In the world of startups, fractional CFOs have become an essential hire. Why? Because sadly, not all entrepreneurs are finance experts. And while a full-time FD is an option, they can be expensive when capital is at a premium.
Virtual FDs (or fractional CFOs) work...
- at a fraction of the time
- on a fraction of the projects
- for a fraction of the cost
...providing high value with low risk. As a trusted advisor at Founders Factory, one of Europe's top startup accelerators, Kate helps 12+ startups.
Kate noticed that software was the fastest-growing expense for her clients – yet none had processes to manage them. With multiple clients and limited time, Kate needed a solution – and that's when she found Cledara.
Kate noticed that the lack of processes around subscriptions meant procurement was out of control:
Her startups "either have software subscriptions as a direct debit out of their bank or on a credit card. 90% of them have lost the login details for their credit card, and probably 40% of the subscriptions they are signed up for, they’re unaware they’re still paying for!”
This created a norm of not questioning what was being paid for as it had been seen on the bank statement so many times previously:
“It would come down to the bank reconciliation in Xero, and finance staff would tick off the same monthly payments each month, not asking the question, what is this for? Who’s using it?"
While each transaction was small, Kate realized it added up to a big problem:
"When they did ask the question, it was a low-priority issue - but $25 subscriptions all add up and soon, it starts to become a priority”
And invoice collection...
“Invoices were a problem, with them sitting in people’s inboxes and there being no audit trail... a bit of a mess that would end up on the “too hard to do anything about pile”
How Cledara helped
With virtual cards specifically for software, Kate built a scalable process to buy, manage and cancel subscriptions for her clients, giving them full control over their software spend:
"It's so good. It's brilliant. The ease of use and the separate card per application is, for me, the biggest selling point".
And why set Cledara up for her clients from such an early stage? It makes everyone's lives easy from day 1...
“If you invest the time in the beginning and set it up correctly, you can just forget about it"
And month's end?...
“There’s nothing more satisfying when you're doing the month end, and you’ve got 50 things on your spend management tool to reconcile, and 100 things on the bank statement to reconcile, and you scroll down and Cledara has got a green tick against it.”
88% of software tools are billed in US dollars and banks typically charge a daily rate + a percentage of the transaction.
Kate realized the tools her clients were using left them susceptible to this growing expense:
“Is it reducing FX exposure and fees? Because if you don't have a dollar bank account, lots of these subscriptions are in dollars.”
Every startup loves signing up for different tools to find the right one for them. A lot of the time it's driven by FOMO - and sadly for Kate's clients, it was leading to wasted spend.
“So, if they (founders) hear that somebody else in their network is using a software platform for something, they just sign up for it. They may not even need it yet. And they don't realize that they signed up for a free trial, and the next thing they're paying for it, and forget they've ever done it.”
Kate says “Cledara is a product which I 100% trust and can say to a client 'use this, and it will make a difference to you'. And when one of my other clients asks, 'is any other of your clients using it', I can say yes and I partner with them and they say 'let's do it' "
And the feedback she gets from her clients?
"...one of them says to me every time I speak to him, 'I love Cledara, I love it!'"