Brightwheel is a software as a service (SaaS) business which was initially known as KidCasa and was founded by Dave Vasen. Dave Vansen is an entrepreneur who was employed as an executive at AltSchool, a start up founded by an ex-Googler. Vansen featured on Shark Tank, a business reality television after raising $2.2 million from initial investors. On the show, the offers made for the company valued it at $9 million but it went on to raise a further $31 million and has significantly grown in terms of its client base and revenues ever since.
Brightwheel Overview and Services Description
Brightwheel is an all inclusive platform focused on providing a platform for parents with children in early education to keep track of various aspects of their child or children’s education. It is an iOS and Android based mobile platform, which makes it easier for its users to integrate into their daily routines.The services which the Brightwheel have specific focus for different stakeholders.
Pre-schools and Child Care
The app looks to save time for educators and child carers by streamlining certain processes and making it easier for them to provide feedback to concerned parents. On the platform, educators can provide daily reports in a digital format and enable the sharing of information concerning a child in real time. Additionally, the platform allows for the capture and sharing of digital media with parents and guardians. This allows the parents and guardians to feel more involved with their child’s development and minimize on the moments they may have missed when they are captured digitally and shared with them.
On the learning platform of the app, there are various useful features which allow all participants to keep track of the progress made by the students. Detailed learning assessments, state learning and desired results development program (DRDP) standards, media and data based reports are all available. Additionally, users can customize the frequency of the reporting on the platform so as not to overwhelm both educators and guardians with frequent but relatively inconsequential updates.
There are other features which are useful beyond merely sharing child progress and participation. The platform allows educators and child carers to communicate directly with parents if necessity arises. The app also offers a check in feature which is handy if children are delivered to schools by persons other than their parents or primary guardians. On the administrative side, school administrators can create reports and keep track of billing and payments. They can manage their staff ratios, enrollments, payroll reports and their accounts. The app is utilised by multi-site preschools, in-home child care facilities and even schools ranging from PreK to 5th grade.
Parents and Guardians
In addition to the features which allow parents or guardians to monitor the progress made by their children better, the app provides other convenient features. individuals financially responsible for a child are able to keep track of their billing either solely or with partners or other contributors. There is an option which facilitates online payment through a bank account, credit or debit card – which would be more convenient than using cash, wire transfer or card payments at terminal in the school. This provides some transparency and record keeping when necessary. Additionally, they may approve trusted third parties to retrieve their child from school when necessary, thus reducing the time required to communicate with the school. Finally, the app provides the platform to create an online community based around the school.
Pros and Cons of Brightwheel
When boiled down to the core, Brightwheel is a tool which is extremely useful for pre-school and child care. The pros of the service include:
Integration of administrative services and performance reporting
Increase in transparency for the parents and guardians
It makes it easier to track children whereabouts, performances and digital media
It allows multiple users to be integrated into the system for both school staff and guardians
However, as a billing and administration app, there are several cons associated with the app.
Different billing models are not easily intergrated
The features are specific to pre-school and child care and cannot be integrated to other useful applications
There is limited value in the media sharing feature and constant updates may become like spam
Things to Consider When Utilizing Billing Apps
Applications which keep track of expenditure in certain billings and expenditure may be convenient in one specific aspect but very limited in other vital areas. For example, Brightwheel solely focuses on managing the billing and financials for the schools but there are very limited features which can apply to the majority of the app users – who are mostly not in the education sector. Some useful features which could have been integrated into such an app include a general budgeting feature which keeps track of online expenditures, for example. Another idea feature would be the ability to keep track of bank account movements, extensive financial reporting and the ability to keep track of expected future cash inflows and outflows.
Brightwheel Alternative: Honest Buck
Honest Buck is an accounting service which offers a wide range of services which expand beyond keeping track of billing and financial transactions for a single aspect of an entity’s activities. Like Brightwheel, Honest Buck also offers day care, pre-school and early education accounting. Their service offers services which ensure compliance with federal, state and local labor laws and tax regulations, payroll management, invoicing, tax expertise and even small business health credit management. Additionally for clients, rather than focus on individuals who have limited requirements with regards to keeping track of financial information, Honest Buck also aims to work with business owners who look to streamline their reporting, integrate their systems and automate certain aspects of their business. When running a business,
there are several important issues which require special attention. When these aspects are ignored, it could result in a business failing. These include:
Management of cash flows: if a business cannot keep track of it’s cash inflows and outflows, a situation may arise when its short term obligations cannot be met due to insufficient cash holdings. This specific scenario, illiquidity, could result in the business defaulting on its creditors. This makes it harder for the business to borrow from creditors in the future, could result in the selling of business assets and may ultimately result in the closure of a business.
