idu Software: 2019

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

IDU achieves Leader Status in the Budgeting and Forecasting Category of the G2 Crowd Summer 2019 Report


G2 Crowd, the world’s leading business solutions review website, released its Summer 2019 Report in Chicago on the 24th June 2019.  idu-Concept achieved Leader in the Budgeting and Forecasting Category and High Performer in the CPM Category based on the responses of real users for each category respectively.

The Budgeting and Forecasting Category is new to G2 Crowd, and to qualify for inclusion in the Budgeting and Forecasting category, a product must meet a number of key requirements including:

·         Comparing revenues and expenses estimates with actuals
·         The ability to consolidate budgets from several departments
·         Use what-if scenarios to forecast possible budget changes
·         Monitor the performance of budgeting processes

idu-Concept’s rich functionality ticks all these boxes and more, while remaining an extremely user-friendly toolset!  With the IDU Cloud solution companies can now also make use of world class financial planning, reporting and analytics capabilities without large capital expenditure outlays. IDU Cloud harnesses the power, performance, security and scalability of the Microsoft Azure Cloud Platform, and offers ease of use, rapid deployment, and seamless data integration at an affordable price.

IDU achieved Leader and High Performer awards in the Summer 2019 Report by receiving positive reviews, from verified users compared to similar products in their category. For inclusion in the report a product must have received ten or more reviews, IDU currently has 28 reviews.  

“We are very proud to once again be included in the G2 Crowd Report, and to have received such high ratings from our customers, who are ultimately the driving force behind our success” said Kevin Phillips, CEO, IDU

“Rankings on G2 Crowd reports are based on data provided to us by real users,” said Michael Fauscette, chief research officer, G2 Crowd. “We are excited to share the achievements of the products ranked on our site because they represent the voice of the user and offer terrific insights to potential buyers around the world.”

Learn more about what real users have to say or leave your own review of idu-Concept on G2 Crowd’s review page!


About G2 Crowd

G2 Crowd, the world’s leading business solution review platform, leverages more than 440,000 user reviews to drive better purchasing decisions. Business professionals, buyers, investors, and analysts use the site to compare and select the best software and services based on peer reviews and synthesized social data. Every month, more than one million people visit G2 Crowd’s site to gain unique insights. Co-founded by the founder and former executives of SaaS leaders like BigMachines (acquired by Oracle) and SteelBrick (acquired by Salesforce) and backed by more than $45 million in capital, G2 Crowd aims to bring authenticity and transparency to the business marketplace. For more information, go to G2Crowd.com.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

The 10X employee



The myth of the 10X programmer has long done the rounds in the software world. Stories abound of unicorn software engineers that can churn out 10 times, or 100 times, as much code as the average programmer. The rockstar coders that accelerate startups with their ninja skills.

For some people there is no doubt that the 10X programmer exists, and is essential to success. The argument goes that programming is not linear, so 10X programmers can compound experience, knowledge, an uncanny ability to achieve efficiencies, and a creative flair for coding that allows them to outstrip their team mates.

The other side of the argument goes that it doesn’t matter whether or not they exist, rather that very often these 10X programmers cause so much disruption (of the unhelpful kind) in the long-term, that they aren’t worth the short-term wins. This chaos ranges from technical debt – where down the line the fallout from their “genius” causes a whole lot more coding and debugging work; to poor culture fits: the stereotype of the unapproachable, unwashed, sleep-deprived coder.

Whatever your views on the 10X programmer, it is very clear that we all need to 10X our skills and experience to remain relevant in a rapidly digitalising, fourth industrial revolution world. This challenge was rather beautifully summed up, as only an accountant could, at our user conference earlier this year.

“Am I an asset to my company?” asked one of the attendees during a keynote and Q&A session with Sameer Rawjee, the founder of Google’s Life Design Lab, and currently working with companies and schools to tackle continuous learning and purpose at work.

“Or am I just OpEx?” the attendee continued.

The rest of the audience of accountants chuckled that he had managed to avoid using the word “liability”. But this insightful question really gets to the heart of a matter that affects us all, as individuals and business owners in a rapidly changing workplace. How do we ensure we stay relevant in our own roles, plus, as leaders, how can we help our people stay valuable in our companies?

I think that on day one of our jobs, we are all assets to our company. But that we run the risk of depreciating every single day, unless we actively work to ensure our growth, to 10X ourselves and the people around us continuously, to keep pace, stay relevant and remain impactful.

Darwin nailed it when he highlighted adaptability as the key to survival. And today, as digitalisation gains pace, we need to adapt over a shorter time frame than ever before. However, if companies and their people adopt the right mindset, this offers immense opportunity.

