Financial Management Systems, Forecasting, Accounting Technology - John Baule of FutureView Systems

Financial Management Systems, Forecasting,  Accounting Technology - John Baule of FutureView Systems

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Today. I sat down with John Baule, who is the founder of Future View Systems. Future View Systems is an incredible solution and tool. They have their own foundation. I believe it's called where they have a analytics dashboard that gives you access to understanding your true finances so you can make strategic decisions. Now, John has extensive history in

the space growing up in a time where we actually talk about the fact that email was just coming out. So really, really interesting to hear from a real seasoned veteran as to what the landscape looks like and what you need to look like or look for rather, when it is building a business from a financial standpoint, I hope like always you get the value out of this that I did in sitting down with John, welcome to successful scales, the show where I talked to world-class professionals on what it takes to scale successful businesses. I dive deep asking questions to people who are running unicorn businesses to raising funds, to buying businesses, mergers, and acquisitions, IP, and patent law, performance management I mean, the list goes on. The idea really is how do I create knowledge and learning for you guys listening in? And of course, myself getting the floor with people who I many cases would never dream to share a room with. Before we jump into the episode, I've got to give a special thank you to our sponsors. Firstly, over a Global Wired Advisors - a leading digital consumer products, investment bank focused on optimizing the sales process.

Incredible team, always happy to pick up the phone and educate you or anyone about the sales process and what you should really consider and can obviously help take you to market or even acquire businesses. I ring them for just about everything these days, us over at MultiplyMii. We are the end to end executive search and HR function into the Philippines, helping find better talent and onboarding them effectively and last but not least Escala, our management consultancy focused on process improvement where we help build better systems for your business. That's all the ads you're going to get from me, ladies and gentlemen, the rest is all about learning. I hope you really enjoy and get as

much out of these sessions. As I do sitting face-to-face with some of the world-renowned leaders in their respective fields, asking them the tough questions that the Namaste Namaste, John, welcome to an episode of successful scales. Mate, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me today. I push for great to be here. It's, it's really exciting. The fact that we've had such constructive and you know, high level conversations on, you know, what's been a beyond impressive career that you've had today and everything that you and the team are working towards. I'm really excited to have you on and to be able to, to really pick your brain and ask you some of the tough questions, but before we get into all of that, and before we really dive into what you're up to today, I'd love you to walk me through and I know it's extensive.

You, you know, you weren't, you didn't start your career yesterday, but I think it's a really fascinating journey. And I just love you to, in your words, explain to those listening a little bit about you and what you've done. Sure, sure. I'd be happy to. And, and like you

said, it's, it's extensive in years anyway, if not, and, and then a lot of experiences, you pick up a lot of things along the way. So I, I started in, in public accounting after college, I went to, went to, we were married in Virginia and I became an accounting major because it seemed like that was a good way to get a job. And employment was a big objective at the time for, for education, much more than a pure self-actualization at that point. And I spent four years with what was called Pete Marwick at the time. Now it's a peat Marwick Mitchell, which is now KPMG back when it used to be the big eight. And you, you wore a tie and, and white shirt to work every day. And, and I learned a lot

of very basic skills. A lot of the initial learning you do as an auditor is not particularly enjoyable, but you look back and you say, Hey, this actually turns out to have been pretty useful. So I learned a lot of the detailed things, how to pick the right time and hopefully, and how to, to make sure things tied and some, some good fundamentals. And I did that

for about about four years and then decided wanting to do something a little different and moved to New York and joined Bristol-Myers Squibb. And I joined their corporate internal audit group. So it was a different focus instead of looking at, you know, public making sure the books were right as of December 31st, an internal auditor looks at the processes to say, how do we make sure that, you know, the numbers and the reporting is correct all the time and what are some of the processes. And that actually

turned out to be a really good experience for me. Again, I can't say I love being an auditor, but I learned a lot from it. And during that time, one of the, this was a big time back in, this was back in the, the very early, late eighties, early nineties, I came across. Everybody has those formative books

that, that changed their life, you know, and they have to hit you at the right age because now so many books, you know, you feel like you've read it before, but, but if you get you at the right time, and I remember the two that, that really struck me were a book called re-engineering by a guy named Michael hammer. And man, it was just like a completely different way of looking at processes. And, and, and at the same time, there was a guy named Tom Peters who wrote a book called he wrote in search of excellence. But the one that really struck me was called thriving on chaos. And it was kind of a, an RC approach to business. So I'm, I'm reading this thing on re-engineering

