Case Study
8 minutes

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe's economy, representing 99 percent of all businesses in the EU. In the past five years, SMEs have generated approximately 85 percent of new jobs, providing two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU1.

Starting a small business comes with its own set of challenges without the benefit of a large, dedicated team to address them. One of those challenges is keeping up with the finances, including invoicing, collecting payments, bookkeeping and more, which isn’t easy without a dedicated team to help.

Ireland-based Bullet has been a lifesaver for small businesses; SMEs accounted for 99.8 percent of the total enterprise population in Ireland, and there was an 8.4 percent growth in enterprises with under 10 employees from 2016 to 20172.This increase in SMEs has also created an elevated need to outsource business operations like financial management. 

Founded by John Farrelly and Peter Connor, Bullet provides cloud-based web applications to empower entrepreneurs to start and run small businesses. Its smart, cloud-based workflow-based accounting applications allow Irish business owners to efficiently manage their financial operations, freeing up more time to do what they love.

Bullet’s software has all the necessary accounting rules built in to keep Irish companies in compliance with requirements. However, regulations are a moving target, and Bullet co-founder Peter Connor knew his company needed to be nimble when it came to implementing changes. To ensure its applications are always up-to-date with legal requirements, as well as functionality that makes life easier for its clients, Bullet found the perfect solution in the virtual software development services of U.S.-based Softjourn, Inc.

Spot-on Support

Effective January 1, 2019, the Irish payroll system was revised, requiring each employer to report payroll results to the Revenue Online Service (ROS) in real-time. To meet its clients’ needs, Bullet had to modify its software to make that possible.

The modification was no small task.

Our whole government payroll system changed in Ireland and that was a pretty big project. Our billing structure changed as well. We faced big changes with a terrible test environment. So there were lots of ups and downs, said Mr. Connor.

Bullet’s Chief Technology Officer, who did the majority of development work, had recently moved on, providing the company a prime opportunity to decide how to meet its software development challenges. Having worked with Softjourn on a previous start-up, GroupyFit, Connor knew exactly where to turn.

The CTO left the company after about eight years, and I needed to replace him. I didn’t want to replace him with a single CTO because that created a single point of failure, so I went back to Softjourn. They had done a great job with GroupyFit, put together a great team around us, and the delivery was just spot-on., said Mr. Connor.

Softjourn offers nearly two decades of virtual software development experience to clients in the U.S., U.K., and Europe, handling the work from its development hubs in the Ukraine and Poland.

We’re a third-party software development resource that businesses use to develop new applications and systems from the ground up, or to augment their in-house staffs when they need specialized expertise or additional resources during peak periods, says CEO and COO Emily Gengler.

Bullet leveraged Softjourn’s experience to help modify its applications. The team of developers successfully updated its payroll software to directly and automatically share employee information with ROS in real time, as well as create files that could be uploaded to ROS.

In addition to keeping Bullet’s clients happy and in compliance, delivering on modifications to the accounting product meant something more to Connor: staying in business.

If I’m very honest with you, our company would be totally gone if that issue hadn't been resolved. You just can’t run an SaaS company without development work, Connor said. 

A Team Based on Trust

In addition to delivering the final product, Softjourn’s virtual development services also shined in meeting Connor’s criteria for a successful development team.

The best thing about working with Softjourn to solve our problems is the cultural aspect. Working with Ukrainian engineers reminded me of the Irish work ethic, he said.

Softjourn’s virtual team quickly became a trusted resource for Bullet thanks to the straightforward and timely information that was communicated during the process.

Connor related that if there was a problem, he was told about it. If an idea wouldn’t pan out, the team was honest about that, as well. Other outsourced companies he had worked with weren’t always so up front, often not identifying real issues until testing or when the product was live. 

Particularly as a solo founder, you have a real danger of getting trapped in your own echo chamber, he commented. Having a team that gives you pushback and feedback is important.

In addition, Connor was pleased with the resources dedicated to his projects. The full team – including a team lead, developer, quality assurance, and on-going support experts – were a crucial piece of the success.

You’re acquiring a whole team, and everything that you agree on gets delivered. You’re not given back bad product. You literally get everything, and it’s working perfectly, Connor said.

Sold on Softjourn

For Connor, the combination of high-quality deliverables, a team he could trust, honest feedback and support every step of the way took software development pressure off of Bullet so it could focus on empowering its own clients to succeed.

Nearly every time I meet someone, and they’re having problems with developers, I tell them ‘you need to call Softjourn’, Connor said. Softjourn just gives me tremendous peace of mind, and I can’t emphasize that enough.

About Softjourn

Softjourn, Inc. is a technology services provider. The world’s leading experts that take pride in developing creative solutions for Fintech, Cards & Payments and Media & Entertainment applications. 


2. Central Statistics Office (2017): Business Demography.