Nuvem9 Champion Cloud Working and Become FUTRLI Certified
Posted on 16th January 2018 in Customer Stories
Written by Freya Hughes
Belfast native and founder of Nuvem9, Niall McGinnity is currently working from the Algarve, Portugal. Having previously experienced the pain of Sage desktop systems, he’s now championing the cloud – practicing what he preaches to his clients. He’s running his business remotely and managing a team of four, who are spread across the globe Undertaking FUTRLI Advisory Certification and white labelling the platform has seen a positive change for his firm, which is all about helping young businesses progress. Being big believers in cloud working ourselves, we wanted to find out more about how Nuvem9 operates.
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 are 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, planning for growth, or not understanding their figures. We do this in an initial consultation meeting, that explores their needs. It’s always a very hands-on partnership service we provide, and 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 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 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 ever 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’s 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 for this audience; taking strategies and turning them into forecasts, showing the impact of the finance, making decisions on how to spend the money and then 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.