In 2009 David was joined by his wife, Sandra, who took responsibility for managing the accounts and the administration within the expanding business.
Over the last 17 years Fir Tree has developed its proposition and now serves the commercial vehicle market with tailored solutions designed to create safer vehicles. Today Fir Tree employs a team of 8 and operates from well-equipped premises complete with spacious workshops and dedicated R&D area. The portfolio of clients has grown and includes a number of household names.
Due to the success of the business David and Sandra had lost any semblance of work life balance. The business was consuming a huge amount of their time and energy. Taking time out at weekends and for holidays had become a rare treat. They also knew, deep down, that they did not have as firm a grip on the financials as they would have liked.
Growth brings added complexity to any business. Fir Tree was growing on all fronts – turnover, customer base, solutions offered and number of employees. From both a financial and operational perspective the business was lacking in systems and accessing information was a challenge.
Working so relentlessly was taking its toll on David and Sandra. They were at the point where they needed to make a real change in their business to free up their time and to manage the business growth more effectively. Fir Tree’s success had caused it to outgrow existing systems and processes. The company was no longer agile and able to react quickly to opportunities because the information required was not easily available.
How 1 Accounts Helped
Fir Tree has been a client of 1 Accounts since 2014. Paul originally installed Sage 50 and Sandra was very happy and comfortable using the software. Paul recognised that as the company was growing the desktop based software was no longer the best solution for Fir Tree.
Paul had quite a job on his hands to convince Sandra that the time had come to move over to Xero. Eventually Sandra agreed and Fir Tree’s accounts were transferred from Sage 50 to Xero using Move My Books. Sandra was then trained in the use of the new software. At first Sandra did not like Xero, preferring the familiarity of Sage 50.
After a few weeks, and no more bank reconciliations, Sandra became a fan. She now loves Xero and would not return to the Sage 50, even if Paul would let her!
Acknowledging that their business required a higher level of financial expertise and an “outsiders” perspective, David and Sandra invited Paul to sit on the board of directors as a non-executive finance director.
Monthly finance and strategy meetings combined with the powerful tools provided by Xero and the financial analysis of Futrli ensure that David and Sandra can access all the information they need. They can make well informed business decisions, such as the recruitment of an additional engineer, without having to “wing it”!
The couple have also been able to take regular holidays confident that they can have full access to their accounts from anywhere in the world.