processes and I'm reading this Archie artsy approach to business, and I'm putting those together and, you know, and so fast forward with Bristol, I, I ended getting assigned to be, to, to start working with our international operations and long story on how, how that happened. But, and so I started going out to the Philippines and, and we had a pretty good sized business in the Philippines. And, and, but, but with some S some, some deficiencies in internal controls, if you will. And I know you've worked a lot in the Philippines. Sometimes you

can have a lot of check boxes and papers being signed and initials going places, but the overall structure doesn't necessarily work. So it seems like 10 people signed this, but yet there's enough control. There's enough holes in it that you could drive a truck through the gaps. And, and so I, I, here I am fresh with my, my re-engineering read and my, and, and looking to do something different. And I put together this project to basically reorganize all the processes and controls for this business in the Philippines.

And fortunately it was also kind of a highly visible project because it had been a challenge for management. And we did that. And what went very, very well. And also sort of in my mind that I really developed, because I worked very closely with the, the, the people in the Philippines business. I developed a real affinity for, for the, the culture and the, and the people. And, and, and I became a good candidate to be the first finance director there. So I went out to the

Philippines and I spent a little over two years as the finance director. So this was kind of a big career move for me, because I think I had never had anybody report to me other than little projects. And then all of a sudden I was a, you know, all of a sudden I had 50 people reporting to me and a 650 person business. And it was, it was pretty exciting. And, and I did that for, and, and did some things that date me a little bit, like I introduced email to our Asia business for the person to, I remember talking about that last time with you. It was amazing, amazing time to be going through all of this. And, you know, like we spoke a lot about

our joint affinity for the Philippines, but yeah. What, what a, what an experience, I mean, yeah, sorry. I've, I've derailed exciting.

It totally, it was huge. And, you know, and, and, and you were mentioning it to me earlier, like doing some of the things like 360 reviews and things like that. And, and I, what I kind of learned, I, here I am coming into kind of a management role, but in the, in a different culture. And I, I had to learn how to take things that were sort of Bristol-Myers was a very us centric company at the time, and to take processes and procedures that were somewhat us centric and adapt them, or discard them in some cases from the Philippines, because for example, the entire review comes across very different in a culture like the Philippines in a country like the Philippines than it does in the U S you know, and, and so adapting that turned out to be a good experience in, in, in learning sort of learning flexibility. And, and so I attribute that. So I moved on

from there to become the head of finance for our Asia Pacific region. We in, in Hong Kong and spent four years in Hong Kong, which was notable, I had about 15 countries that we had to pull together with, with, in, in finance, with financials and, and hold budget meetings. And really that's where I first came to appreciate how much a budget needed to be about decisions and how much a budget could change over the course of the course of the year. Because a lot of companies, they, you, I know you see this company start with a budget, and then, and then it's like, it's like the old Mike Tyson quote, you know, everybody has a plan until the first time they get punched in the mouth. Right? And so I learned that monthly forecasting to be able to keep an ongoing view of what the business looked like was critical. Cause back this was the late nineties in, in Asia. We went through things like the,

the huge Asia Pacific currency crisis, where all the currencies literally devalued by 50% or more. And boy that changes everything when you've got, you know, when you've got a supply chain that's in dollars and all of a sudden your, your local currencies are, are devaluing and you have to be able to, to every month, the picture is different. And yet you want to make the decisions and you want to have the right conversations. And, and so I became kind of an advocate. So a lot of the methodologies I learned for forecasting and budgeting and thinking about how to relate the financials to the decisions of a business came out of my Bristol-Myers experience. And I had the good fortune to work with some really talented financial people who, who, who really thought about, thought about things that way. So it was helpful. So

anyway, that's, that's, that gets you only to almost the turn of the century. I don't know how Well, I mean, look, I'll say, I'll say already, it's becoming very, very apparent to me, just how vast your experiences and also, you know, forget the timing. The time I think is really interesting in itself, but working with such huge multinationals establishing functions and reporting mechanics for the first time, you know, dealing with cross-culture. I mean, these are the things that are particularly relevant today in the digital age where, you know, we're sitting here halfway across the world from one another, you know, I feel like I've known you my whole life. And we sit here

