With Scott Orn

A Startup Podcast by Kruze Consulting

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Scott Orn

Scott Orn, CFA

Blake Oliver of FloQast on Cloud Accounting & Close Management Software

Posted on: 05/14/2018

Blake Oliver

Blake Oliver

Senior Product Marketing Manager - FloQast

Blake Oliver of FloQast - Podcast Summary

Blake Oliver of FloQast stops by to discuss the latest trends in Cloud Accounting. Before joining FloQast, Blake owned and operated a cloud accounting practice in Southern California. Now Blake has joined FloQast, a leader in Close Management Software for Accountants. Blake discusses how FloQast can automate and organized the monthly close. Finally, Blake has an excellent Cloud Accounting newsletter.

Blake Oliver of FloQast - Podcast Transcript

Scott: Welcome to Founders and Friends Podcast with Scott Orn at Kruze Consulting. Before we get to just a really awesome podcast with Blake Oliver of FloQast want to give a quick shout out to, That’s right, we built our own online tax prep software for startups. It’s like TurboTax except it’s for startups. Guess what? You don’t do the taxes, the CPAs do the taxes. You fill out the info, upload to docs and the KruzeTax team filled with a bunch of CPAs do the taxes for you. They make sure they’re accurate, they’re correct. No stress. Very easy. Check out Now, here we go with Blake Oliver at FloQast. Thanks. Welcome to Founders and Friends Podcast with Scott Orn at Kruze Consulting and my very special guest is Blake Oliver from FloQast. Welcome, Blake.
Blake: Thanks, Scott. It’s great to be here.
Scott: This is a nerdy compliment. You are like a celebrity in the Cloud accounting world. They have an awesome newsletter list which you should definitely give the URL for so everyone can subscribe to that. I read it every Sunday night and you’re in town in San Francisco so I was hoping you could come by for the podcast and you did, so thanks for coming by.
Blake: Yeah, thanks for having me. It’s great to visit you. I realize I haven’t seen you since 2016 when we met at ExpensiCon which was that conference that Expensify put on in was it Maui that we were at?
Scott: Yeah.
Blake: Yeah.
Scott: That was awesome.
Blake: That was pretty great.
Scott: I looked a lot younger and you looked younger and now you’re like a experienced pro now. Tell your story because you had this awesome career ramp coming out of undergrad which I thought was really impressive.
Blake: Yeah, so I have a bit of an unusual background as you know. I was not an accountant by training. In college, I majored in cello performance.
Scott: I forgot about that. That’s awesome.
Blake: I was a music major and graduated in ‘07 and then of course the financial crisis hit. It was actually a good thing in that it forced me to make some tough decisions like did I really want to be a musician? I had to figure that out very quickly. I was freelancing in LA. I was trying to make a living as a freelance musician. I was tutoring as a day job because I’ve always been good with numbers. I think that’s something that kind of goes with being a musician. I’m tutoring SAT math and English and the bookkeeper at our company quit one day, right? I noticed he had a pretty good gig because he could come in whenever he wanted.
Scott: Oh, very flexible.
Blake: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and he could work at night. I figured, “Oh, this is perfect. I’ll have finally some steady income.” I talked my way into being the bookkeeper because in college I’d used QuickBooks to cut checks for my fraternity.
Scott: Who knew the bad fraternity job would turn into a career?
Blake: Exactly.
Scott: Awesome.
Blake: So I talked my way into that position and I actually found I loved accounting. I loved the software aspect of it. Even though at that time I knew nothing about debits and credits.
Scott: Yeah. Did you like the orderliness of it or bringing order to chaos? What was it that you liked?
Blake: Yeah, so we were just using QuickBooks basically as a check register at that time. The company was not using any of the advanced features. I figured out over about the course of a year learning the software that we could use billable items and the AP module and we could automate a ton of the stuff that we were doing manually. We were still using paper for tracking most of these contractors that we owed money to and stuff. So that’s how I got the bug. What I decided to do after that was go back to school for accounting because I figured, “Okay, this is a great career path. I enjoy it.” So I enrolled at UCLA Extension and started doing the accounting certificate. I started freelancing doing bookkeeping. While I was in school it was 2011 and that is when Cloud accounting started to hit mainstream or, not hit mainstream but really just become feasible. Like QuickBooks online stopped sucking.
Scott: I don’t know if it stopped sucking at that point. Well, there was a new entrant into the market.
