Every month we spend around $20,000 in SaaS products. Our landing pages, our servers, our accounting- you know, the stuff you need to run a business.
Many of the startup resources and services we use, we adopted when they were an early-stage company. They've not only become a fundamental part of our business and our operations but growing with them; oftentimes, they are also our role model.
I figured we could share some of those platforms, our top 3 startup financial tools, which I expect other startups and small businesses will also find useful.
The big disclaimer here is that this is not a paid article. We pay these companies, not the other way around. We are highlighting them because we believe you'll find them useful, not because they paid us to do so. We are also not afraid to tell you where they suck.
Top 3 Startup Financial tools we recommend
1- In Dinero
I am not a US Citizen. I've had a crash course in the US Tax system in the past five years, and all I can say is it still scares the heck out of me.
InDinero handles all our accounting and taxes. They have a software platform that connects to your bank accounts, and to Stripe. So all our expenses are synced, classified and rendered in that classic P&L statement.
The cool part is, they handle your taxes- end to end. Most filings are included with their plan, and they can also handle select filings for an additional fee. In our case, for example, since I am a non-US shareholder, some other forms are required.
Their plans are based on how much your company spends every month. We are currently on a $1,000/mo plan, with an operation that's around $1MM a year. Go watch my video on how much money we spend at Slidebean.
It's the only turn-key experience we've found for accounting AND taxes, and I am all about turn-key stuff when it comes to things I don't know how to do.
My lack of an SSN makes it really hard to get a credit card for Slidebean. Even though we've raised around $800K and have a good money cushion in our bank accounts, we couldn't get a business credit card: just debit cards.
We had one or two, and whenever one was compromised, we had to cancel, order a new one, and replace it in every single service.
Most of the startup credit cards also require some credit score- and this was all a mess until Brex came in. We love those guys.
Brex works with foreign founders: a line of credit is opened for you based on the balance of your bank account.
You can issue virtual and physical cards to all your employees, and control their expenses and their limits. What we've done is to create multiple virtual cards for different categories of services.
Like every credit card, you get rewards. Up to 7 points per dollar spent, and considering most of our $20K SaaS services go through here; they add up fast. You can change points for frequent flyer miles, or use them to book via their integration to TravelBank- so most of our flights end up being free.
More recently, they launched Brex Cash, to which we had early access. They also function as a bank account now, providing, wait for it- FREE WIRE TRANSFERS. FREE INTERNATIONAL WIRE TRANSFERS. That represents ~$500/mo in savings for us.
Big fans of what these guys are doing, and they are growing fast.
If you want to try them out, they've provided us with a link that gives you up to 50,000 in Brex points when you get your account set up. That's around $500. Just go to slidebean.com/brex.
This is where most of our money comes from. We use the Stripe API to bill customers subscriptions- they have a fantastic system that automatically takes care of discounts and prorates.
Stripe is also a golden standard, so it connects nicely to Webflow (where our landing pages are hosted), it connects to Zapier, and ChartMogul, which we use for our revenue monitoring.
Their fees are 2.9% + $0.30 for every transaction, which might not sound like a lot, but well, it grows with our revenue. Still, even though we get the occasional pitch for an alternative platform, Stripe is so well integrated we've never seen the value in switching out.
They also have a platform called Stripe Atlas, that helps foreign founders get their legal stuff set up in the US.
For $500 they file your incorporation and open a bank account for you, again, a turn-key solution for you to begin using them for your billing.
This is 100% free because we built it ourselves. It's the spreadsheet that saved our company, and that made us profitable.
The 2015 version of this spreadsheet, with actual revenue and expenses data for Slidebean- is available for a free download here.
Our latest version of the financial model spreadsheet, with some new features and touches, is included in our Slidebean Founders Edition plan, along with tech support from our team to fill it up.
We use the financial model to project:
- how much our revenue will grow based on our marketing efforts,
- how much the team needs to grow based on our user base,
- how many customers are renewing based on our churn rate,
- and ultimately, how much money we are going to make month over month.
Predictable revenue is great- because it lets us hire people and expand faster, because we can expect, with a good degree of certainty, how much money is coming in every month.
If I ever start another business, you can bet that it will have some predictable revenue.
So, once again, the spreadsheet is available as a free download on our website- and you can also sign up for a Webinar on how to complete some of the basics.