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Fintech startup Cenario is using AI to help Aussie businesses manage the financial impact of COVID-19

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Cenario co-founder, Vaibhav Namburi
Cenario co-founder, Vaibhav Namburi

What happens to my cashflow if I reduce my permanent headcount by 20 per cent? Can I afford to pay my staff if customers delay payment terms by 15 days? Can I stay in business if all staff take a 30 per cent cut in full time pay and work four days a week?

All of these financial scenarios can be answered in less than a minute, thanks to a new Australian platform helping small businesses put simplicity back into financial modelling.

Cenario, a new software which uses Artificial Intelligence and real-time global data to predict a business’s financial future in different scenarios in less than a minute, has revealed the top ten scenarios Australian SME owners are running through its platform in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

How exactly does Cenario work?

The Aussie-based platform, which launched in 2019, makes business decisions simple through providing users a single platform to access and visualise all their financial data, including numbers synced from programs like Quickbooks, Xero, Stripe and Ecommerce, to give them a better understanding of their cash flow and a place to forecast future scenarios.

Cenario co-founder, Vaibhav Namburi said that the impacts of COVID-19 on Australia’s economy had led to many business owners questioning how their businesses would survive through the different financial challenges to come.

“On the platform we’re seeing the thought processes of Aussie business owners and the ‘What ifs?’ that are running through their minds. While scenarios such as client payment delays and credit interest are always relevant to business owners, we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of users forecasting these kinds of scenarios at the moment as well as more uncommon situations such as removing multiple employees and selling office equipment,” said Mr Namburi.

“There’s no doubt that the uncertainty of the future right now is very unsettling, but our real-time data capabilities allows business owners to predict as best as they can what’s to come, prepare financially, and feel more in control of how they are going to manage through this challenging time. Having access to this kind of data could make all the difference for some businesses,” he added.

In March 2020, the top ten scenarios forecasted by business owners on Cenario were:

  1. Removing an employee
  2. Client payment delays
  3. Default invoices, loss of customer
  4. Selling office equipment
  5. Credit interest
  6. Selling equipment
  7. Hiring Employee (revenue generating)
  8. Equity capital investment
  9. Removing multiple employees
  10. One off expenses on an operational level (E.g. changing office location)

In comparison, the top ten scenarios forecasted prior to COVID-19 in 2019 were:

  1. Hiring Revenue Employee
  2. Delayed invoices
  3. Loss of customer
  4. Selling office equipment
  5. One off expenses
  6. Runway, when will my business die
  7. Ad spend outcome
  8. Firing employee
  9. Buying office equipment
  10. Hiring ops

While other software solutions on the market are focused on a specific business activity, Cenario offers a full business solution with space for data on all functions across operations, invoices, payroll, revenue, cash flow and forecasting. The platform utilises the most up-to-date real-time data to give users the most accurate financial models for various scenarios.

Its in-built machine learning models take into account seasonality, company past performance, type of scenario (cost based scenario or a scenario where you’re hiring a revenue generating staff like a salesperson), number of employees, type of business, how similar businesses have performed and more when forecasting outcomes.

How is Cenario doing so far?

Since its launch eight months ago, Cenario already has 800 businesses signed up to the platform from a range of sectors including services, restaurants, logistics firms, agencies, consulting firms and event companies.

Signing up to the platform is simple with set-up and data syncing from external programs (Xero, Quickbooks, MYOB etc.) only taking a few minutes. Once a business’s profile is built, creating financial models takes around 14 minutes for first-time users. From there, business owners can predict scenarios and see easy actionable insights to help them make better business decisions such as whether they can afford a new hire or equipment purchase. 

Cenario was co-founded in 2019 by Vaibhav Namburi and Dan Siepen with a vision to make business simple, and to create for numbers, what Canva did for design. Moving forward, it aims to increase financial literacy and data accessibility for business owners of every size and across all sectors.

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