Blake: Right, so Xero came to the US and that put a lot of pressure on QuickBooks to improve their online product. hit mainstream.
Scott: Expensify.
Blake: Expensify, Hubdoc, all these apps and I latched onto that really quickly. I was basically in the right place at the right time.
Scott: You know, people say that sometimes but you saw the opportunity. If I remember talking to you correctly, first of all, Xero really pushed QuickBooks online. Now QuickBooks online is great but at the time it wasn’t very good. Didn’t you capitalize on Xero? Weren’t you like the first Xero rep, or not rep, but qualified person in California or something crazy like that?
Blake: I wish I was the first period. I was the second bookkeeper to get certified on Xero.
Scott: That’s crazy.
Blake: Yeah, and the first guy was in New York. So I owned the West Coast.
Scott: So, for context, Xero is like a publicly traded three billion dollar company now. They started out in New Zealand and then went to Australia and Asia and Europe. They kind of came to the US market late. It’s be like saying 25 years ago you were the second person to ever use QuickBooks, you know? You were as ground floor as ground floor could be.
Blake: That was awesome because I was listed on their website as an advisor and I started getting tons and tons of clients. That’s when I started my company. We did online bookkeeping and just rode that wave up. I was fortunate to sell that in 2015.
Scott: Congratulations.
Blake: Took some time off and took my CPA exams. It was really nice to be able to do that and not be working.
Scott: Yes.
Blake: And then I joined Armanino.
Scott: That’s right, yeah.
Blake: As a manager in their outsourced accounting team. I wanted to get real public accounting experience so I knew what I was doing.
Scott: By the way, I have to say I remember calling you because Vanessa and I had always talked because eventually someday we’ll expand. We have an office down in Santa Monica but not a full time team down there. I remember being like, “Hey, Blake could be the guy for LA.” After meeting you at Expensify and then I saw you change jobs and I was like, “What?” I remember calling you out of the blue and being like, “What are you doing, dude? You didn’t even call us. What happened?”
Blake: Yeah, sorry about that.
Scott: We were small back then so it’s all good.
Blake: Hey, you never know what might happen in the future.
Scott: You never know. Never. This podcast, you know.
Blake: Exactly, so I’m working in Armanino in the outsource accounting team and I started looking around for ways to manage the close that I was overseeing for clients. Nothing against Armanino. I loved working there, but honestly, I think this is the case at most firms there really wasn’t a lot of process in place.
Scott: Yeah.
Blake: We just had a lot of really talented people that couldn’t manage stuff themselves. We didn’t have a really good system for organizing everything we were doing. That’s how I found FloQast.
Scott: Awesome. So did you bring that into Armanino?
Blake: I was demoing it. There was a lot going on in the firm at the time. We went through two mergers while I was there.
Scott: Oh, shit.
Blake: So like a lot of technology projects got sidelined.
Scott: Yeah.
Blake: But it kept sticking with me, like we need to do something. Then I had written a blog post about FloQast because I was excited about it. You know, you mentioned I like to write.
Scott: Yeah.
Blake: So the consultant who eventually became the CMO said, “We need to get Blake working for us.” They headhunted me and I’m very happy to have joined FloQast as of December.
Scott: That’s awesome. Congratulations.
Blake: Thank you.
Scott: I’m a huge believer in that process that you’re talking about. Vanessa turns out to be incredibly talented at bringing process to the chaos. We always say we have 160 startups. Startups are always chaotic. You had a bunch of startup clients I think too. They’re always going in 120 different directions and they can’t focus a lot of times. So by designing our processes correctly, we’re able to kind of- it’s like taming a wild mustang, you know?
Blake: Yep.
Scott: I think fits in exactly with what FloQast is doing at the close part of it. You’re actually documenting everything. It’s a Cloud product, right?
Blake: Yeah.
Scott: So everyone can see what everyone else is doing.
Blake: Yeah, so we are in a category called Close Management Software which a lot of people don’t even know what that is.
Scott: Yeah.
Blake: The idea is that if you have an accounting team, say five to 15 accountants. It’s mostly in house accounting teams in mid-size corporations that have this problem. It starts to get out of hand. Who’s doing what? The controller doesn’t know what’s been closed and our founder, one of our founders Mike Whitmire, he came from that world at Cornerstone OnDemand.
Scott: Okay, yeah. Cornerstone, that’s a big one.
Blake: He was a senior accountant. I think he was hired with five other big four auditors who came in to fix Cornerstone’s accounting so they could go public. So in advance of the IPO.