and we can have a conversation like this. And so the whole world has to really adapt into what dispersed teams look like and how that functions. And I think that the complexities that come into working remotely and having, you know, dispersed teams and having, you know, you talk about budgets, right? Like it's hard enough to get all the senior leadership team in a room together in a physical location, let alone when that's done globally. And all of a sudden you're on different time zones. And then, you know, you don't have an effective reporting cadence or a mechanic or anything that relates to that. So, I mean, at least from my perspective, like everything that your, your work done and historically, and what you're working towards, and I want to get into that in the middle, because in the middle in a minute, rather is very relevant to attacking a market that, you know, I would say that while you've gone through this whole experience and most huge multinationals and corporates go through this evolution, most of the small-to-medium entities, they never even get to that position where they're mature enough to establish these processes and protocols and these deliveries.

And as a result, they probably never even matured to live beyond three, four or five years because they haven't got their shit together. So Absolutely killer point. So I'd love to hear, I'd love. I'd love you to tell me a little bit, you know, let's fast forward a few years here, and I'd love to hear, or I'd love you to share a little bit more about what you're working on today, because you know, when we connected the first time and I was sort of learning a little bit about the business and the model, I'd been down the rabbit hole of trying to get financial control of our business. And we had internally, you know, accounts payable, accounts receivable. We had a financial controller

and we have all these resources internally. And while they do a really good job, it's not strategic. It's very much about the lag metrics of, well, what have we achieved last month? And how does that look? Can we do some baseline budgeting and all these things, which I'd say were probably more established than most businesses a year and a half, two years in, but the reality is we're still so far off the mark. So on that note, I mean, talk me, talk me, talk me through a little bit about where you're at today and what you're up to.

Well, let me, let me, let me, that's a great segue because what, what, what you're, what you're saying is that, and I, I saw this when I met, made the jump from Bristol Myers Squibb into progressively smaller, more entrepreneurial companies. When I first fell on, you know, came up with, came into the idea of being an entrepreneur and I'd hear people say, well, I just couldn't ever work for a big company because they make decisions. So, you know, so slow when they're so stodgy. And I,

I came to realize that it actually was the opposite. A lot of times when you see smaller companies and I've worked with now, a lot of smaller companies, they're a big companies can make decisions quite quickly because they have a very well-defined structure, kind of like the military when the military does what it wants to do, nobody moves faster than the military, smaller companies. On the other hand, especially the ones that you know, you and I are kind of talking about. They start with a founder and gradually power and decision-making authority disperses through the organization. But for during that growth period, during

that maturing period, man, it can be, it can be slow to, to get anything because I know you've seen those situations where when is, you know, when are we going to get ahold of Ron? Who's got to make the final decision on this cause. And, and, and now we went through the whole process and we built a, a deck to support the analytical decision, but Ron just doesn't feel good about it. Or, or, you know, the CEO, just the founder just intrinsically is not what he wants to do. So it's that structure is hard for

smaller companies to acquire. And you kind of take, it takes a lot of times, years to do it. And that's, that's really on the finance side. What you find is that companies tend to operate with suboptimal data for a long time. I mean, think about the typical, think about the typical company that, that you, you found a company. So you know,

this, you start out as a founder and you're doing it all yourself and you start to put the numbers together on your own spreadsheet and, and you, you try to keep it all going. And all of a sudden you've got invoices coming in and bills to pay and it gets more and more complicated. And, and so you, you bring in your first bookkeeper, right? And the bookkeeper gets QuickBooks maybe, and starts to pay the bills for you and does those kinds of things. And that's okay for a little while. It takes some of the burden off you. And you know, you, you develop a little bit of trust that something can get paid without you having to be actively involved in it, but you're still close to the end. You and you

go and you, you say, but now I'm, I've gotten to a point. Maybe I need to have a raised bank debt or investment or something like that. I need financial statements. And so you, you, you build a, a financial statement. You built, you go out and you say, I need someone who understands in, in the U S it's us gap. So you go out and you hire your first controller and the controller comes in and they organize everything.

