Zavial is a dynamic design and branding agency that has spent the last ten years helping a wide variety of ambitious clients connect with their customers through engaging design and branding.
Managing Director Steve explains that “We were using a cloud based software package called FreeAgent. We also had an accountant who was a recommended FreeAgent specialist and they could log in and do whatever was required remotely. However, we are based in Somerset and they were in the Lake District – that was less than ideal as I find face to face meetings helpful. What’s more, although the system was adequate when the business was just two of us, I wasn’t totally confident in the arrangement as we began to grow.”
As Zavial became increasingly successful Steve approached Brook. “We knew how the cloud accounting thing worked but we wanted someone nearby who could provide more support. I was employing a part time book keeper in house but I wanted more advice with things like VAT returns, setting up our payroll and other issues.”
Once Steve saw what Brook could do he passed all aspects of Zavial’s financial management, apart from the sales invoicing, over to us. This also enabled him to move the book keeper into more of a project manager role where they could improve the workflow and add more value to the business.
The main benefit for Steve is peace of mind. “When the business was smaller we handled the bookkeeping in-house, but as the business became more complex we knew we needed the support from Brook. Even though there’s only six of us things are pretty complicated. Take pension auto-enrolment, there’s so much a small business has to deal with, but Brook took care of it for us, and made the necessary adjustments to the payroll. Other businesses must be getting in a huge mess with all this kind of stuff, but we know everything is being done properly and that we’re complying with all the regulations. Not having to worry about it, that’s great.”
There are other advantages too. “It frees us up to get on with the things we do best, and the things that we enjoy. We can concentrate of getting the work in and providing excellent services for our clients!”
We are always on hand to help support Steve with advice on any financial matters and hold quarterly management accounts meetings to review how the business is progressing. “This is really useful when it comes to planning our growth” explains Steve. “I might have to make a swift decision to take on another project or designer. Brook can tell us what we can afford, and what additional revenue we need to cover it.”
Our fixed monthly retainer means that Steve can speak to us whenever he needs to, without worrying about additional charges. “I’m regularly picking their brains. Recently Ian advised me on the best way to reclaim the maximum VAT on a few purchases. Also, we have clients abroad that we invoice in dollars, we don’t charge VAT, we get paid in sterling, the exchange rate is fluctuating – Ian takes care of it all, no worries.”
We work as a team – Steve has access to more than one person to help with his business. There’s no problem if someone is sick or on holiday and he has access to a range of experts.
Our services are scalable – as Steve’s business grows and gets more complex we can increase the support we provide. We can offer advice on how best to structure his costs and income, identify which of his activities are most profitable and highlight areas where there is room for improvement. An increase in the volume of bookkeeping isn’t a problem – Steve doesn’t need to recruit additional office staff, rent more space and buy extra computers and furniture – we simply increase the resources we allocate to his business.
“You could pay someone in-house but the cost of outsourcing to Brook is very similar, so it makes so much more sense to use them – you get far more support, expertise and reassurance for your money. I would definitely recommend their services to any other business like ours.”