Customer Stories / ConvertKit

How ConvertKit made finance understandable to everyone

4 min read
Anthony Wakim
Anthony Wakim
Head of Finance at ConvertKit

ConvertKit is soon to be Kit. Learn more about their rebranding here.

A few months ago, Anthony Wakim—the only full-time finance person at ConvertKit (soon to be Kit)—sent an unusual message in the company Slack. The headline?

Anthony’s 20 Rules for Creating A Spreadsheet.

“It irked me that we had multiple spreadsheets that did the same thing,” he said. “I wanted everything to just be all in one place.” While Anthony’s rules were sent (sort of) in jest, they meant something bigger: finance is better when it’s organized and centralized. When, instead of having dozens of systems and sources of truth, you just have one.

It’s an all-too-common struggle for finance teams, made much worse when you’re the only full-time employee for all things finance. Doing finance single-handedly would be difficult anywhere, but ConvertKit is not a small fish. They are the go-to platform for creators who want to grow, manage and monetize their audience. Anthony oversees tens of millions of ARR and tens of thousands of paying users, all of whom use different products in different ways.

And, if Anthony’s joking-not-joking Slack message is any indication, existing finance tools and systems certainly weren’t making his life easier.

Working in the future, not the past

“I hate accounting,” Anthony said. Though he’d spent years crunching numbers at Accuweather, fiddling around in spreadsheets wasn’t something he was passionate about; at least, not until he got into financial planning and analysis (FP&A).

Then, something just clicked. He’d finally found a job he enjoyed doing.

“I realized I like working in the future, rather than in the past. I want to determine what the future of the company should look like based on data.” At ConvertKit, strategizing about the future of the company based on data is what Anthony did. But it wasn’t easy.

For one, his tools weren’t purpose-built for startup finance (or any finance). Spreadsheets seemed to multiply exponentially and get lost. Models took hours to build and were finicky. data was hard to understand. Presenting numbers to the rest of the company was a challenge because they didn’t understand what was actually happening… The list goes on.

By the middle of 2023, Anthony was beginning to get fed up. “I was complaining about something in Mosaic during one of our executive financial reviews with Nathan Barry [our CEO],—I think it was trying to change a couple of KPIs and mentioned I wanted to move on to something else.”

The following day, Nathan dropped a Twitter link to Runway in a slack message. “This looks interesting,” he said. And so Anthony checked it out.

ConvertKit visual quote

Overcoming initial skepticism about finance with Runway

“I definitely did hate all the finance platforms I used before Runway, so the slogan ‘the finance platform you don’t hate’ definitely caught my eye.” However, the slogan wasn’t enough to dissuade Anthony from skepticism. “Oh, I was very skeptical,” he said. “I wanted to see how it would work in the real world”.

So Anthony got on a demo, was impressed by what he saw, and got up and running with Runway. And, to his pleasant surprise, he finally does have a finance platform he doesn’t hate—and, actually, kind of loves.

The main benefit, Anthony said, is that Runway lets him do a number of things he wasn’t able to do previously. And for the things he was able to do previously, Runway lets him do them faster. For example: a couple weeks ago, he wanted to build out a Gross Dollar Retention metric (a way to measure how much revenue you’re keeping from current customers). His initial guess, based on previous finance tools, was that it’d maybe take him an hour or an hour and a half.

In Runway? It took him five minutes. “I was like, ‘huh, I guess that’s it. Great.’”

Anthony used Runway’s goal line functionality to set a line at the 75th percentile for his new metrics. Then he showed it to Dave Altarescu, the CRO at ConvertKit, who loved it. “I just spent a couple minutes in Runway I’m already getting that kind of feedback.”

With Runway, Anthony can now slice and dice his massive Quickbooks database. “As far as data goes—it gets very complicated. On Runway I was able to dimensionalize data by team.”

Outside of making things easier, Runway lets Anthony use existing data in new ways. “I love the ability to marry non-financial with financial data. All I have to do is create a database of it, and then I tell the drivers, ‘use this as a database’, and I can just put things together. Which is really cool.”

Perhaps the most game-changing of all, he can now share real-time numbers with his team. “I used to have to go into the system and pull updates for people on a recurring basis. Now I can just say, OK, here’s the link to the report. It’s always up to date.”

Building a culture where everyone cares about finance

At most companies, finance is a silo; a black box left to a small number of spreadsheet wizards, who are occasionally asked to share specific metrics with everyone else. At ConvertKit, on the other hand, the CEO has often shared usually-sensitive company metrics to the broader public.

And with Runway, Anthony Wakim ran a company-wide finance metrics scavenger hunt.

“I dropped a link to our open books page in Runway,” he said. “I had ten questions, and I grouped the company into small teams. They had to answer things like, ‘what was the net income for October?’ and ‘which team was responsible for the most variance?’. There was one team that missed just one question. It was pretty cool.”

Now, Anthony and the team at ConvertKit don’t need a 20-rule Slack message for creating spreadsheets at work, nor do they need to search through piles of documents to find important answers that inform their highest-leverage decisions—it’s all in Runway.

Disclaimer: This customer story is for informational purposes only. Runway makes no warranties, express or implied, in this document.

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