Much has already been written about how AI and automation promises to relieve us from repetitive, mundane work. And it is becoming increasingly clear that companies will need to spend some of the savings and increased earnings gained from digitalisation’s greater efficiencies and productivity on helping their people continue to learn. In the same way that businesses have an imperative to digitalise in order to survive, they have a moral obligation to their people to help them adapt around these changes.

Ensuring that we stay one step ahead of the machines, doing the things that AI can’t yet, or won’t ever, do is the sweet spot of how we can 10X our careers. A good way, and perhaps the only way, to focus on the things that the machines can’t do, is to hone in on the skills that require emotional intelligence. One of the challenges here is that these skills are difficult to measure and grade in the formal learning system. But, ironically, they could be the key to successful uptake of automation and AI in an organisation as well: communicating change effectively; listening empathetically to people’s concerns; leading the way in this new way of working. These are all “soft” skills. Others that will be critical to the take up of digitalisation are creative problem solving and ethical judgement.

A way that this ongoing learning can happen, I would suggest, is that responsibility needs to be shared. Individuals must identify their areas of growth, and companies need to ensure that everyone is very clear about the business’s vision, goals and plans, so that the two can align.

This is not dissimilar to how I advise companies to canvass the grassroots of their organisation during the budget process as they know what needs to be done at the coalface, especially during tough times. Likewise it’s the people on the ground who know what they need to learn to remain relevant, and happy, in their roles. They may not always get it right but it is the role of management to guide them and help them align their goals with what the company needs to survive and grow. 

Working to continuously 10X our careers, and those of our people, is going to ensure we remain true assets, constantly appreciating, and continuously adding value in ever-changing times. And never becoming expenses, or worse, liabilities.

As published on ITWeb - June 2019





Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Why cloud-first shouldn’t mean cloud-only



It’s been ten years since Oracle’s Larry Ellison had his Thomas Watson moment, dismissing cloud computing as a fad, nonsense and absurd. Clearly, in the same way that the number of computers in use around the world didn’t cap out at five units, as IBM’s Watson predicted in 1943, cloud computing has gone from strength to strength, with worldwide spend on cloud infrastructure in 2018 estimated at in excess of $80 billion and still growing.

Fast forward a short decade, and it’s almost as if cloud computing is barely worth a mention. It’s a bit like saying an appliance is powered by electricity. Well, obviously… We take cloud’s economic model as table stakes now: allowing companies of all sizes to access the best services for them, quickly, cost-effectively and with minimal support required, whether or not the vendor has set up shop in their country. Cloud services helped break the stranglehold of the black box ERP vendors giving companies flexibility, user-friendly interfaces and solutions to niche requirements. Crucially they, on the whole, improved security and allowed SMEs, and even individuals, to access enterprise-grade software services.

But, in comparison to the latest headline grabbing buzzwords, such as AI and machine learning, in some quarters cloud is now fairly middle of the road. So why am I still writing about it today?

Well, it’s not plain sailing just yet. And it’s worth checking in on some of the assumptions around cloud we might wrongly think are foregone conclusions.

I’ve written about one before: the incompatibility between the latest legislation to protect personal identification information, such as Europe’s GDPR, and laws trying to fight terrorism, such as the US’s CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act), which allows the US authorities to request data from US service providers, wherever in the world this data is stored, and without telling the people whose personal data is involved. Given that four out of five of the top cloud service providers by market share are US companies – that’s a lot of personal information about a lot of people including US and non-US citizens. CLOUD and GDPR are clearly in direct opposition to each other, and furthermore both complicate cloud services where the service provider, the data centre, the company collecting the personal identification data and the customer could be each located in separate countries. For now, the stalemate between GDPR and CLOUD continues.

Another assumption that we should be careful of making is that everyone around the world has the same access to internet bandwidth and data as the highly urbanised regions of the developed world – where, typically, cloud services are designed and built. Despite the massive advances in internet connectivity around the globe, it is still the case that some countries, and also remoter regions in well-connected nations, don’t have the level of access to always-on internet connectivity required by cloud services.

Take Tuvalu, the South Pacific island nation, and one of our clients. Ironically, for a country whose second biggest export is the .tv top level internet domain name, it is one of most unconnected countries in the world. While connectivity via a submarine fibre optical cable is in planning, it is currently connected to the rest of the world via limited, and expensive, satellite communications. Cloud computing services are simply a non-starter here.

Likewise that branch office in a small town that still only has basic DSL or dial-up connectivity, or a mining operation in a distant province, won’t benefit from the same advantages of the cloud-based service as the head office in the city, and, in a worst case scenario, may end up in a complete disconnect from the HQ.

