Creative problem solving after an acquisition


"FD Works really understand the complexity that comes with running an SME, and have worked with us to simplify processes, saving us valuable time." Brad Coombes, Canda

Keeping control, without losing your mind

Canda has been a client of FD Works for several years but expanded in 2020 when it was acquired by Collabz. They describe themselves as the ultimate talent utility for start ups and scale ups, providing the embedded talent services and providing culture first hiring for their crucial growth phases.

CEO Louis Cross and COO Brad Coombes are tasked with running both companies in a highly competitive and fast-paced industry. This means they need the numbers that matter and the stories behind them, without wasting time digging through the data and trying to interpret it themselves.

Looking at the bigger picture

Canda and Collabz use Xero to ensure they have real-time visibility of the business finances and historically had a spreadsheet that would assist in some cashflow forecasting for planning purposes. This process was open to errors and misinformation, not to mention the fact that delving into the depths of Xero to extract the data that is then pushed through a spreadsheet is far from the most efficient use of time for Louis and Brad.  After taking over Canda in 2020, they were faced with an increased workload, coupled with the extra pressure and challenges that COVID-19 brought, which caused many clients to reduce or postpone recruitment. Something had to be done.

Creative problem solving for the real needs of the business

"Their creative problem solving has saved us time that we can now spend on part of the business we love. The progress never ends - they’re always looking for new ways to help us improve and grow." Brad Coombes, Canda

Craig, one of our Finance Business Partners, took on the challenge of addressing this time sucking problem for Canda and Collabz. After an initial meeting, the potential solution of bolting on a forecasting app to Xero was ruled out. While there is some great software out there that will work with Xero, the fact that we were dealing with two companies meant we needed something bespoke. A more specific solution was needed to give a clear and concise picture of the finances of both companies.

Craig set out to create a cashflow model based in a spreadsheet. This allowed Louis and Brad to manipulate the numbers and plan for different scenarios without having to learn a new piece of software from scratch. With some clever formula and an API that connects the spreadsheet to both Xero accounts, automatically bringing in live data, Craig built a basic template, with real-time figures, to give a live comparison between current performance and the forecast. 


Feedback, grow, adapt, repeat

After trialling this model for a few weeks Craig, Louis and Brad got together to bridge any gaps and add to the functionality of the model. The cashflow was working and allowing for better decisions to be made but there was still a lack of clarity on current performance. Ideas were bounced around as Craig added in new features and distilled the data coming in from Xero until the current model started to take shape. The end product shows key metrics based directly on their financial reports and forecasts, as well as from the data coming in from Xero.

Whilst the model is still growing and adapting to the needs of Canda and Collabz, it’s already having an impact on the business. The daily updates allow them to see, at a glance, their KPI’s, like profit per employee over the last month, and compare them to their targets. This kind of concentrated information means that vital business decisions can be made quickly and with the confidence of a leader that knows exactly how the business is doing.

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