Guest bloggers: Henry Arousell and Anders Henriksson
Björn Lundén has long been a trusted provider of accounting and financial services in
Sweden and has developed close relationships with accounting firms in particular. Now
that we’re investing more to help our customers integrate different specialised systems with
us, we want to do this with the same level of focus on quality as we always have done. We
want to leave our stamp of quality on our offering as much as possible so that we make a
genuine difference throughout the entire business journey, from small start-up to major
business. This is where we talk about our thoughts on how we build ecosystems for
businesses and accounting firms and why knowledge of systems and accounting is so
Henry Arousell, CTO and partner, Björn Lundén.
Anders Henriksson, Business Developer, Björn Lundén.
Knowledge of systems and accounting is essential
Henry: We started as a pure knowledge company that published books on finance and
accounting. The step to becoming a state-of-the-art provider of financial systems may
seem like a big one. But it is through our unbeatable access to knowledge that we have
been able to develop reliable software and build good relationships with tens of thousands
of Sweden’s most committed accounting firms and help hundreds of thousands of
businesses manage their finances. The digitisation and automation of accounting has
brought about a series of changes, such as greater demand from individuals to manage their
own finances anytime and anywhere, as easily as possible, and the need to gather
knowledge where you are rather than in book form. With all the knowledge we have and
our systems, we offer a step-change for many customers.
Anders: Yes exactly! Businesses are now wanting to able to automate more manual work
and at the same time they need to use a number of specialised systems for their respective
industries. This requires understanding of the consequences this has for accounting, how
numbers can be used to develop a business and how a well-functioning whole can be built.
However, we don’t believe we have to solve everything ourselves; there are a large number
of smart technological solutions that can make things easier for us and our customers. By
becoming part of Zwapgrid’s network, we can, for example, more easily offer integrations
that automate time-consuming business processes for our customers without doing everything ourselves from scratch. Bringing accounting knowledge and the right
technologies together is an extremely powerful tool.
In-depth partnerships build stability
Henry: We can’t do everything ourselves. What we can do is invest in deeper partnerships to
offer better overall solutions. The fact that an integration is available in our marketplace
should be a mark of quality. To achieve this, we will, among other things, have common
SLAs so that we have a shared idea of ambition levels and can deliver on these for our
Anders: Think of a best practice for, say, integrations. It benefits everyone and saves a lot of
time and hassle that otherwise easily arises when many systems and people are involved.
Going forward, we’d rather have a small number of close collaborations with our suppliers
than many different ones. The goal, of course, is for it to make it as beneficial as possible for
businesses that use Björn Lundén and for accounting firms that help them. Through our
partnership with Zwapgrid, and a professional approach to technology and accounting, we
create the right conditions for ecosystems formed around businesses’ finances to deliver
more value and really make it easier to succeed as an entrepreneur or accounting firm.
From left: Henry Arousell (BL), Manne Sandler (ZG) Anders
Henriksson (BL), Niklas Köhlmark (ZG), Erik Södermark (BL), Magnus Serratusell Wallin (ZG) och Leo Berghald (ZG). Photo credit: Josefine Engström (BL).
Efficiency is not something we can opt out of
Henry: Many accounting firms have switched from hourly charges to charging on a
monthly basis. Often this has been a way to meet expectations from their customers and
make it easier for potential customers to buy their services. In order for this to be profitable,
businesses must be able to automate processes that have previously generated ongoing
hourly revenue and instead show that they can contribute value during a business’s journey
in several ways. In addition, they need to be good at explaining this value and paying for it.
Of course, it is a change for many who are used to managing more repetitive tasks and
reporting hours. Now they have to think about this, and we’re investing in facilitating it
through system functionality and training.
Anders: This efficiency drive is not something that just happened overnight. Businesses
simply have different needs and this in turn is due to the fact that they have to deal with an
increasingly fast-moving market and the emergence of technology that automates manual
work. The ability to be efficient is simply crucial to everything. As a systems supplier, this
affects us at least as much as businesses and accounting firms. We need to be an enabler
of more efficient working processes and find more ways to contribute value – this is a survival factor that should not be underestimated.
Integrations make it possible to help businesses throughout their growth journey.
Henry: Having an open API and offering integration opportunities isn’t an optional extra or a
“nice to have” – it’s a must. Our customers now demand solutions that are relevant and that
work with the systems that are most important to them. Our focus on this increases our
“stickiness”: it is simply more relevant to stay and grow with us. In addition to the fact that
it is necessary to offer this to our existing customers, it also increases our opportunities to
help businesses that are growing. Where we previously found it more difficult to help
businesses throughout their entire business journey, even when they grew, we see
considerable opportunities to expand our offering through links to several of the most
Anders: When we talk about systems, it’s best to tell it like it is. Unlike many accounting
firms, most businesses aren’t madly in love with their accounting software – it just has to
work. However, many businesses have more feelings and commitment to, for example, their
e-commerce platform. We’re now striving to create a combination of their favourite
systems and Björn Lundén into a positive experience that genuinely simplifies their daily
lives. This helps build good relationships between us, accounting firms, and businesses.
Businesses will choose accounting firms that understand integrations
Henry: If you chose an accounting firm in the past because it’s close to your business’s
premises or where you live, we are now seeing that geographical proximity is losing
importance. On the other hand, the demand for accounting firms that really understand
their customers’ financial ecosystems and are clear about it is increasing. In order to be
selectable and deliver value, accounting firms must know which systems are best, be able
to recommend which ones should be used, set up integrations between them and at the
same time be able to contribute knowledge about accounting and finance that drive
customers’ business development.
Anders: I’d also like to take this opportunity to mention that there are many people who
want flexibility. They want to be able to choose for themselves whether to use an
accounting firm or manage their finances themselves. We’re seeing that about half of
smaller businesses now want to be able to manage everything themselves for a couple of
years before entering into a relationship with a specific firm. When they then want to find
the right firm, they need to easily get in touch with the firms that understand how they have
set up their finances. It is an exciting area where we can really make a difference by making
it easier for businesses to find the right firms through Björn Lundén. We can offer the
matchmaking of the future between companies and accounting firms by, for example,
seeing which systems they use and knowing which firms already have a handle on these.
Henry: If we were to look into the crystal ball from a business perspective, it will be more
important to choose a firm that, in addition to having good knowledge of accounting,
understands your systems, your industry and your integrations, rather than having an office
Quality-assured accounting of the future
Anders: Last but not least, I’d like to say that it is by constantly striving to ensure the quality
of our technologies, partnerships, such as integrations through Zwapgrid, and knowledge of
finance and accounting that we can make life easier for accounting firms and their clients.
We really believe in our safe model and look positively on the future.