Porterdale & ClearviewHub

Sheffield-based Steve Carroll heads up Porterdale, a business advisory service who saw many clients struggling to prepare financial forecasts when seeking new funding which was especially challenging during Covid.

Cashflow forecast spreadsheets were simply not up to the job, they could be error-prone and difficult to keep up to date as well as it not being feasible to send a tailored one to each new client, Steve was inspired when he discovered even large established companies often used obsolete forecast packages and decided it was time to create his own.

The Problem

Steve started by creating an excel model as a proof of concept as he and his financial specialist Lindsey, knew first-hand just how overwhelming navigating the financial landscape was for new or struggling business owners. The challenge with the newly created spreadsheet was protecting the formulas and the workings behind the model – as well as making it easily accessible.  As the technical complexities grew, the idea of a cloud-based version that could be maintained and accessed remotely became more attractive.

This posed a technical challenge due to the need to accurately translate Excel formulas into a web-based environment while ensuring the financial model is accurate. This would require careful attention to detail to ensure the formulas perform identically, as well as handling any potential computational differences between Excel and web programming languages. The user interface would need to be carefully designed to replicate the ease of updating a cell in a spreadsheet, allowing users to intuitively input data and see real-time updates while leveraging the interactive capabilities of web technologies.

Steve’s goal was to create an online tool to help businesses get a clear picture of their finances by providing industry leading forecasting software designed by finance experts. From there the ClearviewHub was born.

How We Helped

The Solution & Results

The Curve began working with Steve in November 2020 and from early on in the process a productive partnership was soon formed. Using the proof of concept as a guide and template, The Curve worked closely with Steve to begin development of the financial forecasting platform, ensuring it followed the unique financial forecasting requirements and allowed users to actively plan their business finances more accurately.

The platform was built using Ruby on Rails due to its efficiency in rapid development and efficient code management allowing for quick iterations and efficient handling of complex financial calculations and data management. MongoDB was chosen as the database due to its flexibility with unstructured data and ability to handle large volumes of financial data effectively, providing performance advantages over traditional relational databases. Frontend components of the platform were developed using React for efficient updates and rendering of data visualisations, enhancing user experience by delivering responsive and interactive tables and charts essential for financial analysis and forecasting

ClearviewHub has helped over 300 users so far, with customers saying that they love having an integrated forecast with all the important financial details in one place.  ClearviewHub has recently evolved to become a go-to community hub for all things business finance. As with their sister company Porterdale, both Steve and Lindsey at ClearviewHub are dedicated to empowering businesses with the knowledge and expertise they need for growth by providing resources and tools that are free forever.

The ClearviewHub Platform

Their Thoughts

Steve Carroll – Owner, Porterdale / ClearviewHub

 “It felt as though they understood and were excited by the project. They came up with positive suggestions, not just blindly doing what we asked. They were responsive and good at communicating, and at critical points we had daily stand-up meetings with them.  I was also pleased that many checks were built into the model to ensure integrity.”