New Horizons

2023 was a year of continued growth and development for Visma, with new horizons explored on many fronts. Driven by strong innovation in cloud services and an active M&A agenda in existing and new markets, the Group further solidified its position as a leading provider of mission-critical software in Europe and Latin America. In this article we explore some of the key factors shaping Visma’s development and laying the foundation for further growth.

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Planting new flags

Since its inception in Norway in 1996, Visma has successfully expanded its offering of software products for accounting, payroll and eGovernment to 31 countries. This internationalisation has accelerated over time, and played a significant role in the Group’s revenues more than doubling in the last five years, reaching EUR 2.4 billion in 2023. In the same period, Visma has entered 11 new countries, and the number of customers using our software has increased by 70 per cent to 1.7 million. 

While Visma has a strategic focus on standardised cloud software, we also recognise the need for local expertise to ensure that our solutions stay relevant and compliant across different markets. That’s why we prefer to enter new countries through acquisitions, teaming up with leading software entrepreneurs and helping them reach the next stage in their development. 

When considering an acquisition in a new market, we look for established cloud products with strong tech capabilities and high customer satisfaction that can enrich Visma’s ERP platforms through APIs.

When Visma's M&A team has identified the most attractive acquisition targets and entered into a letter of intent, this is followed by a stringent due diligence of areas like finance, technology, people, culture, legal and compliance.

In 2023, Visma entered two new markets through acquisitions:

  • In late January came the announcement that the Group was entering the Portuguese software market through the acquisition of cloud software provider Moloni.

  • In August, Visma completed its Nordic presence by acquiring Payday, one of Iceland’s fastest growing providers of cloud business software.

Driving the cloud transition

A key rationale for the Group’s continued expansion is the digital transformation that continues to shape most areas of society, including how, when and where we work. This creates a steadily increasing demand for smart software that enables people to reap the benefits of digitalisation, like increased efficiency and precision, and the ability to make better, data-driven decisions based on real-time data.

However, this transformation is happening at a varying pace across markets, and from different starting points. While the traditionally tech-savvy Nordic countries have come the furthest in terms of digitalising both the private and public sectors, many other European countries are in the process of catching up. 

The same goes for the transition from traditional, locally installed on-prem software to more flexible, accessible and secure cloud solutions and SaaS (Software as a Service), which make up the core of Visma’s offering. While cloud adoption for Nordic SMBs is nearly 70 per cent, the EU average is closer to half this figure, according to the Digital Economy and Social Index (DESI). 

With Visma’s considerable legacy from driving the cloud transition in the Nordics, the Group is in a strong position to leverage this experience in other European markets, where cloud adoption remains at an earlier stage but with significant growth potential. 

A prime example is in Germany, a market Visma first entered in late 2022. Here, new legislation like the online access bill, Onlinezugangsgesetz, requires increased digitalisation of public administration and services, a process that favours cloud technology. Germany’s cloud transition is expected to be further enhanced by an increasing number of SMBs discovering the benefits of cloud ERP systems to automate manual and time-consuming processes.

In France, which Visma first entered through the acquisition of cloud accounting provider Inqom in 2022, e-invoicing and e-reporting will become mandatory for all large taxpayers from 1 July 2024, further boosting the trend towards a more digital economy.

Delivering on the potential of generative AI

Visma develops software that helps customers manage their mission-critical processes in a more efficient and accurate way. Much of the value in our products comes from process automation and smart use of data, freeing up human resources for more meaningful and value-creating tasks. We have used artificial intelligence (AI) to achieve this for many years already. We also employ AI in our security processes to augment human decision makers, and continue to explore and research innovative ways of utilising AI in the defence of Visma and our customers.

At the same time, the rapid development of generative AI, spearheaded by groundbreaking products like Chat GPT and DALL-E, offers major new potential for Visma. Not only to enrich our products further with more and smarter automation, but also to improve our own internal processes, like programming, customer service and design. 

This means that exploring generative AI, and unlocking its potential for driving innovation and efficiency across the Group, is a top priority. Close to 200 AI initiatives are already ongoing, as a direct result of Visma companies experimenting and sharing their learnings with others. All AI initiatives are developed and deployed responsibly, and we ensure that our AI solutions follow our high standards related to security, privacy, and legal compliance.

Here are some highlights from 2023:

  • In Norway, Sticos launched OppslagGPT, using generative AI to make it easier for users to access precise information on intricate bookkeeping regulations and procedures.

  • In France, Inqom launched a new VAT assistant that automates the preparation and submission of tax declarations, reducing the time spent on journal entry and reconciliation.
  • In Norway, Visma’s in-house AI lab Resolve introduced TimeDetect, an AI service designed to simplify time management by detecting irregularities in time registrations. This empowers customers to automate approval workflows and enhance error handling. Visma’s Danish time management software, Intempus, has seamlessly integrated this service into their product, with pilot customers reporting a monthly savings of 4 hours per approver.

  • A new API support bot from Danish accounting software provider Dinero is already handling more than 76% of all incoming customer support requests successfully. 
  • Additionally, there has been a substantial increase in the utilisation of AI tools among developers, reaching an adoption rate of 73%. A large majority of developers are reporting improved efficiency and equal or higher quality output.

Visma will continue to explore new horizons and push boundaries, ensuring that we remain an innovative and value-adding software provider that understands the markets our customers operate in. By further expanding our business to new geographies and leveraging the latest technologies to improve our products, we are pursuing our vision of shaping the future of society through technology.

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