Being a founder CEO once and being a non-accounting person, I always had to go to my accountants for getting even the simplest of information. Moreover, I was always reactive. I occasionally ask my CA to give me data and I base decisions on that. As a team, we strongly believe that the relevant information should 'find' the right people and NOT wait for them to log in to Quickbooks or Bank account.
What it does
Amy as of now syncs with your Quickbooks and your Slack so that you can ask Amy accounting questions in simple English for which Amy will give you intelligent replies. In the future, it will sync with all your bank accounts. It will also start studying the patterns of your usage, the questions you ask, the transaction behaviors you have etc so that it can help you reconcile your bank accounts and alert you when anomalies or important things that you should know happens.
How we built it
We used the lean startup MVP model here to come out with the first iteration. What we have done here is allow you to connect your Quickbooks and slack account to Amy, there by enabling Quickbooks access in your slack account via our conversational Amy bot. At the moment, Amy will fetch you your account balances from Quickbooks. You can test this out by asking her "what your account balance is?"
Challenges we ran into
The main challenge was to understand the accounting domain (we are still learning). We have our team member Kannan who is a professional CA. So we have in-house expertise, we just need to get up to speed with his help. We are taking weekly sessions online and offline to be proficient.
The other challenge was around thinking through how we can keep the 'context' of the chat alive for long enough that you will be able to ask her connected questions etc.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Being in our day jobs, it is not easy for such a diverse team to come together and come up with an MVP that reflects what we wanted as an MVP. So we are extremely proud of our progress so far.
We are also proud of the team we have built. We have 2 founders (1 business and 1 tech) who have exited their first company. We have another developer who has been a CTO, followed by being part of a startup company for 4 years until its exit. We have a professional CA who is an entrepreneur (Founder, CEO) as well. We have another developer who has spent around 10 years with development. So it is a team with a golden balance of tech, business, startup and corporate experiences.
What we learned
Our customer validation proved strong need from the market. We have conducted over 30 customer interviews over email and LinkedIn. Our Launchrock page got just under 100 signups, all organically, by people who signed up first and referred their friends.
We also learned how we can grow this into a full-scale offering to solve this problem of 'accounting being too technical/boring for ordinary people'. We could actually leverage AI to empower Amy to be an accounting/financial assistant for a non-accounting person. Ultimately our app will make people sleep well since they have their accounting under control.
What's next for Hello Amy
As I mentioned, we are looking to develop Amy further to connect with the bank accounts. This way we will have access to Quickbooks and Bank accounts which is the wealth of financial data we could use to build intelligence over.
- Amy will have smart alerts to notify anomalies.
- Amy can help you get quick answers at the dead of night or on the go by being available on the platforms you care.
- Amy can generate reports that will tell you stories and email it out for you and anybody else you want.