White Labelling Improves US Firm’s Customer Retention and Referrals

Posted on 12th July 2017 in Customer Stories

Written by Freya Hughes

Compass EAST are business advisors based in Nashville, USA. This is a team who understand the pains and joys of being an entrepreneur because, at heart, they are entrepreneurs themselves. Compass EAST embraced advisory from their launch five years ago and their desire to differentiate was even the motivation for their name; EAST stands for: “Entrepreneurs Accounting Solutions Team”. We caught up with Co-Founder Dan McCarthy to find out why FUTRLI has allowed them to take their offering up several gears. He knows that advisory services are the future, so read on to discover how your firm can follow suit.

Tell us about Compass EAST‘s 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.

That’s what we want to hear! Tell us more about their reaction…

Current and prospective clients have been extremely positive and excited about managing their businesses via FUTRLI. Because their financial data is presented so clearly, we can see them start to really connect with their figures. There aren’t many firms that can boast that they have their own insights and forecasting app, 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?

Founding Partners Dan McCarthy (left) and John Nevel (right) by the Gateway Bridge in the business’ hometown of Nashville, TN, US.

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 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, which means our entire firm is able to perform better.

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 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, accounting firms that fail to modernise will be left out in the cold.

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