Removing emotions from month-end with Stefan van Duyvendijk from FloQast
Stefan van Duyvendijk, Accounting Operations Evangelist for FloQast, went from an accountant to a member of the marketing team for FloQast. He changed roles after loving the product as a FloQast user.
FloQast is a financial close software solution that simplifies and automates month-end.
A major competitive differentiator for FloQast is that it’s designed for accountants, by accountants. The functionality has the end user in mind, not the developer.
It’s almost unheard of for an accountant to make the move from numbers to marketing. But for Stefan van Duyvendijk, it was a move that made the most sense.
Stefan started as an audit associate at KPMG and moved on to Skullcandy and Kodiak Cakes as a corporate controller. He always itched for a way to make end-of-month close faster and easier, but never found it until he came upon FloQast.
Best for companies with accounting teams of six or more and a general range of $25-$50 million in revenue, FloQast takes the drama out of the close process by automating workflows. It’s also a good fit for multinational teams and anyone with a widespread workforce. Pre-revenue companies with plenty of accounting complexity can also benefit from FloQast.
“The humble beginnings of FloQast is just a fed-up accountant saying, ‘Hey, we can do this differently,’” Stefan says.
After loving the product as a user, he took the opportunity to join FloQast’s team as an Accounting Operations Evangelist. In other words, he moved from accounting to marketing. It’s not a transition Stefan expected to make, but it’s helped him to broaden his skill set as an accountant.
“When you look at successful CFOs, the skill they have isn't necessarily financial prowess. They're able to communicate effectively and efficiently. That's something that accountants don't get a lot of opportunities to do,” he says. “Who communicates more than an evangelist? So this is a great way to hone that skill set.”
Host, Stuart McLeod, chats with Stefan on episode 65 of the Accounting Leaders Podcast, getting Stefan’s thoughts on why FloQast is uniquely positioned to help accountants.
Envisioning the ‘flo’
Before Stefan found FloQast, he shared its vision. In 2013, he grew frustrated with the lengthy closing process—so much so, he sketched out a concept for how to fix the issue with Excel. Stefan even gave his idea to an engineer within his company at the time. Unfortunately, it never amounted to anything.
But in 2019, while working as the corporate controller for Kodiak Cakes, Stefan saw a demo for FloQast.
“When they showed me the demo, I was like, ‘Man, this is like a super robust version of what I've dreamed of.’ So we signed the contract, got it up and running super quick,” Stefan shares on the podcast. “It was super influential to the team.”
While he’s jealous he didn’t work harder to beat FloQast to the punch back in 2013, Stefan’s enjoyed the benefits of the software. And today, he helps other accountants find ways to ease the load through his role as evangelist.
“We can change the way we do our work. We should challenge the notion of how we do our work. We need to challenge the status quo and say, ‘We need to do things differently’.”
Taking the emotions out of close
It’s no secret that accounting is a tough profession, sometimes involving overwhelming hours of slogging through repetitive processes. FloQast wants to make one of those processes—closing—easier and faster.
Stefan has seen some customers reduce their processes by one day if they have a shorter close. But he’s also seen some more dramatic numbers, like going from 45 days to 10 days, overnight after implementing FloQast.
Stefan recalls one client burdened by the emotional toll of accounting:
“She talked about how there's all this burden at work, you work these late hours, you miss your kids’ bedtime, meals, you miss moments with your family. People are burdened to the point that they're crying at their desk. When she implemented FloQast, she didn’t necessarily all of a sudden notice, ‘Oh, I’m no longer crying at my desk.’ But her husband noticed things were better in life. A tool that she was using affected her personal life that strongly.”
Rather than taking what Stefan calls “a hero’s journey” every month with close, FloQast takes that burden off users’ shoulders, freeing up some of those long hours for the more important things.
Recommended reading: 8 time-saving accounting automation ideas
The competitive edge
A few factors set FloQast apart from its competitors. Of the company’s three founders, two are accountants and have personally experienced the pain of a cumbersome close.
While that might not seem important on the surface, Stefan shares the results of a recent survey showing how many fintech solutions are not necessarily designed with the end user in mind.
“[Other products] are purposely built around function. It’s an engineer solving the problem in the way that they see the problem existing and being told to them, but not really natively understanding the end user. That creates unforeseen friction in use, adoption, and functionality. When the user gets it, they're like, ‘Well, it doesn't really work the way I work,’” Stefan explains on the podcast.
For FloQast, the focus is on how the user wants a problem solved—not how developers can solve the problem.
Stefan also notes that when he was an accountant, he knew many peers who worked with FloQast’s competitors. Unfortunately, those companies never helped accountants become more efficient in the way that FloQast does.
For 2023, FloQast’s leadership hopes to expand the company’s presence in other English-speaking countries.
“We've seen some good access in the global market, and we really want to bring our product out there. In a lot of cases, the US is very forward-thinking when it comes to financial reporting and financial processes. It's really fun to bring some of this stuff to different countries because you can really impact the way they look at their financials,” Stefan shares of working with global users of FloQast.
Stefan hopes to focus on thought leadership for accounting, pushing the industry to make use of the tools that can make life easier.
After all, when work life is simplified, life in general gets a little better. Stefan himself has enjoyed the benefits of a more relaxed work life. Living in Park City, Utah, he gets to enjoy the fruits of the landscape.
“On a personal level, I'm looking for a great ski season ahead of me,” he shares, with the hope that other accountants using FloQast can similarly benefit from more time to themselves.