And, even when internet connectivity is broadly universal, a secondary issue such as regular power outages could impact a company or individual’s ability to access cloud services. An SME in a big city like Johannesburg or Lagos that can’t afford a generator could be disconnected from basics such as email during a power outage.

In a cloud-first world, these branch and field offices, and SMEs, won’t have the same options of services to choose from and subsequent productivity gains thanks to a better fitting offering. Instead of being able to self-service, they’ll be stuck in the black box consultant loop, with lengthy installation and customisation loops, and an invoice to match. Their ability to collaborate will be limited, their data will be slightly out of date and out of joint, and they’ll miss out on cloud economies of scale. And mothership will miss out on critical input from the coalface of their organisation.

So sure, think cloud-first, but don’t think cloud-only. Consider ways to practically enable your people who don’t have the same access to the cloud that you do, without regressing back to the days of the mega-installation of on-premise kit.

As published AccountingWeb - May 2019 


Thursday, 23 May 2019

Improved Accountability and Ownership at The Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society of South Australia Inc. (RAHS)




The Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society of South Australia Inc. (RAHS) is the organiser of the state's largest ticketed event, the Royal Adelaide Show, which attracts approximately 30% of South Australia's population. Further to this, the Adelaide Showground provides facilities to more than 100 exhibitions, conventions and banquets each year.

The Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society SA implemented the Enterprise Edition of idu-Concept’s Budgeting & Reporting Modules in 2018.  This has led to a significant change in their day-to-day operation in comparison to the excel macro workbooks that were being used prior to implementing IDU.

idu-Concept allows for real-time, up to date analysis of actual against budget figures, enabling all divisional managers to track their progress and thus reduces the month end reporting processes. Managers are able to review their results at any time in the month, and to adapt accordingly.

Pressures and demands on finance staff have been reduced as non-financial managers can now access their information directly from idu-Concept whereas previously they had to request detailed reports from the finance department.

“With all staff able to concurrently access individual project areas within idu-Concept and either review results, set budgets or make changes, our 'budget setting season' is less stressful for all and reduces the time needed for the process” - Hayley Herbst, General Manager Finance & Corporate

The ability to assign access to specific areas of the budget to specific staff members has led to greater accountability within those areas.

Using idu-Concept has streamlined the overall budgeting process, and allows non-finance staff to access their areas, interrogate costs and understand how they are tracking against budget without having to request reports from Finance or wait for excel workbooks to be updated.

“The software has interfaced directly with our job costing software and has provided access to our staff who have now taken ownership of their budgets. The ability to drill down to the financial entries has given a visibility to the actual versus budget results that has been well received by staff at all levels” – Vicki Baulderstone, Finance Officer

The monthly board reporting can now involve all areas of the business simultaneously and has reduced the amount of time required to complete the review of the financials. The annual budget process has input from all levels of management and therefore has greater commitment to the budget from the staff.

About The Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia
The Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia was founded in November 1839 as the South Australian Agricultural Society "for the advancement of agricultural and pastoral knowledge, and to promote the development of the natural resources of our noble colony."  They are responsible for staging of the Royal Adelaide Show, Royal Adelaide Wine Show and other events. The Society is a membership-based, non-profit organisation – its main aim is to encourage the pursuit of excellence in primary industry, to educate the public about rural product and to encourage young people in their pursuit of agricultural education.


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

How to know when it’s time to move from away from spreadsheet-based budgeting and adopt specialised planning software?


Spreadsheets are a wonderful tool and have served many a small business’ budgeting, forecasting and planning needs. But there comes a time when you need to look at moving across to specialised financial software that gives you more control over, and insight into, your financial information.
Here are 4 ways to know that time has come…

Your business is growing in size and complexity 
Spreadsheets are perfectly fine for small simple companies; but as you start to grow and expand your services or gain employees and even potentially expand your focus, you need more input and have to start consolidating spreadsheets. Macros and formulas get increasingly complicated and can break and your spreadsheets become unusable. 

There are currently few safeguards for data governance, or data quality, making spreadsheets a poor choice for organisations that need to share data or conduct complex analysis.  

Specialised CPM software removes the need for sending spreadsheets back and forth, it gives everyone an accurate real-time view of the data within the database.

Multiple businesses under one company
Consolidating budgets and forecasts across multiple departments is difficult enough; trying to do so with multiple departments from multiple businesses in a spreadsheet is pure madness. 

Different businesses have different reporting needs, they need different information to make the right decisions for their budgeting, forecasting and planning. And one error made in one department of one of the businesses can leave analysis of the bigger picture for the holding company impossible and completely skewed. 

