Across Africa, millions of small businesses process their stock intuitively, but this is not the most efficient and cost effective way to do so. Imagine the small time vegetable seller by the side of the road having to get rid of her tomatoes because she over bought at the wrong time of the week or month and they have spoilt. This could have been prevented if she had a better understanding of how much stock she was selling and when.
Ken Gitonga, a commerce graduate, and Peter Macharia, a software development graduate, have developed StockApp to deal with this problem in Africa. In actual fact, it was a different issue that brought them the idea. An uncle of theirs suspected something was not quite right with his staff and their handling of stock and sales. They quickly realised the solution they developed could be duplicated for other businesses in Kenya and beyond.
There are over 7 million micro, small and medium enterprises (mSMEs) in Kenya according to Kenya Association of Manufacturers (http://kam.co.ke/the-focus-on-smes-is-a-welcome-intervention/) and the number is almost 5 times more across Africa. One of the biggest challenge facing all these mSMEs is lack of finances. Most of them are forced to self-finance themselves thus slowing their growth and expansion. The reason behind this is a lack a formal way to keep their records. They operate in the traditional way of just buying and selling without proper documentations. This makes it even harder when they seek financial services from banks, micro-finance and even Saccos. But a new app called StockApp could be able to change this.
StockApp is a fintech innovation from Kenya seeking to help the mSMEs in Africa and across the globe to manage and run their businesses from their phones. The App can be accessed by two user groups, store owners and store attendants. The business owner creates an account, adds at least one attendant and proceeds to add the items they sell. Once that is done, the attendants can enter Sales, Stock-in and Expenses from their phone/tablet/laptop/computer and the entries are reflected in real time on the owner’s portal.
If it’s a one-man business, the owner can enter the entries as well. With the app, the business can enjoy daily, weekly or monthly reports on sales, stock-in, profits, expenses and cashflows. They will also be able to manage customers and suppliers on credit using the same app. The app also provides the business an analytics tool so they can understand the fast- and slow-moving items, when the items run low on stock (Re-order level), graphical analysis for the whole year and many more analytics.
But, keeping track of stock is not the only benefit users can get from using the app. All of the data taken by the app from each store can be used by financial institutions when assessing businesses for a loan. StockApp enables users to always have their sales, profit and stock value at hand therefore, when a business seeks loans or credit and they are asked about the documents or reports of the business for the last 6 months or one year, they’ll just download the report from StockApp and print. This is very valuable for users who do may not have access to an accountant to support them with such documents. It takes away many complications when dealing with financial institutions.
If the business has been using excel to record their entries, they can import records from Excel to StockApp at a click of the button. For security reasons, the owner (Admin) can set the lock and unlock time for the attendants. This means that, the App will lock and unlock automatically on the attendant’s phone as per the set time. The App works both offline and online. When offline, users will be able to keep entering the entries and once the network is okay, all the information will be synchronized automatically. Using StockApp, clients can manage as many shops as they have. The app is free to download and install. Users have 7 days free trial after which they will need to extend usage on either monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually packages.
StockApp have users in Kenya, Zambia, Ethiopia, UK, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines, Myanmar, Brunei, Bhutan and many more countries around the world.
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