One of the ways people use, to categorise apps is to refer to them as horizontal or vertical. Saying an app is horizontal means we believe it works across most industries. A solution like Receipt Bank, a supplier bills and expense scanning solution, which extracts the information pushes it into your online accounting solution. That typically is going to work for most businesses, because most businesses have bills and receipts in it.

But then you’ll have a vertical app, which works in a very niche industry. And I very much encourage people to consider working in a niche industry. For instance, something like this. If say you are an accounting practice, and you are specialising in self-managed super funds, you would work with something like BGL Simple Fund 360, which an online accounting solution with all the bells and whistles, specifically for self-managed super funds. If that was your niche, then that’d be an example of an app that would work in that particular area. You may also work with ballet schools. And if you always work for ballet schools, you might look at an app like Mind Body, which is very good for classes, teachers, managing bookings from people coming through, and can assist you in that particular way. In each individual industry, such as tradies, or retail, bricks and mortar shops, ecommerce stores, construction, there’s lots of different vertical apps that work in that area. And what I would recommend to people who are considering this, and feeling overwhelmed, is I would pull back and identify an industry that’s of interest to you,  to identify apps that you can work within that industry, and just focus on learning those apps.

I was speaking to a bookkeeper the other day. And she said that, by doing that she took her rate from $30 an hour $250 an hour by focusing – by moving away from bookkeeping, and focusing on inventory app solutions, which is an astonishing growth in your hourly rate. But what she did was she focused on inventory. The niche industry is inventory, but that could sort of sit in e-commerce, or retail stores. And many bookkeepers have the ability to deal in the sort of detail that’s required in that sort of specialist area.

Will there be a shift away from horizontal apps, towards vertical apps?

Vertical apps, or the niche industry apps, need to see a commercially viable opportunity to move into that area. And until they see that, then then it’s not going to be viable for them to explore that. It’s always dangerous just to build something and assume they will come

Accountants and Bookkeepers can waste a lot of time if you try and deal with everything. And you’ll find it overwhelming. If you focus on a niche, it makes making decisions a lot easier.

And people know that you are the specialist – Ah, this is the lady who works for the dental industry. If a dental client comes across my desk, I’m going to forward it to her. Plus, she focuses her marketing efforts and just speaks at the dental conferences. Plus, she has deep, deep relationships with any tech solution that’s relevant for the dental industry. Plus, she speaks the language for dental solutions and dental people. She is so much further ahead in dealing with that sort of particular area, than a generalist would be. And it’s going to be simpler, if you can make that decision, it’s going to make your business a lot simpler.