Yorkshire-based Liquid Accounts Ltd, a pioneer of Cloud Accounting in the UK, has successfully raised equity investment nearing £1 million in order to further its position as a market-leader in the fast-growing field of online accounting software (also known as Cloud Computing, or Software as a Service – SaaS).  The company raised the funding by selling an 18% stake to a syndicate of prominent local business angels, with a further 12% being match-funded by the Government’s flagship fund for women-led businesses, The Aspire Fund.    

The money will help the company open up new routes to market, allow it to focus on developing its sales and marketing activity, and fully exploit the growing demand for cost-effective and time-saving SaaS applications amongst small and medium-sized businesses.  The private investors, 3 of whom are joining the Board, will also bring with them a wealth of expertise and experience in running software and web technology companies, and in accounting.

Richard Doyle, Technology Entrepreneur, Angel Investor and now Chair of Liquid, said:

I was introduced to the team at Liquid Accounts through my work with Connect Yorkshire and was immediately impressed. Since conception in 2005, they have developed a superb, extensive, yet easy to use ‘on-line’ accounting solution with 3438 programmes and over 1 million lines of code. Pre-investment they have already managed to attract hundreds of  customers, and over 150 accountancy and bookkeeping practices, and win several high-profile awards’.

‘The use of software over the internet using a web browser (Software as a Service or SaaS as the industry prefers to call it) is undoubtedly the way forward as it offers users many benefits over the conventional ‘on-premise’ alternative with the large  purchase and installation costs and the very tangible and intangible costs of support, backups and upgrades’.

‘With the Liquid Accounts solution all a user needs is a web browser and from as little as £20 per month users have a comprehensive accounting system that truly competes with the big brands. It actually is technology utopia in that users can access it anytime, anywhere, 24 x 7. Users also never again need to worry about an upgrade or backup as this is all done automatically on the resilient host servers.’

Co-founded by Lisa Kendrick, Jon Wright and Matthew Holmes, Liquid has a rapidly expanding customer base and an established bank of reputable accountancy firms who use the Liquid Accounts system to improve service to their clients. Especially targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises but with a flexible package that can be tailored to suit any size of business, Liquid’s software solution has a reputation for being easy to use, attractively priced, and accompanied by excellent customer service. 

Pre-investment the company had already gained industry-wide acclaim; featuring in the Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Guide to Online Accounting, earning glowing reviews from specialist groups like AccountingWeb, and winning several high profile awards including Best Web-Hosted Accounting Software and runner-up for Best Small Business Accounting Software at the Software Satisfaction Awards.  MD, Matt Holmes is a recognised expert in the field of online software and is Chair of the Cloud Computing Special Interest Group for the Software Developers’ Association (BASDA).

Marketing Director, Lisa Kendrick, who, as one of the founders and owners of the company, attracted the support of The Aspire Fund, said:

‘We are delighted to have been able to raise this funding in such difficult economic times. We believe that this is a testament to the quality of our software and the unique team behind it. The money will open up new routes to market, and enable us to focus on developing our sales and marketing activity and furthering our position as a market-leader in this new and exciting field: we have already won the Software Satisfaction Award for Best Web-Hosted Accounting Software, been runner-up in the Best Small Business Accounting Software category, and featured in the Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Guide to Online Accounting.’

‘Our focus will be on building relationships with young, ambitious accountancy firms who are looking for ways to grow their practices and offer a better service to their clients, and working with strategic partners to offer the benefits of Liquid direct to their customers at an affordable price.’     

‘There is an assumption that anything on-line must be a simple, cut-down version of the desk-top equivalent, however our software is the next generation of ‘Cloud Accounting’. Not only does it do what traditional software does but it offers real money-saving and time-saving business benefits, and can be tailored to suit each individual business – a bit like tailoring your digital TV, phone or broadband package to suit your lifestyle. That’s why we have clients ranging from Ebay shops to multi-nationals all using the same version of our software.’

Commenting on this investment for Capital For Enterprise Ltd, Melanie Perkins, Lead Manager of the Aspire Fund, said:

‘Liquid Accounts is an outstanding example of technology revolutionising the business landscape and we are delighted to be able to support the Liquid team as they continue to grow the company.’

Liquid Accounts MD, Matt Holmes said:

‘We’d like to thank Connect Yorkshire who introduced us to our lead investor and Chairman, Richard Doyle, and business mentor, Denis Kaye, who introduced us to The Aspire Fund and has held our hands throughout the investment process.  We’d also like to thank our lawyers, Milners, based in Leeds who went beyond the call of duty, kept us supplied with Cadbury’s Roses and coffee, and tackled everything that was thrown at them with good humour and professionalism.’

Leeds-based, The Needle Partnership acted on behalf of the private investors, whilst S J Berwin acted on behalf of The Aspire Fund.