New Insights Feature in Float!
Ever wondered how accurate your cash budgets were, compared to what actually happened? We know that for a lot of people it’s really important to have an accurate forecast, and to know where and why you’re going over/under budget. We listened to feedback, and heard that it wasn’t as easy to do this in Float as it could be. So we decided to do something about it.
In Float, we’ve updated what was previously ‘Reports’ and re-named it to ‘Insights’. We felt it was a more accurate description of what you’ll find on this page – you can now dig deeper into the detail, and make changes as required. We’ve added three new insights:
- Categories to watch (cash out) will highlight the cash out categories where you’re most significantly over budget, so you know what needs your attention, without having to dig to find it
- Single category deep dive will give you the details of why you’re over/under budget – was it a late paying customer? A big bill that wasn’t forecasted? Either way, you’ll have the knowledge to make informed decisions about the future
- Budget Variance helps you quickly scan your full chart of accounts, and see where you’ve been over/under budget over a one, three, or six month period at a glance
By understanding how accurate your forecasts have been, you’ll be able to forecast the future with more confidence – and reduce the chances of hitting an unexpected cash crunch.
Jobs to Be Done
We also want to give you a sneak peek behind the curtain into how we go about delivering these solutions.
Designing and building these new ‘Insights’ was a blast. We started, as we do with all of our projects, by talking to our users to understand the problem from their point of view. Why did they need this information? Why was it important? What would they do with it? Answering these questions is a crucial first step before we start designing a solution – imagine trying to build a car for someone without understanding what they need. Are they doing long road trips, or short trips across town? How many people are they taking with them? Do they need sports car performance, or do they want to spend as little on fuel as possible? All of this will influence the kind of car you’ll build. A two-door sports car is of no use to a family of five!
After speaking to a number of users, some initial themes emerged.
- It’s important to look back and see how accurate your forecast was, so you can be more accurate looking forward – a lot of forecasts are informed by looking at past performance
- You didn’t want to have to go digging for the areas where the biggest discrepancies are – you expected Float to help uncover that for you
- You wanted to easily dig into more detail, to understand why that overspend/underspend occurred – looking for the specific transactions that caused it
Based on what we learned, we started sketching some potential solutions. Our UX designer, Jamie, will start by literally sketching this out on paper. We play about with it as a team, ask questions, and iteratively evolve the design until we’re more confident that it solves the problem. We then build a more detailed prototype using a tool called Figma – it allows us to build something a little more realistic that we can then stitch together into a clickable prototype. Then we go back to users and put them through a series of tasks in order to see how well the prototype solves the problem. As we test, we’ll learn and change things – so the design will evolve constantly. It’s not uncommon for the final design to be almost unrecognisable from the initial prototype.
Once we’re confident that the prototype is the best way to solve the initial problem, we’ll start to build it. We work closely with our engineers to plan how we’ll build it, and break the prototype down into smaller chunks. At Float, we’re deploying software multiple times a day (although, not always changes you can see each time), and we prefer to release updates early and often, rather than wait for a ‘big bang’ release every few months. So that’s why you might have seen the gradual change in ‘Insights’ over the past few weeks.
Once a project is ‘live’ we’ll then keep an eye on the analytics to see how people are using the new feature. We typically start a project with some outcomes we want to measure – so we need to see if what we thought would happen, actually does! We also reach out to users to understand if the update has been valuable, and dig a little more into why, or why not – and make iterative improvements based on what we learn.
So, go and check out ‘Insights’ in Float! We’d love to know what you think, good or otherwise – it really helps us understand how to make Float even more useful to you.