It is 25 years since NetSuite changed the face of accounting software by launching a comprehensive, true-cloud product for large organisations – and 13 years since Xero did the same for small businesses.
But the success of those organisations left a sizeable target audience neglected – those at the smaller end of the mid-market.
These are businesses and non-profits with typically 30-500 staff, big enough to have a financial director, whose finance system requirements are beyond the capabilities of the entry-level cloud offerings but don’t warrant the significant disruption and extortionate prices that are charged by the vendors typically focusing on organisations that are 500 staff and over.
iplicit was launched in 2019 to address that gap. Its aim was to provide a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of organisations globally.
Chief Executive Lyndon Stickley says: “The mid-market is under-served. Although it looks crowded, it’s actually filled primarily with on-premise providers – solutions from several vendors who led the charge in the last two to three decades but have not kept pace with the needs of the typical organisation between 30-500 staff.
“Tens of thousands of organisations of this size are currently held hostage to an outmoded system, with their current provider offering no cost-effective, low-disruption path to a true-cloud solution.”
The product was created by Concept Software founder Ian Andrews, who spent more than two decades implementing high-end ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems before devoting three and a half years to creating the first release of the software.
He was then joined by Rob Steele and Eduardo Loigorri, founders of Exchequer Software in the 1990s, to help tailor the proposition for the market.
From a standing start four years ago, iplicit has achieved more than 10,000 daily users on its platform, logging in from 72 countries, and is in its fourth year of triple-digit percentage growth, whether measured by customer numbers, staff numbers or annual recurring revenue. This trajectory looks set to continue for several years to come.
Gaining a foothold in the sector meant disrupting an industry dominated by a small number of incumbents, who often hold customers hostage with the threat of high fees for “right to use” licences if they want to leave and still have access to their data. iplicit’s approach to break this hold was to offer data migration and archive services to enable every single customer to leave their existing system and shut it down, with no charge whatsoever.
Growing the business also necessitated finding a lot of talent and cash. The company has been privately funded to the tune of £12.4m, mostly by its own senior leadership team. It has assembled an experienced crew, drawing talent from all over the country with its hybrid working model.
Originally a five-person startup, iplicit now has a headcount of more than 70, all in the UK and Ireland, and continues to grow each month.
As word has spread, it has attracted senior figures from industry heavyweights such as Xero, NetSuite, IRIS, Arbor and Advanced.
iplicit has achieved success in a host of sectors including non-profits, , recruitment, care homes, students’ unions, software and tech, theatres and the performing arts, recruitment agencies and insurance brokers.. It recently launched an education division which is set to become the market leading software for the majority of Multi Academy Trusts Nationally.
It is now developing a partner programme through resellers and accountants in practice to continue its rapid growth.
iplicit often costs between one-third and half the price of the cloud accounting systems aimed at larger organisations, yet it stands shoulder to shoulder with regard to functionality and performance – and it can be implemented within days rather than months or years as is the case with the more expensive systems.
It is the UK’s leading powerful, cloud accounting software for mid-market organisations and was named the UK’s best ERP solution, two years running voted for by thousands of accountants in the Accounting Excellence and AccountingWEB awards
Its extensive array of features operates behind a simple, intuitive interface, in line with the company’s purpose to “make the complex simple and accessible”.
A host of customer stories testify to the fact that iplicit’s automation features can free up weeks per month for the average finance team in a medium-sized organisation, by releasing them from laborious tasks such as rekeying of data or extracting information from spreadsheets.
Even more importantly, its advanced reporting functions put real-time data into the hands of business leaders, who can slice and dice the figures in a huge number of ways in order to inform better decision making. Its open API (application programming interface) allows easy integration with other business systems.
Jane Williams, Head of Finance at Reading Students’ Union, whose system went live in 2022, says: “We’re definitely making better business decisions because managers can easily access iplicit and look at the figures.”
Narinder Uppal, Finance Director at The Recruitment Group, another new customer in 2022, says: “All the finance team have said to me that the best thing I’ve ever done was bringing in iplicit.”
iplicit’s glowing customer feedback includes a 4.9 rating out of 5 at Capterra.com, where comments include:
- “Brilliant and so refreshing after being stuck with old on-premise legacy software.”
- “It was rewarding to finally know we were talking to experienced people who understood our queries.”
- “I haven’t looked back since we started using iplicit. It has changed our working life.”
The identifiable mid-market for iplicit, in the UK alone, is over 90,000 sites. The business aims to secure a market share of more than 10% with 10,000 sites by 2030.
iplicit is confident its product will displace Sage in thousands of organisations in the UK and internationally in the years to come.
Lyndon Stickley says: “Being named Tech Business of the Year (Small) at the UK Business Tech Awards would be a very welcome recognition of the massive team effort required to take on the Goliaths of our industry and achieve growth of 100% plus each year.
“It would galvanise our team as we continue to challenge the outdated, on-premise incumbent vendors and disrupt the market – just like Netflix, when it launched against Blockbuster.”