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When I founded Kruze Consulting in 2012, I was a one-woman shop. My focus was to deliver premium startup accounting services as efficiently as possible. In November of 2014, I had 30 clients. As of October 2015, I grew the client base to more than 165—an increase of 450 percent.

Here's how Kruze Consulting became the "Go To" Startup Accounting firm:

Find the Right Clients

From the beginning, I wanted my clients to be startup companies. I understood their needs and how to service them from my previous experience. The startup companies' founders are often experts in their areas. However, they may not be business, finance or human resources experts. That gave me the perfect opportunity to step in and institute best practices and processes to accommodate the companies' growth and financial needs.

An important aspect of focusing on startups is that they are often predictable in terms of development. No matter what the business, a startup often follows a pattern. This means our firm can streamline processes and make recommendations that are appropriate to support the majority of startups. We don't have to reinvent the wheel with each new client.

Create an Efficient On-Boarding Process

Startup companies have a pattern of development that can be anticipated. A key role in delivering services efficiently hinges on creating a well-tested and refined on-boarding process.

It used to take Kruze Consulting one month to fully onboard a new client, now we can do it in seven days.

We built a thoroughly researched, tested, and documented an eight-step onboarding process that includes schedules, outlines, templates and activities needed every step of the way from day one. This allows us to quickly gather vital information and lay the proper groundwork to begin services. There's no guessing with this process and no need to write an email from scratch. We make it a point to train new employees on the onboarding process thoroughly to ensure its daily use and we are always looking for ways to make it even more efficient.

Diversify Services

Startups face many financial obstacles. They are usually capital constrained, struggling to manage exponential growth, and are often seeking new investors. With this in mind, I diversified Kruze Consulting's services in order to meet these startup needs.

In addition to tax, audit and bookkeeping, we offer services that are particularly important for startups such as financial modeling, 409A valuations and fundraising help. Our firm also has an ex-venture capital partner who consults with our clients about strategies and pitches as well as provides introductions to potential investors.

Rely on and Recommend the Right Technology

Kruze has a special emphasis on technology simply because we recognize how efficient it can make us. It automates, synchronizes, validates and enables our professionals to operate on a higher level. We don't want to spend time tracking down an invoice. By automating as much of the accounting minutia as possible, we can make a bigger impact on our client by advising them on important financial decisions.

The criteria for new technology includes integration capabilities, ease of use, security and the ability for it to scale with growth. Monthly fees should be reasonable and help companies save money. In other words, the software costs can't gobble up the efficiency profits. We also test new solutions internally prior to recommending them to clients.

When clients ask for best practices, we provide them based on our experience and research. This means we can hand them a toolkit of accounting technology to help them excel as a business. Currently, we recommend QuickBooks Online, Bill.com, Xero and Expensify.

Of course, some technologies make more sense at different times than others. For example, when our clients begin to complain about payables or start performing an increasing number of transactions, we know it's time for them to start with Bill.com. Once they do, they find everything is faster and that they are saving time as well as benefiting from easily searchable and referenceable audit trails. The Bill.com integration with QuickBooks Online and its transparency are also important.

Another important constituency is our employees. Our staff members live and breathe technology, which means we don't have to spend time building acceptance. They are our technology evangelists. The firm's accounting professionals don't want to reconcile piles of Starbucks receipts. Instead, they want to engage in more exciting tasks like financial modeling. Software allows us to handle yet minimize mundane tasks, so we're recognizing positive results from clients and employees. And this is a big plus for luring new talent to the firm.

Conclusion

Honestly, it's fun to watch our startup clients evolve from no processes at all to becoming much more efficient. With the nature of startups, including my own, efficiency is important, which is why our firm is focused on always cultivating more efficiencies. We will continue on this path to fuel our growth and ultimately our ability to provide the highest level of service to our startup clients.

 

Vanessa Kruze

Vanessa Kruze, CPA,  QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Xero Certified Partner, founded Kruze Consulting in 2012. Based in San Francisco, Calif., the firm works with more than 150 startups providing accounting, finance and human resources support. Its staff includes accounting professionals with Big Four and large venture capital backed startup experiences. Kruze Consulting offers services such as bookkeeping, payroll and benefits assistance, interim CFO services, help preparing for fundraising rounds, tax preparation and filing, debt financing consulting, and 409A valuations. Prior to founding Kruze Consulting, Kruze worked at Deloitte Tax and as the controller of a  startup with  more than 120 employees.  To learn more about the firm, visit http://www.kruzeconsulting.com.


Last modified on Monday, 22 February 2016
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