Specialised software provides you with the means to pull multiple versions of reports based on the information you need, and allows you to get the meaningful analysis you need to make your business decisions. 

Too many cooks...
In a smaller business, there is usually one person who manages your finances - one person collecting data, inputting it and creating reports from it. Spreadsheets are created for this - calculating values and crunching numbers. The only weakness in this set up is that one person. 

Once you start growing, you will start having more managers who have valuable information to contribute and have a need for pulling their own reports with data relevant to their own divisions or departments. If all of these people begin interacting with that spreadsheet, the weaknesses and room for error begin to multiply. 

This is the time to look at a dedicated software solution that can offer more than the basics. 

“User Friendly” is more than words
When you want to be able to get input and feedback from non-financial users in your business - the people who are on the front line, managing your business; you need your data to be accessible and understandable to everyone. 

Spreadsheets and endless lists of data are extremely intimidating to people who are not financially inclined, leading to resistance and avoidance; delaying your budgeting process and causing undue stress for all involved. 

There is dedicated financial software that is specially designed to be properly user friendly; making the budgeting and forecasting process simple and beneficial to financial and non-financial users.  

With Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solutions becoming readily available in the Cloud there is no better time to look at making this change. Software-as-a-Service solutions like IDU Cloud are a cost-effective alternative for companies looking to adopt a world class specialist budgeting, forecasting and reporting solution without large capital expenditure outlays.  

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Am I an asset, or am I just OpEx?



“Am I an asset to my company? Or am I ….” The audience of accountants collectively inhaled, wondering if the attendee asking the question was going to go there. “Or am I just OpEx?” he asked, neatly sidestepping saying the word “liability” J.

Only an accountant could have summed up the existential crisis that we are all probably experiencing around our role in the workplace, in this way. The question came up during our recent annual user conference in Cape Town, South Africa. The general theme of the conference was how transformed budgeting and reporting processes can help companies adapt quickly to constant and rapid change. This specific question was raised during a lively presentation and Q&A session with Sameer Rawjee, the founder of Google’s Life Design Lab, and currently working with companies and schools to tackle continuous learning and purpose at work.

And it’s an interesting and useful question. Plus a very valid one. My view is that on day one of our jobs, we are all assets to our company, that is why we were employed in the first place. But, just like when you drive that brand new car off the lot and into the street, we start depreciating every day. However, and continuing the analogy, in the same way that you can give that car a lick of paint, replace the tyres with more fancy ones, or put in leather seats, to prevent its value falling, and maybe even increasing it; we can ensure our own worth, and the worth of the people around us, staying relevant in an ever-changing world and perhaps even increasing our value in the process.

This non-linear career path is a sign of the times. Previously, accountants especially were onto a pretty sure thing: a predictable career path where hard work and experience progressed you along the ranks. And your skills remained relevant from the very first day till the day you rode off into the retirement sunset. Sure, you got better at what you did, you might specialise in a certain area, or you might encounter unusual jobs that gave you unique experience, but, fundamentally the role stayed the same.

Today, the world is different and the saying “the only constant today is change” is very much relevant. Add to that, there is the very real chance that machines, or artificial intelligence (AI) could take over much of our roles, totally disrupting them by doing them better, faster and more accurately. Where does that leave the us as the employees?

I’ve said this before, but Darwin nailed it when he identified adaptability as the key to survival. Never before has this been more true, and the need to adapt is over a shorter time frame than ever before. And, if companies and their people adopt the right mindset, this offers immense opportunity for all.

Individuals will need to constantly reinvent themselves, learn continuously and move fast. And the place to start looking is at what sets your passions alight and can’t be done by artificial intelligence, and, if you can find some overlap here then you may well be onto a winner. Individuals who do not, are depreciating at an ever-increasing rate. And we know what happens to a fully depreciated, redundant asset: it gets replaced.

Companies, inevitably, will need to spend some of those savings and increased earnings brought about by digitalisation’s greater efficiencies and productivity on helping their people learn. In the same way that businesses have an imperative to digitalise in order to survive, they have a moral obligation to their people to help them adapt around these changes.

During a recession mindset, as we are experiencing now around the world, business leaders might be tempted to save by not investing in training and ongoing learning. In addition, much of what your people might need to learn are the so-called “soft skills” (a far better term is essential skills, in my opinion) which have typically been neglected partly because they are so hard to measure and grade in the formal learning system.

But retraining your people makes good business sense as well. For AI to be effective, it needs to work well with people. And as AI gains new capabilities, people need to keep shifting to the next area of competency that AI has not yet reached.

