Q&A: Greg Coulter, CEO of Limerick Based Fintech Cashbook

Greg Coulter CEO Cashbook

Tell us a little about your business and your role within it?

I’m Greg Coulter and I’m the CEO of Cashbook.  We’re based in the Technology Park in Limerick and we’ve been in the Order-to-Cash (OTC) automation business for 24 years.

Cashbook are a cash automation solution for accounts payable, accounts receivable and bank reconciliations. We are a bolt-on to any ERP system and will talk to any bank.

As CEO, I guide a very talented team of over 20 people with financial technology expertise to solve problems for some of the biggest names in business internationally.  Most of our customers are household names, not only within their home markets but across continents as well.  Our software processes over €60 billion in transactions annually in more than 25 countries.

What, in your opinion, sets you apart from your competitors?

We’re a 4-in-1 solution, a full suite.  We compete against some very strong operators in the areas of cash application, payments automation, reconciliations and treasury but none of them is able to offer our 4-in-1 approach.  We’re essentially a mini-ERP for cash management and automation.

What would you say is your greatest achievement in business to date?

It would definitely be building a Fintech business organically, without funding, and keeping it growing for 14 years while having to beat off Silicon Valley funded competitors. Our biggest competitors have famous Venture Capital names behind them. Cashbook growth comes from successful implementations and satisfied customers.

What is the biggest lesson you learned in business during the recession?

I imagine that like every other accounting student on the planet, on my very first day at university they told me that “Cash is king”. I can tell you from the trenches, that’s a lesson no business can afford to relearn a second time or a third time. Businesses thrive, survive or wither away on their cash position.

We’ve faced the hardships and lessons of 2 recessions: the dot com bust of 2000 and the global recession of 2008. Cash in the bank for your rainy day moments is vital. Revenues are for vanity, cash is for sanity.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m originally from New Zealand and have been living in Ireland for 20 years now. I suppose I must like the idea of a small group punching well above its weight and having an influence far beyond what the numbers on paper suggest. For me, that not only describes Ireland and New Zealand but, I believe, Cashbook as well.

I get my inspiration from Richie McCaw, the legendary Rugby player and Captain for the All Blacks. He worked his socks off for his team and country. He was resolute in his commitment to becoming great by focusing on continual improvements that lead to optimal outcomes. To Richie’s opposition, his attitude and focus on the field was obvious. That’s quite an endorsement.

What goal (personal or professional) would you like to achieve in 2016?

On a business front, I’d like to build on our OCR capabilities and release v5.7 in December 2016. For 2017, I would like to deliver on our dream of Cashbook in the cloud.

In 2017, I’d like to beat Camron in tennis.

Are you concerned about the implications of Brexit for Irish businesses?

Yes, principally due to the massive devaluation of the pound. We have a lot of UK business so the exchange rate movement is a hit to our P&L.

Each Irish business needs to keep focused on their value as we all try and work out what is going to happen through the Brexit storm. My advice is act quickly.

The response to Brexit shouldn’t be just about minimising damage. Ireland should now be seen as a gateway country for two significant markets for North American companies: Europe and the UK.

If you had one piece of advice for those starting out in the export/import industry, what would it be?

Everything takes longer than you think.

Sales take much longer than you think to happen. Be aware of the drift factor. Done deals often take 3-4 months to get working in the B2B environment. Cashflow in can take another 3 months.

Development or new processes always take longer than you expect. A 10 day project can often be 30 days once you fully understand all the requirements that may not be immediately obvious.

As business owners, we need to factor in extra time in your cash flow estimates.
You can find out more about Greg and Cashbook at: www.cashbook.com