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November 2023

Deal to cash is dead.

We understand it’s hard to hear, but as a growing startup, we have to share our findings and make a statement. After extensive research and interviews, we have reached the conclusion that the rapid pace of modernization and digitization broke a system that previously worked well. Processes have grown increasingly complex, such that even simple transactions now require multi-level agreements with many cumbersome steps where companies lose their most precise resource: time. Let us take a step back and synthesize what we have gleaned thus far from this situation and the insights that have surfaced in this deal-to-cash process research.

Starting with: what is a deal?
We initially believed a deal began at the pricing stage. However, we have come to realize the true genesis of a deal, the marking point of the deal-to-cash lifecycle, begins way before. Historically, when a company considered selling a product, they simply set a price and the customer paid that amount, perhaps with a minor discount, to acquire the item. This straightforward approach persisted even amidst inflation and fluctuating values, necessitating just minor one-time reevaluations.

Yet today, as companies increasingly offer services, or loan products over recurring periods, the deal-to-cash flow has grown more complex. With subscriptions and ongoing payments, organizations must now factor in longevity, product evolution, pricing model changes and customer needs evolving.
What is the most likely deal-to-cash process nowadays? When a prospective client initially expresses interest in a product or service, extensive back and forth ensues as the client weighs the value proposition and negotiates agreeable terms. This is the quote step. The two parties will determine optimal pricing and payment frequency. We now have a deal. While a verbal commitment carries weight, deals between companies necessitate signed paperwork to formalize the relationship. This document represents the pivotal transition from pricing discussions to enacted billing. Thus, upon concurring on those core points and finalizing legal wording, the deal will take physical form. It can take various name in different organization, a contract, an order-form…

At this moment of mutual consent and written accord, a deal is struck. Only once ink dries can the relationship progress to the billing phase. Wow, step 1 is done! Then again, with billing… This used to be a simple step! Of course, larger organization will validate that the seller is authorized, that each transaction and resulting invoice passes appropriate approvals per internal protocols. But let’s not get carried away on the deal nuances on the customer side. Our more pressing issue is in the billing phase on the seller side: the manual invoicing.

Despite technological advances, most companies still rely on manual processes for invoicing. This antiquated approach carries several drawbacks:

  • Manual data entry opens the door for typos, incorrect amounts, or omissions. These errors can lead to disputes with clients and payment delays.
  • Manual invoicing is a time-consuming task. It involves data entry, amount calculations, double-checking transaction details, and sending invoices to clients. This diverts efforts from more strategic initiatives.
  • Tracking overdue payments and pending invoices is challenging when done manually. Finance staff struggle to stay on top of overdue invoices, late payments, and clients in need of reminders.
  • When sales amounts vary depending on customized client agreements, updating invoices becomes even more complex. Manual adjustments increase the risk of errors.

Often enough, manual invoicing is forced upon the company for lack of interoperability between its software. The CRM doesn’t talk to the back-end, which doesn’t talk to the payment processing system or the accounting tool. Even when companies want to automate, the entry barriers are so high!

The Invoice Automation Solution
Through extensive interviews across various industries, a consensus emerged - the process from sales agreement to invoicing is ripe for optimization and automation can help overcome these invoicing challenges. Furo has developed an innovative platform to streamline and automate billing, even accounting for fluctuating amounts, evolving billing cycles and customized terms, per sales agreements. By integrating directly with CRM, backends and ERP systems, the Furo solution can automatically generate invoices with precise, customized amounts, and adapted cycles and terms. Our technology removes the risk of human error while saving employees countless hours previously wasted on manual tasks.With Furo, organizations can track invoices and payments in real-time through user-friendly dashboards. Customizable rules engine allows teams to set automated reminders, follow-ups, and other actions to keep billing on track.In short, Furo's invoice automation platform elevates billing from a manual chore to a strategic advantage. By embracing automation, companies can reduce human errors, free up employee time, and gain actionable insights - ultimately accelerating the cash cycle. That’s great, but that’s not enough. 

Capturing intelligence 
Our extensive interview process also helped us understand how reliant on paper-like note taking, data gathering and intelligence computing, companies were. Indeed, countless companies still rely on rudimentary note-taking tools, which, while allowing a degree of flexibility, hinder the capitalization of past data and insights garnered during sales agreements. Employees spend countless hours digging through siloed systems and accounting records to retrieve pertinent data, verify accuracy, and more.Another example, is when engaging with recurring clients. Context is crucial. Accessing details from past sales, like discount offered or difficult negotiations, allows you to strategize proactively and gain clarity into commercial options.This is Furo’s mission: to empower sales & finance teams with intelligent automation - their intelligence fueled into a clean system.

A tool made to be tweaked by non-developer staff
We have designed our solution as interchangeable building blocks, to be added or removed as needed. We will collaborate to co-create the platform to support your specific deal-to-cash process.Together, we will gather your existing sales data. Using generation to create rich profiles and a product catalog tied directly to your invoice. This will be a starting base that you will be able to complete by yourself, as your product offering evolves. The addition of a product or service during a sales agreement will be automatically included in the invoice template.Our platform remembers past amounts and products or services suggesting them for similar negotiations to come. We also automate retrieval of real-time invoice status by simply adding the building block corresponding to your payment tool.

Our mission at Furo
Manual invoicing places undue strain on businesses, especially when so many items can vary according to sales agreements. However, invoice automation presents a path to simplification, eliminating errors, saving time, and readily adapting to changing terms. Moreover, Furo understands the importance of context, the history of the relationship, emotional and market intelligence, and interpreting notes taken during discussions with clients. Our platform gathers all of that: a smart automation enhanced by human intelligence to elevate invoicing from a costly chore to a strategic advantage.