Tracking of accounts receivable and accounts payable: this is related to keeping track of cash inflows and outflows. Whereas the focus of cash flow management is to insure that the business remains liquid, the tracking of accounts receivable and accounts payable is a performance measure. If accounts receivable are not collected on time, there is significant risk that there may not be settled. Additionally, the profile of the client base working with the company may require revisiting. On the accounts payable side, utilizing suppliers with inflexible payment policies may endanger the business should it experience a period of limited cash inflows.
Tracking of tax obligations: an unexpectedly high tax bill may result in significant legal issues with local, state and national revenue services. Keeping track of tax obligations as they accumulate not only allows a business to plan ahead with regards to their cash holdings, it also allows for smoother auditing.
Bank reconciliations: mismatches between expected and actual bank balances is often concerning for a business. This may indicate unusually high charges from a bank or even fraudulent behavior within an organisation.
Features and Services Offered by Honest Buck
Honest Buck offers features which are essential to manage any business efficiently while saving both time and money. Their key features include:
Monthly Financial Statements and Financial Performance Dashboard
This feature is designed to cut down the time it takes for a business to prepare its statements. Even if a business is not required by law to disclose its statements, these can be analysed in order to identify the areas which the business is failing to meet its targets. Utilizing accountants or outsourcing this service can be a significant cost and Honest Buck automates this process for less time and money.
Unlimited Tax and Technology Integration Consulting
As highlighted in the previous section,keeping track of tax obligations is vital for any business and, just like the financial statements and financial performance services, this functionality is automated and costs less.
Monthly Bank Reconciliation and Weekly Transaction Entry
These features are specifically designed to ensure better tracking of cash withing the business and how it is being utilized. Reducing unexpected disparities between the expected and actual bank balance means less time is spent investigating how those disparities arose. Additionally, this allows for the easier detection of fraudulent behavior.
Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable Tracking
This feature allows for the automatic tracking of accounts payable. Avoiding defaulting on these will allow for a business to negotiate more flexible terms and may result in lower interest charges. Tracking of accounts receivables will allow a business to identify potentially risky clients automatically and keep a track record of previous settlements. This will allow the business to have a better understanding of its customers.
Payroll Processing, Payroll Tax Deposits, and Payroll Tax Filings
This process is now automatically integrated with all other systems and can be reviewed prior to the approval of a payroll. For businesses which do not experience significant changes in the payroll, this could result in significant time savings.
Profit coaching is exactly what it sounds like. There are ideas worth sharing, ideas that improve people’s lives or save time on tasks that are essential but time consuming. These may be a passion project for the individuals who create and develop these ideas but they become an expense. Instead of losing money while helping to make the world a better place, many entrepreneurs convert their passion into a career. However, there are many who do not know how to achieve sustainable success with their ideas while they make a sustainable living. The concept of profit coaching exists to help the entrepreneurs of a brain child worth developing make a living from their unique products or services.
Honest Buck goes beyond the technical side of corporate finance to supporting entrepreneurs who have a business idea which requires incubation, development and funding. For example, an essential task for entrepreneurs is to demonstrate the stability of their business model through highlighting key performance indicators (KPIs); proving the credibility of their sales, revenue and net margin forecasts, and expected increases in the business’ client base. These metrics are what investors focus on prior to making a decision regarding whether an investment is worth it or not. Honest Buck provides these tools for their clients with the aim to ensure success for a business.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Services
A chief financial officer (CFO) for a business is responsible for financial decisions which impact the viability, profitability and the sustainability of an organisation. Every business requires capital to invest in assets which it uses to generate revenues, hence profits. Capital is sourced from equity or debt however, each source has different costs, namely dividends or capital growth and interest, respectively. Financial decisions made by an organisation also have tax ramifications, and the applicable tax rate could be the difference between a barely profitable business and a successful one. Further, every company has limited financial resources. How to most effectively use these resources depends on various factors, including the current state on the industry in which the organisation operates, the trends in the macro-economy and the forecast of vital metrics for the business. Additionally, cash flow issues and risks highlighted in earlier sections of this articles are often managed and mitigated by a CFO.
These decisions are often assigned to highly trained individuals capable of assessing the risks and rewards associated with each financial decision a business faces. For most start ups, the advantages of having an in-house CFO are plentiful. However, skilled individuals in this field are costly and the best talent would not be drawn to small businesses and start ups with uncertain futures. Honest Buck offers a service which allows organisations which may not afford an in-house CFO to have access to the skills and expertise of a seasoned CFO.
Honest Buck Overall Assessment
Brightwheel is a very useful app for educational organisations which look to manage their finances effectively while offering a platform to allow for better communication between the schools and the parents and guardians of the attendees. The app’s features are limited with regards to the services offered. Honest Buck offers similar services for schools however, it goes beyond financial administration for schools. It offers services essential for any business to succeed at a cost effective rate.This app is essential for entrepreneurs.