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From desktop to cloud: Evangelising cloud accounting in Malaysia

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Shermin Oh

Mar 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many businesses are run all over the world. While the Malaysian economy has been particularly hard-hit, Alfred Ang, Founder and CEO of Malaysian cloud accounting implementor CALTRiX, remains confident about his business’ survival. A former desktop accounting software distributor, Alfred discovered Xero’s cloud accounting software as early as 2015 when cloud was still a relatively new concept for many. Alfred foresaw how the cloud would play a critical role in the future of business and took an early plunge – he’s not looked back since. 

An accounting platform to suit a variety of business types

“In my previous experience selling accounting software, I gained some insight into the pain points of most SMEs in Malaysia,” Alfred explains. “Upon research, I found Xero to be capable of meeting the accounting needs for a wide range of industries. With 800 integrated apps to choose from in the app marketplace, I could see unlimited possibilities for improving productivity, not just within the accounting department, but across other business processes as well.”

Noting that API integration is still not a key feature in most leading local accounting software today, Alfred recalls a time when SMEs would typically invest in an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) package meant for bigger entities, even though it cost six figures in Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). To Alfred, the cloud’s biggest differentiator is its flexibility – the ability to connect and build up a ‘tech stack’ suited exactly for any particular business, industry and its phase of growth.

Making accounting cool again

Alfred admits to have become a self-professed ‘cloud evangelist’ who has gone all-in with Xero over the years. “In Malaysia, accounting has a reputation for being boring. The cloud has allowed us to differentiate CALTRiX as technology advisors for businesses. I personally get so excited about the ability to integrate a suite of business apps that can help transform day-to-day business workflow. All in all, we now have a great opportunity to help our clients enjoy efficiencies and improved workflows by recommending better solutions to them.” 

Among the apps loved by CALTRiX are Hubdoc, a document collection and management software; and Xero Expenses, which helps users process financial transactions like claim submissions. As Malaysia’s first partner for Talenox, he also counts the cloud-based HR software as a popular choice among his clients due to its user-friendliness. Outside of accounting, CALTRiX further adds value to clients by integrating other key business apps with the accounting suite, namely Hubspot and Mailchimp.

A bespoke service beyond debits and credits

Currently, CALTRiX works with over 50 SMEs and start-ups across Malaysia, with ambitions to expand internationally. Alfred attributes CALTRiX’s triumph over competition to the end-to-end service he offers. No one client is the same – the CALTRiX team starts every client engagement with a ‘discovery call’ to gain a deeper understanding of every business, mapping out a digitalisation roadmap and providing real-time financial data to enable better decision-making. As a Xero partner, CALTRiX is recognised as an expert in Xero through the training and education offered as part of Xero’s partner programme benefits.

CALTRiX’s clients claim a 10%-30% improvement in productivity following the implementation of Xero. “With desktop software, owners and managers typically do not have access to review or monitor all the accounts within their own company. With Xero, on the other hand, all they need to do is log in to take action with immediate effect. Everything is streamlined, and everybody is on the same page,” Alfred says.

Many businesses still stuck in the old mindset cite cost as a barrier for moving to cloud, but Alfred proves otherwise. “When our clients adopt Xero, they no longer need to invest in desktop servers, resulting in savings of up to MYR 7,000 per client. Although desktop servers are the cheapest to implement compared to larger servers, Xero allows for unlimited users and can be accessed using any device, making it a more worthwhile investment.”

Building clout with the cloud

As organisations continue to adapt to the ‘new normal’, Alfred is optimistic about the proliferation of cloud technology in the Malaysian SME market. Buoyed by the increasing adoption of Xero internationally and positive returns for businesses who digitise, he foresees a ripple effect locally. 

“A lot of people think of digitalisation as a quick and easy process, but we like to think of it as a marathon, not a sprint! COVID-19 was a wake-up call for businesses to go digital, and having taken the leap early on, CALTRiX now has a competitive advantage. We are currently in talks with a few local software developers and supporting them with what they need to integrate with Xero. Coupled with more comprehensive grant plans from the Malaysian government, we hope that SMEs will enjoy better returns on their investment.”

A better way of working for a better world

The rise of remote working during the pandemic has also strengthened Alfred’s resolve to prioritise a cause that Xero aligns with. Citing gender equality as one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that CALTRiX embraces, he believes that technology will empower women – the majority of the accounting workforce – to enjoy a greater degree of flexibility and balance in their lives. 

As he looks back on his journey with Xero so far, Alfred is grateful for the dedication and persistence of his small team, underlining the importance of shared beliefs. Crediting Xero for the cost savings, productivity levels, and cultural health of his own company, he is excited about the future – not just for CALTRiX, but the industry as a whole. “At the end of the day, the real winner will be the SMEs. I hope that our common vision with Xero will allow us to create a positive impact in the community and industry, together.”

A Xero Silver Partner in Malaysia, CALTRiX is Xero Certified and listed on the Xero Advisor Directory. Click here to learn more.

Start your practice on the digital journey by partnering with Xero. Learn more about Xero’s partner programme and sign up here.

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