I recently participated in my first-ever chili cookoff. I've made chili on numerous occasions, sometimes for an entire hockey team of hungry teenage boys, more often just for family and friends. But it wasn't until I added my traditional 85% cacao dark chocolate bar to my chili that I realized how a chili cookoff is eerily similar to developing accounting software.
The key ingredients
As I watched the dark chocolate melt in my bubbling pot of chili, I thought of how accounting software and chili both have their own common ingredients for a final product.
Chili often has tomatoes, beans, peppers and other vegetables, and sometimes meat (chili con carne). Accounting software will often have income and expense transactions, invoicing, a chart of accounts, banking (bank feeds, and bank reconciliations), as well as various reports, like Accounts Payable (Bills to Pay), and the Income Statement (also called Profit & Loss) to name just a few of the main ingredients in accounting software.
To be completely honest, the majority of chili out there tastes pretty similar due to those ingredients above. The same goes with accounting software. The principles of accounting haven't changed, but the way we present those principles has. That's the main reason we make Kashoo with the small business owner in mind — to keep things as easy as possible and avoid using confusing "accounting terms" as much as possible.
Offer something different
Adding a chocolate bar wasn't an experiment. I had made my initial batch of chili too spicy by adding a few too many Poblano peppers. I knew the judges wouldn't think highly of that, so I toned it down with the Lindt chocolate bars, and I also added a generous amount of whiskey and copious amounts of cheese too — for flavour of course!
My chili always includes some chocolate and whiskey though, it's how I try to set my chili apart from others, much like competitors do with accounting software. Wave's accounting software is "free" (without support), and Quickbooks gears itself more towards accountants than non-accounting people. With Kashoo, we pride ourselves on how easy Kashoo is to use, and that you don't need an accountant to do your own books.
"I love your tutorials. Very useful for small business owners.
Plus the program is perfect. Very happy to be out from under Quickbooks. Which had NO customer service. You always answer my questions, and I don't feel like it's a drag for you."
-Jane Z., Kashoo client since 2013
Stand out from the crowd
Apart from being easy to use, Kashoo does offer some top-notch support, something our competitors don't. That's not intended to stir the pot with our competition, it's the honest truth. Kashoo offers phone, email, and in-app chat support. Customer Service still goes a long way, and I took that with me into the chili cookoff.
After toning down my spicy chili I have to admit, I wasn't too impressed with my final product. And as for how it looked — well — let's just say my chili wasn't making the cover of any cooking magazines. So I knew I had to offer something different to stand out.
Pulling a page from the Kashoo handbook, I served up my chili with a smile and a story that would be worthy of the show "How It's Made". My enthusiasm for my chili was noticed, and my lineup was generous for most of the cookoff, garnering several comments and compliments.
And the award for best chili/accounting software goes to...
When it comes to ranking accounting software, we leave it up to sites PC Mag and GetApp, and we take great pride in appearing on those lists. When you go to a chili cookoff you'll see banners and trophies from previous cookoffs. In both worlds, competitors take great pride in their ranking.
If you're wondering how my chili fared, I took home the title of "Best Meat Explosion". Will I display my sash and defend my title next year? Just like Kashoo's accounting software — you can count on it!