The Finance Tech Stack: Buyer Personas (Part III)

  • Accounting: Quickbooks
  • Payroll: Paychex, Gusto, Rippling
  • FP&A: Excel, GSheets
  • Billing: Zuora, Stripe, Chargebee
  • AP: Bill.com
  • CRM: Hubspot
  • Simplicity and ease of use: Because companies at this stage tend to be particularly resource-constrained, simplicity and ease of use are paramount. Often, the CFO or VP of Finance is the only person performing finance-related tasks so automation is critical in creating efficiency. Because there are no technical analysts on the team yet, software for this segment has to be user-friendly and intuitive for non-technical users. For instance, FP&A software should have easily programmable interfaces for tracking key metrics like CAC/LTV, ARR, cash runway and simple visualizations that can be easily exported for board meetings.
  • Price: Companies at this stage tend to be relatively price sensitive. More than any other segment, they are reluctant to spend on tools that are ‘nice to have.’ They tend to think of willingness to pay in relation to cost savings from eliminating the need for additional resources.
  • Ease of implementation: A lightweight implementation with easy API integrations is crucial for lowering barriers to adoption. Given how lean teams at this stage are, they cannot afford to spend several weeks learning a new tool. Companies should have pre-built templates and intuitive self-serve models to minimize the time to value. One example of a company that does this well is Onplan — because its FP&A solution builds on top of Excel, customers can seamlessly transition their existing models onto the platform and have a functioning solution within 1–2 days. Although not necessary, personalized customer support also goes a long way with this segment as their internal teams tend to be relatively lean.
  • Accounting: Netsuite, Sage Intacct
  • Payroll: Gusto, Rippling
  • FP&A: Excel, GSheets, Adaptive Insights, Planful
  • Billing: Zuora, Stripe
  • AP: Coupa, Avid Xchange
  • Spend management: Divvy, Airbase, Expensify
  • CRM: Salesforce
  • Collaboration: While collaboration is important at every stage (especially in today’s environment!), it begins to really matter once companies grow to this size.Finance users want to have the ability to easily loop in non-Finance personnel on various processes, so software should have workflows to accommodate permissions (e.g., granting “read” access to certain users) and collaboration (e.g., provide model inputs, track changes). As the size of the organization increases, processes like expense management and bill pay also get more complex, requiring input from multiple stakeholders. Bill pay companies for this segment have to build in workflows to seamlessly manage these processes (e.g., multiple layers of approvals), in addition to being able to handle large volumes of transactions.
  • Ability to scale: For fast growing companies, it’s important to select software that can scale with them. Many CFOs we spoke to at this stage described going for software that exceeded their current needs in anticipation of future growth. Because implementations can be long and switching is painful, companies are willing to stretch their budgets to pay for solutions that can handle scale.
  • Accounting: SAP, Oracle, Workday, Netsuite
  • Payroll: ADP, Workday
  • FP&A: IBM, Oracle Hyperion, SAP, Anaplan, Excel
  • Billing: Zuora, Stripe
  • AP: Avid Xchange
  • Spend management: Expensify, Concur
  • Treasury: Quantum, Integrity SAP, Excel
  • CRM: Salesforce
  • Collaboration: See above.
  • Flexibility/customizability: Because large enterprises have complex and specialized needs, flexibility is key. For instance, their FP&A system needs to be flexible enough to accommodate changes to costing and reporting hierarchies, allow users to slice and dice data and conduct sophisticated scenario analyses. Their accounting systems need to track records and books in multiple formats to enable reporting for different purposes. At the same time, the interface should be intuitive enough for non-technical business users to follow.
  • End-to-end functionality: In general, we found that these companies prefer end to end, fully featured solutions over best of breed, point solutions. Companies like Oracle or SAP win versus other less fully featured products because they eliminate the need for home-grown solutions to fill gaps, and reduce the number of complex integrations needed.

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Currently @RedpointVC. Former founder, ops, and consultant. Proud @HarvardHBS @Harvard @Radlwtcrew @Bainalerts alum. Recovering New Yorker, currently loving SF

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Medha Agarwal

Medha Agarwal

Currently @RedpointVC. Former founder, ops, and consultant. Proud @HarvardHBS @Harvard @Radlwtcrew @Bainalerts alum. Recovering New Yorker, currently loving SF

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