Case study: Southeast Asian accounting experience benefits startup ManyPixels
5 minute read
After partnering up with Sleek for company secretary services, ManyPixels has taken on Sleek’s accounting services as well. Find out ManyPixels accounting journey so far.
Riding the new trend of international startups
With European founders, a new Singapore company with operations based all over South East Asia, ManyPixels is a true example of the new wave of internationally-savvy startup making the most of the unique strengths of different countries across Southeast Asia.
ManyPixels, an on-demand design service, offers a flat subscription fee where users can request unlimited design requests on the platform. Requests can be anything from UI design to infographics, with tasks turned around in tight time-frames with updates every 24 hours.
Once the team had incorporated, it was time to sort out the accounting. “A few months after our incorporation, it was time to find an accountant”, recalls Quentin Gilon, co-founder of ManyPixels.
“We knew from our incorporation that Sleek was providing this service. We emailed a few other accounting services in Singapore, but Sleek’s pricing was more transparent to us. It was easier to see what you got for the price you were paying – like how many transactions, how many people on payroll, things like that.”
Onboarding the accounting team
“There was definitely room for improvement with their accounts”, laughs Mary Ng, Head of Accounting & Tax Compliance at Sleek. “We know that startup life can be messy, especially when you’re first starting out. For example, if you need a bank account, it’s often easiest just to use your own account in the beginning – but you will soon find yourself staring at a nightmare when you start to grow exponentially, and then need to untangle your finances before your investors start screaming.”
Immediately Sleek set to work. “We updated everything in Xero for them and discussed how to optimise their tax position. We also have regular review sessions with them acting as their in-house CFO. Many of our bigger clients are looking for external investment and need their books to be in top form, but often they cannot afford a professional accountant in-house at this stage”, says Mary.
“We also advised them on best practice when it came to things like paying their team. They were using Paypal to process payments, and we provided templates for invoices for their team so that all expenses are properly substantiated for tax deductions.”
“We had a Netherlands bank account, a UK bank account, and a Paypal account – and we were collecting payments in USD. It was kind of “complicated”……..to say the least!”, quipps Quentin.
A responsive relationship with value-add advice
“So far the experience has been really good – mostly due to the fact that the accounting team in Sleek is very responsive. When I need something, I usually receive an answer within 24 hours – usually much quicker than that.”
Quentin adds, “I always message Mary on Whatsapp whenever I have a question – I get an answer right away, any time, any day!”
Bookkeeping with Sleek has become a stress-free process, even with company operations based in Jakarta. After the end of the month, Quentin collates all the receipts and invoices across Stripe and Paypal and puts them in a Dropbox for the Sleek team to access. Sleek’s team then works through the weekend to get everything reconciled in approximately 2-3 days.
The Sleek team also now sits in on a monthly conference call meeting. “We really are like their virtual CFO”, Mary says. “We’re not just here for the compliance – we go the extra mile. We really want to see their business grow and in the right direction.”
Quentin agrees. “The bookkeeping is good – but it’s the advice that is really valuable to me, and the customer support. In a startup, you have a lot of questions, and a lot of the time your first port of call is your accountant. Mary gave us great advice, and put us in contact with local lawyers in Indonesia too. She really went above and beyond to help us with these issues. We have never looked back since.”
“It’s also been helpful having our company secretary and accountant under one roof – I ask something to our accounting team, and they can access the Sleek vault and look for the correct corporate or shareholder documents.”
Business structuring and in-market advisory
Sleek’s experience in Southeast Asia has been beneficial in other ways. For example, Mary – who brings with her substantial years of international experience – was also able to share her experience with young entrepreneurs.
“I’ve spent more than ten years working in Indonesia, so when we were sipping wine in Jakarta one evening and they mentioned they were having challenges with some of their local team, I was able to give them a hand on the local laws and etiquette, and advise on different paths that they should be at looking into.”
The diversity of the Sleek team is also useful from a practical standpoint. “Our assigned bookkeeper, Wiwied is an Indonesian. It’s very useful to us – she can read our receipts and documents which are in bahasa and ensure everything is compliant.”
“Sleek isn’t just our partner for company secretary and accounting – they’ve been invaluable to us as a business partner, providing market experience where they can. I absolutely would recommend the Sleek team, especially Mary, John, and Wiwied”, says Quentin.
It’s the Sleek way to go above and beyond for a business. “My favorite quote is from Think and Grow Rich, and it says, ‘It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed’” says Mary. “Which is why our determination to provide exceptional value for our clients and help them to succeed remains the backbone of our accounting business.”