Q1. what technology do you use?
we use a lot of technology and apps across our business and in fact our business model of efficiency is based around leveraging technology wherever possible. the below are a selection of what we use inside our company. this excludes finance systems which are detailed in question 3 below.
slack, asana, flinder, prezi, receipt bank, dropbox, skype, mailchimp, instagram, apple (and many more)
Q2. do I have to be on a fancy cloud based system?
the cloud makes it easier for us to work with you and the costs are lower for both of us. it’s how we keep our prices so low. we are happy to work with any system and part of the switching and setup is to see what is best for your business – if it’s not broken, we won’t recommend changing your system.
Q3. what finance systems do you work with?
over time we have worked with more finance systems than you could imagine. unlike a lot of other firms, we don’t only work with one finance application. this means we can recommend the finance system that is best for you, not just push the only one we know. we are completely system agnostic which means you get the best independent advice from us.
Q4. what are the risks of a cloud accounting system?
that’s a little glass half empty. we believe the benefits of cloud accounting systems far outweigh the risks. benefits include free upgrades, cheaper infrastructure, access anywhere, increased security, data recovery to name only a few.
Q1. what services won’t you do?
audit! there is very little in respect of the day to day finance related tasks that we won’t perform, as we tailor our time and expertise to meet your needs. we will always remain audit independent which means we can do a lot of services other firms won’t do, but audit is therefore one service we won’t provide (having a background in audit, we can suggest some great ones who do though). other services that spring to mind are executing bank payments and providing credit.
Q2. can we pick and choose the services we want?
absolutely and we certainly recommend this is the best way to work with flinder. we provide 4 different starting points under accounting services and mi only but you can pick and add to these as you please. to keep things simple we have bundled the items most businesses will need together and added the flexibility of adding on top exactly what you need. if there is something you don’t see, then just get in touch with us.
Q3. can we change our services in the future?
yes! typically we don’t work to fixed contract terms so you are free to move between plans as the needs of your business change. the choice is yours!
Q4. do you provide services that aren’t listed in your pricing section?
flinder is always evolving – if there is anything you would like support with just let us know. we want to be your business advisor and are well placed to deal with and advise on any area, not just what you’d think a traditional accountant covers!
Q5. how often will our business advisor meet with us?
as often as you like. within our standard accounting plans this will be at least once a quarter but more typically we would recommend a growing business spends time with their advisor every month. you can always get ad hoc support from your team on Skype, so just give us a shout!
Q6. what make your processes different to other firms?
we’re a boutique accounting and mi specialist firm with vast big 4 expertise providing accounting services to scale up businesses – we feel that is pretty unique. we have taken our experiences, embraced technology to the max and are on the same journey as you are, evolving our own business. we are true to our values (entrepreneurial, authentic, excellence, tenacious) in everything we do so you will see we are doing things other firms aren’t and the way we do them is very different. we have a passion for providing quality & valued services and getting things done…fast!
Q7. the services we want don’t quite fit into your bundles, is it possible to change them?
to keep our processes lean and our prices so reasonable, we have bundled the services that businesses typically require. that means, for example, if we cover payroll for 10 employees, but you have 9 the price won’t change (and there is a discount embedded into each of the bundles compared to buying them as individual services). what we advise though is pick the bundle closest to your needs and pick the add ons that you need. we can suggest the best bundle that is right for your business needs.
Q8. how will you access my bank account to get my transactions?
there are lots of ways we can do this and will depend on the finance system that is right for you and who you bank with. what we can be certain of is that we will make it easy for you. if you’re interested, typically we can pull this direct from your bank, without compromising the security of your bank. cash is king after all!
Q9. how do you get my purchase invoices?
we don’t really like paper that much. but we do love the cloud and paperless is the way to go! just share an electronic version with us in your dedicated client portal – we will do the rest. we will ask you if we need any more info such as a project or department you might want it allocated to. unlike some other accounting firms, we won’t ask you to do most of the work and code it all for them. we know you business well enough to do all this for you!
Q10. how will you run my monthly payroll, what will I need to provide you?
in short, tell us how much your employees get paid, their tax codes and personal details and we will do the rest for you. we will provide payslips and submit everything to HMRC. trust us, you don’t want to be spending your time on the phone to HMRC!
Q11. will you pay my staff for me when you complete the payroll?
we can do everything bar execute the final payments, so we will produce a suggested payment listing that you can process with your bank. this is a conscious decision as we practice what we preach and leading practice controls wouldn’t give us access to your bank account to do this.