Scott: Which always happens at every late stage company.
Blake: Yes. So they had like a year to get everything in order.
Scott: Yeah. That always seems like one of the worst jobs to me to be honest with you. I don’t know how much those people get paid but it would … talk about chaos.
Blake: Yeah, he speaks of it fondly now but I think it’s one of those things, it’s like after you run a marathon you speak fondly of it but not necessarily at the time.
Scott: Yeah, exactly.
Blake: So they went from like five people in the accounting team to 25 in the course of like a year or two.
Scott: Wow, and probably a ton of consultants because a lot of times they bring in stock option consultants and you gotta figure out all this stuff.
Blake: Yeah, so by the end of it they didn’t have a system for managing the stuff and he was spending four hours a day in staff meetings where they were doing status updates. He kept thinking to himself, “Why are we sitting around here each giving our little update on our little area that we manage?” He was the deferred revenue guy and he had to sit through a four hour meeting just so he could give his update.
Scott: Oh, my god.
Blake: So he said, “We gotta create software that allows us not to have to do that.” That’s how FloQast was born.
Scott: Did he partner up with like a technical founder and get it going? How was the company born?
Blake: He did. So Cullen who’s the CTO came from MySpace.
Scott: Oh, nice.
Blake: He’s a former MySpace guy and Mike talked him into starting this company.
Scott: It doesn’t sound like the most sexy topic for a technologist but actually a lot of times automating kind of manual processes is the best for software development folks it actually is sexy because they can tangibly see how wasteful it is and how it’s not really working. They like fixing things.
Blake: That’s the amazing thing. Close management software, software for accountants to manage the close is not sexy.
Scott: Yeah.
Blake: But the result is tangible.
Scott: Yeah.
Blake: So we did a study last year-
Scott: Both in financial and happiness, right?
Blake: Oh, yeah.
Scott: I’m sure the team is just like so happy after they’ve been using your software.
Blake: Yeah, so a big value proposition of using FloQast is your team doesn’t have to stay late. They can go home. If they need to they can work remotely on tasks. Our philosophy is you should be able to live life during the close and go on vacation and go see your daughter’s soccer game and eat dinner with your family. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a normal life as an accountant.
Scott: That’s a really good catchphrase. When Vanessa used to claim she’d say, “I can pay your bills while I’m on vacation in Italy.” For some reason, the founders would just totally love that. They could visualize themselves doing it while they’re on vacation. It sounds like the same thing here. That’s a really good idea.
Blake: Yeah, so that’s what we’re all about. I personally think that about half the time in a typical office is wasted on email and meetings and administrative stuff. Let’s organize all that stuff.
Scott: So what happened after that? It’s like they got the first couple of customers and then … Did they bootstrap for a long time? You just raise around but was it a bootstrap company or how did they get going?
Blake: There was an initial round of investment. We just raised a Series B last year for 25 million dollars.
Scott: Yeah, that was huge.
Blake: Led by Insight. That is what has enabled a ton of expansion for us. We’re at 400 plus customers.
Scott: Wow.
Blake: It’s some really cool brand names like Zillow and Golden State Warriors.
Scott: Nice. Season ticket holder here, thank you.
Blake: Oh, awesome.
Scott: So does Steph Curry manage his workouts using FloQast, like to close?
Blake: We haven’t quite expanded to that feature set but we’ll work on it.
Scott: Yeah.
Blake: We’ve also got the Lakers and Ruckus Wireless has been a customer for a long time. Some really, really cool tech companies that are using FloQast.
Scott: That’s awesome.
Blake: Yeah.
Scott: You said early on though it was really good for internal kind of teams but we kind of have the same problems here. Have you just not expanded into the kind of outsource accountants or what’s unique about outsource accountants that doesn’t make it as tangible for them?
Blake: I’m excited to join because up till now we have been having outsource accountants using FloQast, so tempCFO is actually a big customer of ours.
Scott: Yeah, I know those guys.
Blake: It’s not been a really large segment, like 90% of our customers are internal teams. Me, coming from the outsourced accounting world, I obviously saw the benefit of using it for my customers. We’re hoping that more CPAs will see the benefits.
Scott: You probably know a lot of the firms too so you can do a quick phone … Your job isn’t really sales probably but you can just call someone. You could call me or call Vanessa and it’s like, “Hey, can I present FloQast to you?”
