Scottsdale, Ariz. — In a year that saw CPA2Biz launch both a payroll and a small business banking program, the online marketing and product services portal of the American Institute of CPAs reported that it is trending toward becoming “cash-flow positive” for its 2005 fiscal year, ending June 30, 2005.
“We said last year that CPA2Biz would have a break-even cash flow in FY2004,” and “we’re delivering on that,” CPA2Biz chief executive Erik Asgeirsson told attendees at the AICPA’s Spring meeting of Council, here.
“We’ve had 5,000 firms enroll in our Business Solutions Program [the umbrella for the site’s recently launched payroll and banking services] and that has produced about 6,000 client referrals,” Asgeirsson told Council members. He added that there are 50,000 site searches on average conducted each month on the site.
Over the past six months, CPA2Biz partnered with national provider Paychex for its payroll program, and with financial services conglomerate Chase for its banking offerings for small businesses.
Asgeirsson added that the portal has implemented several new site enhancements, including Intelligent Search, which is an upgraded search engine, and Dynamic Store, a database of customer purchases that groups and reports similar transactions by purchasers, much like the one deployed by online bookseller Amazon.com.
The news marks a reversal of the early stages of the three-year-old Web portal, in which the AICPA holds a 52.7 percent ownership stake. The project had suffered heavy losses during its first years in operation, and at one point the “burn rate” was rumored to be near $1 million a month.
In fact, the institute’s 2001-2002 annual report noted that the site had accumulated losses of $80 million — which culminated in a “going concern” opinion in its financials.
In addition, the portal had undergone a series of staff reductions, several suspect acquisitions, such as a $4 million purchase of Capital Professional Advisors — an agreement that ended 18 months later — and had failed to secure what was then viewed as a critical agreement for member services with the state societies.
Last year, CPA2Biz assembled a seven-member Customer Advisory Panel of CPAs to provide feedback to management on such issues as product offerings, Web usability and customer service.
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