There are 28 million small businesses in the United States, and around 50% of all businesses will fail in the first five years. At Bench, we identified businesses going under as one of our primary churn factors. Not only could we have an opportunity to lower our churn rate, but we could also play a part in helping businesses flourish.
Using this opportunity, we started to develop financial insights. I was the lead designer on these projects.
The income statement and balance sheet are the financial foundations of any business. They're a standardized way of keeping your financial records organized over time. They don't however, tell you a lot, especially to a new business owner. What we wanted to do was explore how we could take the financial data in these reports and translate them into understandable reports that gave business owners financial insights into the state of their business.
We first developed a series of visual reports that helped business owners understand at a high level the status of their revenue(s), expenses, and profit. This was great but only touched the surface.
We then created the Top 10 Expenses report which showed what a business's top 10 expenses were over a time period. We were finally starting to provide useful information.
I was part of a small group during a hackathon project to take what we had learned from the past eight months of user input and research and apply it towards producing a visual report that would make understanding where a business is spending its money.
We created a charting system that showed expenses over time, based on category, compared to different timeframes. New businesses would be able to compare month to month, while older business would have years of data to compare against. These trends would visually highlight where a business was spending too much money.
We designed, created a prototype, and tested it with users in under 48 hours. We received great feedback on how this can bring value, and we are currently working on building out these insights for clients.