founders: Ane Ohm and undisclosed partner
founded: October 2017
Product: Lease accounting software
goal: Get clients on the platform
experience: Ohm holds a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Wisconsin. She was previously chief executive officer of HarQen, and before that president at LaserNet and vice president at Pinstripe and Strong Financial Services. She recently acquired Hartford-based staffing agency Staffing Support Specialists.
In 2019, new standards will be rolled out that make the process of accounting for business leases more complicated. CPA firms are beginning to prepare for the change, and Ane Ohm has developed a software platform to assist them.
“Given the complications of what they are coming out with, you need to have a system in place,” Ohm said.
The new rule applies to all companies that abide by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, she said.
“The present value of those future lease payments all are a liability you have to have on your books,” Ohm said. “That can have a pretty big impact on an organization.”
Together with an unnamed co-founder, Ohm developed the LeaseCrunch Software-as-a-Service platform for CPA firms implementing the new standard. It will be sold in a monthly subscription model, she said.
“If you saw the calculations, it would be virtually impossible to do this in a spreadsheet and have it be accurate,” she said. “We’re designing this to be very easy to use.”
The LeaseCrunch platform has a wizard that guides the accountant through properly categorizing each lease, evaluating the terms of each lease, and providing the correct footnote disclosures.
By selling the product to CPA firms, LeaseCrunch can target companies with fewer than 2,000 leases, a niche its competitors aren’t targeting.
Ohm and her co-founder have self-funded the company so far, and hope to keep it that way.
LeaseCrunch launched in mid-March, and its founders have now turned to securing CPA firm clients and helping those firms roll the new processes out to their customers.
“Of all the CPA firms we’ve talked to so far, every single one of them has said, ‘Wow, this is the tool we need.’ We seem to have developed something for which there’s a real need in the marketplace,” Ohm said.
And with her previous startup experience, Ohm said she knows when a potential customer sees value in the product.
“You’ve got to be very careful about how you take in feedback and what you consider to be really true,” she said. “I have learned it the hard way multiple times over, so bringing that experience to this organization has been really valuable.”