New innovatorAES GlobalSoftware
Launching a new business during a recession may not seem like perfect timing, but Ashley Whittaker, founder of AES Global Software, says the current climate is ideal.
“We are rolling out an expenses management solution at a time when companies are more cost conscious than ever,” he explains.
“A recession is actually a very good time to start up because your business model can’t be flaky in any way. It’s got to have real value or you won’t even get a first hearing.”
Whittaker has an accountancy and tax background and set up AES in Trim, Co Meath, in 2011 with assistance from the Meath County Enterprise Board and Micro Finance Ireland.
The company employs 17 people (including 10 in India) and Whittaker estimates the cost of bringing the software to market at about ¤250,000.
This was mainly funded from personal resources including support from friends and family. It took 18 months to develop the cloud-based product, which went on sale in November last year.
“Our product can save organisations between 20 and 40 per cent on the cost of processing expenses in-house and around 5 per cent on their overall expenses spend as our system enforces the company’s expenses policy impartially,” Whittaker says.
“It goes to the heart of where companies’ minds are at the moment – their cost base. Processing expense claims, particularly in large, multinational organisations (our main target market) is costly and time consuming. It is an activity that lends itself to outsourcing.”
Companies use the AES software on a “pay as you go” basis and once installed it can be used in all of the organisation’s satellite offices. Employees submit their claims to AES where they are processed and audited in accordance with the company’s stated expenses policy.
Claims are then returned to the appropriate line manager for sign off. Companies lodge funds at an agreed level with AES on a weekly or monthly basis to cover the cost of the claims.
Whittaker says the majority of the estimated 50 jobs the company will create in Ireland within the next five years will be in the treasury area managing clients’ money.
Whittaker adds that one of the other key advantages of the AES product is that it keeps companies tax compliant in the area of expenses.
“I come from a tax background and am aware of the issues that can arise if any aspect of the process is not handled correctly,” he says.
“Our system is designed for global use and its tax compliance aspect is linked to local requirements. We have a lot of experience in this area built up over many years and know our potential market very well.”