Exclusive Interview: Finvoke: Igniting Titans in the Service-Based Industry with Founder and CEO of Cirsten Claassen

Estimated read time 6 min read

In the bustling landscape of financial services for startups and small businesses, Finvoke emerges as a beacon of innovation and empowerment. Founded by Cirsten Claassen, a Chartered Accountant with a passion for transforming financial landscapes, Finvoke has set its sights on igniting titans within the service-based industry.

Tell us more about you and how your Journey started?/ company, and how its journey
I was born in Middelburg and raised in Johannesburg. I finished high school in
Joburg and then went to study Bcom Accounting in Pretoria. I then completed
articles at one of the big four firms where I qualified as a Chartered Accountant
(SA) with SAICA. When I finished my articles, I did a 6 months secondment in
Germany which was quite life-changing. Ending up in accounting was a flook and
very unexpected, in fact, I don’t really think anyone is outright “interested” in
accounting. Coming out of matric I wanted to burn my accounting books, and two
months later I was sitting in Accounting 101. I did not really know what I wanted
to study, so in the final week of registration I kind of panicked and just chose to
study accounting. As the years passed, I came to enjoy accounting. We started
understanding one another. I liked the challenge it presented, and I liked the fact
that you can create a story out of chaos. I soon also realized the power that
accounting can present you with. Deciding to start my own business was a
combination of many factors. By reading, you get exposed to big ideas, and by
traveling, you realize there is more to life than your little bubble. I guess I always
wanted to start my own business and so I decided to start a business when I
came back from Germany, on 1 July 2022. I have quite a few friends in the
startup scene and they always told me that they had no clue what to do with
regards to their accounting and tax compliance, so they just always kind of
ignored it and hoped for the best. See the problem is, none of them really had the
budget to hire a full-time accountant, and if they did, there is not enough work to
keep an accountant busy for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. This is a dilemma
that many businesses face, and that is when I decided that I would like to help
startups and SMEs with their finances at a fraction of the cost of an actual

What impact does the company hope to make in Africa?
a. My company, Finvoke’s, slogan, is: “Igniting Titans”. It is not just a slogan; it is a
commitment. We chose this because our mission is to help startups and small
businesses in the service-based industry to become the next titans of industry.
Our goal is to help startups and SMEs in this space navigate the complex
landscape of finances, guide them through opportunities and challenges, and
ultimately empower them to achieve success. By focusing on startups and SMEs
in South Africa, Finvoke aims to create a ripple effect of economic prosperity.
When these businesses thrive, they not only create jobs and stimulate domestic
spending, but they also contribute to a robust and diverse economic landscape.
This can attract foreign investors, drawn to the growing stability and innovation
within the region. Successful South African businesses often expand into
neighboring countries, fostering regional trade and economic integration. This
cross-border expansion can facilitate knowledge transfer, spur innovation, and create a more interconnected African market. Ultimately, by empowering South
African startups and SMEs, Finvoke hopes to contribute to a stronger, more
resilient African economy. This goes beyond just financial success; it’s about
fostering an environment where innovation and entrepreneurship can flourish.

How is the company unique from competition?
a. We focus exclusively on the service-based industry, which allows us to not only
provide standard outsourced accounting services but also to offer in-depth,
specialized advisory services based on a fractional CFO model. Our deep dive
into this specific sector has enabled us to develop a keen understanding of its
unique challenges, such as cash flow management, profitability, financial
modeling, and forecasting. Moreover, Finvoke goes beyond traditional
bookkeeping and compliance services. We act as proactive business partners to
our clients. This means we don’t just submit returns; we actively engage in
financial strategizing, helping our clients to anticipate future challenges and
opportunities. We also understand that cash flow is the lifeblood of service-based
businesses. Our expertise in this area enables us to provide innovative solutions
for cash flow management, ensuring that our clients can maintain operational
stability while pursuing growth opportunities. Our financial modeling and
forecasting services are not just about numbers; they are about crafting a vision
for the future and a roadmap to get there. In essence, our uniqueness lies in our
commitment to not just manage financial tasks, but to empower our clients with
the financial insight and strategic foresight necessary to thrive in a competitive
landscape. Finvoke isn’t just an accounting firm; it’s a dedicated financial ally for
the service-based industry.

What advice would you give to someone in the same industry?
a. Being part of the service industry ourselves, we at Finvoke have learned that the
essence of success lies in the delivery of high-quality services. High-quality
services are often overcomplicated. My advice to others in this industry is to
concentrate on the fundamentals. Just commit to doing what you said you are
going to do. By consistently meeting client expectations, you establish a
foundation of trust and reliability. This approach may seem simple, but it is
remarkably effective and sets you apart from many competitors. Remember, in a
field where the intangible nature of services can make quality assessment
subjective, your unwavering commitment to your promises becomes your
strongest asset.

Who is your company looking to partner with?

I believe that partnering with VCs could create a lot of synergy. Startups who get
funding need to manage it properly in order to create a return on investment. So
looking at burn rates and runways and helping navigate them are great ways in
which we can add value to startups and help them become profitable or make it
up to the next round of funding. Helping startups implement financial processes
is also a great way to ensure that VCs get the reporting they need by the time
they need it. In addition to partnering with VCs, collaborating with business
consultants is a strategic move for us. Business consultants bring a wealth of
expertise in areas like market analysis, strategy development, and operational
efficiency, which complements our financial acumen. By working together, we
can offer a more comprehensive suite of services to startups and SMEs in the
service industry.

Where can we follow the company and get in touch?
a. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/finvoke/
b. Personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cirstenclaassen/
c. Website: https://www.finvoke.co.za/
d. Get in touch: info@finvoke.co.za

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