Blake: We just got Jody Padar signing. She runs an outsourced accounting firm in Chicago, she’s a top 10 thought leader.
Scott: Wow.
Blake: We’re really excited about that.
Scott: That’s awesome. Do you actually get the emails from the accountant who’ve been using it for like six months and being like, “Oh, I can go home and have dinner. I can go on vacation.”
Blake: Yeah, yeah. Part of the reason I really wanted to join is because our net promoter score is just insanely high among the controllers that use our software.
Scott: Wow, that’s awesome.
Blake: Like the chief accounting officer of Grubhub, Brandt Kuckarski, he’s a huge fan of us.
Scott: That’s gotta be a beast because there’s so many transactions that are just passing through. That’s a hairy operation probably.
Blake: Well, the reason I’m in town is because last night we had an IPO readiness event.
Scott: That’s right, yeah.
Blake: We had Brandt on a panel discussion. We had Grubhub, J&P; Securities, we had Art consulting and our founder was there. Brandt told a great story about the pressure you’re under to close the books quickly. It hits you when you go public. All of a sudden, you may have closed the books in 10 or 15 days as a private company, now you have to do that in five days because there’s all this other stuff that has to happen with SEC reporting and auditors.
Scott: And if you’re missing your numbers you have to report it quickly because you can’t afford leaks. I think there’s some actual laws that say you have to report it quickly.
Blake: Yeah.
Scott: If you’re missing by a material amount?
Blake: Yeah, so normally what happens is your accounting team just suffers massively during that time and it’s a huge adjustment. We’re trying to tell startups and companies that want to go public implement close management software now, as much as two or three years in advance of trying to go public so you’ve already got that down. You don’t have to worry about that.
Scott: I always think of QuickBooks as kind of the sun and the solar system and Expensify and and a lot of the other tools interact with Quickbooks or sync with QuickBooks, how does FloQast … Do they have integration partners? How does it work or what are the big things that you’re interoperable with?
Blake: So this is super cool. We integrate with all the top ERPs. So if you’re on NetSuite or Sage Intacct, we also have Oracle and SAP integrations. We can pull that trial balance information from the software directly. We do that on a daily basis or on demand. Then we also tie out your Excel work papers. You get to keep using Excel. That’s what people love about this. You put a little hashtag code in your Excel workpapers that shows us where the output is. They you’ve got all your Excel workpapers in Cloud storage like Box or Dropbox or whatnot. We connect to the Cloud storage.
Scott: Oh, sweet.
Blake: We have visibility into all your workpapers because of that and then we link up the output. Let’s say you’ve got a deferred revenue schedule, right? We link up your amount for the last month to your trial balance and display all of that in a report basically.
Scott: That’s really cool.
Blake: A reconciliations page. If anything doesn’t match, that’s where you can see.
Scott: Can you see it on a per person level? Like everyone has different responsibilities and where they are tracking to …
Blake: Yeah, so all-
Scott: By the way, this is the best podcast/sales call I’ve ever had. I’m dying to use this product now.
Blake: I’m selling FloQast right now to Scott.
Scott: It’s awesome. Keep going.
Blake: Yeah, all those checklist items, so maybe you’re tracking checklist items in something like a Asana or Basecamp if you’re a firm.
Scott: Yeah, that’s what we use, Basecamp.
Blake: Now, you’re doing that in FloQast. When it comes to reconciliations, we’re actually linking up that task with the workpaper.
Scott: So you can just click in to … You can go right to the box file.
Blake: Yep.
Scott: Yeah, that’s brilliant.
Blake: And because we’re integrated with document storage all of those workpapers, when the next month hits, we roll them forward. We copy everything into a new folder in your super organized folder structure that we’re managing for you and then you just go and update that workpaper by clinking the link is the task.
Scott: You don’t even have to leave FloQast? You’re staying in it and it opens up the box file? Yeah.
Blake: So it opens up the file in Excel and then you make your changes. You save and then it’s there.
Scott: So getting rid of duplicate files or … Like sometimes they have box sync problems or things like that. Okay, that’s really exciting. You’re describing our flow exactly except we use Excel like a master MDNA Excel workbook.
Blake: That’s what most firms are doing today. They’re using a consolidated Excel workbook. They’ve got their first sheet as the trial balance and then they reference all of the balance sheet accounts to subsidiary ledgers. We’re saying, that works, but it doesn’t really scale very well. Let’s use close management software.
