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Meet Shiv Patel of Cratosys in Downtown, Arts District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shiv Patel.

Shiv, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Cratosys stemmed from a concept that was derived through passion and grit.

Some may say I am breaking down barriers in the Fintech world but really I just want to change traditional, complex processes of the age-old accounting world. I started my own bookkeeping business at the age of nineteen. As a struggling college student to make ends meet, I discovered that I could help small businesses with low-cost bookkeeping services. My first client was a handbag designer who knew everything about handbags and nothing about the fundamentals of finance to keep his business going. Once I learned about his terrible spending habits and lack of documenting expenses, I knew it would be a long and tedious journey. I spent countless nights sorting through hundreds of receipts and manually booking them line by line into his accounting software, QuickBooks. I printed out bank statements and marked them off one by one to provide a picture of how much money he had to operate his business. I quickly learned that most businesses operate this way. Post college, I moved up the corporate accounting ladder into major movie studios in hopes that I would find my path to success. Instead, I found disappointment in the day to day work. I then moved to New York City only to find myself working in the accounting departments of fashion and music companies. The monotony of the work pushed me out of corporate accounting and into the consulting world where I spent several years redesigning and streamlining accounting processes for over 100 businesses.

Since then, I have been helping small businesses get back on track with their daily accounting needs. From observing the pain points of each organization, I discovered a gap between the rapid technological shift versus traditional accounting processes. Luckily at the time, my partner and I had a similar vision of how to disrupt that space with what businesses are really looking for. We laid out the foundation of our digital accounting software at a local Starbucks over one year ago and continued to build it thousands of miles away from each other. At the time, I was completing my MBA at Pepperdine University with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and he lived in Chennai, India. I fully utilized the program to launch Cratosys and left business school with a proof of concept and a minimum viable product. We know there is a gap in the way businesses are using technology available today, and we want to fix that.

Has it been a smooth road?
The path to success has never been smooth for me and I do not intend for it to be now. Hard work and perseverance go a long way. Within the past year, we went from an idea to execution to completely scratching the product to a minimum viable product in six months. Initially, we hit many obstacles with our development team. We were not well versed in software development at the time, and instead of piecemealing the concept to our CTO and development team, we presented the entire concept expecting them to deliver. They had many challenges executing it, which took six months of our time. We then hired a UX designer who helped us turn our concept into a viable product. We scratched the initial product blueprint and recreated it into something that would not only set us apart in the market but become the go-to user-friendly tool for our clients as well.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Cratosys story. Tell us more about the business.
Cratosys is a global company. In addition to our Los Angeles office, we also have an office in Chennai India, which really diversifies our brand and work culture. Our mission is to help all businesses grow by educating them on financial management, streamlining accounting processes, and establishing a community where they can communicate with other business owners on all things accounting and business-related. Businesses need approachable accounting solutions that will not only save them time and money but help them understand their daily expenses and income. Our product is a robotic accounting platform that uses machine-driven accounting to help businesses craft their financial story. A robot captures essential data from documents and our built-in AI allocates expenses to provide a seamless automated bookkeeping experience for the user. It reduces time spent on routine processes, such as entering receipts into an accounting software and allows businesses to instantly manage their profit and loss. It is extremely easy to use and simple to set up for any business. We are really proud of the technology we created because we know how useful it will be for businesses.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
A big revolution in the industry today is Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which has begun to migrate into digital platforms. RPA is essentially a robot that conducts repeated processes so businesses can focus on more strategic and analytical tasks. Robotic Process Automation for Accounting is costly for small businesses and accounting software available does not include such technology. In the next several years, some form of Artificial Intelligence will be in every digital platform, which just means that we are ahead of the curve. The next evolution in Accounting, beyond robotic automation, will be blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is essentially blocks on a blockchain that consists of digital pieces of information. It stores information with unique codes that differentiate purchases. With this in mind, traditional ways of conducting accounting transactions may disappear. Just something for us to keep in our back pocket as we continue to grow.

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