Designed for small business owners who don't feel like paying the $9.95 monthly fee for Intuit's single-user QuickBooks Online Basic accounting software, Ubikwiti is offering a free, "no strings" software as a service for SMBs, hosted on U.S.-based Amazon.com servers, as an alternative.
The use of the "no strings" moniker is to point out Intuit's Small Business Stimulus Program with "Totally Free Software" only covers Simple Start Free Edition and not Online Basic. Ubikwiti says its SAAS offering, Online Software for SMBs, promises to be completely free of charge to customers while simultaneously offering plenty of features and user-friendly functionality.
"It is simple, intuitive and easy to use. Neither accounting knowledge nor technical programming skills are required to set up and customize the software," says Ubikwiti CEO Tim Loving. "Ubikwiti's Online Software for SMBs is a realistic alternative to QuickBooks Online Basic, with the notable exception that Ubikwiti Online Software for SMBs is free."
However, Sharna Brockett, Inuit's public relations manager, said the company does offer a free version of QuickBooks Online that is part of Inuit's Small Business United campaign. She says it will continue to be free after the campaign.
Ubikwiti's software offers services to manage customers and customer-related activities, as well as vendors and vendor-related activities. In addition, full financial reports are available, including profit and loss reports and balance sheets. A base time zone can be set to ensure consistency of reports and operations across multiple time zones.
Loving notes Online Software for SMBs' screens, business forms and reports are also customizable by SMB end users by means of Ubikwiti's DIY-GUI toolkit, as well as application navigation settings. The DIY-Configuration toolkit makes it possible to further simplify the software by removing unnecessary components, which are replaceable at any time. End-users can upgrade or add vertical market and other optional components and packagesfrom Ubikwiti's Online U-KwikShop.
Ubikwiti is also trying to convince midmarket companies that "free" and "secure" aren't mutually exclusive. The company's software provides SSL for transactions to ensure private information is protected, and says information exchanged with any address beginning with https is encrypted using SSL before transmission.
But granting access to a free product also means offering an unsatisfied customer a reasonable period of time to devise an exit strategy. Ubikwiti says if a midmarket company decides to terminate the Ubikwiti subscription for any reason, Ubikwiti's servers will preserve the company's data for a retention period of three months. During the retention period, SMB owners will be able to access their data and print reports; however, they will not be able to enter new transactions.