Scott: This makes tons of sense. So after this I will get a demo.
Blake: Absolutely, yeah. We’ll hook you up.
Scott: What are the big things that you guys want to do next? It sounds like you built a really good product. Is it getting into the outsourced accounting channel? Are there product features you guys are working on? What’s next for you guys?
Blake: So personally I’m very excited about getting more into the outsourced accounting channel. I’m gonna make sure you do that demo.
Scott: It’s a little bit like … I think, Expensify, Quickbooks, everyone understands this. Once we get our clients standardized on those services they’re never gonna leave. They’re super sticky.
Blake: Yeah, no.
Scott: So getting them in using FloQast would probably, even if a company outgrows us and brings someone internal … And a lot of times they bring someone internal and we still work with them like six months or a year because working, not reporting to them but they’re likely to keep the service. That’s a lifetime value to the customer that’s insane probably for you guys.
Blake: Absolutely. We have net negative churn. First of all, our churn is super, super low and then more of our customers add on additional services.
Scott: Keep adding, yeah.
Blake: So that’s exciting. Building the client accounting services channel, but also expanding the feature set to continue to make life easier from a collaboration standpoint for controllers. One of the things we’re working on is figuring out how can we go and request stuff from outside the accounting team? All of our checklists right now, they’re designed for the accounting team. In order to do your reconciliation for deferred revenue you might need something from the sales team.
Scott: Totally.
Blake: All the time.
Scott: Or the CEO in our case.
Blake: Yeah, or the CEO. Just constantly asking for stuff. So we’re working on tools that will allow you to automate the request of information from anywhere.
Scott: That’s pretty smart. We use a very simple one that we have every month for almost every one of our clients. A lot of our clients have offshore developers or whatever so they’re using TransferWise or PayPal and things like that to pay those folks. We’re still telling them to upload the invoices into so we have the record of that invoice in case we’re ever audited or something like that but we have to get those TransferWise, PayPal statements every month. That would be … Literally in Basecamp we have reminders to do that. We don’t email the CEO to get the TransferWise thing. You guys could automate that?
Blake: Yeah, so what if your software could automatically go make that request and you don’t even have to do it?
Scott: That would be amazing.
Blake: That’s one of the things that we’re working on.
Scott: That’s a really good feature. You know what’s interesting too, my pain point is I always joke that half of what I do everyday is making sure people are actually getting what they said they would do done. I’m the dude who’s emailing the staff accountant and being like, “Did you ask for the TransferWise stuff yet? Did you do this or do that?” The automation makes my life … Not only does it make the staff accountant or controller’s life easier, but it makes my life a lot easier too. I don’t have to think about it. I don’t want to have to waste brain cycles on it.
Blake: So imagine instead of having to ask whether stuff has been done-
Scott: Yeah, it just gets done.
Blake: You just log in to your FloQast dashboard and you can see in one glance what tasks have been completed, what’s late from each of your entities that you’re managing, who’s on track and who’s not.
Scott: I love it.
Blake: You no longer have to ask.
Scott: The on track thing is huge too. That’s one of our other big issues is we’re not big. We’re a 35, 40 person company but from where we came from when I first met you we’ve grown by like 30 people, from four to 35. So managing that additional complexity … Every time you add a person it’s not like just a one plus one complexity. There’s an exponential complexity. I like what you’re doing. This is really cool.
Blake: I’m a tech nerd. I’m an organizational freak. For me, it’s fun to figure out how do we get all of this information out of people’s heads and into a system?
Scott: That’s what we want too, yeah.
Blake: Because that’s scalable.
Scott: That’s how we’ve scaled. Our processes are actually pretty good but they’re not, this would actually take us to another level. This is really cool. I want to talk about just some general accounting things.
Blake: Sure.
Scott: Before we go to that, where can people find FloQast? Tell them how to find FloQast, how to do a demo with you, how to get ahold of you. Also, tell them about your newsletter. Your newsletter is amazing.
Blake: So if you’re interested in learning more about close management software go to That’s spelled F-L-O-Q-A-S-T. You can book a demo right there. You can watch a video, an on demand video. It’s about six minutes which you’ll get to see my shining visage. I got selected to do the video.
