To help interested accountants and parties better understand the Expert Advisor program, we interviewed Leah Roe, a CPA at Fine Point Consulting (and a certified Expert Advisor), and Tyler Marklein, the Director of Commercial Operations at healthfinch. We chatted with them about their experience with LivePlan and with working together using LivePlan.
A brief overview of the LivePlan Expert Advisor Program
The LivePlan Expert Advisor Program gives CPAs, accountants, bookkeepers, outsourced CFOs, and financial and business advisors the resources to help their clients grow, as well as market their own advisory services.
A partner that has received Expert Advisor (EA) status will be able to offer proactive advising services, including:
- Budgeting and forecasting
- Cash flow management
- Industry benchmarking
- Financial insights
- A financial KPI dashboard
They will also be listed in a directory of Expert Advisors and have access to LivePlan users who are looking for extra assistance.
To find out more about the other benefits, please see the main website: https://www.liveplan.com/accountants/
About the companies involved in the case study
Fine Point Consulting is an outsourced consulting firm that specializes in accounting. Ultimately, they aim to make people’s lives easier by streamlining back-office operations, so that CEOs and other employees can focus on what really needs their attention—their customers and their product.
Because Fine Point Consulting is always looking to streamline processes and provide value to clients, they keep their eye on new technology. LivePlan was an obvious choice for them.
Healthfinch is a software company that focuses on automating workflows and increasing efficiencies for clinicians, so that they have more time to spend with their patients. They’re unique because they believe in the importance of deep integration with Electronic Medical Record (EMR), and ensuring not just patient happiness, but doctor happiness as well.
They were introduced to LivePlan by their accountant at Fine Point Consulting.
How the accountant-client relationship began
Leah first came across LivePlan in October 2014. “It was love at first sight,” exclaimed Leah. Instantly, she told her boss that she would be rolling the product out to clients—with or without permission! Fortunately, there wasn’t any friction.
That same month, she had her first meeting with Tyler Marklein, the Director of Commercial Operations at healthfinch, as well as healthfinch’s COO and CEO. Leah began the meeting by asking them about the type of financial information they wanted to see on a weekly and monthly basis. It seemed only natural to show them LivePlan.
Leah walked them through the features explaining what everything did, though she admits the product did most of the talking, “I have never shown it to anyone without them being amazed by its capabilities.”
LivePlan presented an opportunity to collaborate with ease, saving both parties the hassle of passing documents back and forth.
For healthfinch, LivePlan presented an opportunity to collaborate with ease, saving both parties the hassle of passing documents back and forth. It also saved time by providing healthfinch with a quick overview of the business’s health, providing them with talking points for their monthly review meeting and their discussions with Leah, their accountant.
How Fine Point Consulting sells their advisory services, and how they bundle LivePlan into it
For Fine Point Consulting, the benefit is two-fold. Not only has LivePlan enabled them to transform their own business process by helping them easily meet client needs through access to real-time data, but they have also given their clients the ability to monitor key performance indicators at a glance. For fast-growing startups like healthfinch, there simply isn’t the time to wait until the end of the month to review financial statements.
Because Fine Point updates their clients’ financial information on a weekly basis, clients using the LivePlan Scoreboard as their real-time accounting records can make strategic decisions fast. They can see how their cash balance is doing throughout the month, and they can see where their expenses are throughout the month.
And, it’s complementary to the QuickBooks Online dashboard, because, in Leah’s own words, “LivePlan’s graphs and charts are so much easier to review and understand.” She adds: “Today, CEOs and other members of these fast-growing startups don’t have a ton of time to digest their financials constantly, so the Scoreboard shows them what they need to see in one glance.”
“The value LivePlan provides far exceeds the cost, so it is a very easy service to sell to clients.”
While Leah does use the resources given to her by the LivePlan Expert Advisor program to help her sell LivePlan, she still says the product is more than worth it. “I do use more of the resources provided to pitch LivePlan and talk about it with our clients. But even so, the value LivePlan provides far exceeds the cost, so it is a very easy service to sell to clients.”
Goal setting is key – How Leah uses LivePlan to help healthfinch meet their specific goals
healthfinch has four main goals this year:
- New product development:
At present they have three products in their development pipeline. At this stage, they are working on obtaining the resources to roll these products out.
Tyler, the Director of Commercial Operations at healthfinch, says, “Our current plan is to release a couple of new products in 2015—the first is likely in Q3 and the second in Q4. Each product will follow the same method as our flagship product, Swoop, which simplifies the process of managing prescription refill requests for providers and clinical staff. The new products will focus on other cumbersome workflows that providers currently have to deal with on a daily basis.”
- Team growth:
Getting the operational structure in place to grow and have the right people in place is of paramount importance. This includes hiring engineers, product managers, inside salespeople, and customer success specialists to help roll out their product, and get the buy-in from the right people to implement healthfinch’s product clinics.