And they put together these beautiful gap, financial statements where your revenue is rec is properly recognized, and your expenses are appropriately allocated. And, and you get these financial statements and they're usually, you know, three, or, you know, quite a bit of time after the end of the month. And you realize they, they, they don't really tell you what you want to see, or by the time you get them, by the time you get them, you've already moved on. You're, you're already thinking about next month and that kind of thing. And, and what you find is, and this is, you know, those, those controllers, there's a certain mindset, and this is one thing people, companies build this way. They think about, they think about, you know,

finance is not one thing. Finance has, you're, you're getting the data, which I would call controller, functions, everything sort of from the present backwards, and then modeling the business out forward and looking at those things that are not, not accounting metrics. For example, if you're looking at customers, you're very interested maybe in cohort data, or you're very interested in, you know, how many views you have, or how many eyeballs, how many people saw. We just talked earlier about how many people

look at a site. Those are not accounting metrics. Those are, those are, those are analytical metrics that you have to have. You go to your, your classic controller and you say, well, tell me about this. Or how do you know if you say, tell me how much money I spent on this in the last six months. No problem. That's easy. But if you say, gee, I'd

really like to know if I hired three salespeople for every quarter for the next three quarters. And they took six months to ramp up and they each sold this much in bookings. And that bookings will be recognized over the next 12 months. What would that look like? Their head explodes. That's just not the way that that's, that's

filled with ambiguity and in precision. And so, so they, they, they move, you know, you need that person who can come in and think that way, it's, it's kind of a different mindset. They hire that I'd say as well, like going through, going through this journey, you know, for most of the people who had good towards being quite entrepreneurial, unless they have extensive background in that specific function, it's, it's not going to be their bread and butter. And it's also not going to be the thing that excites them the most. And it's

only, now that I'm sitting, you know, let's say I'm halfway peeking through the lens. So I'm now going through this process of fractional CFO and experiencing like that, that aha moment of understanding, you know, what does our future state look like? What are the true, what are the true cost drivers of the business broken down to each of the specific functions? And what if we dialed in aspects of it? What would happen if we invested X money in marketing and as a result? So I think like the, the, the typical clients in the SMA space, particularly founders trying to build businesses, they kind of, you know, close their eyes and just drive forward and think, how can I just make more sales rather than optimize my output? And, you know, with the control that you outlined before, you know, it's lag metrics, it's things where I can't really do anything to impact my future state. Like what, what does it look like three years from now? What's the valuation, the business. If like you said, you, you, you could

consistently bring in 10 new clients a week over the course of the next three years and have 90% retention rate. Like, what does that actually look like? That is, those are the moments where you sit there and say, shit, I'm really onto something now. Yeah, no, it's, it's, it's, it's one of the, the two things to think about there. One is, I don't

mean when I say that, you know, the controllers tend to look at the business in a certain way. I don't mean to, to in any way, devalue that because accounting is sorta like electricity, right? If you, if you, if it, if it, if it works perfectly and your accounting and your books are closing every month, and nobody, nobody thinks about you, and if all of a sudden it doesn't happen, it's like the electricity going off. It's all you think about because nothing else can. So, you

know, finance is a cumulative thing, and that's really why you get that's really, what's created the need for future view is when you look at companies, they almost always from a, from a starting point, they build their finance function, sequentially, you know, so they, they start, they build through the controller and then they think about the metrics. And then they finally get to the point where just what you, what you said there, it's about the conversation that you're trying to have as a business. Really. It's not about the numbers. It's about the conversation. What decisions am I going to make that will make me create more or deliver more in the, in the future. And

so that sequential build though, doesn't really work. It's, it's, it's just like, you're building a, if you were building a house, you wouldn't start day one by calling in your plumber and your electrician and having them wire and put plumbing in, because you don't know where you want the different things to be. And then later on, when you, when you build the house, cause the house gets built anyway, you're building the company, like you said, an entrepreneur is moving ahead and moving forward. Now you find out, gee, the only place I can have this bathroom is right in the middle of the kitchen. Well, you know, that's not the way I wanted it. Well, the reason you're in that position is because the, the architecture wasn't done ahead of the, of the basic framing. And, and that's kinda what I think we

do with companies. And that's one of the things that, that, there's, there's a couple of reasons for that, but that's one of the things future view tries to address is how do we a rearchitect you, but B think about how much effort you would have saved and how many more good decisions you would have made if you had designed the way the house was supposed to look upfront before you started calling in the electricians and the plumbers and having to replumb things that re-elect, you know, do things over again. And I think like to that point too, looking at where we're at, so are less than two years into the business. It's going to take literally months realistically to

