How Startups Can Build A Solid Financial Reporting Game

NEW YORK CITY, New York – There is likely no greater document for a business than its balance sheet. Incorrectly managing the numbers for a business can definitely tank business but crucially, correctly foreseeing the financial future of a business can bolster a company’s success, especially in competitive markets.

We spoke to New York City-based investor Siri Srinivas about how young startups think about financial planning and analysis. “A lot of software startups start out as a few people and a website.” And at this point, while teams are laser-focused on non-financial KPIs, revenue can seem minuscule. But in the case of the best startups, those strong metrics translate to revenue rapidly. Being able to foresee both spending and income are key to planning for a sustainable and long-term future for businesses. Srinivas is a seasoned investor who has worked at investment firms such as Draper Associates and FundersClub. She also worked at the Guardian, writing about businesses and as an engineer. So she is specifically skilled at understanding the technical underpinnings of financial processes with the social context in which they exist.

“We like to tell CEOs that they need to have a comprehensive dashboard of the health of the company updated as frequently as possible but also consciously construct an idea of where they’re headed regardless of what happens in the world.” One of the CEOs Srinivas invested in via her fund, Draper Associates, said a bad financial model ended in disaster for one of his previous companies. The founder, Rami Essaid, went on to found Finmark, a company that solves exactly this problem for startup businesses.

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Providing users with a dashboard displaying all comprehensive data simplified, Finmark hopes to change how businesses manage themselves by providing them with an intuitive and easy-to-use system that breaks down key metrics. By allowing users to customize their business models, Finmark offers something similar software cannot in helping a business to change its approach as rapidly as our business environments change overall. 

With easy budgeting, managing your business’ supply and costs has never been easier. Users can also run different scenarios before carrying out an initiative or plan for fundraising or collaboration with a simple interface. By allowing brands to keep watch over key metrics, 

“In my first job, I spent a lot of my non-core work time building dashboards, so I’m a bit obsessed with analytics of any kind,” says Srinivas, who started her career as an engineer at JP Morgan Chase. Srinivas continues to invest in data analytics companies in her current job as a venture investor. 

Srinivas points out that there are an array of tools for startup founders to be prepared for the reporting needs of their companies, such as Pilot, which does bookkeeping for startups of all sizes. Carta is another Draper Associates company that helps startups manage their capitalization tables (or cap tables). Whatever payroll management software a company uses, such as Rippling or Deel, can manage that aspect of spend. The same is true for vendor management platforms. But with the melange of dashboards comes the challenge of complexity. 

This is why a platform like Finmark can be useful with its integrations, says Srinivas. “Bundling and unbundling of services is a common cycle we have seen with products in Silicon Valley.” According to her, it is in this creative destruction that a successful solution can be built.

Michelle Gram Smith
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