Challenge - successful client retention through better services
Compass EAST needed software that was easy to use for any level accountant. They also needed to stand out from the competition. Any nearby firm could sign up for a similar app stack, so Compass EAST wanted to brand their software choices. Their clients needed to visualise their data clearly and get to understand what it all meant.
Solution - business advisory services with Futrili
Futrli’s ease of use helps accountants of any level to learn the platform. Being able to white label Futrli means that even if nearby competitors are using the same or similar software to Compass EAST, they’ll still stand out. White labelling means having your branding projected on every page of Futrli, and your firm colours across the platform too. Futrli does the heavy lifting behind the scenes of a firm, so the team can focus on selling high-level services.
Results: more satisfied customers
Selling higher-value services across the board has led to more satisfied clients. Not only this, the team are able to target a wider audience due to time-saving processes in Futrli. This means more revenue, as more clients are being signed up with the firm. Also, retention has improved as the firm’s branding is now across their software offerings. They are offering a full service, complete with their own-branded forecasting and reporting software.
Interview in full
Tell us about your clients – how is Futrli working for you and them?
We have a six-step process we follow when we meet new clients. We found when offering advisory services, it’s vital to find out about the individual client’s goals and needs. We then assess where they stand, and think of a solid plan for the client together. Once that’s all done, we have monthly meetings or chats to manage their finances, report on their figures for a snapshot view of their business, and implement forecasts to help them achieve their goals. The feedback from clients has always been really positive with this system.
Tell us more about their reaction..?
Current and prospective clients and business owners have been extremely positive and excited about managing their businesses via Futrli. Because their financial data is presented so clearly, we can see (small) business owners start to really connect with their figures. There aren’t many firms that can boast that they have their own insights and forecasting app to present eg their sales forecast, that’s what white labelling has allowed us to do. It’s already improving client retention and referrals.
Futrli has allowed us to do the heavy lifting for our clients behind the scenes, while giving them the exact information they are seeking in a visual format that is easy to comprehend.
What were your top motivations for white labelling Futrli?
Most of the software we use is best-of-breed vendor software. The upside for us is that we don’t have to divert resources to maintain our own software. However, on the downside, any competitor can use the same software, making it difficult to separate yourself from the pack – but, I guess that’s the same as Excel. By white-labelling Futrli we’ve differentiated ourselves in the advisory space, as nobody else has developed their services as much as we have. This also means we can make the most of the best software available. Additionally, custom financial forecast models are difficult to market, so using Futrli has allowed us to focus on perfecting our services.
How has it changed how your team’s opinion of advisory?
Buy-in from the staff is up across the board, and we are just beginning to see the benefits. Since we have always provided advisory services, the key benefit has been the ability to standardise the process and help our clients' decision making and avoid business issues as well as enable each of our team members to participate in the advisory function. Our younger team members are developing their skills and understanding of advisory services and cash flow forecasting, which means our entire firm is able to perform better and provide better advice to our clients.
Futrli has allowed us to extend the future-looking conversation to our whole team. It is amazing to have our bookkeepers well-versed on our clients’ business prospects and how they are trending. Previously, this was exclusively the realm of our CFOs and Controllers.
How have you positioned it and gone to market?
We are completely redesigning our marketing strategy to include Futrli and our white labelled product as a key component. The ability for clients to visualise their data and have an expert pull insights from that data are primary selling points for Compass EAST. Stay tuned over the next couple quarters to see how we’re developing it even further!
And why did you choose Futrli for your firm?
We have been providing custom financial models and cashflow projections since inception. There is a lot of software on the market claiming to make that function easier, but all the systems we have evaluated fell short, except Futrli. It’s been a game changer for Compass EAST and allows us to perform our work to the highest standard.
Where do you predict the industry will be 3 years time?
We began the groundwork for Compass EAST five years ago, and have seen significant growth over the past three years. Over those first two years, we felt that we may miss the opportunity to create a fully cloud-based accounting firm with an in-person presence. However, five years later, the benefits of cloud-based accounting software are just beginning to be realised on a larger scale. Financial forecasting and modelling tools are even less prevalent in the small business arena.
People have been talking about the move from accountant to advisor for over a decade. However, it has not materialised very rapidly. The market appears to be moving in the direction of further innovation, but the accounting industry is one that is slow to change. Over the next three years, we will hopefully see further progress, but, most likely, the industry won’t look too much different than it is today. But, I do believe that over the next one to two decades, a business owner failing to modernise will be left out in the cold.