Accounting software supplier keeps head above water

Australian accounting software company Calxa was forced to activate its disaster management plan following a ‘once in a century’ flood which saw homes and offices abandoned and snakes and crocodiles swimming through the streets, but with businesses needing to keep online services running despite the deluge

Calxa, whose budgeting and cashflow forecasting software integrates with accounting systems such as MYOB, QuickBooks Online and Xero, is headquartered in Townsville, Queensland.

The territory has seen extreme weather conditions recently, with more than a metre of rain falling in a ten-day period, the equivalent of the region's total annual rainfall.

Calxa CEO Mick Devine said: ‘Keeping our staff safe and off the roads were the deciding factors.’

The tech company utilised experience gained from a previous business disruption, which underlined the advantages of the cloud as Devine explained: ‘We learned some valuable lessons during Cyclone Yasi. We went without power for six days which prompted us to review all our systems. Now, we use browser-based applications and store our data in secure cloud locations.’

Losing power and internet at their city office on Sunday, prompted the activation of the highest level of their business continuity plan. As a result, key staff booked on the last flight available to Brisbane as part of the plan to ensure a 100% customer service delivery if and when a worst case scenario happens.

Devine said: ‘70% of our team was safe and had access to power and internet throughout the ordeal. Backed up by the now Brisbane based team, customers around Australia and New Zealand and a growing base in the UK and US, had full access to our help desk support.’

Some of the Calxa team were not so lucky and were evacuated from their homes and are still awaiting power to be restored so they can get back to assess the damage.

In total, over 1,100 people were evacuated as the water rose, and the Townsville authorities have reported two deaths as a result of the floods, while 19 people found trapped in floodwaters have been rescued. They included two police officers pulled to safety after being forced to cling to trees when floods swept away their vehicle. 

Townsville is currently receiving airlifts of food, water and other supplies, and residents can apply for relief payments of up to A$1,000 (£550) as the clean-up beings.

Devine said: ‘Our offices on Flinders Street are in darkness and missing the buzz of activity. Hopefully, power will be restored soon and we can go back and resume normal operations. Our water damage is minimal compared to the loss of productivity and what the Townsville community is going through. But our focus will be on helping our staff and their families recover.’

Report by Pat Sweet

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