get ourselves into a position where we have, you know, we have sort of two businesses running in parallel with different types of revenue streams. Once project-based, one's retainer, one's a mixture of both. It's, it's messy. We have shared resources across both businesses. And so, you know, if you use your example of building a house, like I would much rather, I would never start another company moving forward without having that infrastructure built out and having, you know, if we get big enough, we'll bring someone in house, but realistically it'd be a long time before we'd move away from a fractional CFO or someone who's going to lay that foundation. And then also give us the value proposition of what can we actually do to move the needle. And so,

you know, just because it's, so it's so fresh in my mind, cause I'm going through this process and you know, each time we have these conversations, it makes me think even further. I mean, you know, you haven't gotten to it yet, but I'm particularly excited about the technology that you're working on and what that looks like. Because again, like it's one thing, having the information, which everyone has, right. You using QuickBooks or zero, the information is there, money's going in, money's coming out. Like that's, that's there as a baseline. Maybe it's not structured in the right way, but how do you then take that to a level where for the lay man, myself, how do you actually then quantify that and put it in a way that's very easily digestible.

And I think, you know, with what you're doing at future of you and foundation, if I'm not mistaken, is that the platform, you know, that's really the heavy lifting now. Well, that's it. So what we do is we, you know, if I think about that maturity curve that a finance function goes through, I've lived that maturity curve, you know, through a number of companies, as you know, going through a lot of small companies, companies that have taken all the way through to an IPO at one point. But I, but I realized in the, in the first smaller company that I took that journey through, it probably took me 18 months to do it. As I moved

from company to company, we got faster and faster. So what I realized is, and then as I talked to other people about CFO opportunities and things like that, every, every CEO was asking the same question. Well, here's, you know, I say, do you have a problem with like too many spreadsheets that don't agree? Oh yeah. When you have your management meetings, do you find that, you know, your salespeople or presenting different numbers than your finance people around? Oh yeah. All the time, all the same pain points. So I realized I could immediately say, I know why you have this while you're having this pain point and we can, we can, you know, we can address that. So we, we got really

quick at this. And then I said, okay, how do we, how do we get to the, how do we take that and make it kind of a scalable structure? And so what we've done is we created a platform. We actually have two, two products and one builds on the other. But the first product we created was what

we call our future view platform. And what that does is it really encapsulates a complete forecasting and budgeting methodology. But with a key ingredient of that being that we directly integrate with whatever your sources of truth are, especially your general ledger system, because one of the biggest issues you have or are with companies is for me to take that accounting data and do something with it, I've got to pull it out of the, whatever the general ledger system, whether it be QuickBooks or net suite or whatever. And I've got to get it into a usable format for 90% of finance functions, that usable tool that they is Microsoft Excel. And I love Excel, but Excel is, is a nightmare. When it comes to managing huge amounts of data on an ongoing repeat basis, you end up with all the errors. And I, I, I'm sure you've found those times

where someone hard-coded something into the spreadsheet and it, and, and, and later on, you pay for it when the spreadsheet comes out with the wrong, The answer right now, massively. So, and I think like you're touching on so many points that most small to medium enterprise businesses deal with on, on the day to day, like, you know, I would love to run a survey with all of our clients that we work with and just see, like, how many of you guys are actually budgeting for your, you know, your future state investment? How many of you have a regular meeting once a month or even once a quarter? How many of you actually know, you know, what is the true, what is really moving the needle inside of the business? You know, from a, from a, from a true financial standpoint. And, you know, if I had to guess most of them wouldn't really have a real grasp on what it looks like. And I think, you know, what happens to a lot of companies, particularly, you know, there's a huge, I think we spoke about it briefly maybe a month ago, how there's a huge push in the e-commerce space right now, where there are a lot of Amazon businesses are being snapped up, FBA businesses being snapped up by venture capital, trying to aggregate these businesses together. And so what tends to happen is that, you know, you're paid a multiple on EBITDA and all of these businesses who haven't been well-oiled and organized running for 3, 4, 5 years, have these delusions of Granger that really, they have this huge business, you know, it's doing 20 million, 30, 50 million in revenue for businesses of that size, looking to exit in the current market where in reality, like the EBITDA is that a million dollars, you know, $2 million.

