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In which I pretend to be a PM for apps like Numeric and Floqast that have received a lot of love from users and help accountants with bookkeeping tasks. I talk to Kannan, a 4th generation accountant, currently doing great things at Automation Anywhere.

As a PM my objective is to help build products that provide value to high-frequency use- cases so it can acquire newer users at lower cost and retain existing ones at higher value. 

  • Use-cases: How often and how severe is the use-case. Is there a higher frequency, higher severity adjacent use-case. 

  • Acquisition: What are barriers to try and switch. 

  • Retention: Can value be delivered sooner before risk of churn. 

Takeaways:​​

  • Bookkeeping is a high frequency (14:40, 15:25, 20:40), high severity job (8:30, 12:00, 18:04, 33:00). It's high frequency because it typically happens monthly but could happen daily, weekly or every 10d. It's high severity because companies can go out of business if done incorrectly. 

  • It's a mix of mundane manual tasks like journal entries, and interesting work like interrogating the data, fine tuning it to the company's business model and asking probing questions (29:00)

  • As the size of a company grows, the complexity increases (8:45, 9:30, 23:23, 35:00). So the more bookkeeping tasks that can be automated leaving time for higher order work, the more welcome this is by accounting teams. 

  • High severity problems are a double edge sword. The good news is the problem's worth solving. The bad news is the willingness to try something new is low. 

  • It helps to not interrupt a user who's good at storytelling, it uncovers intangibles that helps in non obvious ways (4:40, 16:20, 28:20)

Next steps with Kannan and others:

  • Mockups: Any time a user talks about switching tabs, going to excel, coordinating with coworkers, etc, it's possibly an opportunity for your product to add value and an opportunity to go back to them with a mockup (27:10)

  • Dig deeper into what tasks accountants are working with engineering to automate. 

Big thanks to Kannan for his time and knowledge! 

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