Case Studies

Client: Total Synergy

a Sydney based software business providing project management software to design professionals

The Situation:

The client, a Sydney based software business providing business and project management software for architects, engineers and construction firms, with a client base in Asia Pacific, the UK and north America, was growing users and revenue rapidly and investing significant money into product development, marketing / growth and customer success. The business has been operating for 20 years and had recently pivoted its product offering to a SaaS model and aggressively launched its new product in Australia and the UK which has seen rapid growth in both users and revenue.
Scott the founder was finding that management of the finance function was becoming more taxing and time consuming as the business increased in size and complexity (multiple geographies, entities and department budgets). He was looking for someone he could trust to oversee the finance function and manage the full-time bookkeeper, whilst also providing high level commercial support to the department heads and to work on the business’s strategy and commercial model.

Team Synergy

The Work:

James is engaged as CFO working one day a week onsite in the Total Synergy office in north Sydney.

Overseeing the finance department: focusing on: month end reviews of multiple entities working closely with the bookkeeper to ensure the accounts are accurate and reflect the business performance by geography and product. Working with the businesses tax agents in Australia, the UK and the USA to ensure the business is compliant and returns are filed and ensuring the tax position is optimised and any grants available are applied for. James implemented spotlight reporting, a cloud-based reporting tool to consolidate the group results (xero only shows one company not a combination) and analysing the businesses driver’s vs the budget, looking at metrics such as number of users, average revenue per user and customer acquisition costs (typical SaaS metrics) to understand the underlying business drivers which impact revenue and profit.

Planning and strategy: James has managed four planning cycles whilst engaged at Total Synergy. The annual business plans for two years and two half yearly forecasts. This involved partnering with the heads of sales and marketing, development, services and regional managers to do bottom up builds of investments in headcount, operating expenditure and key metrics related to each area i.e cost per acquisition, new paid users and hosting consumption. He worked with the CEO on the overarching business strategy, strategic pillars and corporate goals. Then worked through the approval and moderation process to align the top-level strategy with the department goals. Bottom up budgets were reviewed, investments prioritised and cut in some cases.

James developed a financial model tying together the key business drivers – SaaS / Software metrics, headcount investment, operating costs and hosting and direct costs which all tie together and can predict financials (P&L and cashflow) over 3 years.

Investment: The CEO and James are currently working on a pitch deck to raise capital to aid further expansion internationally and invest in product development to broaden the portfolio of products it can offer its customers. Much of the work required for an IM / Pitch deck was completed in the annual planning process and through development of the long-term financial model. Some narrative and articulation of the long-term plan for the business is required and being worked through.

The Outcome:

Free the CEO up to focus on business strategy and expansion.

Alignment between business strategy and department objectives.

Implementation of crisp cloud based reporting showing the financial results of the overall group of companies with multiple currencies and geographies.

Creation of a long-term financial model encompassing different products, geographies, headcount across varying departments, operating costs and detailed SaaS / Software metrics to model out revenue and growth.

James has helped free me up to focus on growing the business domestically and internationally. I work with him on the businesses high level strategy and he takes care of the detail, creating financial models, budgets by departments and overseeing the finance operations of our business. He is a valued member of our team, he furthers our strategic and commercial capability and adds a lot of value.

Scott Osborne
Founder / CEO

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