Startup of The Week: Cflow
This week we present you Cflow – an essential virtual accountant for all freelancers which covers the entire freelance accountancy process. Members of their team told us more about their project and we invite you to get familiar with them by reading their answers below.
So what is CFlow? How does it work?
CFlow is a convenient and simple virtual accountant for freelancers. The smart electronic accounting system fills out the general ledger, calculates taxes, facilitates income statements and related concerns. In short, this one tool covers the entire freelance accountancy process.
What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
There are several freelance accounting solutions in the Lithuanian market. For example, it is possible to find certain ways of promptly issuing invoices, but this is just one small part of freelance accountancy. For now, only CFlow can offer the full package of functionalities required for accountancy services designed specifically for freelancers. As previously mentioned – CFlow is everything you need for freelance accounting in one place.
What were the reasons behind coming up with this idea and launching this product?
The founder of CFlow Andrius Mironovskis came up with the idea in 2012. After receiving an individual activity business certificate, Andrius found out that an up-to-date accounting solution didn’t exist, and freelancers were struggling with self-made Excel sheets. So a concept of a much more convenient, fully automated solution was born, and it essentially changed the situation in the market.
When exactly did you launch, what were the main challenges before launching?
CFlow was perfected in more or less 6 months, the system launched in the Autumn of 2013, in the middle of the week, at 12 pm. The news were published in few Facebook groups, and that same evening we already had around 50 registered users.
Of course, there were quite a few challenges. While consulting with lawyers and accountancy firms, it was necessary to accurately understand the complexities of accounting, to form clear tasks for programmers, to create a user-friendly control system that would optimize all the stages of freelancing as much as possible, and eventually – to design an attractive website, to test everything out and to make sure that the virtual accountant is working faultlessly.
A more significant promotion of the product was also difficult. First, we selected an advertising agency whose services were costly, and at the end it didn’t help us achieve the desired result. It is quite understandable now since we can reflect on this decision in the perspective of time, that it is usually worthy to recruit agencies only when your company is high in revenue, and not when you’re a start-up. But supposedly at that time, the desire to gather a big circle of system users as quickly as possible, in other words, our juvenile ambitiousness stepped in. Later we returned to social media and content marketing – we started creating valuable content for our system users, as well as other freelancers – educating them on various issues regarding freelancing. The marketing decisions in the beginning were definitely not perfect, but in the long run our marketing strategy had been put into order.
The target audience of CFlow is easy to define – a person who carries individual activity under a business certificate. According to the data of the State Tax Inspectorate, there are more than 100,000 freelancers in the country.
Our marketing channels are designed to reach younger people and freelance newbies who rely on cutting-edge accounting solutions. On the other hand, even more experienced freelancers decide to give up on out-dated accounting habits by trying CFlow. People realize it saves time, which could be spent working, rather than trying to solve bureaucratic puzzles.
What are main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?
As the numbers of system users are growing, we are receiving more and more questions from freelancers, and a big part of them are not related to CFlow. People often ask about different aspects of self-employment, which is a competence of the State Tax Inspectorate. However, even in these situations we try to provide as much valuable information as possible, or at least specify who to address.
How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
The establishment of this project required initial investment – the funding was received from a joint-stock company “Alga”. It is the main shareholder of CFlow, uniting 12 different companies in the Baltic region and other European countries.
The initial investment was enough to create a fully operational system. For some time now, it not only supports itself financially, but also carries real profit, so no extra investments are needed.
Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
The core of CFlow team consists of Andrius Mironovskis and Jonas Udris. Andrius has more than 10 years of experience in web design and developing various software programs, and is responsible for the technical and the visual aspects of the product. Jonas has been working in business and public law sectors for more than 12 years and he takes care of the legal matters, marketing strategies and sales. We also continuously cooperate with an accounting firm to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the system, as well as recruit IT technicians and digital communication managers.
How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?
We are monitoring a continuous increase in generated revenue among the system users every month. In 2017 alone, CFlow users have sent over 50,000 electronic invoices for more than €9,99M to their customers. Possibly, the data speaks for itself.
Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
We are currently finalising the second version of CFlow, which is estimated to be released this year. We believe, it will be even more appealing and precise, and the improved features will help freelancers discover new ways of working efficiently.
Thank you for the answers!