Q12. will you raise my sales invoices for me?
if you would like us to, then sure, we will process sales transactions. it will depend on what works best for you as some prefer to create the sales invoices themselves, others have an operational system which creates them already. in either case we can help with templates in the system or we will get them recorded in the accounting system for you.
Q13. will you chase my customers to pay their invoices?
we will let you know what invoices are due for payment and will provide account statements that can be emailed (and automated) to your customers as a reminder. we believe for any successful business, relationships are key so a call from one of your team will help build that relationship (and typically get that cash quicker too!). however, we can also help if you are experiencing cash collection issues.
Q1. what is the difference between management information and management accounts?
a lot! management accounts are very financially focused and typically includes profit and loss account, balance sheet, cashflow, debtors, creditors and other financial kpis. this is fine for some businesses, but for businesses that really want to get under the skin of their business they want to understand a lot more. this is where management information comes into play. management information takes both financial and non financial data sources in the business and mashes them together to give something even more powerful for you to make much better informed business decisions. quite simply management information is much more powerful than only financially focused management accounts.
Q2. how do you design our management information?
we have a tried and tested methodology of designing your mi. to describe it simply, we hold a working session with you to discuss your strategy and your strategic objectives. we then align relevant kpis and metrics to your objectives, and bring in those that our experience tells us are relevant for your industry. we identify the data and sources needed for the calculations from the various applications you use (this sometimes involves redesigning data structures). on top of this, we we work out the best visual way specifically for you. once you are happy with how it looks in a storyboard, we build it in our cloud mi tool and do a dry run before we go live.
Q3. why do you include financial and non financial information?
quite simply this tells a much richer story of what is going on in the business. the greater flavour that can be added and the more granular the data we can results in us being able to segment data and mash it up between financial and non financial. let us give you an example; rather than us telling you what your total cost of marketing is (taking only financial data), we could tell you your cost of customer acquisition (financial data and operational data). if we drill down a level using segmented data and optimised chart of accounts design, we can tell you customer acquisition cost by source (segmented financial and operational data). these three stages become more powerful because now you can make more informed decisions on which channel is proving to be the lowest cost to acquire a new customer. how cool is that!
Q4. what does real time mean?
we actually think some companies throw this term around without really thinking about what it means. transactions can very well be real time, but there are always month end adjustments that a human needs to be involved in (for now) which means the data you may be looking at real time, may not be entirely accurate if adjustments are needed at the end of the month. things like cash and sales may very well be real time (depending on the complexity of your revenue model). our management information is as real time as your operational systems and finance processing.
Q5. how long does it take to set up your management information?
the process is described in question 2 above. there are a serious of steps involved in designing and building your management information. we would expect a period of about 2 – 3 weeks to get everything set up from our initial workshop to the final signed off mi dashboard.
Q6. what data can’t you work with?
err…there is very little we can’t and don’t work with. we’re still trying to find something!
Q7. what devices can I access my management information on?
any device that can access the internet! that’s the power of the cloud! smartphone, tablet, laptop, computer or mac and others.
Q8. what data sources can I connect to the flinder mi system?
the list is near infinite, but if we grouped them together, we can connect cloud applications, file sharing services, your computer files and business databases. you can see a more comprehensive list of our integrations.
Q9. can I get a printed report of my mi?
cloud and real time is great on the move, but we also understand sometimes it’s nice to sit down with a report and scribble on it – we also supply your management information in pdf format if you want to share with people that are maybe a little less tech savvy.
Q1. are there up front costs?
no. we work on fixed monthly prices to give you certainty over your monthly costs. the price advertised is the price you will pay and we are flexible so you can upgrade your plan in just the areas you need rather than having to move to the next plan.
Q2. will you change your prices once I am a client?
no, our fees are fixed and cover the services and transactional volumes described. you’ll be the same as us, wanting to know what your costs are going to be each month and therefore we are a firm believer in fixed monthly fees, with no surprises! as you grow and the volumes increase, move to the next bundle or add one of our fixed price bolt ons. it’s very transparent.
Q3. how do you invoice and how do I pay?
we love technology and don’t want to increase your admin, you need to run your business! not only that, we believe in efficiency ourselves. payments and invoices are all handled through GoCardless; sign up, share your details and the rest is automatic!
Q4. am I fixed to a long contract?
no. we hope you’ll love our service but if for some weird reason you don’t we will try to fix it otherwise you are free to leave, just give us 30 days notice.
