Rich Bishop is Software and Web Developer, and the Area Leader for the Federation of Small Businesses for Coventry and Warwickshire. Rich works as a director for multiple businesses, providing them with financial, legal, and technical advice.
We sat down with Rich to discuss how he incorporates Float into his offering; helping clients to understand their cash flow and reach their business objectives.
Understanding the importance of cash flow forecasting
Rich is a certified Xero partner, mostly self-taught in the art of finance, and uses his knowledge and experience to help less financially literate clients.
“I take it for granted that finances don’t scare me, because I enjoy them. But for someone that just isn’t built that way, I can understand why looking into them can be hell on earth.”
In the past, Rich has suffered from cash flow problems himself and has said that it’s made him more careful when planning for the future. So, Rich understands the importance of cash flow forecasting for every business, and is an advocate for it as a vital health metric for the companies he consults for.
“Whatever contract you take on, whatever work you do, even if it’s more money coming in, you need something to make your decisions better.”
But for clients that are unsure of their finances, Rich needed to give them a tool that would be easy to use and simple to understand.
Using Float with clients
Since 2012, Rich has been using Float for his own business, but he soon realised that it would be invaluable to his clients too.
“From the very beginning, I’ve used Float. For a previous business, I used it to monitor my own cash flow. So, when it came to bookkeeping for my clients, I knew that Float would be a natural fit.”
Since joining the partner programme, Rich has been able to use Float with his clients to help them to monitor their cash flow. But for Rich, it’s been important to teach his clients how to monitor their own cash flow and take control of their finances.
“I’m trying to make my clients self-sufficient in terms of the work they do in Float. For the most part, they are! But I do occasionally get queries of, ‘Can I hire someone new? Can I afford to let this person work extra hours?’ I’m happy to answer these questions and always pleased to help but, teach a man to fish…”
Unlike with spreadsheets, even Rich’s least financially savvy clients have been able to get to grips with Float.
Rich says, “the great thing with giving Float to someone is that it can’t be broken. If the budgets are wrong, we can change them. Using Xero as a source of truth, I had faith that regardless of the budgets put into Float, it would all be okay.”
But it wasn’t just the reassurance that his clients’ finances would be safe in their own hands, it was also the confidence in knowing that they would understand Float as a tool.
“For non-finance people, they get it straight away. Whereas you show it on a spreadsheet, or you do it all manually? They just don’t get it. But, using something like Float, it’s completely different. I love it.”
Solving clients’ problems with Float
In fact, one of Rich’s largest clients works in the charity sector, running a not for profit youth organisation. Because a lot of their funding comes from schools, for two months of the year they have no cash coming in.
“For this particular client, I used Float to show him that in just weeks, he’d be plummeting into the red. It shocked him. But it also made him suddenly understand that he had a problem and he had to do something about it.”
Rich says that this trigger moment is what woke his client up to the need for cash flow forecasting. His client has been using Float ever since, and hasn’t looked back.
But it’s not just this client that Float has helped. Rich says that for all of his clients Float has been invaluable to him in teaching them that future-planning is vital to the longevity of a modern business.
Rich explains, “Float has helped me to teach the businesses that I work with not to sit in the vanity world of ‘oh there’s £10,000 in the bank, we’ll be fine in a few months’. It’s helped me to promote the message of proper planning and foresight that’s so essential to modern business.”
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