Raedan are a London-based accounting firm that specialise in providing cloud accounting services to creative businesses. They’ve been using Fluidly for several months as part of a progressive stack of technology that allows them to provide daily (yes, daily!) bookkeeping for a number of their clients. We caught up with them to talk about how technology augments their practice, and how Fluidly fits in.
Fulfilling a need for cashflow
“There was a definite gap in the technology offering we were providing for clients.” says Jonathan Bareham, founder of Raedan. The firm have been using Xero since its inception, and have added new apps along the way. Technology had already allowed them to manage their clients in a paperless way, and Xero bank feeds helped to make sure clients’ information was always up to date. But cash was the next piece of the puzzle.
“It’s a key question for small business owners.” Jonathan says. “Have I got enough money for this? Can I pay for that?”
Beth Riordan, Head Accountant at Raedan agrees that cash is key for their clients, but that there is sometimes a mismatch between the solution that clients they think they need, and the one that’s actually useful for them. “A lot of clients will come to us asking for cashflow forecasts. Rather than a [one off] cashflow forecast that you might send to a bank, what they really mean is – ‘can you monitor my cash for us and tell us if there’s going to be any problems in the next month, 3 months, 6 months?’”
“Fluidly fills a hole that doesn’t exist at the moment. Because of the AI it’s able to look into the future and predict what’s going to happen. When you talk to clients and you say what Fluidly can do, they realise- ‘that’s the product I need.”
Introducing Fluidly into a digital practice
Raedan found the initial set up of Fluidly to be simple. “It links seamlessly with Xero,” says Beth. “I was up and running within an hour of deciding to turn it on, and that’s the same for new clients that we bring on board.”
Beth explains how they started off by saving their clients time on credit control by automating the process, and editing Fluidly settings so that the automatic reminders worked for their needs.
“The client we started off with needed a very bespoke credit control solution so we changed all the settings – it was great that we could do that easily.”
Then Raedan experimented with the cashflow forecasting element of the product. “For clients who want that cash monitoring, it’s simple to connect Fluidly up to their Xero and it’s easy for the client to see at a glance what’s coming up and where the problems might be.”
Finding a way to introduce Fluidly to Raedan’s clients
Once Raedan were comfortable with Fluidly they started introducing their other clients to Fluidly. Beth and Jonathan share how they found success in talking to clients about Fluidly.
“If clients are doing credit control manually, I just show them the software so they can see how automated it is.” Beth says. “I show them that you can set the settings once, and then Fluidly will chase invoices for you going forwards, and it will also escalate [invoices] when needed.”
Jonathan explains how they chose the right clients to get involved with Fluidly in the first instance. “We looked for clients who had issues with problem payers and then showed them the advantages of using automated reminders. Firstly because it’s efficient and secondly seeing the improvements in debtor days and payments coming in.”
“We’re now moving all clients that we do bookkeeping and management accounts for to use the Fluidly monitoring system. We don’t have to rely on our knowledge of the client as much – we can rely on Fluidly doing its job really well.”
Measuring the impact
Bringing Fluidly into the business has helped both employees and clients of Raedan.
“Fluidly helps us to monitor cashflow where we didn’t have instant access before. Now we can monitor cashflow on a weekly basis for our clients and see if there are any potential problems.” Beth explains. This helps Raedan to get real-time insights into their clients’ cashflow positions, without having to spend time producing a forecast in Excel. It’s also beneficial for the client as they can be reassured that Raedan is keeping an eye out for them.
As well as saving them time in the day-to-day, Jonathan explains how Fluidly supports the Raedan culture; technologically forward and always looking to use tech to improve their service. As well as helping Raedan to let go of spreadsheets once and for all, Fluidly allows them to position themselves as strategic advisors.
“Fluidly gives clients confidence that we can help them with the things that really matter. It’s not about a set of accounts or a tax return – clients know they need those but it’s not necessarily what they want. What they want is help, support and advice and most of the questions are around cash. Fluidly for us internally has given us the confidence to deliver help with that.”
Looking to 2019 and beyond!
“Accountancy is at a really exciting stage at the moment,” says Jonathan, and the same is true for Raedan as well. “We’ve had eight years of getting used to the technology, and I think that’s bought us time to have really in-depth conversations with clients. We can talk to them about the things that really matter to them, help them answer questions and help them solve problems. The advisory side of things is only going to grow over time. As clients realise that accountants can do more and more away from just the number crunching, I think that makes the industry a much more exciting place to work.”
“We want to grow with our market sector of creatives and continue on our journey of doing daily bookkeeping and the monthly reconciliation. Fluidly comes really nicely into that – clients can get daily cashflow monitoring, so when we do our weekly report we can include any potential problems. Our clients will have more information which is what they really want.”
A big thanks to Raedan for sharing their views with us. You can find out more about Raedan on their website.