David Kirby, UK & Ireland Managing Director
We are taking Figured live, what are our reflections on our experience so far, and what does this mean for our future approach in the UK?
Our aim was to build a community of industry experts around Figured, who can advise us, support [and cajole] us to position Figured, act or develop the product in a certain way. We think of these people as friends of Figured, who have an aligned interest in the agri sector developing its capability around financial management. Not all of them are customers, and some never will be. That doesn’t matter, what matters is they have the interests of the sector at heart and want to ‘go west’ towards a tech enabled future. That’s why we’ve engaged banks, supermarkets and industry experts both in the UK and Ireland for their perspectives. NZTE have also been a great support to us.
We’ve also been focused on working with leading UK rural advisory and accounting practitioners. For example, our partnership with Kite has given us detailed product feedback around the usability of the milk component of our product, and we’ve in turn supported them with sessions they have held with their customers. Our partnership with EQ has given us real insights into the opportunity to develop an estates focused proposition. Our relationship has meant we can bring another beta partner, Barclays, together with EQ in a room to discuss the future emergence of the market. This is the type of strategy discussion we want Figured to kick start, this is where farming teams begin
At this point it becomes less about Figured per se, more about how can Figured support the broader development of the market in the right direction. Our beliefs are that farming is an underserved sector, and that supporting the Farming Team to make better decisions is ultimately what is going to enhance productivity and competitiveness in this sector. A focus on profit and having up to date financials, is a requirement of the future, not a nice-to-have. Figured can do this, but other tools are important too, the key thing is we are talking about this.
Dating advice for accountants & advisers
Following our launch, we will be working with the next wave of practices and advisors. What advice would we give to those just starting to consider courting a new fintech product like Figured & Xero?
1. Choose your partners carefully – think about who in your practice you want to work with to get underway. You need people who can get things moving and bring people with them.
2. Be open to new experiences - innovating is a mindset, not an activity. Get everyone in the team ready to think openly…of course, if you’re on the @xero journey you are well on the way
3. Try anything once – products like Figured are low cost to subscribe and cost nothing to cancel. There is nothing better than getting the product in hand with a client or colleagues, and learning in practice how it works
We know from our experience in other markets that the best partnerships are founded on aligned values, a shared belief in the market direction and a desire to make a difference. We’re excited to work with those in the UK who share our view, and are ambitious and optimistic about the future for fintech in agri. Onwards!