XU: It’s a real pleasure to be joined today by one of the first ever cover stars for XU Magazine. Not only a cover star but one of the Co-Founders of FUTRLI (formerly known as CrunchBoards) Amy Harris. Amy, why don’t start by telling us your journey to be Co-Founder of FUTRLI?
AH: Nice to be catching up in Melbourne! Ultimately, we wanted to give business owners and accountants access to insights that empower them to make informed decisions. We couldn’t find anything to help us in the marketplace then, so with the help of a great team, we built it.
XU: Can you give us an overview of what FUTRLI does and how it integrates with Xero?
AH: Sadly, too many businesses don’t have a grip on how they are performing for many reasons, time, lack of resource, lack of confidence in that area or disparate systems. Often with BI and excel the focus is on the past. FUTRLI changes that, one sync with Xero and now you have a powerful forecasting engine working with your accounts package to help visualise key metrics and monitor and analyse trends as well as project forwards. With actual and forecast data all in one place business owners can begin to remove risk and anxiety from decision making. Our powerful forecasting and reporting engine includes: budgets/cashflow, online KPI dashboards, printed report packs, what-if scenarios, full business monitoring with alerts to your inbox (or XeroHQ) and more.
XU: A lot of our readers will remember FUTRLI launching on the first ever front cover of XU. Tell us how being involved in XU has help your development in the Xero ecosystem.
AH: XU was the perfect launch-pad and we will be forever grateful for that first cover! Despite the double denim leap-fest (forgive us!) We’ve witnessed huge global growth and XU has played a core role in how we’ve built our brand.
XU: I am very interested in hearing more about how the FUTRLI rebrand come about? Why did you feel it was important to rebrand?
AH: CrunchBoards wasn’t helping to define our vision and we were getting confused with being a reporting add-on. We help businesses and advisors to look to the future. As the brand grew and we entered new markets, we realised it was a now or never decision. However, our accounting partners can white-label the platform to make it their own – this is what we encourage. It should be about the advisor/their advice and relationship with the client (which our software simply powers in the background).
XU: What advice could you give to our readers if they wish to rebrand. What are the big no’s to avoid? And what are the big yes’s to do?
AH: I wouldn’t forget to test out your new brand name to make sure it it isn’t offensive in other cultures. I would prioritise ensuring that you can register your brand globally from trademarks to social media.
XU: How effective has social media been in FUTRLI’s life span?
AH: It’s a great way to keep the conversation going and especially nice when online communities meet offline at events such as Xerocon.
XU: If you were to be on the front cover of XU Magazine in the future what would you do to stand out?
AH: This is a great question! It would be great to get the whole team involved next time as it has grown so much – we’ll accept this as a mission to think of something out there!
XU: It’s over two years since you opened the office in Sydney. How have you found opening an office on the other side of the world? Tell us more about the pro’s and con’s of this.
AH: Keeping everyone up-to-speed has been challenging due to the pace at which FUTRLI has grown – Slack has really helped but it’s so important we have learned that nothing beats a face to face. This is far outweighed by the benefits, though. ANZ is a savvy market and we find that advisors here want to deliver more value to their clients because they are already experiencing the benefits of the cloud. Our team on the ground are helping firms all over ANZ to genuinely achieve scale and profitability from advisory services.
XU: What made you go down the route of a white labelled service? Why is this different more beneficial for accountants rather than using a non white labelling version?
AH: One of our partners, Blu Sky Tax, summed it up perfectly. They said that they wanted to focus on being better advisors, not software engineers. FUTRLI is everything they wanted, but they didn’t want to invest in building it themselves. In a competitive marketplace, standing out as a firm is important. White labelling allows accountants to have a point of competitive difference as well as ensuring the focus is on the client and their business. We get it, they don’t want to enter into a software reseller discussion – they want the focus to be on the client’s business.
XU: What makes your forecasting module different from the others on offer within the Xero eco-sytem?
AH: It’s an extremely powerful forecasting engine in it’s own right and most feedback is centred on having a delightful user experience, especially being able to visualise the forecast as you create it. In my opinion, there are three core areas which make it stand out.
The seamless integration with Xero, sync once and we’ll keep your actuals/forecasts in sync.
We allow you to beautifully visualise your data – on online dashboards, or printed management reports (this is new!) or we’ll keep you updated of success/failure via our alerts.
We make forecasting enjoyable – if you want to quickly create a 3-way forecast from last year’s results or explore some what-if scenarios, it is fast and easy (not like dreaded Excel).
XU: When you’re not busy running FUTRLI what can we find you doing to relax?
AH: Having recently relocated to Brighton, where our HQ is, I am enjoying time on the beach, shopping/bar hopping in the Laines, and long walks on the South Downs.
XU: What exciting news and developments can our readers expect to see from FUTRLI very soon?
AH: We’ve had a big year, recently launching our Business Advisory Certification programme and our new beautiful PDF reports. You can create them from existing dashboards, pre-built templates or from scratch. There is complete flexibility to customise the display with flexible page layouts, charts, table and data options. And, of course, you can add company logos. executive summaries, commentary and annotations etc too. Coming up, we have a lot more planned for the forecasting engine and beyond.