Lawpath launches accounting-on-demand product for SMEs

Lawpath founder Dom Woolrych. Source: Supplied

Lawpath founder Dom Woolrych. Source: supplied

Legaltech startup Lawpath is adding another string to its bow of on-demand services for small businesses and startups by launching accounting support.

The expansion, though a partnership with accounting company Pop Business, will meet demand from customers who are looking for online support beyond legal, Lawpath founder and chief Dom Woolrych tells SmartCompany.

Customers often ask for recommendations for a Lawpath-style service for accounting, he says.

Through the partnership, the startup has bundled legal, accounting and a company secretary service to help businesses manage compliance.

“I’m the first to admit that’s super boring,” Woolrych admits.

“People don’t want to think about compliance, but you just need to do it.”

A natural next step for Lawpath

The launch of accounting services follows a big couple of years for Lawpath. The pandemic led small business owners to rope in their costs, including reconsidering how much they were spending on legal services, Woolrych says.

There was suddenly more demand for online tools that could help them do more themselves.

At the same time, creation of new businesses are up 15% compared to pre-pandemic levels as more launched side hustle or took the leap into entrepreneurship while working from home.

According to Woolrych, Lawpath has supported the creation of 5% of those new businesses.

The pandemic has also driven demand for e-signature tools, digital witnessing and video consultations, for example.

Some 4.5 million people sought legal support on Lawpath in 2021, and the startup recorded revenue growth of 140% for the 2020-21 financial year. Lawpath also raised $7.5 million in October, as it prepared to scale further.

According to Woolrych, adding on-demand accounting will be an Australian-first and could help drive the company’s growth even further.

In the US, one of Lawpath’s biggest investors LegalZoom offers a similar service, and has more than 4 million customers on board.

“It’s a model we know works really well.”

Professional services disrupted

Professional services was one of the last industries to be disrupted, Woolrych says, however the pandemic accelerated that disruption as it drove everything online.

“People are really comfortable now transacting online,” he says.

“They don’t want to go into a lawyer’s office or accountants’ office anymore.”

Small business owners and startup founders have also always been more inclined to do what they can themselves, without forking out hundreds of dollars for a lawyer or an accountant if they can help it.

Some 87% of small businesses say they don’t seek out legal advice because of prohibitive costs and lack of access, Woolrych says. Instead, they’re “just winging it”.

Lawpath and the new accounting offering are designed to improve accessibility to professional services.

Rather than scheduling a meeting with a traditional service provider — something that can take weeks — users can quickly check in to ask whether they’re paying the right award rates or allocating expenses correctly, for example.

“Those are the kinds of questions small businesses and startups have all the time,” Woolrych says.

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