The ideal version of this scenario is where people keep moving into spaces that they love, doing things that they enjoy and create meaning for them. And that these new skills and capabilities align with progressing the goals of the company. For this to happen, responsibility needs to be shared. Individuals must identify their areas of ongoing learning, and companies need to ensure that everyone is very clear about the business’s vision, goals and plans, so that the two can align. Just like my advice to canvass the grassroots of your organisation during the budget process, especially during tough times, it’s the people on the ground who know what they need to learn to remain relevant, and happy, in their roles. They may not always get it right but it is the role of management to guide them and help them align their goals with what the company needs to survive and grow.  

And then, there is no doubt that you, and your people, are true assets, constantly appreciating, and continuously adding value in ever-changing times. And never becoming expenses, or worse, liabilities.

As published on AccountingWeb - April 2019 

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Retailability recommends IDU after the efficient and professional implementation of idu-Concept




Retailability (Pty) Ltd is a retailer of fashion apparel intended to offer fashionable in house and branded labels at low price points targeted at lower to middle income consumers in Southern Africa.  The group comprises of three brands, namely Style, Legit and Beaver Canoe.

Together these brands operate over 430 stores across 6 countries in Southern Africa.

Retailability required a budgeting and reporting solution for their multi-currency and multiple ledger environment due to the lack of budgeting functionality and reporting limitations within SAGE 300. After an extensive evaluation process, they selected IDU.

The idu-Concept Reporting Module was implemented in October 2018 followed shortly by the Budgeting Module in December 2018.

“The spec’ing, design, build and implementation process was efficiently and professionally managed and was delivered on time and within budget.”  - Malcolm Smith, Chief Financial Officer.

The product is still new in our environment, but we are quickly learning and becoming familiar with it. Our reporting has been simplified and we are able to prepare our month end accounts in a much shorter time period, and with the peace of mind that the output is derived from a robust reporting system.

The Budgeting Module has been configured to our business requirements and has removed the challenges and frustrations we had previously encountered with Excel.

“I have found the IDU team to be highly professional and responsive to our needs and would recommend IDU without reservation.”

About Retailability (Pty) Ltd
Founded in 1984, Retailability (Pty) Ltd is a South African based group of retail brands including Legit, Beaver Canoe and Style. With over 430 stores across Southern Africa including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zambia – Retailability prides itself in bringing authentic and affordable fashion to our customers.


Tuesday, 9 April 2019




IDU are delighted to be acknowledged as a Leader in the Budgeting and Forecasting category by the prestigious G2 Crowd 2019 Spring Report, published earlier this month.

The report which ranks and compares leading Budgeting, Reporting and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solutions based on market presence and customer satisfaction ratings was released on the 1st April 2019.

G2 Crowd releases Grid® and Index Reports on a quarterly basis, ranking products based on reviews gathered from their user community, as well as data from online sources and social networks.

idu-Concept has been named a Leader based on receiving a high customer satisfaction score and having a large market presence in the Budgeting and Forecasting category.  Most of our users gave us great feedback and expressed a belief that our company is headed in the right direction, they also indicated that they would be likely to recommend idu-Concept to others. 

 “We are incredibly grateful to our customers once again for taking the time to share their feedback on the G2 Crowd platform. We pride ourselves on delivering the best possible product and user experience to our customers, and these wonderful positive reviews are a testament to that.” Kevin Phillips, CEO, IDU.

We wanted to share some of the amazing feedback we received from our customers in their latest reviews:

“Using idu-Concept has streamlined our overall budgeting process, and allows non-finance staff to access their areas, interrogate costs and understand how they are tracking against budget without having to request reports from Finance or wait for excel workbooks to be updated”

“I cannot (and don't want to) imagine life of budgeting/forecasting/reporting without IDU.”

“IDU is not only a great and easy to use budgeting application, but helps drive day to day ownership of business unit or departmental budgets, cost management, revenue growth and variance reporting by the business unit or department leaders. “

To read the full list of reviews please visit the IDU page on G2 Crowd

Read more about IDU or to schedule a demo of our software visit our website at www.idusoft.com.

About G2 Crowd
G2 Crowd, the world’s leading business solution review platform, leverages more than 440,000 user reviews to drive better purchasing decisions. Business professionals, buyers, investors, and analysts use the site to compare and select the best software and services based on peer reviews and synthesized social data. Every month, more than one million people visit G2 Crowd’s site to gain unique insights. Co-founded by the founder and former executives of SaaS leaders like BigMachines (acquired by Oracle) and SteelBrick (acquired by Salesforce) and backed by more than $45 million in capital, G2 Crowd aims to bring authenticity and transparency to the business marketplace. For more information, go to G2Crowd.com.


