Founder’s guide: How the find the best financial partner for your startup

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Founders can’t do it all alone – especially when it comes to your startup’s financial management. Supportive, effective partners can streamline growth.

But, in today’s ever-growing vendor marketplace, how can founders find the best partners? 

According to Megan Reid, Technical Accounting & Client Manager at Burkland Associates, a stand-out fintech partner delivers on three qualities: 

  1. Builds automation into their platform
  2. Easy to use for both business and finance teams
  3. Collects and implements your feedback as a user

Megan and the Burkland team support more than 700 venture-backed startups across the U.S. on everything from fractional CFO and accounting services to taxes and people ops. 

She sat down with the Puzzle team to unpack how these three qualities can be game-changers to your company’s financial trajectory

Let’s dive in. 

“There’s a lot of accounting software where you won’t know what you’re looking at unless you’re an accountant. But with Puzzle, it works on both sides: from the accountant and founder sides. Puzzle is easy to read and use for any type of person.” 

Automation dramatically streamlines your financials

When your fintech provider builds automation into their platform, it gets your team out of the weeds of your financial management

You’re not just putting time toward seeking out the numbers anymore. 

With automated features, you win back the time and bandwidth to make valuable decisions with those numbers that develop your product and grow your company. 

Megan points out two examples of Puzzle’s automated features on the horizon: 

1. Automating for accurate, real-time financials

No more waiting for the books to close in order to understand your last month’s performance. 

With Puzzle’s revenue module and Stripe integration, you’ll be able to automate revenue recognition, COGS recognition, and much more — for real-time financial information that’s truly accurate and near-instant. 

2. Automating workflows for fixed assets

Let’s say an Apple transaction of $5,000 flows through your bank account. 

The Puzzle platform will ask a series of back-end questions (i.e., “Is this a fixed asset?” “Is this your standard working computer?”) to automatically maintain a complete record of all fixed assets, execute the depreciation, and tie it in with your financials

This way, you (and your accountant) no longer have to check in every month to ensure those entries or reconciliations are made and tracked on spreadsheets. 

Case study: time budgeting for CFOs

Megan originally partnered up with Puzzle, thanks to one of her clients at Burkland. 

With the combination of Burkland’s expert services and Puzzle’s efficient accounting platform, the client’s CFO began to save “an extreme amount of time.” 

  • Seamless financials — The CFO no longer had to track payments, invoices, etc, meticulously. Instead, she had to hop on a monthly call with the Puzzle and Burkland teams to confirm spending trends, categories, and projections. 
  • Let your CFO focus on what matters — By getting out of the weeds of their financials, the CFO could rededicate time and energy to working with her CEO on developing and launching their product. 

Overall, Megan’s client could easily click into Puzzle to view key numbers (namely cash reporting and cash burn) and focus the rest of her work on growth and product — getting the startup to revenue that mch faster


“The workflows, systems, and automation that Puzzle is building out will save users so much time. It’s basically going to automate all of that revenue recognition, all of that COGS recognition — everything.” 

Fintech should be built for both finance and business teams

As early partners of our team, Megan and Burkland have witnessed Puzzle’s long-standing emphasis on building financial products for every type of user — from CFOs and accountants to non-finance founders and operators. 

“They’ve built out Puzzle so that it works really great for both ends,” Megan explains. 

  1. Sophisticated for your finance team — Your accountants, CFO, and finance-minded founder will see that Puzzle can handle more complex use cases, thanks to offerings such as intensive accrual accounting modules. 
  2. Easy to use for your business team — Even without an accountant on your team, you can easily navigate and understand what you find in Puzzle. In Megan’s experience, Puzzle’s cash reporting features are helpful to founders, operators, and investors alike. 

For instance, Megan most often works with startup teams who are highly focused on managing their cash levels, monitoring their burn, and extending their runway. This is especially true if they’ve raised some funding and have a board and investors to report to. 

With this, busy startups seek low-lift methods for tracking and understanding those numbers. 

That’s when Burkland might refer those teams to Puzzle — for easy-to-access, real-time insights into your fiancials, for every member of your startup. 

Beyond this, Megan highlights the Puzzle team’s emphasis on partner feedback above all. Ultimately, this is what makes it possible to build features that are friendly to all types of users. 

How fintech startups should respond to feedback

It can, unfortunately, be a rarity in the fintech landscape, but Megan emphasizes the value of having a provider who will seriously listen to and implement your feedback as a partner

Through working with Puzzle, she’s experienced many green flags — which she recommends looking for in fintech providers to figure out who could evolve into a longer-term partner. 

  • Your vendor should make you feel comfortable voicing your suggestions — without worrying that it’ll be dismissed as too small or too large. 
  • Your POC should never make promises (i.e., new features) they can’t keep. At the same time, they should take client ideas back to their team. 
  • Your vendor should implement the quick, small changes soon after you flag them. 

For Megan and her clients, they’ve fortunately felt that serious care and attention from Puzzle. 

“The Puzzle team really values our ideas and what we think. No idea’s too big or too small. That’s one reason I love working with them so much. It’s something truly cool and unique compared to when we’ve worked with different fintech platforms.” 

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