A team of four people around the world with a list of tech start-up and e-commerce retail clients. Cloud-working is in Nuvem9’s DNA, and advisory is their space. When giving online, real-time access to spreadsheets became too cumbersome, they needed a more sophisticated way of building financial forecasts and updating figures in these fast-moving industries. With the potential to upskill their forecasting methods and help their clients make more informed decisions, Nuvem9 turned to Futrli.
Futrli enables Nuvem9 to generate full investment forecasts without the use of spreadsheets and replicate key performance indicator (KPI) information alongside their clients’ P&Ls. Helping their clients to show staff the financial implications of the data they track. Their clients generally don’t have financial backgrounds, so Nuvem9 uses Futrli to find out what their clients need to know every month. Futrli Advisory Certification meanwhile filled gaps in their knowledge and process, and white labelling supports their professional impact.
Nuvem9’s clients love the new approach. They don’t have to understand formulae or worry about breaking coding. And it’s all done in one tool. Futrli takes what Nuvem9 does one step further, linking the different elements of their services to give clients a 360° view of figures in their organization. And makes the delivery of measurement of key performance indicators (KPIs) results much more efficient. Freeing up Nuvem9’s time to focus on discussing trends with clients and building stronger relationships. White labelling also adds to their credibility and position at the value-adding analysis end of the market. And Futrli Advisory Certification improves how they put together forecasts and factor in non-financial elements, enhancing the advice they can give.
Interview in full
Tell us about Nuvem9
Nuvem9 specialises in helping early-stage businesses to take the next step up in their growth, and we work primarily with tech startups and ecommerce retailers.
I soon realised that Xero would be the perfect tool to base the company around because every one of our clients is 100% cloud. Using cloud-based software ourselves helps us show our clients that we’re living and breathing everything we recommended to them.
What made you choose Futrli?
I wanted to move away from spreadsheets completely and build up financial forecasts in one system that could be updated quickly, as situations changed in my client’s businesses.
I’m now fully immersed in Futrli, and generate full investment forecasts without using spreadsheets at all. My clients are over the moon! It means they don’t have to understand formulas or worry about breaking coding, and it’s all being done in one tool, which is great.
What are the main benefits of you using Futrli?
It’s taking what we are valued for the most, and putting it into an online tool. I can’t give online, real-time access to a spreadsheet – it becomes flaky – the formulas aren’t as protected, and someone can come in and override it.
Futrli takes what I do and takes it that step further, making the Nuvem9 services much more professional, efficient and valuable. It has linked the different elements of our services together so clients see a 360° view of their figures. It’s me doing what I do best, in an even better way, and also allowing me to add a new dimension to client conversations.
How do you onboard clients and conduct your client meetings?
We discuss their top issues. Sometimes it’s cashflow difficulties, understanding cash flow and achieving business goals, planning for growth, or not understanding their figures such as net profit margin or gross margin. We do this in an initial consultation meeting, that explores their needs. It’s always a very hands-on partnership service we provide. We can afford to do that because of the cloud – we don’t have the overheads of a big office.
Instead of giving clients figures and nothing else, we work out what we can do with them: identifying which metrics to track, how they’re going to grow the company, etc. Futrli plays a massive part in helping me get the results of performance measurement through KPI measurements back to clients efficiently and maximises time in actually explaining and discussing the trends. Futrli also allows me to eventually hand over the boards as an in-house tool, with me advising them and making sure it’s being understood properly.
Which key performance indicators (KPIs) do you measure with clients?
My clients’ KPIs are always bespoke to what is most relevant to them and the stage their business is at. They generally don’t have financial backgrounds, so we ask what they want to find out on a monthly basis. I’m not going to talk to them in financial jargon quoting margins and cash ratios, without actually explaining what they mean. The metrics are very dependent on the clients.
For example, as they’re ecommerce and tech startups, we need to look at traffic conversion and acquisition costs. We find they’re operating their own independent bespoke dashboards, so we’ve replicated that kind of information alongside their P&L inside Futrli. It’s really high-value and they’re really seeing the benefits of showing their staff the bottom line sales and the average sales coming out of that alongside the wider business metrics.
The penny drops with the staff as they can see the financial implications of the data they track themselves. That’s really providing value, as it’s giving a 360° view of the business without giving away the sensitive figures.
Which metrics are you measuring within the firm?
How many new prospects we’re speaking to, how they’re converting, the average income per client, also then looking at the time spent. We never bill by the hour, but by the project. Then we try to assess if they’re being pitched at the right level. Internally, we’re starting to build up our own dashboard, again practicing what I preach!
What was your top motivation for white labelling the platform?
I’ve white labelled our Xero reporting, so it made sense for me to do the same for Futrli. It’s a great tool and just having that extra bit of ‘oomph’ with clients shows we’re a proper organisation. It’s a no-brainer.
How are you positioning the platform now it’s white labelled?
We’re going full speed on our promotion of Futrli-based services and I’m a big believer in the power of the tool. It’s really core to getting the sort of clients I want. I like to position the firm as a true cloud advocate as we are living and breathing the cloud ourselves. So it is very much positioning ourselves at the valuable analysis end of the market, as opposed to being an accountancy firm that’s immersed in vat and tax returns, and dabbles in reporting and analysis occasionally.
White labelling is us saying, ‘we’ve always done this but here’s an even better way of doing it’. So far everyone has said it’s great and it shows them the last piece of the jigsaw, pulling together everything we’ve given them so far together in one central place.
What did you think of the Futrli Advisory Certification course?
Although I’d been using Futrli before, certification filled in gaps in my knowledge of the platform and helped me find the best and most efficient way of doing things. I’ve improved the way I put together forecasts but it’s bringing in all the non-financials that have made a difference. I think it was comprehensive in that respect.
The training was slightly longer than I expected but that was actually good because it made me really dedicate the time to it and do it properly. The questions in it really force you to learn, whereas some other online learning you can breeze through it, as they’re quite bite-sized. I’m really glad I did it!
Has the course changed your view of advisory or services?
It’s changed my view on the level and scope of information I can give to people via Futrli. We do quite a bit of work with growing companies that need to take on finance, whether via equity investment or debt solutions. Futrli allows me to create a whole suite of solutions to cater to this audience. We take strategies and turn them into forecasts, showing the impact of the finance, making decisions on how to spend the money. Then we use dashboards to track the KPIs in their business as the money is invested. Futrli is now as vital to my business as Xero is.
What was your most valuable takeaway?
The section on building the forecasts was really important because it’s allowed me to see even more ways to replicate spreadsheet logic within Futrli.
Certification makes sure you’re learning every element of forecasting – costs, revenues, past results. It has certainly closed knowledge gaps and saved me bucket loads of time because I’m now using Futrli in the most efficient way.