International company Xref operates globally with Futrli
Xref is a cloud-based solution for candidate referencing. They needed a financial reporting and forecasting tool with the same way of working and commitment to speed and accuracy as themselves. As the owners are on the move frequently, they needed something they could log in to from anywhere. Communication is crucial to such a growing company, particularly with investors. They needed clear insights at a moment’s notice.
Saving a load of time with their reporting means Xref have been able to focus on operating. Real-time data has allowed the business to be flexible and move with industry peaks and troughs. The board and their investors can now see a clear breakdown of the company’s progress, too, which has improved communication.
Clear analysis of data coming in from three countries in different time zones has contributed heavily to the success of Xref. Being able to grow sustainably has meant Xref lists on the Stock Exchange. The company was always going to be a hit, but using Futrli has accelerated its achievements.
Interview in full
Hear Xref’s Story
We are huge admirers of Xref.global but can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Of course, we’re big fans of Futrli. I am Tim Griffiths CTO & Co-Founder of Xref.global. The business is consistently growing and we are now supporting some of Australia and the world’s leading brands like Qantas, Westpac, Skycity, Newscorp and Bupa with their HR needs.
Our cloud-based platform automates the candidate referencing process by streamlining what was a very manual, time-intensive process for these teams. One client now has 50% of their references completed overnight and it is brilliant success stories like this which are driving our success – the demand is enormous and we always need to keep one eye on our numbers.
You’ve given us a clue, but, tell us, why Futrli?
Tim: We are 100% cloud as a business and it was important we found a partner with the same philosophy. We’ve got so much respect for what the team at Futrli have built and continue to deliver, we knew that as a long-term business they would support us to scale. We are making so many changes and opportunities are coming really, really quickly to us. We need to take advantage of those and with Futrli the ability to do that is amazing because of the scenario planning, the real-time updates, the ability to use it on any device anywhere, is fantastic. It also allows us to bring other parts of the business into it. We can take specific dashboards and share them with different areas of the business and get them to comment on it.
Lee (CEO & Co-Founder of Xref.global): This year Xref listed on the ASX. Tim and I realised that we had so much opportunity overseas and to truly globalise the platform we needed to raise significant capital. To list, you have to go through a certain amount of rigour and due diligence otherwise you just simply can’t get there. As part of that, you need to go through an audit. We used Xero to manage our accounts over that time and went on to launch in Toronto and London, growing to over 35 staff.
Tim and I are always on the road and to have figures in our back pockets really means the world to us. So to consolidate them into a single platform and to be able to have them in consolidated boards is crucial. Google docs and Excel just doesn’t cut it – they slow you down!
Awesome, keep talking…!
Lee: When we had our first board meeting, our incumbent board members asked for board reports to be printed and sent to them and I immediately said no. They had that classic look of surprise, but then I gave them the link to the Futrli platform and explained that you don’t need to request accounts from me when things change, all you really need to do is click on the link again and you’ll see it in real time.
For Tim and I, we don’t want to have to be worrying about accounts. We’re building a global business in Online Candidate Referencing and to know we can test a theory and get a result showing what our position in 18 months time will look like is priceless to us.
Another thing that needs to be taken into consideration, is when you are scaling a business, the applications, offices etc need to have the ability to scale. The platform we use to consolidate all of our accounts, Futrli of course, and test our forecasting moving forward has meant that we can scale. The Futrli team have a very progressive development cycle that moves with our business.
Has it sped things up for you?
Lee: YES! Internally we’re always talking about 4 weekly cycles through the year, but then we have to switch that and turn it into a quarter. We might hit budget in our quarter but we haven’t in our 4 weekly period, so that was a real problem to us. An awful lot of people on the outside of the business don’t realise that we do that, but the boards make it so easy for us to get those figures quickly.
Tim: We sort of used to use a Google spreadsheet and sit there and laboriously smash it out. Then you’d come back to it later on and forget something or not be able to find it, it also wasn’t real time, so you’re constantly making iterations, and to be quite honest that’s a pain. So now to be able to do the scenarios and actually do correct budgets in something that’s linked to real-time data is amazing.
Has it improved the way you communicate as a business?
Tim: We now have a huge number of investors that we need to keep constantly updated. So it’s fantastic to have something like the boards available to us, that give us information right away, that we can actually present back to our investors.
Lee: Aside from the boards looking beautiful, when you have a really big global financial issue then you need to be able to report very, very quickly and as the outside world is not used to what you do internally, the boards make it an awful lot easier.
Sum up the difference Futrli has made?
Tim: The significance of Futrli to Xref.global’s success has been huge. When you think that we have data coming in from 3 countries all on different time zones, that needs to be analysed clearly, quickly and effectively in real time, then Futrli is just amazing – it makes our lives so much easier.