How Helen Crapper Uses Float For Cash Flow Forecasting Flexibility
No client is ever leaving this woman. Ever. (Even hanging up the Zoom call was difficult).
Meet Helen Crapper: owner, founder and genuine cash flow guru of Insight Finance Solutions located in the beautiful Peak District.
“Cash flow is actually what drives your day to day decision making and defines what actions you’re going to take to move the business forward, whether it’s your own business or a client’s business.”
Helen knows that a cash flow forecast is not something you just roll out for the bad times, it’s an ever-flexible planning tool that is crucial to making valuable business decisions.
And right now, understandably, her clients are requesting this service more than ever.
Insight Finance Solutions’ clients are varied, ranging from fitness professionals, Pilates studio owners, hospitality businesses and wine wholesalers using both Xero and QuickBooks. But the one thing they have in common? An accountant who understands the importance of cash flow.
The COVID effect
Helen used Float well before the pandemic, but the way she uses it has changed to meet the needs of her clients during this period.
Before COVID-19, Helen used Float’s scenario planning feature to help discuss potential long-term business growth: ‘What do you want to achieve this year?’, ‘Where do you want your business to go?’, ‘Do you want to take on some new team members, take on a new studio or buy new equipment?’
However, the effect of COVID-19 on these discussions with her clients has shifted the focus to shorter, more immediate action plans and in-depth week by week planning. By using multiple scenarios, Helen can easily adjust the cash flows to reflect real-time changes in support packages and loan eligibility.
All clued up
For Helen, using Float to see the impact of potential business funding such as CBILS, Bounce Back Loans and furlough payments has been invaluable in helping her clients. Being able to incorporate support packages into a cash flow and then being able to show her clients simply and clearly on Float’s visual forecast graph means her clients go away from the call feeling more involved. They know exactly what their current situation is and what plans they’ve put in place moving forwards.
Thanks to Helen and her team, most of their clients are now in a place of being very clued up on their numbers so they know where they stand.
“Cash flow shouldn’t be a result of Coronavirus, if you’re not, or haven’t been cash flow forecasting, you should be. It should be the way you set down good foundations for your business going forward to make planned and calculated business decisions.”
As her clients started to think beyond the immediate lockdown situation, scenario planning with Float has allowed Helen to help with their long-term recovery planning. Together, they’ve taken a look at the original goals they’d set for the year and asked ‘what can we put on hold’, ‘how can we make sure the core business is still ticking over’ and then at the same time used Float to build out the bigger, longer term scenarios.
Helen has also been looking at cash flow planning for when the restrictions are lifted. She’s made timeline goals for her clients to work towards that can be adjusted to reflect the actual situation as it changes and unfolds.
For instance, her fitness professionals are working their cash flows towards being open again in July, but recognise that even if that timeline stays in place, it’s the period afterwards in August, September and October that will be another tricky phase to navigate.
The message here is flexibility. Keeping a continuous, accurate but flexible approach to cash flow forecasting right now is vital.
Cash flow-friendly pricing
The way Helen values Float is demonstrated in how she prices it as part of her services: cash flow forecasting is built in as a core part of all of her services – it’s just that important. Previously in her career, Helen was irritated by ‘additional costs’ and ‘extra payments’ that would be added to fees and bills at the end of each month making each outgoing different, and therefore harder to budget for.
Helen’s pricing plan for her accounting services is simple and cash flow-friendly for both parties: giving her and her clients only one payment per month to budget for.
“Without Float,” Helen admits, “we would have been frantically on spreadsheets 24/7. We couldn’t have offered our services to our clients without it.”
Insight Finance Solutions has also been offering their services free to local businesses, increasing the demand on the team’s resources. Helen says that by using Float to streamline her cash flow forecasting service, they’ve been able to free up time for the team to support the community too. Advisory services are something they’re very humbled to be able to offer.
“I genuinely don’t know how other accountants do cash flow forecasting without using Float!”
That was Helen Crapper.
If your accountant is this good, grab onto them with both hands and never let them go.
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