Denis Marriner joined Dawson Insurance Brokers in 2001 and took over the reins when the founder retired in 2016. Frank came on board for the due diligence process and was retained by Denis and his team to build on what they had uncovered.
Until that point, the business hadn’t had transparency or depth of knowledge around their financial performance. Financial reports did not provide much useful information, and this lack of insight meant Denis was, in his own words,
“stuck inside the business, not knowing how to take a step back and work on it.”
Insurance can be challenging for some accountants because there are large amounts of other people’s money (GWP) washing in and out of the business.
Lack of clarity about what is actually income, and when it should be recognised, can lead to incorrect reporting of revenue. Additionally, GST is often incorrectly treated, leading to vulnerability with the IRD.
Frank helped Dawson set up a new accounting system with the appropriate coding and controls to minimise the risk of a nasty surprise at tax time.
Frank implemented a change to reporting on a monthly basis – moving beyond a cash position to an accrual accounting basis. This gives Dawson’s managers the ability to track business performance; so insidious trends could be spotted before they became expensive problems. Denis Marriner puts it this way:
“Accurate monthly financial information lets me know on any given day where the company is at with income and expenses compared to our targets and last year’s performance.”
Shortly after engaging Frank, the Dawson executive team sat down for a one-day strategic workshop at Frank’s office. They thrashed out a set of objectives for the business, including some easy wins plus a few ‘big, hairy, audacious’ goals.’ This was followed up with an operational planning session to divide the year into quarters, allocate owners to key objectives, and agree on deliverables and timelines. Now everyone knows what really matters beyond the day-to-day, and there’s a plan to get there.
Frank provides quarterly reports to Dawson’s board, providing transparency to their internal and external shareholders. As with everything Frank, these reports are delivered in straightforward language that connects the latest numbers to the overall health and progress of the business.
Denis Marriner and his team now have access to the financial information they need to ensure the business is growing profitably and meeting the expectations laid out in its strategic plan. As Denis says,
“It lets me as the business owner do what I do best, and that is not accounting.”
Denis also appreciates Frank’s responsive service. He says,
“Having access to our Frank accountant has meant we get professional accountancy solutions immediately. They have set up things like tax pooling and been a tremendous help with budgets.”
The strategic planning workshop with Frank identified some ambitious five-year goals. Many of these will be hit within three years, which suggests the business is on track to meet both the short-term and long-term objectives of its owners.
“Our financial reporting is much more modern, and the combination of changing to Xero and the work we have done with Frank has given us a much closer handle on our results and performance. We can look every day and know our results. We now set and report against budgets, and the monthly reports give us a good snapshot of our results.”