When one of London’s coolest and most ambitious bar groups lost some key accounting staff in 2017 it turned to the Cloud, and hasn’t looked back.
Barworks’ finance director, Scott Chillery, found himself in a quandary when four of his staff resigned and, as he put it, ‘had the option of recruiting like-for-like or outsourcing.’ He decided to outsource and turned to his long-standing accountants, Taylorcocks, for advice and help.
For some time Taylorcock’s Farnham based managing partner, Miles Auckland, had suggested that Barworks – which together with sister Good Life Group encompasses around 20 separate companies – might benefit from a Cloud based system called Xero, and now seemed the ideal time to test it.
Explains Scott: ‘We used to have a very manual process, using Sage with a lot of repetitive data entry. Miles had mentioned Xero and so we decided to embrace technology and improve the way we managed things. With people leaving it was an ideal opportunity to try it.’
After Barworks’ finance team had been trained in the necessary procedures, accounting data was migrated from Sage to Xero and immediately the benefits became apparent.
Adds Scott: ‘In the past we would have to manually enter transactions from various bank accounts and other source data into Sage, which was inefficient and repetitive. With Xero we have a direct link from the bank into the system, so transactions automatically feed into our accounting software.
‘Also, one of Barworks’ USPs is our wide range of beers which we are proud of. It’s great for customers, but it generates a lot of paperwork from suppliers for my team to process. This used to involve a considerable amount of manual inputting of purchases, but now we are able to use a piece of software called Datamolino which talks to Xero and allows invoices to be read and uploaded directly. Everything works perfectly and is done on time.’
Miles Auckland is confident that many similar businesses could reap huge benefits from using Xero, especially in cases where they need to fill a skills gap or find new people, which is not always easy. He calls it ‘scaleability.’
‘It is often about resourcing and the trigger points can be different – a business may be scaling down or up or it may simply need to replace an individual. With Xero there is no risk of down-time through holidays or sickness, no recruitment fees, pension costs and so on. It is all about managing the client’s financial business and so another major issue is that of trust, which the system provides. Anyone who employs a book-keeper understands that if there is to be an alternative then they will want to know who is doing it. Despite Xero being cloud based it is not like a machine – the client has a close relationship with one nominated person acting as the key intermediary and it remains personal.’
Scott agrees. ‘I have complete faith in Xero and enjoy a very constructive working relationship with Taylorcocks – my team and I are always able to pick up the phone and they’re consistently helpful and responsive.
‘We’re now going through our third or fourth iteration of services together and may well hand over more work to them. In short, they understand my challenges and are very flexible in their approach.’