Webledger Services LLC - blueprint for a consultancy network


Purpose:  To enable every individual and SMB in the U.S. to conduct business on the internet.  End the printing and mailing of checks and invoices, enable all transactions to pass securely and automatically over the internet including all party addresses, inventory items, payables and receivables amounts.

Who would join?

  1.  CPAs,
  2.  Accounting software VARs, and
  3.  Other consultants serving small and medium businesses.

What would they sell to small and medium businesses?

  1.  Analyses of webledger and BSP adoption decisions,
  2.  Implementation plans, data migration, risk management,
  3.  Service and support,
  4.  Recurring accounting, tax, & reporting services,
  5.  Local site broadband, firewalls, security, and other IT services
  6.  Authentication, Reputation and credit reporting services
  7.  Telephony, fax, and messaging solutions

How will the LLC be organized? 

Each member of the LLC maintains a webledger on a host.
  2.  No allocations of cost, liability, or revenue without consent.
  3.  No stockholder or "owner" other than its members
  4.  A fixed startup cost, and recurring charges for infrastructure
       of the network, legal entity, contract, promotion, etc.
  5.  Members obtain resources from the LLC only by agreeing to
        pay for them; operates like a market.
  6.  All of the admin and settlement operates thru the webledger.

How will the LLC get all this great stuff?

  1.  BSPs (business service providers) are abundant.
  2.  Hardware vendors and software developers are abundant.
  3.  Members of WSLLC will research and qualify them, and share
        information in exchange for fees from other members
How do I join? 

  1.  You must be nominated by another member.
  2.  You must pass a background check and credit check.
  3.  If you are not a CPA, CFP, EA, or other qualified accountant, 
         you must pass an accounting and business examination.
  4.  If you do not have at least an undergraduate degree in computer
         science, MSCE or other listed certification, you must pass an
         IT examination on networking, XML, and ecommerce technologies.
  5.  You must be accepted for bonding by our insurers.

WARNING:  This is not a high-profit, easy, quick-bucks scheme.  There is no pyramid or network marketing characteristic whatsoever, in this business plan.  There are no health or retirement benefits.  You just work, work, and work some more.  No money comes to you from other partners.  You only receive what you successfully bill your clients.  When you quit working, your income stops.  There is no lock-in of SMB clients other than recurring work that arises from your own performance.  

So here is what is needed, to allow SMBs to conduct business online, integrated with their accounting systems.

1. BSPs,
2. Local service people,
3. Authentication, and 
4. Security.

BSPs.  Without a doubt, BSPs (business service providers) including webledgers, are the heroes of the emerging transaction environment.  BSPs are the foundation of value delivery to SMBs. (small and medium businesses).

Local service people.  The requirement for support and training is essentially infinite. Peter Drucker said by 2010 education will be the largest industry on the planet, surpassing any manufacturing, extraction, agriculture or other services industry.

Training, local PC and device setup and maintenance, online support, and accounting and business services are already the core business of any consultant who is a realistic candidate for WSLLC.  Those consultants unite to form this services alliance, to obtain the resources they need, to make online commerce happen for SMBs. 

Consultants cannot make it happen, today, because they don't have adequate knowledge, adequately tested products, or hardware or platforms for service delivery. They can either wait a year until these things are printed in PC Magazine (and stay permanently 1 or 2 years behind the growth opportunities) or, they can act today to obtain the knowledge and products they need to make money.

Authentication. One of the key ingredients of online commerce is trust or reputation.   Countless essays and articles make this point, e.g. John Kador in Aug2000 EAI Journal.  

The WSLLC will provide a network of trusted members who install smartcard readers and check the IDs, credit records and overall bonafides of small businesses.  This provides the precious ingredient of trust, to create a trusted community.  This will not be guaranteed secure. But at least you have a framework, for researching whether a party is a complete fraud. CPAs perform compilations for millions of clients. A compilation from a CPA is the basic currency of credit in America, and CPAs who are members of the WSLLC will provide the same limited sort of attest function within the WSLLC. 

When SMBs can drill thru to a whole network of other CPAs and consultants, and suppliers of your customer, that is something only banks could do in the past. This could happen very easily and naturally and voluntarily, just as we have banks, today. But it requires smart cards ubiquitously throughout the SMBs.   Smart card authentication is not a magic bullet but for sixty bucks it provides an excellent cost/benefit.  It becomes quite implausible for a SMB to claim he did not sign a document. It becomes quite difficult for a hacker to sign onto a VPN. 

Security. A highly secure network based on a strong mix of hardware authentication based on the smartcard, strong passwords and other measures, which provides a general environment of trust, security and privacy. For example (and this is a voluntary network) you will be allowed to check the credit record of other SMBs which they have established on the server, and given you a one-time access permission, to open an account. 

Still-- risks will be manageable.  Transactions will be submitted respectfully into the inbox of the recipient for approval. There will be no more systematic risk than we have with paper bills, in our unsecured mailboxes. The services LLC will disclaim any liability for losses.  Insurers may emerge to underwrite a system that is actually secure.  Or low-limit insurance may be provided by the LLC.  Put our money on the line, up to $1000 per loss.  To be discussed.

Please have a look at this graphic and tell me if it's making sense: 

A quick note on the diagram.  The biggest dollar benefits that are physically possible for SMBs today involve provisioning them with reliable and secure internet access, firewall, additional phone lines, long distance telephony, wireless services including cellphone.  These are huge, huge billable services.   They require investment but the payoff is so lucrative to SMBs and consultants, it is ridiculous to abstain from them. 

The existence of firewalls and reasonably secure computers on the SMB's site enables the SMB to begin accessing a wide variety of high value, high security vertical services from ASPs.  

We would not build or buy most of these things but rather, serve as facilitators and service networks for these things.  SMBs will aggregate their demand to obtain better terms and service from multiple, disparate BSPs and providers, always integrating them with a webledger and business backbone.   BSPs and ASPs will value the WSLLC for its ability to implement and service their platforms.

I envision a self-owned LLC which has no stockholder or "owner" other than its members.  

The LLC might operate basically like a marketplace. Members may submit charges to other members, or subsets of the members, for approval or decision.  Members who agree to pay charges would receive the associated services or goods.  A minimal set of charges would have to apply to all members, but I emphasize minimal: organizational expense, collaboration  infrastructure such as messaging and directory, advertising and promotion, certification and testing, and partnership accounting system development (build buy or lease).  This might be regarded a Chaordic organization. 

One of the greatest drawbacks of professional partnerships is the waste of time on meetings, information dissemination and decisionmaking, and accounting and administration.   These things make partnerships inefficient and risky.   However, it has been widely recognized that the Internet enables vastly more efficient collaboration, and webledgers with cost and revenue allocations provide further leverage.  Decisionmaking becomes very spartan:  you get an offer in your inbox and you "Vote" by accepting or rejecting the offer.  This brings the least-common-denominator efficiency of capitalism down to the microeconomic level.  In effect you are the West, competing against soviet style corporations with their command hierarchies.

* Todd F. Boyle CPA http://www.GLDialtone.com/
* tboyle@rosehill.net   Kirkland WA (425) 827-3107
* XML accounting, web ledgers, BSPs, ASPs, whatever it takes