Highlights: Financial Systems and Talent Acquistion

Modernizing Our Financial Systems

People are surprised to hear that we ran our company finances from Excel for the first 15 years of our business. One of Peter's friends from his investment banking days helped get our business off the ground and built us an Excel model with custom macros and formulas (thank you Sergey!). The strength of the Excel model, and one of the reasons it's been so hard for us to move on from it, is that it was customized exactly for our business and provided us tailored reports on our historical data and future revenue. As our business has grown over time we've found the upkeep of the file to be very time-consuming and prone to human-error in data entry and reconciliation.

Here's a Profit & Loss report view from our company's Excel model

We decided early this year to modernize our financial systems and move to cloud-based platforms with the guidance of a fractional CFO firm called Level10. Our goal was to have as much of our data live in the cloud and minimize manual data entry. We've gradually made the transition to a few key tools that have weaned our reliance on our Excel model:

  • Quickbooks Online serves as the hub of our financial data. While setting up Quickbooks, we overhauled our categorization for our revenue and expenses, introduced a new accrual method and formalized our month-end close process.
  • Cashflow Frog and Fathom have given us the capability to run detailed reports and model out various future scenarios. These two platforms provide us a clear view of our projected future financials.
  • ProcureDesk is a lightweight Purchase Order (PO) system where we can document the agreements we sign with our contractors and vendors and enter invoices against those POs. ProcureDesk helps speed up our invoice review and approval process and provides data to project future expenses.
Fathom provides us real-time visuals of our financials and customized reports

This transition has been an ongoing learning process that has allowed us to segment our numbers deeper than ever before. I'll delve deeper into these topics in some upcoming articles.

Building a Talent Acquisition Discipline

At Barrel, talent acquisition and recruitment has been a shared responsibility among our team leads, who serve as our hiring managers. Despite the importance of talent acquisition, it has always been secondary to a hiring manager's team or client priorities. After years of discussion, we brought on an amazing Talent Acquisition Manager named James Bean. In a short two months James has been able to make immense impact to the velocity of our hiring and building systems within talent acquisition. Here are some highlights:

  • Decreasing Time to Hire - with centralized ownership of the end-to-end hiring process (e.g., posting new jobs, seeking out and screening candidates, vetting all applications, coordinating interviews with our team, and delivering job offers) we've increased the quantity of qualified candidates that we have interviewed and hired. Since James has started, he has already hired 6 new team members.
  • Applicant Tracking System (ATS) - we've been able to take full advantage of the capabilities of our Applicant Tracking System, Lever.  This includes integrating all interview feedback forms (previously in Google Docs), using templates to drive consistency in all our job posts, and adding candidate surveys to get feedback at all stages.
  • Increased Collaboration - we've built out a repository of data in Notion to increase knowledge sharing among all hiring managers - from discipline-specific interview questions and job boards, to all job descriptions across the company. We'll be tackling company-wide interview training next.
  • Formalized Intake - We have formalized the intake of new roles from hiring managers and potential candidates from our team using Google Forms (previously all done via Email/Slack).
  • Employer Brand - James has been working with our creative and marketing teams to enhance the presence of Barrel on various platforms - such as adding a LinkedIn Life page and ensuring all our open roles get exposure on our social channels.
We've been able to use the full capabilities of our Applicant Tracking System, Lever, to centralize the process for our recent hires

We are just in the beginning stages of building up this discipline at Barrel to be stronger than ever. We are excited to continue investing time and resources to make talent acquisition an exceptional experience for candidates and our team.