Pennylane, a new French startup that launched at the end of 2019, has raised $4.3m in a new round of funding for its management accounting business.
The service aims to simplify and streamline business accounting by aggregating SMBs’ financial data in real time. This data is subsequently presented to decision-makers by Pennylane accountants in dashboards, which include reports, business plans and cash management tools.
Created by the founders of PriceMatch, which was acquired by Booking.com in 2015, Pennylane was conceived as an alternative to accounting too often viewed as a non-strategic expense by managers. Managers might have a business plan in Excel yet accountants have access to all the data needed to financially drive a business.
This data is normally processed at the end of the month rather than on an ongoing basis and presented in a format convenient for the tax authorities, but not for managers and business owners. Often, entrepreneurs only become aware of the financial health of their business at the monthly or annual review.
After investing in around 30 companies, Arthur Waller reached the same conclusion as his investors, Global Founders Capital, Partech and Kima: companies are struggling to manage their business in real time and to generate reports, despite these being essential to decision-making.
Managers do not have instant financial information about their businesses, although all this data is held by the accountant. Pennylane says its mission is to reconcile accounting and management, in order to provide its clients with the tools to manage their cash flow.
“Real-time startups take advantage of digitalization to improve their efficiency and speed,” explains Arthur Waller, co-founder of Pennylane. “With the real-time dashboard, we offer managers a real value-added service that will help them to make the right decisions faster. This is only possible because we offer a human service powered by technology.”
David Sainteff, Partner at Global Founders Capital, says, “It seems essential today to provide managers with a single product, capable not only of managing their accounts, but also of providing the necessary transparency to manage their business. Pennylane’s ambition to reconcile accounting and management resonates particularly in a context in which cash management is a vital challenge.”
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Pennylane automates the recovery of fragmented financial data by connecting to banks, invoicing systems and Google Drive as well as other solutions such as Payfit for payroll management and Stripe for invoicing. It then processes this data in order to provide conventional bookkeeping as well as a dashboard indicating the financial profitability of each activity and cash management tools.
The company says that it brings together technology and people to free up the accountant’s time to focus on higher value-added tasks. This conviction that technology alone cannot resolve every problem is becoming increasingly widespread. Pennylane is responding by releasing accountants from inputting and categorization tasks so that they can devote themselves to their advisory and management roles.
The startup’s ambition is to provide business owners with tools to better manage their businesses. The current round of fundraising will be used to develop its platform and expand its teams of accountants.