Finances might be tough for startups to manage. It is often hard to find investment and it is sometimes even harder to manage the funds received through investment. Profix is a company that provides both startups and big businesses with financial consulting services. It makes it easier for them to navigate in the market, to understand their tax privileges well (if there any) and much more. Thus, Profix is a resource in itself that startups might need. We have interviewed Profix managing partner Tigran Gasparyan to learn more about Profix and to see how startups can benefit from it. You can read the full transcript below:
How it all started? How did you end up with operating a financial consulting company?
Tigran: It’s all about the demand. Lately, we have noticed that many businesses in Armenia have started to show interest not only towards accounting services but also the full package of consulting services. They want to get more in terms of business and taxation information, and most importantly professional advice on how to proceed in complex situations.
In my opinion, consultancy is as much about helping clients keep their paperwork in good shape, as helping them set up proper business planning, understand taxation policies, undertake financial analysis and modeling. Profix is a company that helps businesses and startups alike to do all of this. It has been successfully providing consulting services since 2016.
Who are your customers and what exactly do you do for them?
Tigran: First of all, our customers aren’t simply customers – they are our business partners. Apart from our core consulting services, we strive to help them grow in multiple ways, most notably by serving as a platform which allows businesses to establish new connections between one another.
Our partners come from a wide array of industries. Some of them operate a beauty salon chain, a restaurant chain, industrial production (bakery, electronic devices, and machines, etc.), coffee shops, IT companies, renewable energy companies, agricultural businesses, etc. We also offer special terms to partners who are any of these:
- National producers
- Armenia-based IT companies
The special terms include professional consultancy on how to manage your finances: 1-year financial planning and 1-year taxation planning free of charge. In addition, we offer custom pricing plans for their accounting for the first 3 months.
What are some of your daily business challenges and how do you overcome them?
Tigran: Probably the biggest challenge is being the connecting party between businesses and the government. Armenia is undergoing taxation reforms and we are actively keeping our partners up to date with the latest policies and changes.
Besides, we come up with our own suggestions to the government on how to make it easier to start a business and do business in Armenia. Our goal is to create a fruitful environment for SMEs to start and grow here.
Can you name a few things that you think makes business owners happy to work with you? How do you reach out to potential clients?
Tigran: First and foremost, we highly value trust and we are trustworthy. We do not simply provide financial consulting services. We help create business relationships.
Our best customer acquisition channel is through word of mouth. These are mainly recommendations from our past and existing clients to their colleagues and peers. They usually speak of us as a reliable partner that always strives to offer more than anticipated and is really keen on educating and helping you grow, not simply running accounting or maintaining inventory records.
How would you describe the business environment in Armenia? What does Armenia offer to startups?
Tigran: Armenia is currently embarking on a set of reforms to increase the country’s attractiveness for doing business here. It offers a low level of tax rates and various tax incentives based on sector, location, and business size.
For instance, IT is one of the most successful and fastest growing industries in Armenia. To support the development of IT startups, the government offers several tax incentives to qualified taxpayers operating in this industry, like exemption from profit tax.
Other incentives offer more than one tax exemption, provision of industrial and free economic zones. For example, “Alliance” FEZ is the first Free Economic Zone in Armenia that manages the production and export of innovative technologies in the field of electronics, precision engineering, pharmaceutics, biotechnologies, information technologies, alternative energy, industrial design, and telecommunications.
What are your plans for the future? Which opportunities would you specify for Armenia in the finance sector?
Tigran: We aim to expand and enter international markets in the nearest future, starting with EEU (Eurasian Economic Union). We want to share our vision and expertise with companies outside Armenia too in order to facilitate their growth and aid with financial management. We believe that all businesses need to have a good grasp on the financial side of their business, and understand what opportunities and threats it can wield both in the present and future.
As for Armenia, the biggest opportunity is to raise financial consultancy standards, deliver higher quality service and make financial education available to more and more SMEs. As we all know, SMEs are the primary force when it comes to having a strong economy, and enhancing their growth is definitely the right direction to take.