Hugh Francis is the founder and CEO of Sanctuary Computer Inc., a business that offers bespoke apps and websites for its customers. Based in New York City and founded in 2015, Sanctuary Computer is a growing business in terms of both customer base and the number of projects that they’re taking on.
We spoke to Hugh to find out more about Float’s role in the growth of the company as well as how an increased insight into their cash position has supported Sanctuary’s ambitions.
Buttoning up their finances with QuickBooks Online
For a small company, it’s been incredibly important for Sanctuary Computer to keep on top of their finances.
That’s why, from day one, Sanctuary Computer have used QuickBooks Online as their accounting platform of choice.
For Hugh, QuickBooks Online was the first and most obvious choice for Sanctuary. He says, “I picked QuickBooks because it seemed to be the platform that most accountants prefer. But, I also knew that it would do everything I needed in an accounting software.”
Hugh also says that he chose QuickBooks Online in order to keep things simple for him when working with an accountant – because running a small business is overwhelming enough. “I wanted to create as little friction as possible when working with my accountant – which is why choosing QuickBooks was such an easy decision.”
Hugh’s accountant is in charge of Sanctuary’s higher-level financial management, which has meant that Hugh has been saved a lot of headaches, and a lot of cash. But Hugh considers himself a “maths kind of guy” and therefore does the majority of the day-to-day bookkeeping himself.
“I work with my accountant every quarter to go over our finances and what we should be doing for longer-term planning but it’s mostly oversight stuff and I control the day-to-day bookkeeping.”
With the impetus on Hugh to keep an eye on the operational side of Sanctuary’s finances, it meant that he needed as much insight into the cash flowing into and out of the business as possible.
The problem with spreadsheets
Initially, Sanctuary Computer created a cash flow forecast in a spreadsheet – something that Hugh wasn’t very familiar with.
In fact, prior to the creation of this spreadsheet, Hugh had only been making the calculations in his head.
“I would always just check the bank account and say, ‘I think everything is fine?’ I’d have this backlog of invoices in my mind that I’d think were going to hit on certain days – like, ‘I think we’re gonna make payroll, sure!’”
While the use of a spreadsheet was certainly a step up from doing a forecast in his head, Hugh admits that this method still left room for human error.
“I hate human error more than anything,” Hugh admits, “so I’m always trying to find solutions to avoid it completely.”
For Hugh, this meant looking into cloud-based solutions to manage his cash flow. Wanting to use his numbers in QuickBooks Online as his source of truth, Hugh knew he needed an add-on that would sync automatically – with no fuss.
“I was sure that there was an app that could do it all for us.”
That’s when Hugh found Float. He had seen a few solutions on the QuickBooks marketplace but Float immediately struck him as the most modern-looking and user-friendly.
“Float was the best add-on I found. The graph makes everything so simple for me to understand.”
Because Float lives in the cloud and pulls through information on bills, invoices, and actual transactions directly from QuickBooks Online every 24 hours, Hugh could finally rest easy knowing that he had an accurate, up-to-date and error-free projection of his cash.
“We’ve been lucky enough that for the last six months or so we haven’t been cutting too close to the cloth. And I know that because I can come into Float and eyeball it in just seconds.”
With the peace of mind that comes from knowing his cash flow is both accurate and positive, Hugh has been able to make important business decisions with confidence. “Knowing that we have the runway means that I can hire and right now, for us, it’s all about growing the team.”
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