And it's because they haven't got true visibility into what's happening. So, you know, again, this is the journey that I'm also going on. True. Like I've never been more acutely aware that revenue is an absolute vanity metric, and anyone who sits in focuses on, you know, we're doing a million a month and 2 million a month and 5 million a month. Well, you know, what's either the future vision and how are you going to turn that into a profitable business? Or, you know, where is profitability now? Are you profitable? Like, is this a cashflow business that is for life's, you know, for lifestyle, or is there an objective to exit? And I think what you're doing with future view and with foundation, you know, it is an absolute necessity for anyone trying to run a business at any level, to be able to get visibility and control of making relevant decisions. Because, you know, we could sit here all day, John and talk marketing, which is one of my favorite topics to talk about. Right. But you know, all the campaigns that we're running and everything that's going on, like what's the true cost. Like what's the true cost on the

backend for how many operational people, even outside of the marketing team, when we're looking to recruit people, like what all the software, all the technology that they're leveraging, and then the levels of communication and the time wastage in areas. Like what we found is that the cost of delivery bloats very quickly as you scale. And if you don't have really tight visibility and controls it really, you know, it, it can go south pretty quickly. Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, you know what you said in terms of how you start as a business, I would say a lot of people, and I know you do this as a founder, you do do a lot of these things kind of intuitively you just don't always put them into process. Right? So, so one of the things that we do with the business early on is we, we help them design what we call an analytical framework.

What are those key things that you really look at? Like you said, revenue's a vanity metric. Well, what is important? And a lot of times what is important starts with an external market thing. How many, you know, how many potential customers are there for this thing that I'm offering, and then how many bookings did I get and how, how do I think about that and how many salespeople, or how much effort, what does my customer acquisition cost? What is my, and then with a lot of businesses that are in the subscription space, it's, it's as much about what is the lifetime value of one of those customers, you know, so you know, that analytical framework, you almost have to start with that. And if you do

that, if you have that analytical framework, it's, it's, it's, it's drives, it, improves the quality, because then, then if I define that well, and that's what we do, we'll sit down and we'll say, look, what are the eight or 10 metrics that really matter to you? Your consulting firm, it's utilization, it's average billing rate. It's whatever, whatever the business, you have, those six to eight things that really frame how well you're doing it, can't be one, because then you get weird things like, oh, this is really utilization. Is, is 90%, well, 90%, but at a low rate or 90% at a high rate, or, you know, you gotta have enough metrics to frame all the different angles of things. And I always think it's kind of like a, it's kind of like a, a sport sporting event, you know, it's, I need to build a framework, you know, if I'm, I use too many sports examples, but if I'm a football coach, well, it matters how many yards I get passing versus how many yards I get rushing. It matters how many trucks, but all these things, you gotta have the right combination of metrics to really figure out the end point, which is, did I win or did I lose? And ultimately it's how many points do I score relative to how many teams, you know, whether I I'd, I'd rather score 30 points and win 30 to 20, then score 30 points and lose 40 to 30. And, and my framework needs to encompass that. So, so

I think starting with that analytical framework and then figuring out how do I capture the data to feed that framework so that, so that I'm always having discussions from current, from data that, that I know that I, that I trust. And so that's, that's on the other end of it, getting your sources of truth and making those sure those sources of truth are synchronized with the analytical framework that it feeds. And that's what, what future you does in a nutshell is we, we identify the sources of truth, HRS CRM, your GL system. We make sure that we have a process to synchronize the data from that into a analytical framework at the other end.

And we use some interesting things like OLAP tools and, and, and, and some other processes to make that happen. Now we're getting into the meat of it. No like that, But this is, but this is like, this is really, so you, you said, I mean, I should've written it down, but I think I'll remember you said three or four things then really just struck a chord with me. So one is having that baseline in that framework to understand, like what, what's the ecosystem that we're operating in, and then building a process of, you know, an area of control so that we can actually then quantify and continue to work through whatever that analytics platform is. And then moving through that, like, I think that too many founders running, you know, hands over their eyes, trying to just push forward without thinking, how is this truly gonna impact? And so what you're actually effectively doing is your you're creating a single source of truth, your building a framework, so that it's understandable for anyone who needs to interpret the data. And then you're building a process that effectively

allows you to check in, make and tweak decisions inside of the business. And then you're putting on a beautiful dashboard that really helps people who aren't necessarily, you know, all about triple bottom line and understanding, you know, the true impact of business. I want to know what you need to do your job. You know, what, what each person in the company needs a certain amount of information to make good decisions and do their job. And that's what we want to create for them. And, you know, the more I think about it and the more educated I become, you know, as trying to grow these businesses and trying to impact as many lives as we can and, you know, and, and, and make a real difference. The more I realized that without having

