Nuvem9 supports the techpreneur sector in two ways. Firstly, via proactive advice on how creative freelancers and small service agencies, that support software as a service firms, can benefit from finance automation using cloud accounting tools. And secondly, by working with small, ambitious software as a service companies, that are seeking to take on investment and funding to support their growth plans. Nuvem9 Managing Director, Niall McGinnity, has experience as COO and employee 1 of a technology startup that raised £3m in funding and is using that experience, combined with his Chartered Accountancy background, to advise the next generation of innovation.
Originating in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Nuvem9 Managing Director, Niall McGinnity, has recently taken the Company in an exciting new stage of development by going fully location independent. Currently based in the Algarve in Portugal, Niall told us: “I saw the trend in successful companies like Buffer going fully location independent. It is essential to understand the needs of tech companies wishing to go in this direction, and what better way to do it than be practicing exactly what we are preaching.”
Which Cloud Accountancy Packages do you use and why?
NMG: Nuvem9 is a Xero Partner as we have found it to be the most user-friendly easiest to deploy and train our clients on. We like the direction Xero is going in and it fits in with our mantra: making financial information on your business easy to access, and easy to understand and make decisions on. We have spoken to a high number of Xero eco-system apps, and the specific combination we deploy always depends on the exact needs and skills of the individual business.
We almost always use the input automation apps (we are Receipt Bank partners) and the tools that enable companies to get paid quicker, Chaser, Satogo. Tools which enable savings such as FX costs (Payoneer and Transfermate) are critical for early stage SaaS businesses that quite often have regular but small amounts of money transferring across borders to support development work, advertising etc. In order to get Companies to better understand their finances, we deploy a reporting tool which fits the needs of the business, and have worked with Fathom, Crunchboards, Profitsee.
What has the recent drive towards Cloud Accountancy tools done for your business, and your client’s businesses?
NMG: When I set-up Nuvem9, I had worked with Sage Line 50 systems for over 15 years. The 3 biggest frustrations I always had with this system was that I firstly couldn’t use it when I was out of the office, which led to long hours and difficulty in actually getting work done given I worked for multi-site companies. Secondly, it didn’t make analysis very easy, which in turn led me to having to create a side by side spreadsheet system to actually produce analysis and insights. Finally, using the system was too repetitive and it lacked hacks to save time on repeat entries.
When I discovered Xero I was delighted that a system existed that allowed these three frustrations to be addressed. As I delved deeper into the product I saw an opportunity to provide a more interesting and rewarding accounting consultancy service whereby we weren’t seen as the bean counters but more as valued advisors. For our client’s we use Xero to enable automation and integration between key non-financial systems, such as their website, stock control, ordering systems, point of sale etc, which in turn frees us up to analyse, make recommendations, highlight areas of concerns and introduce partners that can help the business grow. Having set up small businesses ourselves, we know that there are a million tasks a day that can distract you from the finances.
Client’s ultimately don’t want to have the worry or hassle about whether their figures are correct; they just want to be able to sleep at night knowing all the taxes and compliance has been taken care of. Our focus is on ensuring the data is right as quickly and cheaply as possible and then being there as a key part of the core team responsible for growing the business within its means.
You focus on the tech startup sector, why is that?
Primarily, it’s a sector we know very well. I have worked in technology businesses as CFO and COO since 2002 and understand the business model very well. My partner in the business has prior experience working with and mentoring seed stage startups as part of her role in the VC fund management sector. Ultimately we have knowledge and expertise here which has delivered time and again for companies wanting to impress VCs and secure funding.
As well as understanding the sector, it’s a massively rewarding environment to be engaged with day to day. There are hugely talented techpreneurs out there that have tremendous product ideas; being part of their journey is a great benefit. The side effect is we also get exposure to the support network to this sector; software developers, graphic designers, PR agencies, etc. Whilst these businesses are more lifestyle than the core tech startup seeking equity finance and funding, they are great companies to work with and use our core Xero support services with. This means we have created a vibrant network of collaborative services, which benefits us and them and more importantly our core customer base.
What key benefits do you consider that Cloud Accounting offers this sector in particular?
Running a tech startup is all about measuring and reviewing the key business metrics. We have created an ebook on this topic specifically because of how critical we believe this to be for the survival of a pre-cash breakeven business. It is essential the Company asks itself? Is the company generating enough website visits and enquiries for each £1 spent; Is the conversion of enquiry to paying customer enough; is the recurring revenue growing or shrinking; how much cash is available and how long will this last? Having been in startups ourselves we have made mistakes and learnt from them, and we believe the 9 metrics we have identified in our ebook will benefit any business serious about growing efficiently and effectively.
Xero and the Xero apps, when combined correctly, allow a tech startup to create a real time business dashboard and identify and track the metrics. By ensuring the data from 1 system speaks to another via Xero integrations, time is diverted away from value less data entry and spreadsheet creation towards analysis and insights. This shift alone is supporting our client base to grow.
What exact services do you provide and why?
Our services are not technically advanced. By that I mean, if you need expert tax advice or advice on how to merge with a competitor, we will refer you to an expert in that area. We believe its dangerous to be too many things to too many people. So our expertise and specialism is in the day to day operations; bridging the gap between the non-financial and financial functions of the business by providing common sense, easy to understand insights on our client’s business finances, and to help them deal with what the data is telling them.
We provide an initial Cloud accounting set-up and training package, integrating with all other key business systems. Thereafter we can provide an outsourced service, covering a menu of what your business actually needs; some companies totally outsource everything from bookkeeping and payroll to report generation and analysis, whereas with others we work with existing finance teams and cover the gaps at the skilled analysis end. And finally, we work with companies to prepare for speaking to and working with funding partners: business strategy development, developing budgets and forecasts, pitch deck design and training on pitch delivery. We have a network of funding providers that we can make warm introductions to when the company is at the right stage. Post investment we educate companies on the specific tasks, reports and duties they have taken on to ensure they work best with their new funders and new Board of Directors.
How and why did you become location independent?
It’s important to me and my family that we experience new cultures and new people. Cloud accounting has created an opportunity to remove the need to be in one physical location for an extended period of time. As long as I have internet connection I can do my client’s books. Combined with communication tools such as Slack, Whatsapp, Skype, Viber, Google Hangouts etc. I can now effectively speak to and share screens on the figures as easily from a poolside in the Algarve as I can in the client’s office. Our clients are all tech savvy, innovative companies; it’s important we speak their language and immerse ourselves in their environment. To some more traditional companies, having an accountant in another place in the world may be a huge risk. We disagree with that and believe that by being totally flexible we can attract companies from a much wider geographical area, strengthening our expertise and growing our USP over our competitors.
If you are looking for an expert Accountant or to source investment for your tech start up then make sure to visit Nuvem9