Out of the Ordinary Accounting

How Harlands and our strategic partners can help your business to grow

It happens in many businesses. They are moving along at a pace and then something stops them in their tracks. An opportunity that looks too good to miss. Assess all the potential risks and benefits and it still looks great. But you may not feel like you are in the ideal position to make the most of this. It happened to FM Coatings. They saw an opportunity but weren’t totally convinced that they were in the perfect position to proceed. They spoke to Harlands and we used our network of contacts to help them out. Simon Boyson of Gateway Capital Finance stepped forward and between us we looked for a solution.

Harlands Accountants and Gateway Capital Finance work together to provide the kind of accounting support that is out of the ordinary. Many accountants can look backwards and see where you have been. This has kind of been the role of a standard accountant for years. But Harlands are far from standard. To provide the best business support for our clients we work together with experts in their field to provide the solutions that all businesses need from time to time.

One of the partnerships that we are most proud of is the connection we have with Simon Boyson and Gateway Capital Finance. The bank can be the first port of call for many businesses when they are looking at finance. But, this doesn’t do the business justice. A great relationship with your bank is valuable for any business, but when you need serious capital then speaking to an expert who knows the market and has access to a wide range of lenders can really pay dividends, as it did for one of our clients. The fact that Simon has vast experience in finding the right finance for a range of businesses means we call on him regularly to support our clients.

An opportunity arises

FM Coatings had been thinking about buying and owning their own factory as their current premises were rented and an ongoing cost to the business. At the same time, they were looking for a new factory, a customer approached them with a big order that would stretch their current capacity. It all felt like the right time to move into new premises and expand the business. As with any expansion, there were many factors to consider. One potential stumbling block that FM Coatings kept coming up against was the finance. They spoke to several lenders, including their own bank for assistance with this. The appetite for banks to lend to businesses, even an established and well-run one like FM Coatings, isn’t great. The overall investment needed was going to be around £2.5 million, including buying the new factory and kitting it out. This is a large investment for a business of any size. On first enquiries with the banks, the deposit from FM Coatings was going to be around £1 million. This is a lot of capital to put down in one go.

Looking at the proposition, FM Coatings were probably going to have to say no to their potentially lucrative contract and new home. When they had to find £1 million of their own money, the proposition to buy and kit out a new factory seemed like a risk too far. They are experts in what they do and were able to step up to fulfil customer orders, but this is a large amount of capital and cashflow to remove from any medium to large business. The deal looked dead in the water.

Is there another way?

Speaking to Harlands, they were able to use a strategic partnership with Simon Boyson of Gateway Capital Finance to look at other potential lenders. He was able to speak to several lenders and use the information from FM Coatings as well as the data from Harlands to leverage the best terms he could. Initially Simon approached their existing bank and was able to negotiate far better terms than the business had managed on their own. Having the professional advice and experience of Simon Boyson was setting FM Coatings out on the right path. The help of Simon turned a deal that looked like it was gong nowhere into something that FM Coatings were really excited about.

Simon wasn’t just able to get a 90% commercial mortgage for the factory – he was able to get this without debentures or personal guarantees from the directors. The stress this takes off the mind of a director is immeasurable.

So instead of going cap in hand to their bank and accepting what they were given, Simon was able to understand their business immediately, use the relationship he has with Harlands and source a better deal.

The net result of this was the fact that the business now only had to find £240,000 instead of the £1 million that they were first quoted. This was the difference between the project going ahead or not. As you can imagine, saving this amount of money and keeping it in the business is huge. Add in the fact that there are no personal guarantees needed takes the weight of the world off the shoulders of the directors of FM Coatings.

Harlands were able to help with specific advice because they work so closely with their clients. Most accountants would be the last to know about a plan or project like this. FM Coatings spoke to the team at Harlands and they were able to contact a finance broker with exact figures – something that the quarterly accounts and being part of the FM Coatings team enabled. Having comprehensive accounts helped with the application to the banks – they could immediately see that this was a good proposition.

Giving a business the power to pursue their dreams

A company like FM Coatings has power and knowledge in their own business sector. You don’t get to the top of the automotive industry without knowing your stuff inside out. But not being part of the finance industry means that you often need a professional to help. Harlands have strategic partnerships with quality providers in many areas such as finance so they can help their clients to leverage this expertise. The fact that we were able to involve Simon Boyson of Gateway Capital Finance meant that FM Coatings could save around three quarters of a million pounds in deposit and interest savings running into the tens of thousands of pounds a year.

Harlands are experts in helping businesses to understand not only where they are today, but where they can be in the future. FM Coatings needed to plan ahead to see how their business would look and feel if they went ahead with their expansion. Harlands worked hand in hand with FM Coatings to project how the new venture would work out and what impact that might have on the business. Nobody has a crystal ball, but together we were able to forecast the likely impact of the move.

Simon Boyson of Gateway Capital Finance brings so much to the table for Harlands. He opens up doors for our clients that we thought would be closed forever. The understanding he has of the way banks work means he can structure amazing deals like the one he managed for FM Coatings. We have strategic partners such as this in many aspects of our business. It means that we are able to go much further than the accountant who simply checks your books and files your tax return. This is the Harlands way. We offer the support and advice you need to manage your business effectively.

The company is looking to a brighter future. The new factory has increased capacity and has enabled the business to build long-term contracts with automotive manufacturers. The run of a new model car is typically 6 to 7 years, and now FM Coatings is in a place to sign up several of these and build for the future. The new location has allowed FM Coatings to work more efficiently – their economies of scale mean that every product or part they coat makes them more profit. The new factory has put them on a sounder economic footing.

The result looks like being a trebling of turnover and at least trebling their profit. They feel like they have been given a new lease of life. The business has capacity for new customers and this has all come about for a relatively small deposit. Their brand-new facility looks and feels great, so any potential new client that visits can’t help but be impressed with the facility.

This is the Harlands effect. Where as most accountants will file accounts at the end of the year for a business, and maybe answer a few questions over the course of the year, this isn’t good enough for Harlands. We want to help our clients to grow so we become a strategic partner in their business. We understand business inside out, so we help you to define your goals and are able to coach you into achieving them.

Speak to our team today to find out how the next generation of accountants can transform the way you look at your business.

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