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Receipt Bank co-founder launches ‘CFO super-app’ Translucent

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Translucent targets the financial problems of multi-entity businesses by creating a platform to bring together and standardise data – and has announced pre-seed funding of £2.7m to back its vision.

31st Mar 2023
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Designed to integrate with existing cloud accounting solutions such as Xero or QuickBooks Online via API connections, Translucent brings data in from disparate systems, stores it in a single place, and using artificial intelligence to cleanse and standardise the data, presents it in a consolidated, standardised view.

The software then has apps built on top of its platform that allow users to tackle a range of financial issues based on the consolidated data set. The apps are still at an early stage of development but ‘Search’, the first app available, enables users to search data across all entities. The next app to arrive will be Group Reporting, with others such as BI and Analytics, Live Sheets, and Financial Close to come.

Established in London by Receipt Bank (now Dext) co-founder Michael Wood, the company has raised a £2.7m pre-seed round led by London-based VC firm LocalGlobe and counts Xero co-founder Craig Walker and former Xero UK MD Gary Turner as angel investors and board members.

Creating a single system of record

According to Wood, Translucent’s ultimate aim is to become a ‘CFO super-app’, designed to create a single system of record for finance leaders of businesses with multiple entities and multiple software tools.

“Xero, QBO, PennyLane in France, they’re all fantastic solutions that have transformed accounting,” Wood told AccountingWEB. “But they’re explicitly designed for single-entity businesses. That’s not a critique; they do what they do well, but they’re not designed for multi-entity businesses.”

Wood said he has carried around the idea for Translucent around for at least seven or eight years. He was driven to make this idea a reality based on coming across an increasing number of multi-entity businesses that want to keep using their SMB solution rather than move up to a larger tool, but have been forced to do so as smaller platforms don’t easily share data with each other.

“Based on my own experience, I know the problems that multi-entity businesses face,” Wood told AccountingWEB. “Businesses that operate multi-nationally, or have multiple entities, often end up with fragmented and messy data, creating systemic issues.

“At Receipt Bank in around 2015, we were running the business on six different copies of Xero. Some of the problems were obvious, like consolidation and group reporting, but there were others as well. For example, credit control solutions in Germany aren’t the same as the ones in the UK or Spain, so you end up with a very fragmented tool set as well as a fragmented data set.”

Wood states that the multi-entity setup creates multiple problems, some of which are relatively mundane and have been neglected. 

“One CFO might want to see all yesterday’s invoices in one place, another may just want to see the total bank balance from all the different banks in all the countries they operate in. Those are just a few of the issues that have been neglected for multi-entity companies, and our job over the next ten years is to solve them.”

For more information or to sign up for early access to the Translucent platform visit its website: https://www.translucent.io

 

Replies (3)

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By Hugo Fair
31st Mar 2023 19:56

If I've read (between the lines) correctly, this is a similar concept to Silverfin ... different app but same central strategy.

Instead of waiting for any (unlikely) market agreement on common data standards and book-keeping architecture, the idea (conceit?) is for the developer to establish their own standard ... thus enabling them (hopefully) to suck the data from myriad book-keeping data-sets and *then* build best-of-breed (aka proprietary) applications to leverage this consolidated hub.

The beauty is that it can be sold in the same way as that used to push 'open systems' whilst actually tying-in clients more effectively than the lowly book-keeping packages can dream of.

It's a neat 'trick' (and one that I did nearly 30 years ago in HR systems with what we branded as ODE for Open Data Exchange) and has the benefit that those most likely to become enamoured are those who effectively determine any changes in fintech in a largish organisation (and will dig in their heels if their new toy is threatened - thereby prolonging shelf-life of the new hub/platform).

More interesting than MTD anyway!

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
John Toon
By John Toon
17th Apr 2023 10:11

Less Silverfin and more just a data lake over which they intend to offer a host of features. The only live feature Search is interesting at best but not something I'd pay money for. You could build something similar in Power BI if you had the time and inclination.

Still early days and will be interesting to see how the pre-seed funding is put to use

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By D V Fields
02nd Apr 2023 19:16

The solution has existed for nearly forty years.
It’s called Microsoft Excel. Give it a try; you’ll be surprised how good it is.

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