Business owners and entrepreneurs face a long list of challenges in creating and sustaining a successful company. These include growing revenue, marketing and market awareness, work-flow efficiencies, technology choices, human resources, compliance and regulatory laws, and having a vision for the company that can be reached through a business plan.
The most important of all of these is fiscal management. Fundamentally, all business owners want financial stability, growth in revenue, access to money when they need it, increasing profits, an increase in the value of the company, and, ultimately, a succession plan. The company is the owners’ largest personal asset!
There are several excellent small-business accounting software applications available, including Xero, FreshBooks, and QuickBooks. While these tools enable business owners to track “the numbers,” they don’t provide those owners with high-level financial insights to help them improve the efficiency, financial stability, profitability, and valuation of their businesses. That’s not a knock, it’s just not what they are designed to do.
What if a team with decades of experience in corporate turnarounds, acquisitions, M&A, and helping small and mid-sized businesses improve profitability could package their knowledge and expertise in a software tool to provide business owners with those kinds of insights?
That’s how ProfitSee got started a decade ago. Here is the company’s story.
The biggest challenge business owners face is fiscal management. Accounting software isn’t designed to address this, as it tracks history to show where the company stands today (or, more likely, two or three weeks ago).
Fiscal management is driven by knowing how to be smart building into the future. How can the business manage cash flow, particularly without a forecasting tool? New businesses strategies have many variables; is there anyone in the company skilled in Boolean Algebra and spreadsheets to create a multivariable cash flow and rate of return model? Accrual reporting is not cash reporting. How does the company manage aging receivables, or overdue bills?
Most applications that claim to provide these services are little more than dashboards with sliders for growth and expenses. None of these meet any accounting or fiduciary requirements.
ProfitSee’s applications were designed to offer fiscal management tools to small and mid-sized businesses at a level only available to CFOs of world-class multinational corporations. We are the only application fully accredited globally by the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales) the world’s largest association of Chartered Accountants. The tools are offered exclusively through accounting professionals, who act in an “advisory CFO” role to their business clients.
ProfitSee tools are the only applications that allow small company accounting software, such as QuickBooks Online, Xero, and many others globally, to manage the financials of holding companies, multiple family-run businesses, franchises, enterprise systems with account reconciliation, and other services normally only available in large corporate enterprise management systems. We do this through AI-driven analytics, literally looking at every single financial transaction over several years in a company’s history.
In simplest terms, ProfitSee applications help businesses manage growth, risk, and real-time notification of financial performance by helping businesses reach their monetary goals through their accountant or bookkeeper.
Year founded: 2009
Funding rounds: Privately funded through a limited number of investors
Current size: Customers and a physical presence in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, plus customers in Brazil, France, and Canada.
Webbiquity: What inspired you to work on a solution to this particular problem?
Peter Vessenes: I’d worked as a transition/turnaround specialist since 1983. The companies I assisted ran the spectrum from Fortune 100 to startups, and included everything from market penetration, succession planning, capital formation, merger and acquisition, to fixing broken systems.
In the 1990s I became a contributing editor to several financial management magazines in the USA, and by the late 1990s a keynote speaker. Although I was well compensated, I realized the singular greatest challenge to companies, regardless of their size, was fiscal management of the company.
My skills in spreadsheets had brought me in to Fortune 200 companies to train their analysts on multivariable scenario building on spreadsheets. This led to the inspiration to help smaller companies that did not have access to CFOs and teams of analysts to build and protect their futures.
Dozens of HR, accounting, operations, and other online business tools are featured in:
Webbiquity: What were the most effective channels or methods for you to get the word out to prospective customers when you first launched your services?
Peter Vessenes: There is a global change happening to accounting professionals. Technology is commoditizing their historical services of tax, audit, and compliance. ProfitSee’s success has been built on training accounting professionals on how to provide these CFO-level service to their business clients.
It is patient work, taking months of regular training and support. We do not charge for these services. Frankly, we spend more time and energy on this training and support than we do on our own internal development team!
Traditional advertising and promotion do not work in this set of market dynamics. We have found that attending trade shows, writing blog posts, and direct marketing of information and training have been the most effective way to reach the marketplace.
Webbiquity: Finish this sentence: “Knowing what I know now, if I were starting over today, what I would do differently is…”
Peter Vessenes: In the earliest days of the company, I believed that bringing people on the board of directors and hiring executives with experience in sales and marketing would be the best way to build market credibility. This turned out to be one of the worst decisions I ever made professionally.
ProfitSee is built on a passion to help small and mid-sized companies grow in financial health. This has a natural consequence; the companies hire more people, the company not only makes more money, but also spends more money. This helps the community’s GDP and can actually turn around economic performance in ways that government economic policies cannot help.
Our tag line/mission statement includes “Rebuilding the global economy, one small business at a time”. This is not just a marketing platitude; my current executive team and all employees are passionate about it.
Unfortunately, the people I thought would help build credibility in the early days did not share the underlying purpose and the culture it creates. It is my greatest regret in the launching of ProfitSee.
Webbiquity: What’s the most important advice you could offer to an entrepreneur starting out today?
Peter Vessenes: Four things:
- Have a clear picture of the purpose of your new company. Only bring on team members and support systems that are compatible.
- Do a competitive analysis; assess your advantages and limitations. Don’t let them leave your decision making.
- Validate your business assumptions in small scales. Move ahead in controlled growth.
- When you are seeking investment capital, make sure you understand the exit strategies of the investor, and that they line up with your own; otherwise your will wind up working with vulture capitalists, not venture capitalists.