Making sane the world of numbers.

Numbers, a subject which continues to baffle many non-accountants. This however will soon be a thing of the past as the founder of Financio, Jye Eng, who is now heading the Financio product team in Asian Business Software Solutions (ABSS). He has found a convenient and cost effective way to help unravel the enigma and perplexity of numbers.  The innovative young wunderkind aims to help budding entrepreneurs reduce their time and money spent on accounting and tax related tasks. Now for the price of less than an extra-large pizza per month, Financio could help you too in unravelling the tedious tasks that involve numbers. Jye shares with us his story about how Financio works to help bring about a more approachable world of numbers. 

1. Numbers do certainly terrify some entrepreneurs but as businessmen there is certainly no escaping it. How did you go about unravelling the need for an innovative solution as such?

Numbers do terrify most of the entrepreneurs out there, including myself. Being a technopreneur for over a decade, I understand how terrifying numbers can be for busy entrepreneurs, I spent a lot of my time crunching the numbers and yet still couldn’t make sense out of it. For all the obvious reasons, I am not the only one that is facing the similar problem, a lot of the entrepreneurs out there do face the exact same problem. 

As soon as I decided to do myself and budding entrepreneurs a big favour, I departed from all my previous ventures and started studying accounting 101, talking to potential customers trying to better understand their problems and forming an engineering team to work on Financio. 

Today, Financio is powering more than 3000 small businesses across Southeast Asia. If we are a saving each business owner a conservative 8 hours a month from managing their accounts and numbers, we are saving a handsome amount of 288,000 hours from these busy entrepreneurs a year. Don’t forget how impactful it can be for these entrepreneurs to have a better understanding of where their business stands or is heading with our business owner friendly dashboard and reports. 

Compared to the 288,000 hours we are saving from people, the effort me and my team put into Financio over the last two years suddenly looks so insignificant, and I guess that is what keeping us up at night and pushing hard for a better Financio. 

2. With over 3,000 happy users so far, what is the most common feedback you receive from customers about how Financio has helped their business?

Everyone kept telling me that they love our intuitive and easy to follow user interface. Surprisingly a few users that I managed to talk to recently (who happened to be accountants and not really our main targets) expressed how much they love Financio and how Financio has reduced the friction between them and their non-accountant colleagues. 

With the subscription fee as low as RM32.95/m, which I have yet to came across anyone who complains it being unaffordable, at the same time helping entrepreneurs to save their precious time. Helping people without putting an extra burden to them. I am happy, not just to mention Financio users. 

3. Tell us how did you came to the decision that Microsoft Azure was the best platform for your business.

I did have a number of issues about IE6 and perhaps Microsoft, people from my circle will certainly know my stand against Microsoft. Yes, you heard it right, and in fact statement like this isn’t foreign to anyone from the open source community or those coming from similar background. 

Well, good things don’t last forever, bad things don’t either. IE6 is long gone, what we have in the house now is a very refreshing cloud platform called Azure, a very forward thinking CEO Satya Nadella who brought a lot of positive changes to Microsoft. 

An honest note from me on this one: Microsoft Azure isn’t perfect, no one is. Microsoft Azure solutions worked for us, it fits our business objectives, it supports the technologies that we are using well. If you are like me the 10 years back self and have problem associating Microsoft with open source technologies, have a look at Microsoft again and you could be surprised.  

4. If you were about to write a book on entrepreneurship, what would be the top 3 points you would give your readers?

Humble: The moment that you think you are more superior or smarter than anyone is the moment when you stopped learning. I still learn a thing or two from my wife who has zero experience in running a business. This sounds easy but is extremely hard to many especially when you are moving up the ladder. If you think you are smart, tell yourself you are not. 

Focus: Be laser focused on the problem you are trying to solve, solve one problem well before you move on to the next one. You are more likely to make it if you are trying to solve one single problem at a time rather than trying to solve 10 problems at once. 

Think big, start small: Have a great vision that serves as your lighthouse. Start with something small and move towards your grant plan step by step. Great things don’t happen overnight. 

Bonus Point 

Never give up: Keep trying and never give up. No one can beat a person who never gives up. 

5. What aspects of finance do you think every entrepreneur should learn about?

Have a close look at your cashflow trend and forecast, business decisions should only be made with a clear understanding of your cashflow in view. 

6. What are the top tips you can provide entrepreneurs on managing their finances?

Get someone who know what they are doing to do it for you, if you have the budget. 

If you have limited budget, offload the tedious tasks with the help of an accounting or invoicing software, if you are spending too much time figuring out how to use the software, you’ve got a wrong software. 

Never ever try to do it yourself without using proper software solutions, you will lose focus on these tedious tasks that are not taking your business anywhere. 

7. Share with us your future plans for Financio?

In the next 3 – 5 years, I would like to see Financio become a small business platform that houses millions of businesses across the region, where people can bring their business transactions online and finally ditch their hardcopy invoices, cheques or manual bank transfers. 

Beyond transacting online, we are also looking into the possibility of introducing more value added services to small businesses on the platform. Not limited to, but things we will be looking into include invoice financing, business loan offerings and peer-to-peer lending, making Financio a true platform for small businesses across the region. 

8. What has been the most inspirational moment of your journey as an entrepreneur?

When I am meeting budding entrepreneurs at tech startup events, everyone is passionately trying to solve very specific problems by working days and nights, turning their life upside down. Talking to them is usually rewarding and inspirational. Salute to startup founders and entrepreneurs out there! 

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