Helping BBB to Gain Financial Clarity and Control to Power Growth
CLIENT: Bigger Brighter Bolder BBB is a successful membership-based business club based in Newbury, Berkshire. For the past four years Panthera Accounting has provided BBB with Financial Awareness coaching, guidance and accounting support.
Tracey Miller is Managing Director of Bigger Brighter Bolder, a membership-based business club based in Newbury, Berkshire. For the past 10 years, BBB Success Groups have been helping business owners to build the businesses they want. It now supports members at many different stages of development. Although its founders are experts in growth and sales, they found they needed more support to maintain financial clarity and control as their own organisation evolved.
For the past four years Panthera Accounting has provided BBB with Financial Awareness coaching and guidance in Management Accounting and Cashflow Management, as well as day-to-day bookkeeping and compliance accounting work.
Accounting for visibility and focus
BBB was first founded in 2009 by Tracey and her partner, business coach George Swift. Their early experience with accountants was not positive. She recalled: “Early on we found ourselves in some very challenging situations. We had a typical accountant firm charging us quite a lot monthly for doing the accounts at the end of the year – but we had no idea about Corporation Tax, and each year would just get a big tax bill landing on us. It was hideous.”
Tracey began to realise the value of a good accountant when BBB found a more supportive provider who gave more planning input. This served them well for some years, but since then, the business has grown considerably. Forward visibility has become more important.
Panthera Accounting stepped in to support BBB with payroll, bookkeeping and end of year accounts, but Tracey particularly values working directly with Panthera’s MD, Tory Wagg on the business finances. She explained: “Working with Tory has been the next evolution in working with an accountant. She has enabled me to evolve my position as Managing Director by helping me properly understand how the business operates from a financial perspective.
“Now we can make really strategic decisions, we know where we need to focus from a sales perspective. Plus, I have visibility, so I don’t have any more sleepless nights.”
Coaching enables calm control
Panthera has helped Tracey to learn about and comprehend BBB’s business finances better through regular coaching sessions. She is unequivocal about the value of this: “I don’t know how you can run any successful business without really understanding the numbers. When you run a business with a large membership and a growing team of nine staff, you must understand what your cashflow forecast looks like. You have to plan how to make provisions for tax, cover all the salaries, and manage this crazy world we live in. You have to have a handle on the numbers.
Tracey admits freely that learning about finance has not been without its challenges. “I am quite a resistant learner when it’s something that’s not my forté and have been on a huge learning curve about how to run the business. Especially the cashflow forecast – which I knew I should do, but Tory has helped to take the headaches away. Now I absolutely love my cashflow forecast!”
“Tory has an agenda to continually educate you on your own finances. Now we are focusing on Benchmarking and looking at other businesses in our industry to see how well BBB is performing.”
Enabling smart strategic decisions
Panthera has helped ensure that BBB is fully informed on finance to enable better strategic decisions. One of these was whether to launch a Start-up product at the height of the pandemic. “We needed to look at it not only from an emotional and business strategy perspective, but also from a financial perspective and the impact it would have on the deliverables for BBB. Making a smart decision was possible because we had a handle on the numbers.” They decided to proceed, and their Launch Success Groups have been extremely successful.
BBB has also taken Panthera’s expert advice around how to fund its growth. “Tory has educated us about what loans are available – one loan before the pandemic helped us make some investments we needed to do, and she was really swift and efficient in helping us get a Bounce Back loan. That enabled further big investments in our team, infrastructure and rebranding.”
Meeting different information needs
BBB is a family firm, managed by two equally strong but very different characters. “I respond to the big picture, and to clear visuals – whereas George is all about taking time to go into details. Tory manages both – giving him all the information he needs, but also giving me high-level bullet-points. She is clever at making sure we both understand the finances.”
Panthera switched BBB’s financial platform from Sage to Xero, which now provides Tracey with the visibility she needs on demand during the month. She says: “Xero is just the best software. I use it to view reports whenever I want – and can see anything outstanding very easily. I regularly use it to look at the P&L, which is a good snapshot, and can check into individual accounts.”
Tracey and Tory meet each month to review the management information. “The regular monthly session with Panthera is invaluable. We go through all the accounts: the cashflow forecast, the P&L, and see whether we’re on track. We have now added a quarterly session, which will include George, to enable us to look at strategic financial planning. Tory really is a Financial Director for BBB.”
A partnership based on trust
Trust is an essential enabler of the close relationship between BBB and Panthera, believes Tracey. She said: “I must work with someone who I know can handle me, and that I can trust. Sharing your finances is like sharing your dirty linen. It must be someone you know you can trust to not judge, and always provide you with support. Tory simplifies what can be a complicated subject into something that that I can make sense of – that shows real expertise.”
“Tory genuinely cares. She always goes the extra mile for her clients so they can feel good about their financial situation, even if the finances themselves aren’t good at one point in time. You still have clear understanding and financial strategy, and you know that someone has your back.”
The depth of this professional relationship has not only benefited BBB, Tracey concluded: “I don’t think we’d be where we are without Tory, because of what she’s enabled us to do financially. She has not just helped BBB but has also been instrumental in helping our members about loans and grants available, especially through the pandemic. She stepped up to do finance sessions when people were panicking, just to support our members.”