Challenge - how to improve advisory accounting?
Aptus have always been at the cutting edge of advisory services. However, they needed software that could really open the eyes of their clients. Using real-time data is the best way to manage a business, and the directors knew they needed to use it. The team wanted to streamline their forecasting processes by improving eg their cash flow forecasting. They also wanted to offer advisory at an affordable rate.
Solution for the business owners
Futrli is helping Aptus to sell their expertise. The supporting software to a trailblazing firm, Futrli works away in the background. The firm is able to trust Futrli’s speed to get client data loaded and analyzed in minutes. Leaving Excel spreadsheets behind means the firm is able to offer quick and accurate forecasting. Futrli is priced out reasonably, so firms of any size can get a great deal.
Aptus continue to be leaders in the advisory space. The firm and its business owner have been given endless opportunities thanks to the flexibility of Futrli. The advisors on the team can lead with their knowledge. This is helping them win more business, therefore increase their revenue. Also, the firm is growing, which is an exciting time and business environment and would have been much more difficult without a trustworthy platform like Futrli.
Interview in full
Hear their story
Aptus Accounting & Advisory is a Sydney based firm that’s redefining the relationship between a client and their accountant.
The firm was founded in January 2015 by James Solomons and Rebecca Mihalic, both Chartered Accountants and respected Xero experts. The pair came together as they had a shared passion for helping businesses grow and a mutual belief that accountancy firms should focus on adding real value to their clients by working with them as their advisors. James says:
Our founding principle is to connect clients with everything they need to succeed. Technology has given accountants a way to take care of the heavy lifting and focus on adding genuine value to clients. No platform has helped our profession in that regard as intelligently as Futrli, it’s just so slick for us and the client.
What is the attraction of Futrli?
A major attraction for Aptus was Futrli’s ability to offer automated real-time reporting data – which they use to remain on top of any sudden changes or shifts in a client’s financial status.
Automation and complete customization are why Futrli is head and shoulders above the other tools out there. There’s no fiddly import and export process with data, Futrli syncs automatically, daily, so what we are getting is a live scorecard.
We have notifications set up so if a client starts moving into a red zone with their cash flow we are alerted as it happens and can address the issue before it gets critical. We can then instantly pick the phone up and chat it over. That was simply impossible before. You’d find out at the end of a month or quarter when it was too late.
Was it hard to transition your clients to an advisory-based service?
Many small businesses and small business owners aren’t aware this kind of insight is possible. Once we show them what we can do it’s a real eye-opener. It excites them as it gives them the confidence someone is there and constantly looking out for them.
We started tracking one client without him actually knowing. We connected him to the platform, set some Alerts and we rang him to say that he was going below some pretty standard business benchmarks. After showing him that data, he wanted to know what else we could do with their account. We explained that we could be meeting with him regularly, sharing discussing his business, making projections with forecasts, etc. By changing the conversation we managed to increase our revenue from this compliance client by 84%.
Why make the change in the first place?
Compliance is being commoditized. So, accountants have to spread their wings. We founded Aptus because we believe that advisory is what SMEs are and have always been looking for, but previously accountants could never deliver advisory services to SMEs at an affordable price point. Xero and Xero’s practice tools drive efficiency in providing compliance services and Futrli extends Xero and makes real-time or ‘anytime’ advisory possible. So we can spend time adding value in areas like forecasting and scenario planning, making us valued partners, rather than just number crunchers.
Are you seeing growth?
Absolutely! The opportunities become endless because clients are constantly engaging us saying, they need to fix this or improve that, and the Futrli platform is helping sell our expertise. The beauty of that is they go and tell their friends about it and so new potential clients are coming directly to us asking for what they’ve got.
What aspect of Futrli do your clients want the most?
With Excel or other tools, forecasting is just a list of numbers and time consuming to get even that. With accounting software like Futrli we can produce clear visual scenarios for clients and offer multiple scenarios leading to a better result and better decision making – demonstrating what they need to be doing each day, week, or month to achieve their business goals. It makes a huge difference to SMEs and gives them the confidence they need to succeed. They can see their business, what happens if they do or don’t make tweaks, in one, easy and visually descriptive view.
When I came across Futrli it was the first time since Xero launched that I’ve genuinely thought, ‘Wow this has changed the game’. It allows us to be the accountancy firm we want to be and SMEs deserve.
So, any final advice for others in your industry?
Well, the accountant that just does tax is going to find small businesses, a (small) business owner and even medium and larger businesses are wanting that real-time data. They want predictive analytics to help them see where their business is going to inform their business model and quite honestly, if they don’t move onto using Futrli to provide that, then they’re going to get left behind.