Hiring a consultant used to be prohibitively expensive.
Unless you were running a multi-million-dollar company yourself, chances are you wouldn’t have pockets deep enough to engage the services of a then-typical consulting firm.
But with technology helping small businesses grow and punch above their weight, the once-impenetrable consulting industry has seen a steady influx of more specialized boutique firms that cater not just to the big boys, but to smaller companies as well.
And what’s more, Consultancy.uk reports that these smaller firms are actually starting to give the bigger players a serious run for their money, especially when it comes to specialized expertise, quality, trust, and price.
One of these small but effective consulting firms is Filius Bonacci, headquartered in the city of Vancouver, Washington, USA. Here’s how they’re using WORKetc to help other businesses do business better.
Mastery Meets Expertise
Company founders Russ Snead and Art Fletcher have been working with each other for the better part of 14 years owing to the nature of their individual expertise.
It wasn’t until a little over a decade ago, however, that they decided to buckle down and start their own consulting firm.
“Art was trying to start up his own company, but as a finance guy, he was having a tough time convincing clients to give him free reign over their databases,” Russ explains.
“I’ve been dealing with systems for well over 30 years,” he continues. “I understand how data has to flow, how I need to put it together so Art can actually do what he needs to do.”
The collaboration was supposed to be short-term, but the synergy between Russ’s database mastery and Art’s financial smarts eventually gave birth to the company, Filius Bonacci, named after the Italian mathematician who introduced the popular sequence of numbers known as Fibonacci numbers.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve probably heard about it just by being exposed to modern pop culture. Remember The da Vinci Code? They’re used as a key to a safe in both the book and its film adaptation.
Popular TV shows like Fringe, Criminal Minds, Numb3rs, and even the animated shows Adventure Time and The Powerpuff Girls have also used it as a plot point.
It’s also a popular and important sequence of numbers for architects. Numerous buildings, like the Mole Antonelliana in Turin and the Fibonacci Terrace at the Science Centre Singapore, have the numbers literally built into them.
As Russ explains, the partnership—along with the company name—was just a natural fit: “I extract the data with my architectural (nature) skills and Art does his financial (mathematical) magic.”
Helping Business Do Business Better
Over the past ten years, Russ and Art have grown Filius Bonacci into a company that million-dollar companies turn to for help.
“Our minimum customer size is around $25M revenue,” says Russ, “and that’s actually a very small customer for us.
“On average, our customer size is in the $75M to $100M revenue.”
Most of their work revolves around Solver’s BI360 software along with proprietary apps that Russ designed.
“A lot of what we’re doing is centered around financials,” he explains. “We basically help companies either fully automate their reporting or turn it into push-button style reporting.
“As an example, we recently had a client who was having trouble with his budgeting cycle, which took two and a half months to complete.
“Since it was too long, they couldn’t be as flexible as they needed to be in case of emergencies. They couldn’t even do quarterly forecasts because of the extended cycle.
“Art and I dug into their data, and when we implemented our software solutions we were able to help them slash the cycle down from over two months to just two days.
“Now the owner can come in and do quarterly forecasts and track his business better.”
No Looking Back
During Filius Bonacci’s early days, Art and Russ didn’t have a true business management system. They just used a timetracking and invoicing app that Russ coded himself.
When the company really started growing, however, it soon became apparent that they needed more.
“When I joined the company three, four years ago, the guys were just starting to grow,” explains Karen Snead, the company’s Strategic Resource Coordinator.
“We were getting more and more customers, and the old app couldn’t keep up. And since it only really did timesheets and invoicing, we had to enter a lot of data into different systems.
“It quickly became apparent that a consolidated system was what we needed, and after a lot of research we found WORKetc.
“It was the one app that let us do both timesheets and invoicing, plus a whole lot more.
“We haven’t looked back since.”
One App, Multiple Solutions
One major bottleneck that WORKetc solved for Filius Bonacci was sales; quoting, in particular.
“Sales and quoting were a big part of why we used WORKetc in the first place,” Russ explains. “We didn’t have either of those before, and WORKetc just works for us in that aspect.”
“And since WORKetc has both recurring subscription services and products, we’re able to get a little bit more detailed with our quoting,” Karen adds.
“We’ve set it up so that we use a product sale for one-time consulting jobs. If a client wants to subscribe to one of our proprietary apps, on the other hand, we use a monthly or annual recurring subscription sale from the WORKetc catalog.
“We can easily be as specific as needed on our quotes and invoices so our clients know exactly what they’ll be paying for.”
Most of the company’s clients typically come through the partner companies they work with, and when a partner calls asking for a quote, Karen is the first point of contact.
Using WORKetc, she can quickly create a quote and send it out to the client. Once it’s approved, she can then turn that quote into a project.
She then builds out the project by using subprojects as “phases”—if a client buys software, for example, the phases would include everything from installation to after-sales support.
And once the project is complete, it only takes a few clicks to create and send out an accurate invoice to the client.
“The projects module keeps us on track and lets us always keep an eye on our hours and budget,” Karen says. “Russ has also been able to get us down to a very granular level by using custom fields.”
Custom fields is one of the features that make WORKetc very customizable and industry-agnostic. Users can input, track, and view information that is very specific to their business, no matter how niche that data may be.
A company that sells water coolers, for example, can use custom fields to track what specific cooler a client currently has, their preferred maintenance schedule, and the last time a tech serviced their water cooler.
A web development firm, on the other hand, can use custom fields to store client-specific data such as DNS records or domain and hosting info.
In Filius Bonacci’s case, they use custom fields on their projects to record the maximum number of hours allocated to a project as well as the phases under it.
“On each project I can enter the hours and money associated with each of those phases,” explains Karen. “Russ can then pull that data along with timesheet entries and send it to our database using WORKetc’s API.”
“It gives us a highly detailed overview of all of our projects, plus exactly how much time and money we’ve poured into them.”
“Connecting WORKetc to our database means we can see our payable, invoicing, and expenses, plus we use all that data to review project status with our customers,” Russ adds.
“We’re now automating our internal processes thanks to the WORKetc API.”
“We’ve actually even received compliments from our customers about the efficiency of our invoicing,” says Karen. “WORKetc makes it very easy to translate our timesheets into invoices weekly. The process is seamless.
“And since we keep all project information in one app, if we get a support call from a client six months down the road we’re still able to go in and add our hours even if the project has been completed.
“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time, as it were.”
Gearing Up for Growth
With WORKetc helping to provide Filius Bonacci with a complete 360-degree view of their entire business, the company is now preparing to go into what Russ calls “advanced growth mode”.
WORKetc’s project management, timesheet tracking, and invoicing features have already paid dividends, and for the next stage of the company’s growth, Russ plans to make more use out of the all-in-one business management system’s sales module.
“We’re optimistic,” he says. “We’ve dumped a lot of resources and money into building our pipeline up so we’re actively working on our sales and marketing to build this up bigger and a little bit faster.
“WORKetc definitely will play a part in achieving all that.”