true financial controls and without having all of these systems in place that you've defined, everything else becomes pretty redundant. You know, you can't run a business effectively if you don't have the fundamentals down and you're not really planning for the future. And, you know, like I said to you on the previous couple of calls we had, like, I think that it's one of those things that is just such a gap in the market, and I'm seeing a few people coming up, but the technology play that you have, I just think it's really powerful stuff because it, it really accessible as well to people who otherwise would, you know, and not that your services are so expensive, but I think what it really does is it takes it to a level where anyone can access this information and businesses that would have otherwise likely failed in year one and year two can get control of those key fundamentals to really drive the business in the right direction. Oh, that's, that is absolutely the goal. And, and I feel like it's really worked. And, and I always say

this too, because we talked to a lot of companies and they're like, well, we're really interested, but we're, we're going to hire a CFO. Okay. I absolutely love when someone's going to hire a CFO because a CFO comes in and they, they're going to try to build an infrastructure and we provide sort of a ready-made infrastructure. So a CFO can, if you think about a CFO, a lot of CFOs fail and they fail because either a they're they're very strategic, but the businesses is still in way too basic, a form for them to apply their strategy. It doesn't really help to have great strategic insights about the future of your market.

If, if, if when the CA CEO says, how much are we spending on electricity? I have no idea because we don't close the books every month. You know? So you, you fail because you're on that wrong end of the spectrum. Or the other side of it is we're just a mess. We never closed the books. We're bringing

in a CFO who knows how to get the books closed and everything. And at first that's great because you get some order to things and everybody feels better with structure. But now that same person who was really good at that may not be able to adapt or has may not be able to be perceived as a strategic CFO. Sometimes it can be, but the fact is they've been had, they've had to be sort of the, you know, the, the process oriented accounting geek for so long, just to show that they, you know, that they were on top of that, that they've, they've, they've not built the credibility from a strategic standpoint that they might've been able to otherwise. So a CFO who comes in to a company where a future view is there, I think has a huge advantage because we've, we've, we've got the structure in place so that you have the numbers, you have the information, and at the same time, you can beat, you can, you can demonstrate, you know, your business capability, which is really what you want. The goal is a CFO is

not to tick boxes and, and, and do, you know, audit type stuff. The goal of a CFO is to participate in the business discussion and bring a financial perspective to that discussion. So we really accelerate that a little, I think, I think definitely. And I've got a few selling points for you as I was listening to it as I was listening to. Well, no, but I'm just saying as

someone who's gone through this, right. And also as someone who has a consulting practice that we, you know, we'd be the foremost experts in process improvement for e-commerce businesses. And so people often look to build these solutions inside.

So when I think about a fractional CFO solution versus bringing someone inside, I mean, firstly, you know, if you're not doing 20, 30, 40, 50 million a year, you know, maybe 50 million a year, depending on the business, of course you need to bring in a full-time CFO realistically at those points. But up until that point, there's no the wage of what you're going to pay someone to be. Full-time, you're probably looking at two, $300,000 a year, realistically, for someone really good. And, and, and so the car, it becomes

cost prohibitive, but I would say as well, like if I'm going to go to a solution like future view, you've seen inside of businesses that are at a similar size that are doing similar things. So you're going to be the experts in it. That's one thing. The second thing is obviously the costs significantly less and it can be ramped up and ramped down. And when you talk about getting to that level of being 40, 50, 60, whatever million you are in revenue and a team, and you really need those levels of internal control, you're in a beautiful place to continue to leverage the solutions that you've built as a foundation to carry on rather than trying to re-engineer the wheel. And so, you know, when I'm looking at the value proposition of future view, as a solution, to me, it's a no brainer because, you know, we went, like I said, we've gone through this process and I'm trying to quantify and look at like, what's a cost, but what does it actually cost you as a business? If you don't have this information and you don't have these levels of control, you know? Yeah. Good, good decisions that I think we decisions have it's it's the old present value, right. A good decision

made earlier is better than a good decision maybe later. And we, you know, anybody who's worked for a big company sometimes you're you, you, you hit your head. You're like, how the heck does this thing work? You know? Cause it's just a mess. And I don't, I think

