In 2019, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) included 15 African countries among the emerging market economies. As the opportunities increase for new entrepreneurs to develop businesses, the region's economy has been improving. For instance, in Nigeria where the middle class represents 30% of the population, the per capita income has been rapidly growing. In Kenya, the application of new technologies to agricultural processes boosted the economy. South Africa is considering a new policy to facilitate business creation and this is important because 75% of the continent's companies are concentrated there.
Generally, African Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs do not consider administrative and accounting software as a resource at the start of their operation as this software is usually expensive. Instead, they rely heavily on hard copies (paper) which is an inefficient use of resources and obstructs efficient processing and collaboration.
Among other functions, accounting software allows SMEs to easily check financial statements, create invoices, expense management and track inventory. That gives a business greater control of finances, which will accelerate business growth.
Alegra considers that there are five (5) key features that accounting software must have. Alegra is an administrative and accounting system available in Africa that can improve a SMEs performance and has these key features:
- E-Invoicing Processing: SMEs and entrepreneurs need a simple billing mechanism that has the required tax supplements. Alegra has clients across 18 countries, due to the development of 13 customized versions that comply with the tax laws of different nations, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, South Africa, Spain, and the USA.
- Easy-to-use: A program has to be intuitive and user friendly. It must be designed from the user's perspective and be able to guide the user through the process regardless of the user’s administrative or accounting knowledge.
- Accounts Receivable Automation: The program has to be able to automatically create invoices, deliver them electronically on set dates, send reminders, and reconcile payments with the accounting system. In addition, it must also support multiple types of payment (direct debit, credit card and PayPal). Alegra provides for all of the above.
- SaaS with a continuous update: Software as a Service (SaaS) makes the program more affordable for SMEs and entrepreneurs as it is paid as a monthly subscription instead of being purchased outright. Furthermore, the Alegra’s SaaS is Cloud based, allowing it to get immediate (live) updates on taxation policies and to allow remote access. As a business grows, the software can be updated and adapt to new processes or requirements to foster growth.
- Security and stability: A business' information must be protected and accessible. The software must have the best security systems and be hosted on specialized secure servers. Alegra provides this so that SMEs do not have to worry about expensive backup infrastructure.