As a finance student at BYU, I took a part-time job at an early-stage startup that gave me complete ownership over their cash runway. I was told to give them 3 months notice before they were going to run out of cash. The founders didn't have any finance background and didn't have a forecast or budget for me to work from. They had just been monitoring their cash balance and doing back of the envelope math to make sure they didn't run out of money.
Struggling with Forecasts
At this point, I hadn’t been accepted into the finance program, so I made my very first forecast by simply calculating their MRR and subtracting all their expenses from their MRR. It took me hours to go through QuickBooks and find all their expenses, figure out which ones were recurring, and model out each of those expenses. Although my expense forecast was decent, I knew the revenue forecast wasn't going to work because it didn't account for the timing of annual renewals. So I got into Stripe and exported all of our subscriptions to calculate the timing of when our customers paid us.
This went well for a few months, but my Excel model kept getting more and more complex as I factored in growth rates, new hires, and additional spending. Then one day I was checking my model and noticed my cash projection for the previous month was completely off from the actual data. I spent hours going through my spreadsheets before I found a critical error where I was excluding a significant payment. This mistake put the company at risk of not making payroll that month. I immediately told the founders, and we were luckily able to get a hold of some quick financing to help bridge the gap, but that spreadsheet error almost caused serious problems for our company.
Solution: Driver-based Forecasts
Thankfully, the founders were willing to give me another chance, so I completely revamped my model. I built in automated components that would bring in our most recent operating metrics to increase the forecasting accuracy. I integrated my models with Power BI to visualize the forecasts and automate many of the tasks to maintain my model. I found my new model to be a lot simpler and more accurate for short-term cash projections.
Beginnings of Cashboard
After a year of working with that model, other companies in our co-working space saw what I had built and said, "This! This is exactly the kind of tool I've been looking for!" So I started consulting - that was about a year ago.
After six months of consulting, I realized that many SaaS founders needed help with their financial forecasts. It takes a long time to create a financial model and even more time to maintain that model. And using a complicated spreadsheet with lots of human inputs, anyone can accidentally make a mistake that can be devastating for their company. So, I formed a team as passionate about solving this problem as I am, and we built a tool designed to help founders better understand their business and make changes that drive results.
Today, Cashboard is a tool that automates the metrics calculation, financial reporting, and forecasting and scenario modeling for SaaS companies. We integrate with your existing finance tools, so anyone - regardless of their financial knowledge - can make data-driven decisions to improve their business’ growth and performance. You can visit our website or schedule a demo to learn more.