Inspiration

We at novella were really inspired by the seamless design of FreshBooks and the user friendly UI. It was clear that they had a powerful tool and were passionate about helping their target audience. With that in mind, novella wanted to help expand that tool for small businesses and start-up companies. With all of the user's finances in one secure place, novella uses the FreshBook API to shape that knowledge into intelligent accounting and business advice so that business can grow faster and smarter. FreshBook is about eliminating the trips to the bank and with Novell, users no longer have to schedule inconvenient and unreliable appointments with their financial advisors.

What it does

novella is an intelligent accounting analytics assistant that works with FreshBooks to help start up businesses get expensive accounting advice at an affordable price. Novell uses FreshBook API to gather information on your income and expenses to help entrepreneurs and small-businesses grow faster and smarter and track their growth along the way. Novella has a clean and simple interface that makes the process that much easier. With novella, you can track your profitability, cost of goods sold, cash, revenue, and your biggest streams of income and expense.

Novella is built with a team of your own personal financial advisors available 24/7 at just a click away. Meet Raven, Harley, and Jordan!

Hi there! I am Raven and I can help you understand when and why it is a good time to take out a loan! You've got a great business and I want to help you optimize the loans you need to help your business grow.

Harley here! Big pictures require big purchases and that is a big responsibility! I want to help you understand what kind of affect that purchases big and small have on your company and the growth that follows.

Hello! It is nice to meet you, I am Jordan! It is not just us who think you have a great company, many investors are starting to see the value in your company. How exciting! I am available to you at all times to help you understand the kind of contracts and obligations that come with working with investors. I am here to help you make the best decision for you and your company.

How I built it

Novella was built by two teams, a frontend and backend team at Hack the North 2019. To make our modern and professional looking website, HTML, CSS, and Javascript were used. Many drafts were made up of what we wanted novella to be far before we arrived at waterloo. The backend was programmed with Python. Our program uses OAuth2 to connect FreshBoooks users to novella and access intelligent accounting information based on their real financial information from FreshBook. To bring these two ends together, Novella uses flask.

Challenges I ran into

Novella was a passion project that our team had been planning out for quite some time. We planned out the design and what features we wanted to offer users but at times we were unsure of how we would be able to complete our goals. However, our core value for our hack was to help passionate people grow if they are willing to put in the work, quite similar the hackathon we had been working hard to prepare for. We had a plan and we researched on how to accomplish these goals. However, even with our thorough planning, many parts of this project were completely new to us and proved to be challenging. 2/3 of our team had never worked with web APIs before and were unsure of what we would be doing. Would we be modifying FreshBooks website or making our own? How to do we get all the information we need to see novella be the resource we wanted it to be? And what the heck is OAuth2 and why was it so hard?! Nobody in our group had ever worked with API authentication so understanding how it worked and what we needed to do to get the information we were looking for was a huge hurtle for the backend team. Nearly half of the time allotted to hacking was spent just trying to get a clean OAuth system integrated with novella. However, with the guidance of some friendly FreshBooks mentors, our team was able to overcome the challenge and work towards our envision for novella. It was also a challenge for our front end team to integrate python with HTML. Using flask was a challenge at first, especially since it is non-linear programming, which most of us were use to. However, by working together as frontend and backend programmers, we were able to come together through flask and learning how to use it to create a powerful tool.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Hackathons are hard! You are surrounded by people who know way more than you and who have been doing this way longer! It can be really intimidating to be surrounded by such accomplished hackers. However, for us, creating novella was a huge learning experience that we enjoyed each moment of. We had been discussing novella for a long time and were excited to finally be able to work on our passion project. The fact that both sides of our team were able to learn about powerful tools that we will use may times in our programming careers is something to be proud of! We worked really hard, learned a lot, had fun, and made connections. We are proud of our hack and we are proud of ourselves!

What I learned

By building novella we learned about great tech skills like user authentication and python integrations. However, we also learned about the importance of planning and coming prepared. If we had not made a plan in advanced, we would not have been able to polish novella as much as we did. We also did a ton of research into what is important to small businesses and entrepreneurs. With a strong foundation and process, and is ready to begin taking bigger and more ambitious steps to grow. We also learned that FreshBooks spent 10 million dollars on updating their website!!! That is so much money! We also had to refresh ourselves on some of our finance classes to prepare for novella. From start to end, novella taught us so much.

What's next for novella

What is next for novella is to clean up some of the code and continue adding features. We are really proud of how novella turned out over the weekend but it is only the start. We would love to add more marketing resources for the users and add an extra layer of complexity to the novella assistants. Now that we have a solid foundation, we are in a perfect position to grow, just like a startup!

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