Last week I came across BodeTree (pronounced BOE-dee Tree), a piece of slick online financial software that has its aim set on small businesses — especially those who find that their finances are too unwieldy. BodeTree Founder Chris Myers puts it more bluntly when he says that “[BodeTree] is a finance tool for people who hate finance.”
But what exactly does BodeTree do? At first I misunderstood BodeTree and thought of it as nothing more than a gimmicky piece of accounting software. It isn’t that at all, but rather a “number crunching’ cloud based service that turns your accounting software data into a series of ‘enlightenments” showing the strengths and weaknesses of your business. No really, there’s a floating Buddha character that glows green when your business is a-ok. BodeTree also promises super cool graphs and power bars – not the kind made from old Chinese newspapers and apple cores – to measure your business stats and those of your competitors.
Could BodeTree actually Harm your business?
As this Tech Crunch article rightly points out, BodeTree isn’t made to oust all business consultants and strategists, just the low-end, mail-it-in types. As such, it would be unfair to judge BodeTree as the be all and end all in terms of business strategy. Still, Bode Tree has some major drawbacks that may end up actually hurting your business. Our resident accounting guru, Jim Greer, explains:
Many small businesses don’t have reliable numbers in the first place and if your numbers aren’t reliable, then BodeTree could harm your business if you followed the advice. And even with reliable numbers, it’s the sort of thing that might make a business owner have the illusion they’re on top of things, but I don’t see how it’ll give much useful advice; much of the analysis it provides is what Wall Street companies use to inform their investors, CEO, or others who can’t see day-to-day data, but isn’t really necessary for a small business owner who handles the day-to-day operations and can see how much cash is coming and going.
Myers has said in an interview with Entrepreneur magazine that he recommends at least 3 years of Quickbooks experience to negate this problem. Oddly, this advice is absent on the BodeTree website.
So is BodeTree Worth it’s Asking Price?
Curiously, BodeTree has doubled its cost in a single year. So is the new $500 per year cost worth paying? For a new or inexperienced business, I’d say no due to the problems mentioned above. But for an already established small business that is looking into consulting, BodeTree may be a viable option.
We will be rigorously testing BodeTree this week, so stay tuned for a full product review.
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