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

The money moral panic



Ponzi scheme! South Sea Bubble! Tulip mania! The dotcom bubble! These are some of the dramatic comparisons being made with the rise of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. But Kevin Phillips has a different view.

There are many reasons why companies like, famously, Kodak and Blockbuster, went bust thanks to being overtaken by their competitors’ innovation. Arrogance, ignorance, being slow to adapt, and analysis paralysis are just some. But I wonder how many also displayed an element of the Shirky Principle? This is named after the digital commentator and writer, Clay Shirky, who said: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.”

I’d argue that this principle is driving much of the moral panic around cryptocurrencies from governments, regulators and the financial services industry. To be sure, banks around the world are looking at how they can apply blockchain technology, which underpins cryptocurrencies, internally – but this is a very different beast to the free-range, decentralised blockchain applications driving cryptocurrencies outside of the banking fraternity.

For one thing, the concept of a cryptocurrency casts a spotlight on just how fragile the notion of money really is. The traditional fiat money system, used around the world today, really is a legal fiction. The word “fiat” is Latin for “let it be done” and that is exactly what happens: governments and central banking authorities assign value to an essentially valueless item. It all works because a network of ledgers controlled by banks around the world keeps track of transactions.

But, putting things that way, this sort of sounds quite a lot like cryptocurrencies as well. So why the panic? Well, instead of a central authority, i.e. a bank, holding all the power and validating and recording transactions, any group of people can do this anywhere in the world. And this means that transactions can take place faster, and more cost-effectively.

Good news for anyone transacting, which is a whole lot of us. But not really that great news for banks, who, up until now, enjoyed the opportunity to triple dip every time, for instance my business transfers money around the world. Currently, banks get paid once by me, and then win again on the exchange rate (you always get the worst available), and a third time by when the money vanishes from one account before re-appearing in another several days later… (Where is my interest on that money?)

Of course, consumers need to be protected from fraud, and criminal activity needs to be stopped, as with any monetary system. But as the cryptocurrency space gets regulated and brought into the mainstream, we’d do well to avoid getting sucked into a moral panic manufactured by those that have the most to lose.


Food for thought
We don’t think twice about what happens behind the scenes for transactions to take place: whether we are tapping a credit card, snapping a QR code, approving a bank transfer, or shopping online. We don’t bat an eyelid when we’re halfway around the world, put our card into an ATM, have the correct amount of foreign exchange emerge into our hands, and have our bank accounts debited with the right amount, plus a few charges, obviously. All instantly. Think about it… what is the difference with a cryptocurrency?

As published in ASA Magazine - March 2019

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

IDU expands its cloud offering through a partnership with Microsoft Azure



We are thrilled to announce that the award-winning corporate performance management (CPM) solution, idu-Concept, has expanded its cloud offering through a partnership with Microsoft Azure.
IDU has made its flagship idu-Concept suite of products available on both a private and public cloud platform. This will enable companies large and small to cost effectively access the full idu-Concept suite of budgeting, forecasting, reporting and analytics products.
Businesses can choose to use the IDU private cloud platform through our partner CipherWave, or through a cloud provider of their choice, or through the IDU Software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution harnessing the power and scalability of the Microsoft Azure® Cloud Platform. Microsoft launched its local Azure services in early March 2019, located in its data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town. This is good news for our South African customers, both in terms of scale, availability, as well as data resilience and compliance with regulations such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) in terms of storing personal identification information locally.
IDU Cloud offers world class CPM capabilities without large capital expenditure outlays. Instead of buying costly servers, a cloud platform offers access to state-of-the-art infrastructure, security, reliability, scalability and performance.
Businesses can get up and running quickly with the IDU Cloud (SaaS) offering. 
The solution is constantly updated to the newest release, which ensures our cloud customers will always work with the latest functionality, without having to worry about software installation and upgrades.
Decision makers can have instant access through the cloud to critical business insights securely, anywhere and anytime, through a computer or any internet-enabled mobile devise.
Click here to find out more




Thursday, 7 March 2019

SA accountancy tech leaders team up to ease budgeting and compliance



IDU, the corporate performance management (CPM) software company that transforms the budgeting, forecasting and reporting process for medium and large businesses, has partnered with Draftworx, which provides tools to automate and remove the complexity of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) financial statements, to close the loop for clients every month.

The commonalities and synergies between the two companies are remarkable. IDU offers an easy-to-use, yet enterprise-grade budgeting tool that Gartner has named as one of the top financial planning applications for the last two years and G2 Crowd has ranked in the top three global solutions for 2019. Draftworx is the first browser-based IFRS financial reporting tool in the world. Both are successful South African-founded accountancy technology companies and are owner-founder managed, with highly skilled financial teams. Both companies set out to simplify and streamline onerous yet essential accountancy tasks, freeing up accountants and auditors to do more interesting, strategically valuable work for their clients and companies.

