How Y Combinator Uses LiveFlow to Automate Department Budgeting and Have Unparalleled Access to Financial Data

January 11, 2023

How Y Combinator Uses LiveFlow to Automate Department Budgeting and Have Unparalleled Access to Financial Data

Y Combinator Case Study

In this case study, we sat down with Emily Manashi, Accounting Manager at Y Combinator (YC), to learn more about her work at YC and how LiveFlow has given her unparalleled access to her financial data and save time on tedious manual work. 

About YC

HQ: San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, West Coast

Launch date: 2005


YC is a startup accelerator program and investment fund that supports founders at every stage. Since 2005, more than 4,000 companies have participated in the accelerator, including Airbnb, DoorDash, Stripe, Instacart, Dropbox, and Coinbase.

Today, YC companies have an aggregate valuation approaching $1T. Learn more about YC here.

How did you get introduced to LiveFlow?

I was already familiar with LiveFlow, as they are a portfolio company of Y Combinator's W21 cohort, but I started thinking about using their platform for my accounting setup when my finance technology lead contacted me about a useful accounting tool.

The tool would work seamlessly with QuickBooks and assist me with automating many of my accounting reports, so after researching LiveFlow's website and reviewing their product, I realized that it was exactly what I needed.

What was the problem you wanted to solve with LiveFlow?

Coming from a Big 4 accounting firm, eliminating manual work and leveraging technology was ingrained, so automating my work has always been really important.

Exporting data from QuickBooks to Google Sheets is such a manual and annoying process, and the format of the reports I get directly from QuickBooks is not easy to work with.

I would spend hours manually downloading 10 separate budgets, which would all generate their own separate Google Sheet. I’d then have 10 different Google Sheets, and I’d have to manually copy and paste the data from each sheet into a master sheet. It was an incredibly manual process. 

It was also impossible for me to insert different budgets into QuickBooks. If we had different department budgets, I would not be able to upload each of those into QuickBooks. I could only upload a master budget.

However, with LiveFlow, I realized that I could store my budgets in Google Sheets, which:

(1) Allows me to share the budgets with the relevant budget owners  

(2) Allows me to automatically connect live actuals from QuickBooks to easily compare Budget vs. Actuals by department and give the department owners access to their reports. 

How has LiveFlow helped you solve these problems?

  1. I don’t have to manually pull data manually; that’s beautiful! And when data gets updated in QuickBooks, I don’t have to re-pull the data; it just refreshes automatically. Eliminating that work frees up my time.

  2. With LiveFlow’s drill-down functionality, I can easily catch accounting errors, and it helps me to re-categorize transactions into the right categories. And again, once I have re-categorized, all my reports are up-to-date. I don’t have to re-pull all the data.

  3. I love interacting with my data, and it’s really helpful that LiveFlow can pull the data into Google Sheets because I can’t share the data in QuickBooks as I can with LiveFlow.

  4. There’s something more pleasing about how I interact with my data in LiveFlow. It feels sleeker.

  5. I love the filters. Sometimes I want only to show certain accounts in the P&L, and with LiveFlow, I can easily filter out a GL account and trust that I don’t have to think about it again. Having that peace of mind has been really nice.

Now that you’re saving all this time, what are you spending it on instead?

I can create other helpful analyses, such as our new Software Spend Analysis (see the template Emily used for this here). I had been thinking about doing this for a while, but now I have finally found a platform to help me do it.

I was recently asked to pull the last 5 years of data for a team, which was super simple. It’s even quicker than going into QuickBooks.

Would you recommend LiveFlow to other finance teams, and if so, why?

I have already recommended LiveFlow! I love the ability to create a report and not have to touch it again. No one wants to do the manual work. It allows you to have unparalleled access to your data.

Want to try out LiveFlow too?

LiveFlow helps you to create live financial dashboards directly in Google Sheets and save 2 days per month in tedious manual copy/paste work. LiveFlow is used by hundreds of companies, including Y Combinator, Hipcamp, PH Data, Masterworks, Finalis, airCFO, Connected Accounting, Acuity, and many more.

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