From XU Magazine, 
Issue 20

ApprovalMax facilitates virtual CFO advisory with bill automation

At Oxygen Advisors, we are a team of passionate and highly-skilled virtual CFOs who specialise in lifting the weight of financial worries off business owner shoulders. From providing accurate, reliable monthly reporting and metric dashboards through to strategic support while raising capital, our tailored approach caters specifically for high-growth companies and ensures you get the service best suited to your business.
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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Virtual CFO advisory: how it works

We know that every business is unique, even if it is part of a market among similar businesses. This is doubly true for high-growth businesses that focus on using their innovative ideas and business models to seize a market opportunity, sometimes by disrupting existing markets or even creating new ones along the way.

Traditional accounting does little for such businesses. Although it is still important to make sure the numbers add up and all regulations are observed, what business owners really need and expect from their accounting practice partner these days is help to obtain and make proper use of reliable, up-to-date financial data as the base for best business decisions – be that seeking additional investment, improving the bottom line, or increasing sales revenue.

Unlike traditional accountants, vCFOs serve a smaller number of clients. However, being a vCFO also means we operate in a much closer relationship with the business. In short, engaging us as a vCFO is a lot less about compliance and a lot more about using accounting to support better business decisions.

A key requirement: actionable data

Today, a lot of businesses in the 1 to 20m revenue range simply don’t have the reliable and meaningful data needed to make truly informed decisions. Even companies with a turnover of more than 20m find that the quality, accessibility, and completeness of their critical data isn’t good enough.

Looking to solve this challenge leads more and more businesses to involving vCFOs in their operations, on both the revenue and the spending side.

On the revenue side, it’s vital to get hold of accurate sales invoices for goods and services purchased by clients as well as establishing a reliable sales forecast.

On the spending (cost) side, tracking bills and keeping on top of large planned purchases is vital.

An absolute necessity for addressing these goals are a precise, well-documented data flow and robust business processes. The high-growth nature of the businesses we work with demands ample flexibility and agility while ensuring clear financial controls as well as transparency and traceability.

The software component of vCFO advisory

Modern, pre-integrated SaaS products offer business-level configuration and allow on-the-fly changes, which is critical for a successful implementation in high-growth organisations. Pre-integration saves a lot of costs inherent to traditional ERP customisation projects as those not only gobble up hundreds of thousands but also months of deployment time.

Today’s SaaS solutions enable clients to set up their internal data and process flows themselves – with very little time and effort. Plus, being able to make adjustments fast and as needed puts clients in the driver’s seat instead of having to rely on expensive IT experts.

Combining a modern cloud-based accounting platform such as Xero with the financial controls and bill automation software by ApprovalMax, and complementing these two with other data automation apps that are pre-integrated with Xero provides a solid base for ensuring financial data is validated, accurate, and up-to-date – a perfect foundation for enabling the successful provisioning of our vCFO advisory services.

Expert vCFO advisory: approval automation

Clients don’t necessarily have the required knowledge to make good and timely decisions when selecting a suitable software solution. This is where our app advisory service comes in because we do know how to determine the optimal scope and timing.

Recommending the introduction of approval automation, for example, really is down to experience. As we find in most use cases, the best time for implementing an approval system is BEFORE it is considered a necessity.

The reason is simple: when you get to the point where you do need an approval system, the company culture is often gridlocked. And as moving away from a paper-based system is a tall order, financial service providers like us face a lot of resistance when we suggest it. So, getting in before it's high time for an approval system usually does the trick.

The many faces of bill automation: crypto-currency approvals

Bill automation has countless use cases, at times even in rather unusual business scenarios. One of our clients, for instance, uses bill automation for fraud prevention purposes in a crypto-currency exchange.

He connected the exchange to Xero and whenever a customer wants to make a cash withdrawal, a withdrawal request is created in the form of a Bill and run through the respective multi-step and multi-level workflow in ApprovalMax for review and approval.

The amount gets checked, it is also double-checked that there is no change to the bank account details, which is always a risk, and the whole transaction history is reviewed. There you are, that’s all it takes!

Why leave it there?

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