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How ProvenCFO found a pandemic opportunity

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Lauren Kido

Aug 6, 2020

While many companies are hurting during the coronavirus pandemic, ProvenCFO has conversely seen dramatic growth. Sam Willson, partner at ProvenCFO, shares his firm’s experiences and learnings that you can apply to your firm.

It’s not all bleak 

The U.S. business landscape has radically changed over the past few months due to COVID-19. Most of the stories we hear are vastly negative and concern businesses closing or laying off workers. However, our story is an example of hope and success. We have thrived by utilizing cloud-based accounting tools like Xero, and we believe others can replicate our methods and find their own success. 

I left a banking career in 2009. I quit it all to become an independent musician. I had dreams of working in my studio from anywhere in the world and making money from my cool, converted bedroom-studio. I started a Myspace page, I messaged my friends on Facebook and I reached out to every video creator on the new YouTube platform. Over the course of the next few years, I achieved over a million record sales and billions of streams. I did this by utilizing the increasing interconnectivity of the world around us. I had set up all my business systems to live on the cloud. This freedom allowed me to focus on writing music and building the relationships that would bring me much success. Unbeknownst to me, my two older brothers were doing the same thing at the same time, but in the accounting world, utilizing Xero as their core engine. I left the world of music (a story for another time) and joined forces with them at ProvenCFO in 2018. 

How we thrived through a pandemic 

Together, we built an accounting practice based in the cloud. Our mission was to provide relevant, reliable, real-time financial intelligence to small businesses. Our dream, the same as before: working in our studio from potentially anywhere in the world and making money from our cool, converted bedroom-studios (hint: foreshadowing). We wanted this dream for other business owners who desired the same. What we found is that our systems and philosophy enabled automation, reduced errors, saved money and saved time so we became highly sought after. This enabled us to grow our company’s MRR to $100k in under two years, all from referred clients. 

Enter coronavirus. Who could have predicted this for 2020? We were fortunate to have been as prepared with our philosophy and systems as we were. However, we also took quick and decisive action to fully utilize our toolset to both help our clients and take care of our team at ProvenCFO. 

Here are three things we did to actually financially thrive through a pandemic: 

Utilize the cloud 

We immediately got our team working effectively from home. We sent any computer hardware home with them, like cameras, microphones and headphones. We used tools like Zoom and Discord, creating a virtual office-space environment, so we were able to continue our work culture of transparency and intelligent collaboration. We also didn’t skip a beat with our clients as we also integrated communications with them on these platforms. 

Fortunately, the financial and operations systems of our clients continued uninterrupted. We were able to closely analyze our clients’ financial data as we reconciled transactions daily on our CFO app, connected with Xero. We began having concerns for one client, in particular, as we became aware that their future income was going to be drastically affected by the coming forced shutdowns. Which prepared us to…


This client works in the commercial real estate space. With the lockdowns happening, we knew immediately that we would need to create adjusted cash flow and other vital forecasts. Using one of Xero’s cloud-based ecosystem partners Jirav, we were able to provide data and reports for multiple potential scenarios in an ever-shifting economic environment. We were quickly able to get those models to the client for them to present the reports to their investors. Together, we were able to remotely make educated decisions based on data in real-time in the midst of a global pandemic, and pivot to adapt to the massive changes expected in their business and industry. 

Be an expert 

We believe that learning is a central tenet to success. We actively invest in new knowledge every week to stay ahead of the technology curve. Whether it is certifying in new technology to add to our Xero stack, or becoming knowledgeable about industry trends. This philosophy became exceptionally helpful for this particular client. We made sure we were keyed into and connected with the government assistance programs for the COVID-19 crisis. We also utilized our banking relationships while pounding the pavement for any potential useful information. We immediately applied for the EIDL and PPP loan assistance as it became available. This not only proved vital for this client, but pivotal to surviving the economic downturn for many of our other clients. 

We’re in this together

We are entrepreneurs in spirit. Our management team has started, owned, operated and sold businesses across multiple industries with a combined 50+ years of experience. We are strong advocates for a large and successful small business sector in our economy. We love helping businesses thrive. 

As you’ve probably already noticed, I am a huge Xero advocate. It is the engine that allows our company and our clients’ companies to thrive. If you don’t already use Xero, try it out today. It’s exceptionally well priced, and gives you the key component to implement all these other powerful, cloud-based ecosystems. 

Also, reach out to us if you would like to know how to create and implement these systems for your business. These are difficult and complicated times, but we can work together to thrive in our new ‘normal’. 

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