The recession created a ‘survival of the fittest’ environment for many industry sectors and not all survived, but one of our clients, Midlands silversmiths Broadway Silver, managed to maintain good trading during the recession thanks largely to the client base. Dealing with top end clients meant that although the recession inhibited sales in many areas of retail, it didn’t have as much of an effect here.
In addition, the company’s heritage as an established, quality supplier of silverware (the company was founded during the reign of Queen Victoria by William Benjamin Broadway) stood it in good stead. Despite this, with the business battling the effects of the hugely fluctuating values of silver, Broadway knew some fundamental changes had to be introduced to the business, one of which involved changing the accountant of 30 years to the services of our hands-on financial and business support package Board Support.
Richmond Broadway, co-director of Broadway, explained: “The business was established in 1900 and is now being handled by third and fourth generation family members in the form of myself, my brother Christian and our father, Gerard. The business has come a long way and we’ve built up an enviable portfolio of retail clients large and small – ranging from John Lewis, Goldsmiths and Fortnum and Mason, to smaller independents. We were hit by the recession, like most businesses, but not as hard as many who rely on a buoyant economy – our customers are high end and therefore we’ve been able to minimise the effects. However, what we felt was that although the company had grown and thrived with the usual financial monitoring systems in place – and because of the rapid changes in the value of silver – we needed more from an accountancy service. We needed something that would allow us to monitor the business profit and loss on a much more regular basis, something that would allow us to react quickly to changing market conditions and something that would allow us to strategize for the business more accurately and frequently. We found all of this in Board Support.
“Changing solid business services like accountancy services, especially when the company has dealt with the same supplier for decades, is a huge step and one we didn’t know how to take. We knew we needed a radical, hands-on approach but we didn’t know where to find it. A chance discussion with a family friend led to us being introduced to Board Support, which seemed to comprise everything we were looking for.”
Board Support is aimed at Owner Managed Businesses (OMB’s), and works in partnership with the business to provide recommendations, budgets and forecasting, regular updates and strategic reviews, and attendance at board meetings. Everything associated with having in in-house finance director – all for a fixed fee for unlimited access to expertise.
Richmond added, “The great thing about the service, among others, is the fact that the meter is never running. We can access all the advice we need, from the on-going strategic help to down to quick questions we need answering fast over the phone. It’s really allowed us to stop and take stock of the business frequently and do this with the right business and financial knowledge as part of our team, guiding and advising us along the way. When issues such as the volatility of silver prices arise, to have that up-to-the-minute advice and guidance on what to do to minimise financial impact on the business is critical – and to leave things and not take the right action can be fatal.”
Broadway is a typical example of why Board Support was launched. With so many OMB’s out there, turning over anything between few hundred thousand up to a few million, they need so much more than just a regular accountancy service that files end of year accounts and looks after tax returns. Board Support provides the next level of support, without an open-ended bill. Making the service available for a fixed fee and incorporating everything needed from an accounting and business advice perspective means clients get the absolute optimum from the service, without worrying about a huge bill.
Broadway is just one example of a business, of which there are many, that don’t feel they’re getting the best from their accountancy services but don’t know where to turn to start afresh.