6DT Conseil views FundThrough as a ‘kicker’ their competitors haven’t discovered
Consulting virtual CFO Christiane Constantineau helps clients negotiate the nuances of finance in Quebec’s highly regulated market. Financing invoices with FundThrough is a simple solution her clients appreciate and she sometimes uses herself. Indeed, just being able to suggest FundThrough as a dependable and viable financing solution gives her extra credibility.
“What is the nature of 6DT Conseil’s business?”
In short, we do bookkeeping. But much more. We’re the back office for small companies and new start-ups. Those clients that are too small to have a big back office ask us to all the admin stuff, which could include finance, banking administration, clerical, data management, bookkeeping, purchasing, accounts receivable and accounts payable.
But we also offer training. As a CFO, I always tell my clients: if you can’t manage your cash in the short-term, say an 8-week timeline, you won’t be able to manage it on a 2-year term. The critical stage for a start-up is the first five years. So even if a client’s got a lot of funding from the government or whatever, if she can’t manage over a 2-month period, how do you expect to manage that longer time? So, we provide week-to-week services on a spreadsheet. We say, ‘Ok this is your short-term cash. Such and such deadline is coming and are you prepared?’ I tell them to try to get as much of the accounts receivable in as possible versus funding it yourself (that doesn’t pay the bills).
We’re 100% back office for the client. Our average clients generate about $250k in annual revenues, but I do have clients who’ve gone up to $2 million.
“What led you to use FundThrough?”
I’ve been a virtual CFO officially about five years, since 2014, unofficially for 10 years. A few years back a client had a server crash, so we moved up to the Cloud. I was always using Quickbooks accounting software—I’d been using it for 10 years by then—but I didn’t know that we could have as much flexibility by moving it onto the cloud as onto the servers. Anyway, after moved everything to the Cloud I took a whole year and started learning all the apps in the App Store for Quickbooks and that’s where I found you guys.
As a consulting CFO, one thing that’s important is to tell my clients who have accounts receivable to use those accounts receivable as collateral for financing. That’s one of the reasons to introduce FundThrough to some of my clients. When you’re over 40 years old—this is true by the way—and your start-up is less than two years old, you cannot expect as much funding here in Quebec. That’s the way it’s done.
“What’s most rewarding about your business?”
Most of my staff are middle-aged women, 40-55. We’re fun to work with (in the virtual world, you’re a bit alone) and together we share a huge background which clients don’t expect. For instance, I’ve lived in South Africa and Egypt and speak three languages. A lot of clients thank us because we have this wealth of experience—this broad base and deep knowledge—and offer them many unexpected solutions. Clients are often surprised that we bring them solutions in advance, when we think they’re about to have a problem.
“And has FundThrough helped as a ‘surprise’ for your clients?”
Oh yes. For example, this one client called and said ‘I’ve got this big job coming that’s maybe too big for me.’ He needed to buy an expensive piece of equipment. So, to facilitate the purchase we created an entire package of funding.
This was a short-term project that we needed to fund and he needed to keep some of the money in his bank for other purposes. So, as part of the package I said ‘Try FundThrough.’ And that’s what he did because he needed about $100k USD total. He funded some of his invoices with you guys to purchase the equipment.
The funding was mostly for that one purchase but he still uses FundThrough from time to time. For instance, he was always getting paid on the first day of the month by his clients. So, he was always a day late paying his taxes. We funded one of his invoices, so he stopped being late.
He also used it when he wanted to purchase a course. But it was an important course that no one else in Quebec had done. So, his business grew fast. Within a year he moved from, I think, $300k to about a million. He needed to be credible in front of other clients of his own. FundThrough made a big difference for him.
“What would you have recommended if you didn’t know about FundThrough?”
Well, there’d be few other options for these clients. Like I said, most of these clients are over 40 and their business is under two years old and they need financial statements that are over at least two years old for the bank. So, they don’t have access to monies made available to competitors who are under 40.
Same goes for a credit card. In Canada, they won’t allow you to use your personal cards for business. They can get a line of credit from the bank but it’s difficult. Without the two years’ financial records, you have to back it up with your house or something. But with FundThrough it’s easy. To finance their invoices is a great solution.
“How did you know FundThrough was right for your clients?”
I tried it out. I would never suggest a solution to a client unless I tried it and understood it first myself. Because I knew there would be language barriers and the clients would call FundThrough. So, I tried to do the debugging first. I asked for the app and only then could recommend it.
“Why FundThrough specifically versus other services?”
Service. I met one of your colleagues when I was in Toronto. They were very helpful. I knew exactly what I was looking and asked you some specific questions, like, do you do a personal credit check, and you answered all of them. Now I can confidently pass those answers on to my clients because they’re the ones who need to make the decision.
“How do you use FundThrough for your own business? How often and what for?”
It’s mostly for projects, like that client with his taxes. But I used it also myself to hire a student. You can pay for stuff that’s not tangible like training and salaries. I wouldn’t recommend it for inventory but, for me, having a student on board liberates me from the mundane tasks that eat up my time. So, I can take care of clients or pursue new ones.
“Any measurable benefit?”
I would see my clients’ revenues double within a year. Even though there’s a cost for FundThrough, it’s not hidden. And you’ve got to invest something to make your company grow.
“Why have you continued to work with FundThrough?”
FundThrough gives me credibility in the market. As a CFO, for me that’s great. It gives me a ‘kicker’ compared to our competitors. It’s a simple click-and-play solution. So fast and easy and reliable.
As I said, it’s so easy to use. It automatically switches invoices that I can use and I can negotiate with your organization, like arranging longer-term payments.
And the company’s adapting itself to the market. Which is good. Typically, bankers don’t change. They’re bankers. You guys were so easy to deal with.