The Bee LLC has launched a cloud-based accounting system that offers Web-based invoice and expense management tools for small businesses and donates a portion of its profits to the conservation of honeybees.

Known simply as The Bee, the product is designed so small businesses can get paid, generate professional invoices and get an income statement or profitability report. The primary cost of the service is free for the first month, then $14 per month after that, of which $0.25 is donated to fund honeybee research at Penn State University and University of California-Berkeley.

“I have an accounting background and, in speaking with small businesses, I kept hearing how they were having problems using QuickBooks and I thought, there is no reason they needed to be doing this kind of accounting said Bee LLC chief executive Scott Miller. “They need to get paid, they need professional invoices, a handle on accounts receivable, and to get a profitability report and not in hours but minutes. With QB, there is also a horrific upgrade cycle and the benefit of going with a cloud solution is you don’t have to worry about that.”

Miller, a former owner of The Treadstone Group, a reseller of Macola ERP software, was also a professor of entrepreneurship at Miami University in Ohio. He claims he had been speaking to small businesses for years about what their “biggest pains” were, and more often than not it was learning and using software recommended by their CPAs.

As for the honeybees, Miller claims that funding research to help prevent their extinction was “not an afterthought,” but something that came at the beginning of the company’s lifecycle.

“Many months ago before even launching the company I searched around to find what our mascot or logo would be,” he said. “I thought, ‘bees are busy,’ and I liked that idea and I had seen a lot about the plight of the honeybee and how they are close to being endangered. Haagen Dazs has a very big awareness effort behind that. I looked more into it and found that one third of our fruit and vegetable harvest depends on the honeybee, so that really hit home for me.”

Miller hopes to raise awareness for his company and cause via social networking channels and referrals, for which there are “financial incentives” for users.

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