Peter Wood of Accounting Services for Business (ASfB) stumbled upon Brixx quite accidentally.
“I went to the Accountex exhibition about five years ago and came across the Brixx stand. I got talking with them after we discovered we had housing association clients in common and I thought they were brilliant. So, it was an accidental meeting, but proves that exhibitions do pay off!”
When Peter first started using Brixx, the ASfB team were doing all their cashflow work with spreadsheets.
“As anyone who has used a spreadsheet knows, constructing them can be a lot of work and very complicated. Spreadsheets are horrible for formula errors, we’ve seen some big corporations make monstrous mistakes. The whole idea of software like Brixx that formulates the calculations to cut out errors is hugely appealing.”
There are three main ways ASfB uses Brixx:
- Internally to drive their own business development
- To help their clients check the viability of their business ideas and create a robust financial plan
- For presentations to banks in order to source business funding
“Spreadsheets are horrible for formula errors, we’ve seen some big corporations make monstrous mistakes. The whole idea of software like Brixx that formulates the calculations to cut out errors is hugely appealing.”
ASfB has been going for about 17 years and are broadening out their core services from accountancy and book-keeping to business advice and business development, running audits on business to see how effective and efficient their processes are.
“Brixx is a fab product,” continues Peter, “Internally it’s been humongously valuable for us. I’m using it now to analyse our own marketing budget. We’ve used it to build a complete business case forecast for ourselves; we’ve used it to collate figures for two acquisitions, which was hugely effective and we’re just about to start up a subsidiary business for which we’ve used Brixx to do the projections.”
“For business acquisitions we’ve been able to test all our assumptions to see whether it’s viable for us to buy a business and expand our company. We can look at what would happen by adding in their staff and clients, what resources we would need and how would we finance it. Brixx does a tremendously thorough job. We can add in and drop off elements to tweak our numbers.”
“We’ve recently also looked at separating out our payroll service. Using Brixx, we’ve calculated it will work best under a separate identity as a service to other accountants. From a marketing perspective, we’re testing out theories. Rather than muddying the waters and trying to be all things to all people, we can explore services as separate businesses.”
“Feedback from a bank on a new project we’re working on came back recently as one of the best new business presentations they’d ever, ever seen,”
How ASfB is using Brixx to help startups
ASfB’s latest business development is to offer Brixx forecasting to businesses clients as a service. “We’re starting to attract start up clients, they’re a very good target market for us.”
“We find start-ups really know their stuff when it comes to their business but knowing the numbers is not always a strong point. But that’s where we come in. Our focus is to provide a virtual outsourced accounts office to our clients. We take control of numbers for their finances, act as their finance department and Brixx is a very powerful tool to give them visibility of their numbers.”
“It’s ideal to be able to sit down with business owners to work out their figures and see if they have got a viable business idea. If they’re thinking of expanding, we can quickly and easily put in the numbers and test the assumptions – zippity doo dah and it’s done!”
“Feedback from a bank on a new project we’re working on came back recently as one of the best new business presentations they’d ever, ever seen,” says Peter. “They loved it and said the figures are so well presented from a bank’s point of view. When we’ve met our own principal bankers, we’ve been able to have the figures up on the screen in a presentation and we can modify the scenarios as we go.”
“We can see the impact on cashflow if we miss our targets or demonstrate where we built our reserves in, it really brings the numbers to life. We see the bank managers thinking, “Mmm, this is something else”! It’s tremendously impressive.”
“The banks we work with are used to seeing stilted figures on a business plans and spreadsheets, Brixx is so interactive by comparison. That interactive element is so wonderful, you couldn’t do that on a spreadsheet, especially not with the risk of formula errors.”
Peter particularly likes the dashboard’s graphical presentation. “I’m a pictures person,” he says, “I put the numbers in and want to see the trend or impact.”
“Brixx are lovely people to deal with – their support is superb, newsletters are great to read and it is beautifully designed software. It’s a lesson in good user interface – they’ve really thought about it. Brixx have got some talent there!”