero with Cin7’s POS, eCommerce, and B2B functionality, and adding Cin7’s ready-to-go EDI meant that Wambeek and Murphy could bring in more revenue without having to take on a lot of smaller clients.
“You can charge more for those more complex integrations because they do take generally longer than other integrations,” Murphy says.
Perhaps more to the point was that Cin7 was the only solution for those larger SMEs that couldn’t afford the cost of integrating enterprise software solutions, and the cost of managing a separate EDI/VAN provider.
“The draw card has been for clients that want to work with big retailers such as Coles, people that want those EDI connections,” Wambeek says. “They can’t get that functionality with their standalone Xero or MYOB. They might have to go to a third party, but they still need the inventory solution. Cin7 is probably the only solution for them out there unless of course you want to spend half a million dollars on an ERP.”
The ability to offer enterprise-strength functionality at lower-than-ERP prices has helped lift WhichAddOn’s overall game.
“We’re able to help people at that higher level, whether that be other accountants, or their clients or the business-owners that come to us directly,” says Murphy. “It’s opened up more opportunities with clients that we couldn’t help before because we were focused on the solutions that were really geared toward smaller businesses.”
Wambeek adds that the interface makes doing business easier for B2B wholesalers by streamlining their processes and cutting down administration work.
“Cin7 offer a true B2B interface that probably rivals any ERP,” says Wambeek.
The Worthwhile Learning Curve
WhichAddOn has nearly doubled its revenue in its second year, and Wambeek attributes 30% of that growth to Cin7. The company enjoys a stable flow of “higher calibre” customers that contribute the right amount of revenue to suit the couple’s lifestyle.
“The clients we attract now are either already using Xero or are looking to use Xero and they know that Xero can’t do inventory very well,” says Murphy. “So they need to find a solution that lets them use Xero and manage the inventory side….and they need to know what inventory solution they need.”
Getting to the level of expertise to implement Cin7 and win those clients required a bit of homework at the start.
“There was a learning curve, like with any software,” says Wambeek. “But the learning-curve was steeper because Cin7 has a lot more functionality. Other software like Vend, Unleashed, or TradeGecko are very straightforward because they have one layer of functionality. Cin7 has a lot of functionality.”
Cin7, he adds, marks a “transition from traditional systems, which are cumbersome and don’t give you that same kind of connectivity, which I think is the future for wholesale, importing and manufacturing.”
Some accountants may not delve as deep into technology as Wambeek and Murphy have, but knowing the benefits of Cin7 can be a great service to their clients.
“Any accountant that’s focused on delivering the right solution to their clients needs to be familiar with Cin7, at the very least,” says Wambeek. “There are other options that fit for some client needs, but you’ll find there is a whole breed of customers that do need Cin7 and there really is nothing else out there.”
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