How Great Founders Think About Finance, with Asif Ahmed, Founder of Acclivity [Podcast #81]

When it comes to building a successful business, finance is one of the most significant contributors. Unfortunately, it is also often the reason why auspicious businesses fail as well. Thus, this week on SOL Podcast, we welcome Asif Ahmed, Founder of Acclivity and The Finance Department to discuss founders and early-stage startup financing.

Acclivity is a financial advisory firm specialising in accountancy, taxation and consultancy. Their services are specifically catered to entrepreneurs and high-growth, early-stage businesses. They work with businesses all over the world.

Founders’ Approach to Finance Varies Depending on Their Introduction to the Concept

After establishing the significance of finance, we opened our discussion by simply asking how entrepreneurs and business owners without financial backgrounds approach the issue. Asif mentions that there is an appreciation around the subject, however, it is coupled with aversion. All in all, it appears that not many people are well-versed when it comes to early-stage business finances. He also mentions how they situate Acclivity around these issues in a way that would arm the entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge.

Following that, we discussed how a founder’s perception changes as their company grows. Would you like to know how the founders of startups of varying sizes approach to finance? Asif explains in detail the ways in which different introductions to the matters of finance create different outcomes in how people handle finance issues.

The Degrees of Financial Knowledge and Founders’ Way of Utilising it

But, where should a founder draw the line? Being reliant on other people about your finances is one thing, however, not delegating the work to the point of overwhelming oneself can also become a problem. Asif’s insightful response to our question clarified to what degree a founder should have financial knowledge.

We also talked about in what ways founders can weaponise their financial knowledge to their advantage when they strategise to meet future goals. How does it impact the decision making process? What sort of a role does being a “specialist generalist”, as Asif puts it, play in becoming a successful founder empowered by this knowledge?

Our topic, then, turn to Acclivity and The Finance Department and we asked Asif about their experiences with clients. What kind of service do they expect? How do they manage the decision-making process? Going off from this point, we discussed what the ideal consultancy, or rather, the consultant should look like. Most importantly, what kind of a role does empathy plays during the process?

Finally, we didn’t let go of Asif without asking him about investment and funding. If you would like to know about the importance of finance as you seek funding and what aspects affect the outcome when you go to venture capitalists, you can find the details Asif kindly shared with us in the episode above.