Few industries are immune to digital transformation, and accounting certainly isn’t one of them. The good news is that accountants can turn to a wide array of software to help them do more with less. Recently we spoke with Mike Whitmire, a CPA turned CEO and co-founder of FloQast, the cloud-based accounting software for accountants, by accountants. He told us about his company’s story and their tech.
How much time have you spent in front of your computer screen, thinking, “If all these files were in the same place, I wouldn’t need to spend an extra hour every week searching through file cabinets or file repositories,” or “If we could automate this mundane process or that menial task, we wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time fixing mistakes and we wouldn’t stress about hitting that deadline.”
While most of us wish there was a better way, others get busy finding a better way.
That’s what Whitmire did. He found that manual processes, siloed information, and collaborative limitations across disparate teams and workflows create big problems for accountants when they’re closing the books. The fact that this vital accounting process is tied to a hard deadline compounds it.
Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, Whitmire went into business to make life easier for accountants everywhere, and created FloQast. The company recently announced a $40 million Series C funding round with Norwest Venture Partners, elevating total funds raised to $93 million. According to Whitmire, FloQast has helped their roughly 800 clients close 30% faster.
FloQast is a modular SaaS platform that addresses three major problems when closing the books: collaboration, standardization, and manual processes. Additional modules are available for flux analysis and process visualization.
In accounting, month-close processes are incredibly collaborative and everyone’s work is interconnected. When one accountant makes a change to one document, it can impact information on another document being worked on by another accountant. “I don’t think people appreciate just how difficult it is for 10 or 50 or 300 people to collaborate on a project,” said Whitmire. Traditionally, to keep on top of everything, accountants use long Excel checklists and hold constant status update meetings. With FloQast, accountants have a single platform where they can view the status of all their tasks and notes. In turn, they can spend more time at their desk working on what’s important, instead of updating Excel sheets and sitting in meetings, telling the rest of the team about the important tasks they are working on. Should information in the ERP change, it is automatically refreshed in FloQast, so accountants are always working with the most up to date information.
Organization can be another major pain point. You might need one set of documents from the ERP, a couple of Excel sheets in a shared network drive, and yet another set from a cloud application. FloQast helps accountants standardize and centralize their process documentation, enabling a repeatable monthly close process.
Finally, the solution leverages AI to eliminate the mundane and menial reconciliation task. Accounting firms and departments can eliminate manual “tick-and-tie” tasks, accelerating the reconciliation process while removing human error. The solution also enables accountants to forward their checklists, reconciliations and supporting documents automatically, ensuring there aren’t any surprises during audits.
“You can never say anything is 100 percent in the accounting world,” said Whitmire. But he thinks it’s fair to say that in the not so distant future, you might not find a lot of paper — if any — in most accountants’ offices. The latest in accounting software is enabling accounting firms and departments to increase efficiency, make fewer mistakes, and spend less money.