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Free app ‘aims to put a tax accountant in your pocket’

Technology

The Tax App seeks to improve access to accounting by offering services that cost users “half of your weekly grocery bill” for free.

By Christine Chen 11 minute read

A chartered accountant who quit his job at JP Morgan has developed an app to make basic accounting services free to everyday taxpayers who baulk at the cost of services offered by Xero and QuickBooks.

Farhad Gul launched Tax App six months ago and runs a small accounting firm of the same name.

According to Mr Gul, the app recently passed 1,000 sign-ups and is the only one of its kind that was “completely free” running without ads.

“If you can find a free app, there’s an ad popping up in your face every two seconds,” he said. “We don’t do that. It costs us money to run the app but we want to do it for people, to give them a solution.”

Mr Gul, who started his career in public practice, said that he founded Tax App to give back to the community amid a cost-of-living crisis.

“I enjoy public practice. Helping everyday Australians and small businesses is where I find my peace. And that’s why I’m doing everything that I can to give them the best service available.”

“One driver for me is the cost of living. Even if you look at Xero or QuickBooks subscriptions, that’s probably half of your weekly grocery bill.”

“Because of the cost, a lot of people put their finances on the side and they just think that somehow this problem will disappear. We’re giving them an option that is completely free and easy to use, and once it’s time to lodge a larger tax return, we have all the data to make things easier.”

He described the app as a “pocket accountant” which offered bookkeeping features, income and expense tracking, invoice issuing, a financial statement generator and a digital car logbook.

Mr Gul said he used his own experience starting a business to inform the app’s development.

“It’s just me and my wife, Alesha. We are a small business ourselves, in the same stage of getting on our feet. And we are totally local, totally Australian. We don’t outsource anything overseas,” he said.

“We understand the small businesses that are out there starting out or struggling because we are in the same boat.”

Mr Gul, who does not have a coding background, said he was determined to develop the app himself and built it through “trial and error” and by following YouTube tutorials in his free time.

“It’s constantly being developed,” he said. “Every couple of months, there’s a new thing that customers ask or that someone tells me that it would be a good solution for the app. 

“Recently, for example, a customer said she was still drafting invoices from a Word document and sending it to their customers. And it just occurred to me: ‘Why don’t I add an invoice creator in the app?’”

He said he had “unrealistic” goals for Tax App to be widely used and for his firm to become the number one accounting firm, providing a holistic offering to businesses.

“The truth is people won’t blindly trust an app, so we communicate with our users, contact them through our email and marketing channels and slowly build trust.”

“Right now they are unrealistic goals, but you have to look at the top of the ladder before finding it, so you know where you’re aiming for!”

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Christine Chen

Christine Chen

AUTHOR

Christine Chen is a graduate journalist at Accountants Daily and Accounting Times, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting sector.

Previously, Christine has written for City Hub, the South Sydney Herald and Honi Soit. She has also produced online content for LegalVision and completed internships at EY and Deloitte.

Christine has a commerce degree from the University of Western Australia and is studying a Juris Doctor degree at the University of Sydney. 

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