XU Magazine - Issue 12

ReportAmigo + Xero : engaging teams and clients with automatic reports

Sebastian_Brocher

Automated reports and insights delivered over email and SMS…

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” says the Cat. To which Alice replies, “I don’t much care where”.

If you’re like me (and not like Alice), chances are you do care where you ought to go with your business.

And, as an accountant, bookkeeper, or advisor, you care about this not only for your own firm, but for your clients as well. You’re in the privileged position to provide them with advisory services; using simple yet actionable tools like ReportAmigo can help keep them on track towards reaching their financial goals faster.

I believe in making it very easy to know where your business is at and what’s coming. It makes you more likely to ideate winning business strategies and make decisions that lead your company to success. Without numbers, it’s like driving a car with your eyes closed. (And not a self-driving Tesla. Your 2008 Toyota Prius).

ReportAmigo is born

Let’s take a quick step back. As Founder at ChimiChurri, a SaaS accelerator that helps non-technical entrepreneurs launch SaaS and Marketplace businesses and web applications, I personally maintain our day-to-day bookkeeping using the beautifully efficient Xero. Thanks to its excellent bank fees, quick and easy reconciliation, and automation features, keeping our books up-to-date is fairly easy to do, taking only a few minutes every morning.

Having up-to-date, accurate books allows extracting critical information needed to run the business more efficiently. Manually extracting it and distributing it to everyone that needs it, when they need it, can be somewhat of a challenge.

Before ReportAmigo, whenever I needed to share financials with our extended team, this used to take quite a bit of effort and time. I had to sign into Xero, look for the right reports, set the correct parameters, export them to PDF, email them, or create user accounts for everyone and expect them to sign in and do that on their own (without accidentally breaking anything else). Over time, I realized that by manually inputting this information each time, my reports altered in their parameters and frequency. Plus, PDF exports can be hard to use on mobile and tablet devices. Keeping conversations going around different reports over multiple email threads can easily become an unnecessary headache.

So, partially out of curiosity about Xero’s API and add-on market (which was already on our to- explore list for ChimiChurri), and partially to try and optimize our own processes, I started building an application that would automate financial reporting for us. If I was only running a small organization, then I imagined how difficult and time-consuming it must be for larger organizations and firms alike, who must keep their people informed and updated all the time. I talked to a few founders, executives, bookkeepers and accountants of larger firms. They verified my hunch, and ReportAmigo was born.

With ReportAmigo, we now automatically distribute interactive cloud reports that work on every device. Team members receive a simple email and/or text message notification (see Figure 1) and always have the insights and information they need wherever they are, with no effort on either side.

How it works

Creating daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and quarterly schedules with ReportAmigo takes only a few clicks (see Figure 2). Simply tell ReportAmigo which reports you want send, configure optional parameters, pick recipients from your contacts, and ReportAmigo will automatically run and distribute the reports for the dates and periods of your choice. With manual sends and overrides, ReportAmigo can be always customized to fit different workflows and accommodate delays and unplanned scenarios.

ReportAmigo will then send the reports to your contacts over email and SMS. To access the reports, recipients only need to click on the provided link. There is zero need to sign in or do anything else. ReportAmigo’s responsive cloud reports work well across smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and desktops, so anyone can be up to date on their device of choice.

For firms that choose to white- label the solution, ReportAmigo can customize the emails and SMS messages it sends along with its cloud reports to make it look as if they were coming directly from the firm. This can boost clients’ perception of their firms into one that is more forward-thinking and cloud-savvy.

For example, you can keep the executive team informed with a daily Executive Summary report, keep your operations team updated with weekly Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable reports, and the whole team on the same page with a monthly Profit and Loss report and Balance Sheet. With ten different financial reports to choose from, powerful scheduling, and flexible override features, financial firms and SMBs alike can configure ReportAmigo to work for their specific needs.

Unlike other powerful yet complex reporting tools, ReportAmigo’s philosophy is to make things as easy and simple as possible. This philosophy extends to its charts and graphics, which automatically accompanies most reports and fit on any device regardless of screen size (see Figure 3).

Because of it’s real-time comments and notifications features, ReportAmigo helps teams communicate more efficiently, whether that’s internally at the organization’s level or between clients and their advisors. Each cloud report comes with its own conversation section where anyone receiving it can post questions, comments, or answer others in the conversation thread. When someone posts a new comment, everyone in the group receiving that report automatically receives an email or SMS notification so teams can collaborate in real-time on financial reports, eliminating the need for multiple disconnected email threads, attachments, unnecessary phone calls, and more.

ReportAmigo stores historical reports and measures engagement by sharing who opened messages and reports sent. This is game- changing for advisors because clients who are not engaged run of the risk of leaving.

We’re just getting started…

Making it so that everyone who needs it could have easy access to key insights and financial reports and could communicate to others efficiently was just the first step. While we continue to improve our reporting and scheduling engine, we also have a bolder plan for where we want to take ReportAmigo next.

To that end, the “Amigo” aspect of ReportAmigo will soon come to life. “Amigo” will blend together proprietary financial models and Artificial Intelligence to provide tailored recommendations and other innovative services for connected organizations.

These additions will propel ReportAmigo further into realizing its mission: helping SMB owners better run their businesses and empowering advisors to provide more services while fostering client engagement.

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About the author

Sebastián Brocher

A computer engineer by training and entrepreneur by heart, Sebastián built a cash-flow charting system for a loans shop at age 16 and an invoicing application at 17. In 2015, Sebastián founded ChimiChurri to help entrepreneurs launch SaaS businesses. ReportAmigo was born from their need to automate financial reporting. In 2013 Sebastián co-founded SiteCondor, acquired by gShiftLabs in 2015. He has held multiple executive and engineering roles and is fluent in Spanish, French, and English.