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Show HN: Pilot: Bookkeeping for startups, using humans and software (pilot.com)
53 points by wdaher 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments

Hi HN!

Pilot is a bookkeeping company that specializes in startup companies. We started it because we really struggled to find a good bookkeeping solution in our previous startups (Ksplice and Zulip).

Amazingly, the state of the world of bookkeeping has largely been unchanged for the past 20 years: you hire a bookkeeper who buys a copy of QuickBooks and does a ton of clicking around and hand-entering to bring everything up-to-date every month.

Which is a little crazy because the underlying data is quite structured (dates, amounts, memos), and 90% of the work is effectively “Execute well-defined rule X on data Y”. The first-principles solution to this problem would definitely not be “Hire a person, hope all the rules fit in their head, and make them click a lot”— it would be software.

But our feeling was: people don’t want more bookkeeping software—they’d rather not worry about bookkeeping at all. So we started Pilot: a bookkeeping service powered by our expert team of (human) bookkeepers in San Francisco, who, under the hood, use a bunch of software we’ve written to automate the most tedious, error-prone parts of the work. Every month, we deliver up-to-date accrual basis books for you, in QuickBooks Online.

We’re currently doing the books for a bunch of startup companies (ranging from pre-seed all the way to Series B), including 30+ YC companies, but we're just now starting to tell the story more broadly.

We’d love to get your feedback! I’ll be around all day watching this thread, or you can just shoot me an email (waseem@pilot.com).

If you're casting a broad net, speak to the moderators on https://www.reddit.com/r/msp/ - they have a steady supply of early-stage managed service providers asking for msp-aware business logic and money handling.

Do you guys have an ability to provide advice about what startups at early stages need to do for book keeping, filings, etc? You seem to be more affordable than competitors for early stages, so you would also deal with less experienced founders who are graduating from TurboTax into something that handles an ever-increasing load, done with dubious thoroughness at start. My biggest challenge is getting proper advice about everything needs to be done and making sure I don't miss something. Provide resources on that, maybe via SEO (YC for bookkeeping and compliance for early stage founders) and you'd have a never ending stream of leads.

I definitely like the idea of providing some good, clear writeups about "You have a company--now what?".

There's some care needed—we're a bookkeeping firm, so we can't give accounting/tax/legal advice, but there's a lot we can do to help (and we can always connect you with e.g. a tax prep firm we know and trust for the stuff we can't do ourselves.)

I'm a pilot customer; my company is an early (seed) stage software startup, and I use to do my bookkeeping by hand... and I had no idea what I was doing. "dubious thoroughness" is a great way to express my bookkeeping.

Pilot basically solved that problem. I just do my normal business and their integrations with my banks, expensify, credit cards, etc handle all of the transaction classification, and at the end of the month I get all of the statements I need to run a business. If there's any questions they reach out and help me address them.

I went from basically 4 founder-hours a month to zero, and I know my books are good. Totally worth it.

This is a brilliant startup idea. Highly needed. Nice to see the "Ksplice Mafia" still at it.

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