Scott: You have a great smile. You’ll be good. They’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Blake: Yeah, so you can see what I look like if you’re curious. We’ve got some really cool resources there actually too. Even if you’re not thinking about implementing software you can head to our resources page and we have some really popular reconciliation templates that we give away for free to people. If you’ve sort of just been making up stuff as you go, those templates might not be the best. We’ve got some great ones that we give away there.
Scott: That’s cool. Ours tend to be … Whenever we hire a new senior person they add like five things that we’re like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe we didn’t have that in our close.” It’s just the nature of the beast. That’s how it always is.
Blake: My newsletter, right?
Scott: Yes.
Blake: So the newsletter is called Cloud Accounting Weekly. You can head to or also
Scott: It’s really good. I really enjoy it.
Blake: Thank you.
Scott: I think I email you like once a month and be like, “That was a cool article.” Or something like that.
Blake: Yeah, it makes me feel good.
Scott: Yeah, so first of all, you’re providing a service to the accounting world so keep doing that. That’s really cool. So a couple random topics. You just told me this so it blew my mind. Unemployment for accountants is … What is it? What’s the percentage?
Blake: So the latest number I have seen is from Robert Half and they say that unemployment for accountants is now at 1.8% nationwide.
Scott: Oh, my god.
Blake: So in a competitive market it’s probably closer to zero. Right?
Scott: Yeah.
Blake: That means if you’re an accountant and you know what you’re doing you can probably just walk out the door and get a job at another company.
Scott: Yep, yep.
Blake: Immediately. This past week I’ve been traveling around. We did some road shows with the Ohio CPA Society and I was asking these folks out in Ohio sort of a good middle america type place like are you having trouble finding accountants? The vast majority are saying yes.
Scott: Wow. That’s interesting because a lot of times I’ve heard of firms like in San Francisco or New York outsourcing or having a remote office in Ohio or another kind of Midwestern state because you can actually find talent there. But if they’re not able to find talent, that’s really tough.
Blake: Then the question is what do we do about that? How are we going to find and keep top talent in our accounting teams? That’s another reason that I use to talk about implementing technology in your team. If you’ve got this technology, then you don’t have to have people in the office 8:00 to 5:00 every day. They can work flexible hours. They can work remotely. You can bring in contractors or part time workers. I think people are gonna have to do that. Managers are gonna have to adapt.
Scott: Also, I think a big part of when we’re explaining why our clients should use QuickBooks, Expensify,, maybe FloQast pretty soon now that I’ve heard the pitch … A lot of it is like, “Hey, this allows us to get rid of the dirty work that no accountant actually likes and allows us to focus on the things that we can really add value for.
Blake: Exactly.
Scott: I always say that saves you a lot of time and money. We’re able to hit a price point that was unthinkable five years ago. The message not only resonates with the accountants, but it resonates with the end customer and the clients. I think it’s a really good message.
Blake: My personal experience I think is a good one to talk about. When I started I was a bookkeeper I was keying in transactions into a desktop software. Within five years I’d figured out how to automate 80% of that and so instead of doing data entry I was just overseeing the systems working around. As you know from your experience that’s what allows you to offer this incredible service for a pretty decent price.
Scott: Absolutely.
Blake: And do it outsource.
Scott: Yeah.
Blake: That was in like the small business world. We’re talking cash basis accounting, stuff like that. I see the same exact trend is now starting to happen in mid-size companies. There’s gonna be this total revolution of how accounting gets done in organizations that have more than 200 employees.
Scott: It’s really fun if you’re the people riding the surfboard on top of the wave.
Blake: Yes.
Scott: I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this story, I’ve told it a million times. I remember Vanessa coming … I used to work in venture capital. I was still working in venture capital like six years ago when Vanessa first started Kruze Consulting and she came home one day and she’s like, “I met this amazing Cloud payroll company. It’s called ZenPayroll.” Which later became Gusto. “It’s gonna allow me to run payroll … I’m gonna save a couple hours every week. My clients are gonna save so much money.” It was like instead of being an old school accountant who didn’t want automation, Vanessa immediately recognized that it would actually make her more efficient, allow her to carry more customers, provide more value. Literally when you go to Gusto they won’t stop talking about Vanessa because she brought them their first 10 or 20 of their first customers. Being the people who recognize how things are going, this is why I’m so aggressive about wanting to hear FloQast because it’s like, Wow. If we could cut 20% or 30% of our time on the close? That would be humongous for us and humongous for our clients.
