Budgeting & Forecasting.

Budgeting & Forecasting

Simplifying Budgeting and Cashflow Forecasting.

Overview

Calxa is the leading budgeting and cashflow forecasting software for Small Businesses and Not-for-Profits throughout Australia and New Zealand. It saves time, is easy to use and delivers professional reports in a fraction of the time used in spreadsheets.

The Calxa difference:

  • Shortcuts. Apply shortcuts to multiple lines, whole budgets or individual fields and watch the totals automatically update.
  • Multiple budget versions. Unlike spreadsheets, multiple budget versions are easy to manage. Just copy budgets from one version to another and report on any version. Effortlessly compare approved budgets to current forecasts each month.
  • Report templates. Select from over 40 report templates. Easy to interpret reports for non-accountants. Forecast Cashflow and Balance Sheet, compare budgets to actual and report on KPIs. Popular reports such as ‘Where Did Our Money Go?’ answer many questions.
  • File management. Store data locally with SQL Server or online with Microsoft Azure.
  • Automated updates. Software Updates are available every 6-8 weeks and are easily downloaded when you next open the software.
  • Project budgeting. Simplify the budgets for your programs and projects. Easily maintain monthly budgets and reports by department, project or manager.
  • Budget factory. Create next year’s budgets for dozens of projects in just a couple of minutes. Use it to save time on any bulk updates to your budgets.
  • Customisable reports. Select from over 40 report templates. Use the built-in report designer to add/remove columns, add a logo or change fonts and colours.
  • Account trees. Simply re-arrange and group your accounts to produce the reports you need without complex spreadsheets. Management reports and grant acquittals will take no time at all.
  • KPI calculations. Use any of the existing ratios or use the KPI editor to calculate your own—EBIT, overdraft interest and expected income tax are just some of the possibilities.

Solution

Business value

Calxa uses accounting system data as actual and lets users to edit and calculate budgets and cashflow forecasts. Calxa executes calculations and generate highly customizable reports. Our product aim is to build software to make complex things simple. Different business people should be able to see their company data in different wished projections.

Project interesting facts:

  • We are developing Calxa project for 8 years from early 2008.
  • 100s of organisations, generally from small and middle business are happy to use Calxa products.
  • Calxa products are decomposed to 100+ projects in solution. Code base is intensively growing.
  • More than 5GB size in main branch compiled.
  • 6000+ TFS source code commits during last 3 years.
  • 2.000 work items in TFS were created during last year.
  • 8.000 Unique Machines installations of Calxa Desktop software.
  • 9.000 Stock Keeping Unit Licenses were sold.
  • 17.000 Activations (installations and license applying).
  • 300.000 Calxa desktop application starts. And that is only from clients who has fully open internet connections.
  • Calxa works on personal windows machines and enterprise terminal server environments with very limited permissions.
  • In 2012 Calxa Wins Innovation Award at the iAwards, the state winner of the e-Inclusions and e-Community category, recognizing the contribution its software has made to the community sector in Australia.
  • Hundreds of students are studying Calxa as instrument for Cashflow Forecast in financial college. Calxa is donating its software for educational purposes.
  • Building business logic for country specific accounting from Australia, New Zeeland, United Kingdom, USA, South Africa, Japanese, Singapore, Malaysia.
  • Calxa Pty Ltd is Microsoft Silver partner for few years.

Calxa solution structure

Calxa software technically is few products joined in one solution:

  • Calxa Desktop Application Presentation.
  • Calxa Desktop Application Server.
  • Calxa Cloud.
    • Authentication Server.
    • Desk Application Services.
    • Federation Services (for CRM system integration not developed yet by primary developers team).
    • Client company data persistence database (horizontal (sharding), vertical and functional scale).
    • Report calculation servers.
    • Accounting systems Integration servers.
    • Licensing server.
    • Web application server (Web UI frontend and backend).
    • Other…

Working practices:

  • Development team is sitting together in the circle with open visible monitors.
  • Agile Mindset.
  • SOLID design principles are represent our engineering philosophy that passes through all aspects of our development.
  • Scrum derived process.
  • Daily 8:30AM scrum video meetings with product owner over Skype For Business. Every developer has a short speech.
  • Framework Design Guidelines, Code Convention and many special project coding canonical forms.
  • Paired Programming, cooperative analysis and planning.
  • Defensive coding/development.
  • Iterative code reviews.
  • Continues refactoring.
  • Domain Driven Development.
  • Test Driven Development and Test First Development.
  • Patterns of Enterprise application architecture, Web Service Patterns, Application Integration Patterns.
  • Service Oriented Architecture.
  • Following Windows 7+ Logo Program requirements.
  • 24/7 Database refactoring practices. We have developed 24/7 deployment strategy that allows us to roll out all our solution infrastructure without turn off. No meter what operations user has started even if they take seconds, minutes or hours we are trying to don’t harm use cases.
  • Component Oriented Architecture – we continually reorganize components distributed in our 100+ projects to meet.
  • Code optimization.
  • Data persistence optimization.
  • Our physical office has two reserve 100MBit internet to all parts of the world to communicate more and to ship software quicker.
  • Fully automated Main and Production branch deployments.
  • Integration and Functional tests running with full environment deployment.
  • Initially we were writing Product Help documentation and maintained it. Documentation is primarily for target user.
  • We are intensively using Office OneNote (no papers on our physical tables).
  • Blackthorn Vision Office 365.
  • Exploratory testing is executed by man with highest education in financial area.
  • We all are taking part in software requirements development. We may say that for 1 product owner requirement we are expressing 10 additional requirements to make product logic consistent in all aspects.
  • Working on user experience. In desktop development we are following Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines for Window Vista-10.
  • We have penciled technical challenges for next 5-10 years and are discussion them on the kitchen regularly.
  • Our second development computer is Azure Cloud.
  • We are researching everything that is related to Microsoft products that can help us to make our product better.
  • Weekly review Microsoft TechNet updates.
  • Calxa annually taking Microsoft advisory hours for technical consulting by latest MS solutions those may help us to make features to make our customers happy.
  • Calxa developers had business trip to Sydney (Australia) to have conversation with product planning and Microsoft consulting.
  • We are trying not just making what product owner is asking us to do. We are trying to understand what clients really need. That’s why we always thinking about ultimate right solution and picking minimal marketable feature to start working.
  • We love product that we develop because we build right solution for true customer’s ideas. Our job is our life and we want to tell our children with proud how we are doing our job.

Biggest development challenges:

  • Building sophisticated data structures and algorithms to process big data to make fast and qualified calculations.
  • Sophisticated business logic shared between Desktop and Cloud products.
  • Long living data contracts in Desktop to Cloud communications.
  • Sophisticated amount calculation and reporting engines.
  • Following SOLID analysis Component Oriented Analysis in all aspects of development to make reusable code components.
  • So much technology to investigate to be up to date.

Technologies

We use lots of different technologies in different solution parts. Total list is following:

  • Windows XP/Server 2003 – Windows 10/Server 2012 R2.
  • Visual Studio 2008-2015.
  • Visual Studio Online source control and Application Lifecycle Management (including new Build 2015 VNext). Researching to use VNext Tests and Release management infrastructure.
  • .NET 3.0-4.6.1, C# v3 – v7, Base Class Library, WPF, WCF, WWF, EF Code First, LinqToSql, ADO.NET 1+.
  • Asynchronous programming using .NET 1-4.5 threading infrastructure.
  • ASP.NET Web Forms, ASP.NET MVC, HTML5/CSS, JavaScript, TypeScript, React.JS, Knockout, other web client side technologies.
  • Windows Installer XML.
  • Unmanaged code interop.
  • Using Visual Studio 2013-2015 Ultimate CodeMap and Modelling instruments.
  • MSBuild development for different build customizations like Windows 7+ Logo Program signing, etc.
  • PowerShell
  • Microsoft Azure: App Service (SAAS), Web/Worker Roles (PAAS), Azure Storage, SQL Azure server, App Insight. Calxa started using Microsoft Azure from early 2011 as perspective cloud computing platform. In perspective we are going to use more different Azure cloud services because understand that future is built on mobile-first and cloud-first principles.
  • SQL Server, T-SQL.
  • DevExpress Universal Suit.
  • Integration collects data from different accounting systems: MYOB Classic, MYOB Account Right, MYOB Essentials, Quick Books, Reckon Accounting (old Australian Quick Books), Reckon Accountant Hosted, Quick Books Online, Xero.

Testimonial

Having worked with Blackthorn Vision for over 8 years now, my respect for their workmanship continues to increase. They have worked with me to build a solid, quality product that will excite our users when it is completed. The team have a range of talents and are skilled at utilising modern software architecture practices to create a reliable, maintainable, application.
Mick Devine, Calxa, Australia
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