Reimagining the small business landscape

Prior to our attendance at Accountex London 2019, our CEO and Founder, Hannah Dawson, sat down with Accounting Insight News to discuss our revolutionary suite of products, soon to release. Sign up for early access via our preview list here.

AIN: Hi Hannah. Let’s take a brief trip down memory lane – tell us about founding Futrli…

HD: Futrli was born from my own experience as a small business owner. I was working in hospitality, running a pub in Devon. There were some simple things around the business’ financials that were far harder to get a handle on than they should have been, such as getting an up-to-date overview of our cash flow. Then I was landed with a hefty tax bill I didn’t know was coming, because the information on running the financial side of the business was so lacking. It nearly closed the company’s doors.

I needed a way to run the business with eyes on the future, not just the present or the past. Making decisions was difficult and full of risks because I didn’t have all the relevant information in one place when I needed it. So after doing some research, and realising there was a significant gap in the market for this specific type of software, I founded Futrli.

AIN: And how’s Futrli evolved since you founded it?

HD: Nearly five years later we have 100 people with offices in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Futrli Classic has done brilliantly and we’re incredibly proud of where we’ve got to. But we’re only just getting started.

We are nearly ready to launch the preview release of our AI-driven smart platform for small businesses. It has a range of products that have been designed after careful research and design, which solve the most pressing pain points that small businesses (and the accountants that support them) face. There’s no gold standard for the tools you use to run a small business. Our platform is this.

AIN: Why do small businesses need help?

HD: Despite all the technology available in the marketplace 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years. Something is broken. Classic is used for bigger small businesses and their reporting needs, but for the 90% of small businesses that don’t prepare monthly management reports or rolling forecasts, numbers are often a scary thing. They don’t have finance or analyst teams interpreting the data they generate every day – they need help.

The new Futrli platform is for the 90%. It discovers information; interprets it into real words and prioritises the most important things that need to be actioned every day: simple!

Whether that is something within non-financial data sets, future cash flow issues or getting paid by your customers.

The benefit for our accountants it that Futrli Platform makes it quicker, easier and extremely cost-effective for accountants to service the remaining 90% of small businesses that they simply don’t have the time to get to.

The platform does the heavy lifting, every client knows exactly where they are today, and when there is a question about what to do next from the small business, the accountant is given an opportunity to service a client who would have gone unnoticed before or would have not been deemed the right fit for advisory.

Advisory will finally be democratised and Futrli accountants will be deemed heroes! Depending on whether you use the free or pro version of each product will dictate the opportunity for the accounting firm. Pro gives deeper information so that even more heavy lifting is done and there is a richer base for advisory opportunities to present themselves.

AIN: And what’s the first product to be launched?

HD: The first product to launch is Flow. Flow helps small businesses who are stressed about not getting paid and how much they owe by using the power of AI to understand customer and supplier habits.

There are lots of payment chasing apps out there but what’s missing from many customer-focused products is that there is no actionable detail. We’ve got risk assessment, dependency levels, customer ranking (who are your top 10 and worst for x/y/z). Because the platform doesn’t just pull data, it pushes it too, smart workflows are created as you can make invoices/bills etc directly from the platform and straight into Xero and QuickBooks.

Layered over the top of it all is the AI-driven predictive element. It’s all well and good having credit terms, but when will your customers actually pay you? Flow gets to the heart of the problem and gives you solutions.

AIN: And there are free features too?

HD: Yes! Our smart daily actionfeed for your business. We all consume information every day by scrolling until we are caught up: think Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – so why not one for your business? actionfeed is where you log in to the platform. It’s where information from all activated products is prioritised and the next best action is recommended. It’s very cool!

If the status quo of software for the 90% is broken, let’s reimagine a new way with the smartest workflow, for every data source and pain point, so that small businesses are de-risked, de-stressed and can focus on why they went into business in the first place!

AIN: What does the future have in store for Futrli?

HD: We’re really excited about all the products on Futrli Platform. After we’ve launched Flow, next in line is Predict: forecasting totally re-imagined.

Predict helps small businesses who are uncertain about the impact of their decisions, by combining their knowledge with AI-driven predictions to forecast their future, and again the most amazing workflow has been created to ensure it’s something a small business will actually want to do every day.

Then we have Playground. It helps small business teams who are tired of juggling multiple data sources and making decisions in silos. It brings teams and information together to deliver coordinated and faster decision making and execution. It’s a world first and takes funnel to a whole new level!

We’ve got more products up our sleeve for later in the year, so stay tuned to find out about those! Sign up to our preview list for early access at preview.futrli.com.