IDU has integrated Draftworx service into its idu-Concept platform, so that at the press of a button, clients can automatically generate up to 80% of the data they need for their IFRS and eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) reports, ready for importing into Draftworx. This will expose IDU’s corporate client base, typically mid to enterprise companies across all industry sectors, to Draftworx’s capabilities. Conversely, Draftworx will introduce IDU’s expertise and services to both corporate and practice clients.

“We’ve always been single-minded about doing one thing very well: making the budgeting, forecasting and reporting process less onerous, faster, more collaborative and more accurate,” said Kevin Phillips, IDU co-founder and CEO. “So in response to customer requirements, especially in light of the updated rulings around XBRL submission to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in South Africa, and anticipating increased regulatory demand into the future, it makes perfect sense to partner with Draftworx, a trusted provider that we work with very well, for a comprehensive service for our respective clients.”

As well as XBRL submissions, Draftworx also supports accountants with meeting increasing IFRS requirements. It has created specific templates for various unique requirements in several countries, and is rolling out additional templates to meet demand. In addition, Draftworx is developing a US GAAP template, which dovetails perfectly with IDU’s recent announcement of its expansion into the Americas market.

“IDU takes care of the monthly budgets, forecasts and reporting, managing information from exco down and through the organisation; while we look after the annual financial side and help our customers meet their respective statutory obligations, managing information from exco up and outside the organisation,” said Earl Steyn, Draftworx founder and director. “This integration and partnership means that all of a company’s reporting is taken care of, in a smarter way.”

The partnership was announced at the 10th Annual IDU User Conference, held in Cape Town, South Africa at the end of February 2019. Financial managers, accountants and administrators, plus IT managers from a range of industries and countries came together to discuss how responsive and collaborative budgeting, and real-time access to the numbers can help companies adapt quickly to constant and rapid change. 

About IDU

IDU, idusoft.com, makes budgeting, forecasting, performance management and reporting tools to simplify financial management. Our flagship product, idu-Concept, provides easy, effective budgeting and financial reporting for medium-sized to large businesses. It is the most widely deployed dedicated budgeting system in South Africa with an ever increasing global footprint. idu-Concept integrates easily with ERP software, but unlike more cumbersome offerings, idu-Concept can be implemented quickly, requires little or no ongoing consulting fees and reduces budgeting cycles from months to weeks. idu-Concept, available on premise, as a hosted solution or in the cloud, addresses this establishing a platform of ownership and empowerment that inevitably leads to radical improvement in the effective management control of every business. IDU is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.

About Draftworx

Draftworx™, www.draftworx.com, is a fully integrated, compliant, automated drafting and working paper suite designed to alleviate problems identified in current drafting, working paper and audit software. It’s the result of collaboration with some of the world’s greatest accounting & auditing minds. The solution includes financial statements, XBRL reporting, working papers, audit methodologies, collaboration tools and digital signatures in an affordable desktop, cloud and hybrid variant.

Friday, 1 March 2019

South African financial services software company IDU expands to the Americas


IDU, the corporate performance management (CPM) software company that transforms the budgeting, forecasting and reporting process for medium and large businesses, today announced its expansion to the Americas region with the launch of IDU Americas.

Companies in North, Central and South America can now say good-bye to complicated, error-prone spreadsheets and instead finalise their budgets in a fraction of the time, working collaboratively and constructively with non-financial managers. Inefficient budgeting, forecasting and reporting can have a large impact on a company’s bottom line, and IDU helps companies increase transparency between departments, reduces the admin load on the finance department, speeds up budgeting to days, not weeks, and reduces errors.

IDU Americas is headed up by Scott Jennings, managing director, a business intelligence and CPM veteran with extensive industry experience and relationships. Based in Austin, Texas, a local team will support American customers in their own time zones.

Founded in Cape Town, IDU now has distribution hubs in Johannesburg, Durban, London, Dubai and Auckland. IDU is currently used by 35,000 people, at 300 customers in 33 countries around the world. It’s oldest customers have been with it since inception in 2001. Research house, Gartner has named IDU one of the top financial planning applications for the last two years, and review platform G2 Crowd listed the company as a high performer for 2019, based on customer feedback and reviews. Specifically customers value IDU’s rapid implementation process, its user-friendly nature, and the high levels of customer support.