that's any, any group of people, right? That organized in a big way, you're going to have a lot of stuff that doesn't seem to go. Right. But what makes the difference with some of these big giant companies that exist? You know, it set somewhere, someone made some really brilliant decisions very early and they've reaped the ongoing benefit of that decision for, for decades comp compounding interest. Right? That's the, as Einstein said, it's the most powerful force. And so getting it, if you're early in the stage and you get good financial information, then that means that every conversation you're having in your business from then on is more informed and you're making, what are you doing with those conversations? You're deciding what direction to go. You're going to, you're going to end up at a better place faster. And so I think that's really the

key for us. And, and yeah, just to touch on one thing you said that I think is kind of interesting too, is that I liked the fractional CFO concept for smaller businesses. For this reason, I've been a CFO, I've come into companies as a CFO. And if I'm a CFO, if you think about how a finance function works, it's a hierarchy, right? It's the old I spend, most of, most of my hours are on that low level, paying the bills, capturing the invoices court, recording the transactions to get to the accounting. I spend hopefully a little less time processing that information so that it's ready for analysis. And then I spend my last amount of time analyzing it. Well, that's really the,

that piece takes the least amount of time if all the other pieces are there. So when I see someone at a small business and they have one accountant and they say, now I need a CFO. I'm like, okay. Be prepared to hire more people because the CFO's not going to want to come in and close your books for you. They could, maybe they could, I don't know if I could anymore, but I I'm sure I could do the debits and credits if I really had to.

That's the value. That's not the intrinsic value that you bring. And it's like, yeah, it's like an overpriced accounts payable accounts receivable specialist. Who's really going to be frustrated

and not adding value. So yeah. I mean, to your point, the fractional CFO model, I think is something that as a, as a construct is, it's probably the thing that's grown fastest in the last few years that I've, you know, when I, when I jumped in the space that I'm in right now, there was one guy that I knew in his space. And now I'm seeing, you know, people popping up, but in different focuses and different verticals. And I think, you know, the strategic positioning of having a technology and a dashboard around it really, you know, it adds a whole different layer, but I'm just looking at the time. And I can't believe we're already virtually at time here. So before I, before I let you go, John, I mean, say someone listening in was interested in, in future view and foundation and wanted to get in touch. What

would be the best way for them to, I mean, whether they contact you or they go to your team. I mean, what's the best way for them to find out more, Go to our website, And we have some white papers and you can, you can download, we have, or you just email us and we will give you a call. And, and the one thing I, I think I I'd just love to say at the end, we've talked about this whole shared, this fractional CFO. It's also kind of a fractional FP and a cause if you think about financial planning and analysis, it really takes all those different skills. You know, you can't just be one person

there either. You've got to have technology, understanding, finance, understanding we're finance. We built this with finance and view. And one of the things, because we've got foundation, which has direct integration, and we've got a platform where 80% of the stuff that a hundred percent of finance functions need has already been built, we can move really fast. So if you're on net suite or QuickBooks online, not only can I get you up and running, but to the time thing, I can get you running very fast in seven to 10 business days, you will be going from somewhat disorder, somewhat of a state of disorder to closing the books and, and, and having real analysis and forecasting and budgeting. So that's the hope for us is, I mean, that's, that's huge. That's that's you as someone who's gone through this process, you know, we're looking at 4, 5, 6, 8 weeks to get real total understanding and control. So five to seven to 10 days is,

you know, if you, if you haven't gone down this process, that's absurd. I, I, you know, we were talking before we unfortunately use zero, which I know you're adding to your, your suite of tools that you'll integrate with, but that's amazing, John, seriously, it's always just such a pleasure chatting with you. I feel like I learned so much every time. And you know, if there's one lesson

that anyone can take while they're building their business going through, this is, you know, hopefully it's future view, but if it's not get your order, get your books in order and actually have someone at a strategic level, not just a bookkeeper, putting things together, because at the end of the day, if you're relying on lag metrics, then you know, you've effectively sealed your fate into what your business is going to look like. Cause by the time you want to act, it'll be too late. Absolutely. Absolutely. A hundred, a hundred percent. Right. Get the architecture right first and then build to the build to the plan. Don't don't don't plumb do the plumbing and electricity first. Yeah, no, I liked your analogy either. You've come up

with a great new concept where there's toilets and kitchens and, or it's an absolute disaster. So thank you. Thank you very much, right. I really appreciate your time. I know how busy you are Really enjoyed it. Look forward to hear more about your

company too, as you get, as you keep going here. So best of luck. Well, I'm sure. I'm sure we'll continue to intertwine and yeah. Excited to continue to progress the conversation. Thank you

very Much.

2022-01-10 16:06

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