Standard Ledger works with technology-driven startup companies. A niche-focused accounting firm, the organisation works closely with its sister company, General Standards, a startup-focused legal firm. As startup operators themselves over the last 10 years, Remco Marcelis, founder of Standard Ledger, and Kurt Falkenstein, founder of General Standards, really “get” startups and provide them with all the accounting and legal they need to be compliant.
“We do this by taking care of the basics of what companies need – establishment, bookkeeping, tax and so on so that things are set up right and managed right and so that founders can concentrate on what they need to be doing, which is building, selling, delivering, and facilitating their ‘first money’ into their business,” says Marcelis. “We also help them access R&D tax incentives, prepare financial models that support fundraising activities, and provide ongoing ‘CFO insights’ into how to manage their business.”
The idea to launch the companies came about when it was realised that no ‘legal’ or ‘finance’ people operationally ‘got’ startups. Most were trained to have a small business mentality. General Standards was the first of the two to launch in 2013, followed by Standard Ledger in early 2015.
To date, the entire operation has been bootstrapped – typical for a services-based business. Having said that, a raise could be on the cards in a year or so, but purely to support rapid market growth of the company.
Right now, when it comes to a client’s accounting acquisition, Standard Ledger has been quite proactive, partnering with organisations like The Hub Australia, sponsoring Startup Weekend, and mentoring with The Founder Institute. Marcelis also lectures on entrepreneurship to students at Swinburne and Adelaide University, teaches at General Assembly, and gives quarterly Financial Intelligence workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide.
“The ‘just focused on startups’ strategy means we’re razor-focused on the type of our clients; we know how to find them and provide a valuable service,” says Marcelis. “No ‘normal’ accountants have the depth of startup experience we can offer. Plus our learning materials are a valuable resource and act as a magnet [for new clients].”
One of the most important aspects that Marcelis focuses on in his accounting firm is the R&D Tax Incentive.
“With most other sources of government funding cut off, it is even more important than ever as a source of early stage funding for startups,” says Marcelis. “It is great to leverage the R&D Tax Incentive with investor funds, as it helps early stage investors de-risk their investment.”
As an accountant, Marcelis says that his job is to guide his startup clients through what they need to think about in the year ahead while they’re developing their product.
“We need to help startups explain their plans in a way that ‘tells the story’ to support access to the R&D Tax Incentive. As part of our monthly service, we ensure that source records are captured easily along the way so we’re audit-ready,” he says.
“As a communication platform, Nifty Forms helps us efficiently manage the collection of information and provides us a direct channel to the expert resources of PwC. As experts in R&D Tax, they’ve been very responsive and supportive in helping us help our startups access this very important source of startup funding.”
Focusing on startups means that Standard Ledger is representing brands that plan to succeed, scale, and be big. The partnership with PwC | Nifty Forms adds a degree of authority to their clients when pitching for investment.