Blake: Yeah, absolutely.
Scott: So make automation your friend, basically is what we all need to do. Especially with unemployment being so tight. If you can’t hire enough people then automate what you can.
Blake: Exactly. I think that we could automate at least 20% of the work but in a lot of teams it could be as much as 50% or more.
Scott: Wow, that’s amazing.
Blake: We’ve done studies that show that this happens when companies implement close management software. It’s not just for tech companies. I was just down yesterday in San Jose talking to the controller of the San Jose Water Company, public utility.
Scott: A utility is using you guys. That’s amazing.
Blake: They’re using us.
Scott: That’s the definition of usually slow mover so if they’re using you guys that’s incredible.
Blake: They’re actually 150 years old. I think their auditor is , they’re like one of their first clients ever. In 1932, right?
Scott: That’s awesome.
Blake: They have moved to close management software. They are also implementing accounts payable automation so something like
Scott: What are they using?
Blake: I don’t remember. It’s like specialized for their process.
Scott: As we’re getting more and more clients on NetSuite there’s this whole world of accounts payable software that we didn’t really focus on. Now it’s right in there. That’s why I was curious.
Blake: They were also doing payroll in house and they just moved to ADPs Cloud service. If a utility can do this then I think anybody can.
Scott: It’s really exciting. Kudos to you for … I always say you have such an interesting background because you were an accountant, you’re an entrepreneur first of all. You’re just like Vanessa. You guys both started your companies pretty much right around the same time, then recognized the power of all of this automation, did it. You ended up selling your company and now you’re joining a software company. I bet you if Vanessa, A, she’s 33 years old and there’s no way we’re selling Kruze Consulting. We have a long way to go but that would probably be the next thing she would do. She would join a software company or start a software company like KruzeTax. I was dorking around showing Blake KruzeTax. That’s the natural progression. Once you’re in this industry and you see things changing so fast you’re like, “We should do this too. I should join a company that’s automating something that’s still really inefficient.”
Blake: I think you guys are in a great place to experiment with building your own tools because you’re actually using them. One of the problems or one of my main criticisms of say the accounting developer community is that you have a lot of apps that are built not by accountants. What drew me to FloQast is that we have CPAs and accountants in every single department in the company and two of the founders are former big four auditors. This is the right way to do it.
Scott: It’s always so powerful when you’re scratching your own itch which it sounds like they do. Well, dude, this has been awesome. Thank you for coming by. Maybe just give the quick FloQast pitch one more time, tell them where they can find you. It sounds like you have a six minute demo that they can just watch on their own online?
Blake: Yeah, head to, F-L-O-Q-A-S-T and-
Scott: The Q will throw you off, so make sure if you have any questions type into Google.
Blake: -watch the demo video or book a demo. You can email us at You can visit my personal website at and please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. I love talking to anybody in our industry or our profession I should say who’s interested in technology because surprisingly few at this point. A lot of opportunity for anyone who is.
Scott: Sign up for the newsletter. The newsletter is very, very good.
Blake: Thanks, Scott.
Scott: Cool. I read you and a guy named Riley Bryan from every Sunday night. I’m looking at Mack who is the audiovisual expert here in the room as well. Mack, I’m that dorky. That’s what I do. Mack approves. All right, Blake, thank you so much. Check out FloQast and thanks for coming by.
Blake: Thanks, Scott.
Scott: All right, cool.

Kruze Cares More - We take our clients’ success - and happiness - seriously. Kruze has worked with hundreds of early-stage companies, many of which have gone on to raise tens to hundreds of millions in venture financing - and a number of which have been successfully acquired by major public companies.

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