Helping Southern Aqua Seafoods get bespoke Xero numbers

Southern Aqua Seafoods

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Jamie Angus is the founder of Southern Aqua Seafoods, a pan-European seafood agency.

What FD Works do is make something that’s very quick and very customised for your business. Jamie Angus, Southern Aqua Seafoods

Southern Aqua Seafoods is a pan-European seafood agency. They manage the European business for a portfolio of best-of-class fisheries around the world, with a deep focus on fisheries that have high sustainability principles and high quality standards.

They manage the European businesses for the world’s largest king salmon farmer in New Zealand, a British lobster fishery in the Southern Atlantic and the most sustainably focussed Chilean sea bass vessel in the world. With a core UK team of three people – plus several staff members in Continental Europe – they’re a lean team, running a busy, complex business across Europe.

We caught up with Southern Aqua founder, Jamie Angus, to find out how FD Works has helped his team get a lot more value out of their Xero accounts. And, as you’d imagine, the complexity of their business generates a lot of data in Xero – data that, until now, they’d been struggling to pull out effectively.

Getting the right data out of Xero was the issue that Jamie came to us with, as he explains:

FD Works understand financial reporting and know how to leverage tools like Excel to create complex and powerful reports. Ruairi McCarron, Quick Win Developments

“There’s standard off-the-shelf reporting in Xero, like all accounting software. But these days you need great management information. We were lacking in management information and getting the numbers out for our statutory reporting was extremely time-consuming and cumbersome.

Some of the EU reporting that you have to do is complex too – there’s a thing called Intrastat where, as well as doing your UK VAT return, you’ve got to report on all your sales around Europe as part of being a VAT-registered company. And that’s difficult to get from most accounting software.”

Our mission (if we chose to accept it) was to help Jamie and his team create fast, in-depth reporting from their existing Xero data, and in a format that helped them deal with all that time-consuming EU reporting, while also giving them really valuable management information on a regular basis.

So, how did we help them solve this business issue?

Creating bespoke reporting with Quick Win Development

We have a great relationship with the guys at Quick Win Developments, and it’s their development skills with Xero’s API that’s the foundation for our customised reporting for clients.

Ruairi McCarron is the leading light at Quick Win, and we’ve been working with his development tools for a while now to build the data bridge between Xero and Excel. It’s this integration that’s the foundation for our tailored approach to business reporting and management information.

“Jonathan at FD Works was one of my earliest users of our Add-on. From the start he gave valuable feedback and testing that helped shape the development of the product.


Our Xero Add-on is quite simple really; it has some basic filters and gives you access to raw, unformatted data – that’s part of what makes it very usable and powerful. With some clever tools included, you can easily merge and join data to create almost any report. You’re only really limited by your skills in Excel.

FD Works understand financial reporting and know how to leverage tools like Excel to create complex and powerful reports. As a software developer, I rely on experts to share their knowledge of their business domain so as to better understand and tackle the issues they face. I’ve had numerous email discussions with Jonathan over the years and implemented many feature requests, fixes, tweaks and processes as a result of these discussions. So when UK clients contact me in need of an expert adviser, FD Works are who I point them to.”

Using FD Works’ customised reporting and their expertise, they developed a report where we can almost just click a button at the end of the month and take care of our EU VAT return Jamie Angus, Southern Aqua Seafoods

A fast response when solving your business issues

Southern Aqua had been referred to us originally through Ruairi and, as Jamie explains, we’ve helped him solve his reporting issue extremely effectively.

“There are probably quite a few businesses in the UK, like Southern Aqua, that have to submit VAT returns in Europe, and that’s a nightmare if you have a UK accounting package. Whereas, using FD Works’ customised reporting (care of Quick Wins) and their expertise, they developed a report where we can almost just click a button at the end of the month and take care of that.”

We know that time is money for any business. So our aim is always to find a resolution to our client’s business challenges as quickly as possible, and to start helping them move forward.

With Jamie and Southern Aqua, rather than spending weeks trying to work out what they wanted, we came up with an example file, showing what our reporting can do. And Jamie loved the speed, the flexibility and the detail of the reporting we’re able to deliver for him.

“They sent me that file and that was ‘Hey presto!’. We spent a month of so fine-tuning that report and now we’re at the stage where we’re going to meet up next month to set up a monthly routine where they can look at how else they can help our business. There’s lots of other data in our accounts which we’re not really using, that we could.”

A positive impact for you and your business

Our aim is always to get under the skin of how your business works, down to an almost molecular level. We want to know every detail of how the whole business functions. And it’s this CSI-level of detective work that allows us to deliver a truly positive impact for our clients.

Working with Jamie and Southern Aqua in this way has given us an amazing understanding of their business – and their aims for the future. And, as Jamie himself has highlighted, working with FD Works has been extremely beneficial for his company.

“Firstly, there’s been a massive time-saving. Some of the reporting jobs were taking 4 or 5 hours of a senior bookkeeper. So it’s cut these tasks down to 10% or 20% of that time. It’s also changed the mentality of the staff a little bit. They’re thinking with a more can-do approach and realising we don’t just have traditional numbers, that we can analyse this and look at things a little bit more intelligently.”

“And there’s some information that we couldn’t get at all before, even with our laborious methods. There’s reporting I’m now doing back to our fishing partners on analysing trends and all that kind of stuff which we could never do before. So it’s affecting decision-making and reporting to our suppliers or whoever it might be – and we can work more effectively with our suppliers because of that. We’re giving more value back to them.”

Talk to us about customising your Xero reporting

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