Tyler says, “Much of the growth is focused on engineering, primarily to keep up with new product development and enhancing existing products. With the addition of new products, we are also forecasting a need for additional product managers.”
- Sales funnel growth:
According to Tyler, healthfinch is projecting a 300% increase in total contract value bookings and a 350% growth in revenue year-on-year. For this reason, it is important to close current prospects in the funnel, and backfill it too.
- Increase marketing exposure:
As is the case for most businesses, healthfinch understands the importance of increasing brand awareness. They also aim to improve health system engagement, attend more trade shows, and push to close sales faster.
“We have, or are planning on attending four major trade shows this year,” says Tyler. “We are also in the process of developing relationships with thought leaders in the industry to create webinars and regional round tables on health IT innovation.”
How LivePlan is being used in the relationship
To help the healthfinch team meet their goals, Leah encourages them to make use of LivePlan.
There are six key ways that the product helps them keep on top of things. Tyler Marklein comments on each and explains how the product helps them.
- Simple mechanics
Tyler enters key budget information into LivePlan, while Leah reviews the information and makes sure that information has been correctly classified and that assumptions are sensible.
- Rapid forecast updates
“As a young company, things are changing daily, and we’ve been able to utilize LivePlan to quickly update our forecasts based on the latest information we have,” says Tyler. “The hiring plan for our company is of utmost importance to us. Being able to forecast our hiring plan and see what our finances will look like in 3-6 months is invaluable. As we grow, our staffing plans are always changing. We might find out that we really need a certain person to fill a role that we may not have thought about, and we can plug that person in and see what that will do to our P&L.”
- Expense management
“Expenses are an area that we need to manage in the right way to maximize the investment,” says Tyler. “Our people and the hiring plan is the main focus right now. Building a hiring plan in LivePlan and having the ability to see how it will affect the bottom line a year from now has been critical to strategic planning.”
- Focusing on what matters
“Fine Point Consulting allows us to focus on what we are good at and takes a lot of the bookkeeping burden off of our staff,” Tyler says. Naturally, for Fine Point Consulting, LivePlan makes all of this easy too, and they can keep an eye on how things are going, making recommendations on the move.
healthfinch also relies on Leah and Fine Point Consulting for help with fundraising. This includes keeping good documentation, and driving investment rounds. Recently, healthfinch closed a seed round and secured loans to help them achieve their goals more quickly.
“This funding will help us grow our engineering team 3x by the end of 2015, and increase members of the product and customer success team. This in turn will give us the resources needed to roll out new products that are in the development pipeline as well as adding features to our current products. We’ve already been able to bring in two highly-experienced executives to lead the development of our engineering and customer success teams. The investors wanted to see the forecasted balance sheet and financials, so with the help of Fine Point Consulting and LivePlan, we were able to invite the investors into LivePlan as ‘Guests’ to share a clear picture of our forecast,” says Tyler.
“With the help of Fine Point Consulting and LivePlan,we were able to invite the investors into LivePlan as ‘Guests’ to share a clear picture of our forecast.”
In terms of financials, Fine Point Consulting uses LivePlan to help healthfinch with day-to-day accounting and bookkeeping, financial oversight and guidance, valuations, and unsurprisingly, Tyler says, “to verify that we aren’t crazy!”
- Business plan preparation
“We didn’t have a formal business plan before LivePlan, mainly due to the fact that in a company that is scaling quickly, it’s likely the plan is obsolete within a few months. We prefer the LivePlan model, where we can constantly tweak the plan and always have it updated with the most relevant information to guide the business,” says Tyler.
Which KPIs are healthfinch tracking with LivePlan?
In their monthly review meetings, healthfinch uses the LivePlan Scoreboard to keep track of key metrics, including:
- Cash flow
- Gross margins
- Net profit
- Burn rate
- Revenue run rate
What are the most significant things LivePlan has helped with so far?
According to Tyler and healthfinch, LivePlan has been instrumental in several ways:
“We used LivePlan to give detailed current and projected Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow statements to our investors for our latest round of financing. And, we were able to provide a business plan to secure a loan using LivePlan’s functionality. Not having multiple excel spreadsheets and cumbersome updating processes saved us a ton of time!”
According to Leah and the Fine Point Consulting team, the key benefits include being able to:
- Build forecasts
- Effectively analyze trends and variances that can then be communicated with the client in an easy to digest format
- Easily provide documents to a loan provider
- Increase the efficiency of the tax credit process by streamlining the document submission process, which reduces stress for clients
- More efficiently gather the needed information to truly understand the numbers at a glance
Join our LivePlan Expert Advisor Program and impress your clients:
To find out more about the LivePlan Expert Advisor Program, or to find out how your accounting firm or financial practice can become a LivePlan Partner, see our Accountants Partner Program page. For questions, please reach out to:
We will be happy to help answer your questions!