Frequently Asked Questions

Are you very good at managing your cash? Have created your own cashflow but you don’t get the point of having a similar spreadsheet for the profit and loss statement?  Have you asked your team to build reports on revenue per account and per project and the numbers do not make a lot of sense?

Have you tried to establish the profit per project to check your pricing and you have not managed to get too far? Did you give up in agony at the detail required? Do you think that there is not much you can do about the cost? Is it just about selling more?

If so, take a look at the Tool Kit section. If you don’t understand what those indicators are about, you have never calculated them for your business and you gave up reading in desperation, then yes, this is for you.

You can start with turnover, if you suspect that growth is not where it should be. Make sure you have a clean spreadsheet with all the clients who have ever bought from you, ideally with values (VAT excluded), unit of sales (for example, number of projects or days sold), year and month of the sale and other criteria you usually use when you analyse your sales. Create a similar spreadsheet for your database of sales contacts. First of all, ask us for a Non-Disclosure Agreement and then send us the data to try us out with no obligation.

Or you can start with the cost if profit is your issue. Again, ask us for a Non-Disclosure Agreement and send us your income statements for as many past years as you can. In this case, we will come back to you with a lot of questions to clarify what we see and build percentages around your costs. We promise it will be worth your effort.

No. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg. We know small businesses and we know the constraints. If you started talking to us, chances are you have some financial difficulties.

We always start with a free of charge exploration of your data to see whether we can be of any help. That is free because it is our due diligence. We usually find a lot of ‘fat’ in your costs the first time we look. Our consultancy fee will only be a fraction of what you already spend on things that you can do without.

When we charge you for work, you will always know why, what for, and how long it took. We will also account for our consultancy fee in your budget so your profit will be always way above what you pay to us. Actually, we want you to make a lot of profit and keep working with us in the years to come.

First, we sign a non-disclosure agreement that ensures you we are treating your data confidentially. Most companies collect data in an IT system or in Excel spreadsheets as distinctive records of activities (clients approached and sold to, money cashed in, services delivered). In order to integrate, analyse and interpret it, we need to download it into a spreadsheet and ‘clean’ it to be able to identify patterns and derive insights. We could obviously do it in your office, but we usually take it to our office to have the time and the space to analyse it.

After the initial download, we would advise what is the best format that supports your day to day decisions in the future – for example, integrate customer data with service data so that you can constantly see how much of what was sold and delivered and when. You can then start using that format and we will no longer need to download it, you can do it in-house. We also help with thinking through detailed IT specifications that help you collect better integrated data.

Overtime, we have found that entrepreneurs do not have the patience to listen to abstract stories about revenue and gross margin, but they do get very excited when they see their own revenue and gross margin results. We start talking about what you are after strategically, but we then jump into data analysis to check the intention.

A more important reason why we start with data before the strategy is that what you want is not always what you get. The numbers will tell us what part of your strategy worked and what has not, so we don’t have to repeat mistakes in the future. And numbers can tell a different story that can be used for growth.

Accountants can do lots of things for you, such as a forecast based on numbers and past trends, and whatever they are able to deduct from your accounting data alone. Accountants don’t do ‘what if’ scenarios and will not analyse your clients and market or look into other sources of data where you collect valuable non-financial day to day information about your business, such as services delivered and their status and number of units. If they do, they will charge separately. By and large, accountants would expect you, the entrepreneur, to do that as part of your business planning and managing.

Accountants are about precision. We are about decisions and believe that each number in your books uncovers a decision. Whether it is a decision to charge a certain price to clients or increase your marketing efforts, your financial results reflect them all.You need separate and bespoke financial reports and projections that will help you do something different next time.

You need embedded percentages, ratios, analyses and comparisons from the previous two, or ten years, whichever is of relevance to your business. It requires some accounting information, other data that you already collect and a lot of your thinking. This is called management accounts and yes, it doubles the effort and multiplies the benefits over and over again.

First of all, think about who that would be? Your accountants will not do your projections. They are busy counting the past beans to sort out your taxes. Chances are they do not know your business very well anyway. Do you have someone internally that can do that? That is great – but how do you know what to ask them to show you so that you can make decisions accordingly? Understand the basis of the information first, then make decisions based on that. This is your money, by the way.
Actually, some of our clients have tried to do the analyses by themselves before they got us in. They found that day to day pressures got in the way of spending consistent time in collecting the data and gave up. Do you have the time and the inclination to clean lines of data and set templates up to calculate margins? Then by all means, go for it.

If you would rather sell and manage than get buried in Excel spreadsheets, we can do it for you and in time we’ll make sure we transfer some of the skills to you and to your people so you will be able to update the data by yourself, should you want to.

Unfortunately, no. If you have been chronically unprofitable and you have had years of over-spending or over-staffing your office, it will take around six months to feel more comfortable. Actually, you will get a little worse before you get better. You may actually feel worse when you see the effect of your past decisions and habits on your financial health. Yet, you will probably feel a real turnaround and stability in a year and a half. It could be even longer, if you are used to borrowing money when the going gets tough and your loans are piling up. Sorry, but it’s important to be realistic.
I guess this is a matter of preference. All fixed fees you are quoted by a supplier also come from a time estimate. Only you don’t know how much was estimated. For us, it is also a matter of transparency and flexibility.

Transparency – our clients appreciate the transparency that our timesheets bring about. We can check why something took 10 hours. If someone charges you a fixed fee, you cannot check how long it took and whether you got value for money.

Flexibility – it allows us to start and stop working with you when and how you need it and we are not pressed by the time that was calculated into the fixed fee.

Our clients tell us that is a highly likely first impact of seeing your numbers. But wouldn’t you rather be a bit depressed now than quite desperate later? If you suspect you might get depressed, you may already have an inkling that your operations are not very profitable and your results are not the best. Hiding it from yourself would not fix them – the hole may grow bigger overtime.
No. This is your business. You decide. But we have a duty to warn you about consequences when we see them.