Properly filing your receipts is one of the least sexy parts of running a business. There aren’t a lot of inspiring startup stories that include the line, "and then we printed, collated, and submitted our invoices." But, just because they aren’t the things that dreams are made of doesn’t mean receipts aren’t immensely important to a startup or small business.
Especially in countries like Malaysia. For many years, vendors in the country have stuck with handwritten receipts, scribbled out by vendors at each sale. But, after a law that came into force this September, the Malaysian government is now only accepting printed or digital receipts.
A law like that could be pretty expensive for a small business, whose owners would need to figure out how to create new government-approved receipts, or risk mangling their taxes.
"We came up with the idea of GiveReceipt to help the small guys," says co-founder David Sin. "We know many people in Malaysia who find documenting and issuing receipts is a huge hassle, especially when you’re trying to run a business."
GiveReceipt aims to provide small businesses with a cheap, easy, and tech-enabled way to sort out their paperwork, and it’s proving popular throughout Southeast Asia.
Spotting a problem
"If you’re small in scale, chances are you don’t have money to invest in expensive POS [point of sale] systems, or time to deal with creating and archiving tons of paper receipts," says David.
POS tech is nothing new, and many POS services also cover receipts. But where GiveReceipt stands out is its popularity among very small businesses – think one person with an online store, or someone selling textiles in a bazaar.
Those businesses have conventionally been off the books, but GiveReceipt aims to make a solution so effortless and easy that even the smallest vendor would run out of excuses not to use the program.
Users simply create an account on GiveReceipt’s website – on desktop or mobile – and enter their company’s information. Once they have the basic account complete, sending receipts are as easy as entering the sale info and the email address or cell number of the customer. That can be done via computer or mobile, and a PDF receipt is automatically sent to both the customer and the business.
For now, smartphone users access GiveReceipt through the company’s mobile site, but an iOS and Android app are planned for release later this month.
"A lot of people were doing it manually until they found GiveReceipt," says David. "Users tell us about how they used to write up a word document, save it to PDF and then email it to each individual customer of theirs — wasting a lot of time every time they made a sale."
If your business requires fewer than 30 receipts per month – and each receipt has one item listed – then GiveReceipt’s service is free. For more receipts, and those featuring multiple items, the company offers paid programs that start at RM 60 (US$14.13) for three months.
The GiveReceipt team. David on far right.
Aiming for Southeast Asia
GiveReceipt is based in Kuala Lumpur but – even though the company has only been open for business for a few months – has customers throughout Southeast Asia. One key to its expansion has been the fact that the startup’s receipts already include country-specific tax codes for 10 nations. GiveReceipt currently has five full-time members, including an experienced CTO.
The company has clients in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Currently, its numbers are still very small – just over 300 users who actively send receipts – but it has attracted attention from several regional investment firms. GiveReceipt obtained an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Malaysian angel firm Qeerad, as well as a Cradle Investment Program 500 grant of RM 500,000 (US$117,730). They are eyeing a series A round in "the next year or so," according to David.
"GiveReceipt was designed to help the small businesses like individual online traders, social commerce on Facebook or Instagram, and even small brick-and-mortar businesses," says David.
Doing your receipts still might not be a particularly sexy part of running a business. But you know what is sexy? Not getting a government tax audit.
This post GiveReceipt does exactly what it says, saving Malaysian small businesses a fortune appeared first on Tech in Asia.