The challenge: Why should entrepreneurs mess with their accounting routine?
What they did: Quickbooks was once the default for small businesses looking for accounting software. But scrappy upstart Xero seems to be pulling in customers with its streamlined, web-based accounting software integrated with ADP payroll services. (Sales, the company says, doubled to $15.5 million during the year ended March 2012.) Users can set up accounts to automatically reflect their bank, PayPal, and credit card transactions. And it's cheap: $29 a month covers unlimited users. One secret, says Jamie Sutherland, president of U.S. operations in San Francisco: Xero (backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel) offers free practice-management tools to accountants so that they'll recommend it to their clients.
It's not easy getting parents to go with a new, and not yet trusted, babysitting service.