In 1968, I received a brochure proposing that I take on the franchise for a service that provided a group of accounting systems. What I found interesting about the offer was that it included all the usual accounting reports except payroll. That was the very application I was looking for but I never could find an offering that made me want to buy the service.
I could easily imagine reasons why others wouldn’t want to jump into providing that service. The computer programs were complicated. The processing was a bit cumbersome because of the need to produce separate cheque forms for each customer. There were fairly efficient manual systems that were widely used. But still, it seemed like an attractive application for computers because the entry of a small amount of data-enabled production of significant output, the ideal combination for computer applications.
I mulled this question over for a few days when suddenly an idea struck. What if you produced a system that drew all the payments on the same bank account? A whole list of added benefits would follow. Computer operations would be simplified and significantly speeded up. Cost of forms would be reduced. Separate forms would not have to be stored. Bank charges would be eliminated if you allied with a bank or trust company for handling the funds and clearing the cheques. Cheques did not have to be individually signed. Individual bank reconciliations would be eliminated. The interest earned on the float required to be in place until cheques cleared provided unseen revenue to cover some of our added costs. When you added it all up, the combination certainly looked like a winner.
A Simple Idea Becomes Comcheq
That simple idea was what made Comcheq the success it became. Though I knew the ins-and-outs of payroll production, I had a lot to learn about computer programming. But once learned, it became a huge benefit. Not long after I started Comcheq, the banks became my competitors. That was scary but I knew more about payroll than they did. In fact, I knew very little about computers but a fair bit about payroll and payment systems. It was easier for me to learn computer skills than for bankers to learn the intricacies of payroll. In 1968, Comcheq processed its first live payroll that integrated the payroll and payment functions.