“IDU has nailed the combination of being both easy-to-use and enterprise-grade, which is not a simple thing to do,” said Jennings. “This, plus proven technology that is built on a platform that appeals to the SMB through to enterprise market, including Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Azure, Power BI, Excel, Power Pivot and so on, is a winning formula. Then, add that the company is owner-founder managed, with a highly-skilled financial services orientated team, and the package is something I know that fills a gap in the growing American mid-market and solves a real, specific problem for companies.”

“Although our software is available, and used, via the cloud anywhere around the globe, as accountants we’ve always taken a very cautious approach to physical expansion, never underestimating the complexities of arriving in a new territory. With Scott at the helm, however, we have the perfect local partner who knows the market, understands what we do and will help grow our business,” said Kevin Phillips, IDU co-founder and CEO.

The news was announced at the 10th Annual IDU User Conference, held in Cape Town, South Africa at the end of February 2019. Financial managers, accountants and administrators, plus IT managers from a range of industries and countries came together to discuss how responsive and collaborative budgeting, and real-time access to the numbers can help companies adapt quickly to constant and rapid change.


Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Cryptocurrencies and the innovation/regulation conundrum



It is inevitable that regulation lags innovation: look at home DNA testing kits, for instance. Already an ethical minefield from a privacy point of view, one of the largest service providers, FamilyTreeDNA recently admitted it was running DNA matches against its database for the FBI. On the one hand, great news for justice and already some cold cases dating back years have been solved. But on the other, what does this mean for individual privacy and confidentiality? It’s one thing for customers to opt in to sharing their data, but, what about their relatives? And furthermore, what are the implications for individual DNA data being used in research for commercial gain?

Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain are another example of this lag. Regulation around the world veers from China’s heavy-handed approach, and Japan stopping granting licences to crypto exchanges in response to massive hacks in the last few years. On the other hand, countries such as Malta, Bermuda and Switzerland have actively welcomed the innovation.

In South Africa, the Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group, an intergovernmental fintech working group, released a consultation paper on policy proposals for crypto assets (it balks at using the term “currency”) in January 2019. While the group does not go so far as to welcome cryptocurrencies and the related ecosystem, it does take a measured approach based on a principle of “do not harm”. It suggests regulating the specific risks that have come to pass – mostly to do with consumer protection, and anti-crime and money laundering – but only dealing with more generic risks – such as undermining the central bank’s sovereignty, or financial stability in the country – when they happen. It also takes a technology neutral stance and favours amending existing legislation, rather than creating new laws.

For now though, although the trend is towards tightening up, and they have not ruled out a complete ban. The first step that is planned will be registering the various stakeholders in the ecosystem.

So phased and dynamic are the watch words for the moment, and while I do believe that this is the right approach, my big concern is the speed which innovation can catch hold and outpace regulation, a bit like a veld fire: one minute it is a braai, the next minute the whole mountain is alight! We have seen how rapidly technology can adapt and change, morphing virtually overnight and spreading virally.

Crypto and more particularly blockchain technologies have the ability to do just this. A hands-off and keep a watchful eye approach can rapidly become a flat spin in an attempt to catch up. But, far from wanting to double-down on regulation now to prevent this, I am concerned that this panic is the time when regulators and lawmakers bolt the stable door and ban new technologies outright, because this is now the only recourse to get a grip on things again. That is not where we want to be.

There is always going to be a need to balance innovation with trust, consumer protection and preventing crime. But I also wonder whether sometimes these are red herrings, behind which traditional industries hide, in order to protect their aging business model for as long as possible. Which, ultimately, slows the entrance of efficiencies, increased access and increased productivity from entering the market, costing all of us time and money. (And the sheer frustration of knowing there is a better way to do something, but it’s just not available yet.)

This is the Shirky Principle, named after the digital commentator and writer, Clay Shirky, who said: “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.”

Could this principle be driving the moral panic around cryptocurrencies from governments, regulators and the financial services industry? To be sure, banks around the world are looking at how they can apply blockchain technology, which underpins cryptocurrencies, internally – but this is a very different beast to the free-range, decentralised blockchain applications driving cryptocurrencies outside of the banking industry.

And these free-range applications are what are driving the ability for, amongst other things, transactions to take place faster, and more cost-effectively. The ability to streamline payments around the world seems like a good idea for everyone except the banks. Being able to reduce the cost for people to send remittances home to support their families is certainly a good thing. The ability for a global business to transfer money around the world instantly, without it being held onto by banks unnecessarily – allowing them to triple dip: they get paid once by the transactor, and then win again on the exchange rate, and a third time by holding onto the business’s money for days or weeks – also seems like a good idea.

We’d do well, I’d argue, to avoid getting sucked into a moral panic manufactured by those that have the most to lose.

As published in ITWeb 7 February 2019