Q5. we are not happy with the service, how do I leave?
if you don’t love what we are doing, please let us know and we would really value the open and honest feedback with one of our founders over a coffee. but of course, you are free to leave at anytime, just give us 30 days notice. we will finish the work that is already in progress for you too, plus the data is yours to take.
Q6. we are in the process of fund raising so cash is very tight, can we defer your fees for a while?
possibly. we get pretty excited working with exciting growing businesses and would therefore love to support you. sticking to the same advice we would give you; we’d need to discuss commercials and assess you! in particular if you’re looking for series A investment you may qualify for support with flinder capital where we exchange fees for equity. you can also read some our flinder capital faqs below.
Q1. when is the best time to switch to flinder?
there is no bad time. we will help you switch when you would like, whether this is at the end of your financial year or any month in between. all we need is for your last month of completed financial records.
Q2. I am just starting out, I don’t have any financial records to provide flinder, will this be an issue?
not at all, we can help you get set up onto your first accounting system. this will be the first step in evolving your business and we can recommend a cool cloud based system helping to run your business on the go. also, we can get everything perfect from the start!
Q3. how long does it take to switch to flinder?
it will depend on the size of your business but typically we will have you up and running in 1 – 3 weeks. we will work out a bespoke solution for you ensuring as little disruption is caused to your business as possible. we have a tried and tested way of bringing clients on.
Q4. how do you switch us over and what is involved?
you can give us access to your existing system or send us the reports we need to make the switch. we will need things like a trial balance, a list of debtors (people who owe you money), a list of creditors (who you owe money) and a bunch of other things but each switching plan will be bespoke as your business is unique, but we will ensure it is the best solution for you.
Q1. what type of startups do you work with?
typically we work with technology-orientated businesses that have brilliant founders. we have to see something special in the business model and really believe in the founders.
Q2. how can I apply?
applying is easy, simply get in touch with us and we will start a conversation with you. we feel that is the best starting point to get to know you as a management team.
Q3. how much equity do you exchange for services?
well, that depends. it depends on a number of things; the service bundle you need, the stage of your maturity, the period of time we would provide services to you in exchange for equity, the sector and other associated risks. having said that, 1 – 2% is indicative based on the services we would expect to provide to a startup at a pre seed or seed maturity phase for a 6 – 18 month period. however, we reserve the right to assess the complexity and needs of your business prior to agreeing any specific terms.
Q4. what kind of support do I get?
well, we have even more of an invested interest in you succeeding, so as well as the bundled services we also offer our mentor programme which includes a financial health check, scalability assessment with recommendations and pitch rehearsals. we are also more than happy to support you by presenting at pitches with you.
Q1. what is the difference between flinder and the likes of KPMG small business?
our founders started their careers in the sme market segment and that’s where their real passion lies. we can’t speak for other firms, but we focus 100% on the sme and growing businesses segment. it’s just what we do.
our business model is a sustainable one meaning that we will always focus on this segment and a change in chairman or board won’t change our strategy working with you. we are sustainable which means we’re not out to buy market share and then either pump up your prices when we’ve got you hooked in or ditch you because you no longer fit our strategy.
we also know what works. and let’s be honest, we do some pretty cool things with our mi – our practice has been built on rich MI and best in class processes from our experts but at the end of the day it comes down to values. if we have some common values then it probably makes sense that we work together. if we don’t, we can help you but it probably isn’t going to be as much fun so maybe it’s best we don’t. that’s the way we do business.
Q2. what’s the difference between flinder and non big 4 accountants?
we believe we have the best of both worlds (which is why we created flinder!) we have the accounting & consulting expertise but also the values and mindset you do. our collective background of more than 25 years at a big 4 gives you access to the expertise of a top tier accounting and consulting firm at the price and speed of a more understanding boutique provider. our systems & data expertise, lean processes and rich management information quite simply delivers big 4 expertise at a boutique price.
Q3. can I rely on your accounting advice?
absolutely! we are qualified accountants and that is what we are here for! we will also be clear with you when giving advice and if something is a specialist area outside of our expertise.
Q4. you are based in london, do you work with clients across the UK?
we do indeed. while flinder was founded in london and the south east, we are gradually expanding our footprint across the uk. if you are based outside london or the south east, please just get in touch with as we would love to work with you. geography is definitely not a boundary for us!
Q5. do you provide services for businesses outside the UK?
yes we do. while we don’t provide statutory compliance services to business outside the uk (yet – watch this space!), we do provide our rich management information reporting to businesses across the globe.