Verifiably accurate financial statements with Puzzle

Sasha Orloff

Most startups get frustrated with their outsourced bookkeeper or finance team. That's why we created Puzzle—to provide startups with the first verifiably accurate financial statements. The focus on verifiability means that every transaction is traceable and accurate. Well, I am a founder, and I was frustrated, too.

Let's understand why verifiability is crucial in financial management and financial reporting.

Does QuickBooks provide verifiably accurate financial information?

As a founder, you are ultimately responsible (and liable) for the accuracy of the financial information reported to the IRS and investors. Even if you hire a bookkeeper or accountant to do them, claiming ignorance diminishes your credibility, and even worse, could get you fired or sued.

3 most common accounting errors in QuickBooks:

  1. Your accrual schedules live in spreadsheets, manually entered each month. 
  2. There is no supporting documentation to validate categorization accuracy.
  3. Transactions are manually categorized or require manual rule creation.

This manual process allows too much room for user error. The longer you wait, the more expensive and complicated it is to redo your financials. The worst part? The more successful your company gets, the more urgent this becomes.

Top 5 Ways Puzzle Improves Accuracy over QuickBooks

Accuracy is at the core of our product. We have a team of CPAs, CPA engineers, and auditors focused on building the most accurate financial statements with the least amount of human involvement, streamlining the auditing process. Here are some of the ways we achieve this:

1. Accrual schedules in your software, not external spreadsheets (H3)

If you are using spreadsheets for your accrual accounting, you can't verify your financial statements for accuracy in the accounting software. Embedded schedules in Puzzle mean higher accuracy that can easily be verified.

The QuickBooks Way: Spreadsheets

Let’s take the simple example of fixed assets like computers. Your bookkeeper should have a complete list of fixed assets in their external spreadsheet. They need to calculate the depreciation schedule, utilizing the receipts they searched for and downloaded from your bills or “accounts payable” systems, like Ramp, Bill, or Brex.

A new laptop, with an expected lifespan of 3 years, requires 36 months' worth of calculations that need to be created in a spreadsheet and subsequently entered into your financials…manually.

For a typical depreciation schedule, that is 180 cells of data to be calculated, and 36 manual journal entries.

What if they calculate the transaction incorrectly? What if they input the data wrong into your accounting system? As a founder, you will be responsible for it.

The Puzzle Way: Embedded schedules

In Puzzle, all of this is automatically calculated for you. All you need to do is preview the depreciation schedule and, in one click, you will have 36 months' worth of depreciation entries automatically added to your financial statements…and you never have to think about it again.

Automated fixed asset depreciation schedule with one click:

We automatically create your fixed asset registrar for accounting and tax purposes. No need to worry about missing assets or failing to depreciate them appropriately.

Automated fixed asset depreciation schedule with one click

Automated fixed asset registrar

Similarly, with prepaid expenses

Similarly, with invoices / deferred revenue

2. Automated receipt ingestion to verify accuracy


If your bookkeeper can't figure out where a particular transaction is coming from, there is no way for them (or AI) to choose the correct category accurately. They resort to guesswork or leave the transaction uncategorized. This makes validation of the transaction's categorization very difficult. 

The QuickBooks Way: Match between various systems

You'll only see a description of the transaction. The bookkeeper either guesses or maintains a spreadsheet they send to the founder at the end of the month for context.

The Puzzle Way: Automatically ingest and reconcile bills, receipts and invoices

You'll be able to verify all receipts yourself. The receipts are automatically pulled into Puzzle and matched to the transaction (if you use modern spend management platforms like Ramp and Brex). No more digging for receipts within your bills software, you need complete transparency in your financial reporting process. 

For “Apple” you need a receipt to identify the transaction is a fixed asset:

For the case of prepaid expenses, you need to know the time period on the bill:

But let’s say the receipt is not attached, we also built two additional workflows to help:

  1. The AI Categorizer or AI lookup tool:

  1. The assignment tool:
    Even if you don’t add the receipt to the “Apple” transaction, you likely know what it is. Your bookkeeper can simply assign this task to you to check. 

3. AI-assisted categorization for unknown transactions (H3)


Rules are used to speed up the time to prepare and review the books. They can be assigned to a vendor to ensure consistency in categorization month to month, and cut down the back and forth between a founder and a bookkeeper when aligning on categorization.

The QuickBooks Way: Create rules manually

QuickBooks is a data quarantine and manual workflow system. Which means every transaction gets manually categorized every month. They have a robust manual rules system, but you need to create a rule for every single transaction.

The Puzzle Way: Create rules automatically (and manually, when needed)

Our system learns with every categorization your bookkeeper does, making them more accurate and efficient over time, improving the overall verifiability of the financial statements. If your bookkeeper wants to create more nuanced rules for forensic-style analysis, they can. By the end of your first month with Puzzle, categorization work is reduced to edge cases and new transactions only (5-10% of the previous workload).

Puzzlebot recognizes the 1Password vendor as software and automatically creates a categorization rule for it:

4. “Smart review” whether financials are complete and accurate


At the end of the month, most bookkeepers go through a list of 10-50 items to “close the books”, or finalize the completeness and accuracy of your financial statements. Think of it as a list of most common errors or mistakes, before locking the books “forever.” Puzzle tracks and monitors the top 20 for accuracy, automatically.

The QuickBooks Way: Manual review from a spreadsheet checklist

Quickbooks does not have a process for this that doesn't rely on your bookkeeper manually maintaining and reviewing your monthly checklist. Which they will do, but at an additional cost. 

The Puzzle Way: Month-end accuracy review with our “Smart Monthly Checklist”

Accuracy is at the core of what we do at Puzzle. Companies can trust their financial reporting and make informed decisions based on reliable data. So after tracking tens of billions of dollars of transactions across dozens of bookkeepers, we identified the top 30 most common errors or mistakes and (1) automated as many of them as we could and (2) added a validator to look for anomalies or errors.

5. Spotlight tool highlights significant changes and new vendors


This is a new tool called Spotlight, available on your dashboard, to help quickly identify the top 3 things most founders want to review right away, ensuring timeliness in financial decision-making:

  1. What changed?
  2. What was the significant change?
  3. Is there a new vendor or transaction we have not seen before? 

Set what is significant to your business with the Spotlight feature:

Want to see it in action? Get started with a free 30-day trial at

Share this post
Sasha Orloff
Cofounder & CEO @ Puzzle

Related posts