Scaling up successfully is critical for a startup and so we thought it would be a great time to get some advice from people who’ve been there and got the T-shirt. So for this new mini-series I’ve sat down with Dan Medlock, Aarish Shah, Will Brown and Simon Cole – all of whom have great first-hand finance experience of scaling up a tech business. Our topic this week – “What are your top tips for business tools?”
Dan Medlock, Finance Director at Streetbees
This is a very accountant answer, but the software I can’t live without is my spreadsheet software, either Excel or Google Sheets! I think the ability to solve a business problem by opening a spreadsheet and quickly analysing the issue, breaking it down and modelling out various options and scenarios is such an important skill. I actually run intensive Excel training based on the training that I received at KPMG for anyone who works for me as I just think it’s so important and the key weapon of choice for accountants.In the automation space, we use Zapier across the business. When you’re a startup, you don’t necessarily have a big integrated ERP system. You’re going to be using Google Docs and Slack and whatever free tools you get your hands on. The ability to plug those things together using Zapier is great.
Aarish Shah, Managing Director at EmergeOne
Anything that takes pain out of your life and reduces the amount of time taken on a task is a winner for me. A good example of that is after searching for and trialling a lot of “to-do list” automation tools, I have defaulted back to Google Sheets, which for me is a really great hack to get all of my ideas and to-do’s down…and it works – the lower the time investment the better!
Will Brown, CFO at Cloud.IQ
Being in a SaaS environment I’d have to say the biggest technology win is having an automated sales to billing to debt collection process. Easier said than done though and something we’re still working on implementing fully. A quick mention also for receipt scanning software that links into your accounts systems as it’s such an easy thing to do! It removes so much paper, improves the quality of reporting and makes the daily admin tasks so much less cumbersome for junior members of the team meaning they can spend more time on more interesting work and likely develop quicker. We use AutoEntry currently and really like its simple interface.
Simon Cole, Partner at Molewood Consulting
I think one of the tools that is really valuable and useful is Slack. Slack has come in and if you like robbed a little off of Skype, a little off of WhatsApp and the results are simply phenomenal. I have developers around the globe and it allows us to feel bound together. It allows us to communicate effectively and stay connected, chat and share everything from pointless photographs and gifs to hugely important documents. In a startup, it’s critical to feel connected.