Gustav Handmark - EasyTax
Gustav Handmark - EasyTax #1
Describe the idea:
My friend and I are developing a web application for automating tax forms and declaration of taxes for small business owners. There are numerous accounting services who provide continuous accounting and bookkeeping. These services will also provide you with a complete solution for annual reports and finalizing your taxes – at a steep price. Our goal is to target smaller businesses, where the process can be automated, at a greatly reduced price.
Who are you? Previous education/jobs/ experiences etc.
I have just finished my fourth year in Law at Lunds University and next term I am also starting my fourth year in Industrial engineering and management at LTH. While my previous experience in web-development is fairly limited, I love the experience of learning new things. My background in Law along with my friend’s background in computer science creates a perfect toolbox for this project.
What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?
We will work towards creating an alpha-version of our service and, as it is critical that our platform provides accurate and correct results, we will be focusing primarily on development and testing. If we succeed in a functional prototype by the end of summer we will be focusing on finding potential customers who wants to participate in testing the service.
What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?
As previously said, we expect that we will have an alpha-version available for some selected members to try out. As our service is especially useful during the spring (when the declaration of taxes is due) we will focus on extensive testing with previously submitted tax forms to ensure that our application produces the correct results. We are also looking at this as a perfect opportunity to learn and gain valuable experience.
Tell us what you have done on your projects so far during the Leapfrogs time:
We have spent a lot of time developing our platform where programming the backend and creating a user-friendly website has been a priority. During the past weeks we have been doing plenty of market research and we started enlisting a few selected users for testing purposes. As we started this project early this summer, we have had to build everything from scratch and we still have plenty of work to do. However, we have been making steady progress and an alpha release in August is definitely achievable.
Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected?
We have revised our original plan regarding development decisions and user interaction. In some ways we have had to redirect our focus to building a platform that is more user-friendly and less complicated. We have based this on feedback we have received and data we have gathered that suggests that the competing services are difficult to use. When we started the project, the programming took more time than we originally thought. This is mainly because we’ve had to learn numerous new frameworks, both backend and frontend.
What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way?
As previously stated we still have plenty of work to do, we are focusing on developing the backend and rigorously testing it. To ensure that the frontend is as user-friendly as possible we are also focusing on finding more early users to test the product and provide feedback. However, this won’t be prioritized until the end of August when we have a working alpha version.
How did you experience the three months?
I’m very glad that I’ve had the chance to be a part of the leapfrog programme and while everything hasn’t been a smooth ride, it has certainly been very educational. We’ve been able to come a long way during these months and will continue to work on our project for the rest of the autumn.
What has been hardest/most enjoyable?
I found that working on your own project for a longer period of time, where you are solely responsible for the results is both challenging and very rewarding. I am also very happy that I’ve had the opportunity to do this with a team.
The hardest part has definitely been prioritizing our work and focusing on what is actually going to make a difference.
Did it go as expected? Will you continue working on your project in the future?
We underestimated the amount of time it would require to program the server stack as well as the client side. We’ve had some previous experience with programming but we opted to learn to use new tools, which initially had a high learning curve. However, we’re on track and will continue to work on the project during the autumn.
What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?
Think good and hard on what you want to do, and make sure you do some prior research. We started designing and building our project almost directly, and we had to re-evaluate and prioritize a lot as we went on. Changes you make in a later stage is very time consuming, try to see this earlier. Find a team or someone to work with, it makes all the difference!
Do you have any tips to other ”new” entrepreneurs?
Prioritize and start small, build only what you need and focus on getting customers/clients onboard early.