Case Study: Building an efficient function at Hometouch

Post by
Dan Hully
Case Study: Building an efficient function at Hometouch
“Before Quantico accounting was a constant source of frustration.  I was always chasing just to get to the point where we could pay people on time and tick the boxes for HMRC.  It felt tedious and stressful.
Quantico was a huge step up, which gives me a sense of comfort and control. Our finance function transformed overnight from a burden to setting the standard for the rest of the team.”

Overview


Hometouch is a marketplace business providing live-in carers.  Founded by Dr Jamie Wilson, an NHS dementia expert, and backed by Passion Capital, Rocket Internet and the UK Government.


Jamie got in touch with us in the of summer 2019 when his Finance Manager handed in his resignation.  He saw an opportunity to transform a failing finance function into one that could drive change across the business.


We’ve been absolutely thrilled to help a great entrepreneur build a business that is making such a positive impact on people’s lives.



Problem


Before we met Jamie, the finance team was constantly at capacity and projects constantly got pushed back as they were overwhelmed with the day to day. Hometouch was also working with a few different external providers and they weren’t always responsive and needed constant chasing.



Pre-Quantico function


Often when we come into a startup we find that the finance function has been neglected, an inevitable consequence of fast growth and a focus on marketing and sales.  This wasn’t the case with Hometouch however; the business had in place a relatively experienced Finance Manager, a bookkeeper working remotely, and an external accounting firm.  


Working remotely and with a lack of knowledge of the business the bookkeeper faced an uphill struggle.  As no specific systems had been set up for Hometouch, she resorted to using processes and software that had worked for them in the past.  Unfortunately these didn’t integrate well with the rest of the business.


The external accounting firm took care of taxes and statutory filings, but unfortunately couldn't be relied on to meet deadlines without chasing.  Disconcertingly there were multiple instances where payroll information was only provided on time because Jamie remembered to ask for it on the day of the deadline.  Like the bookkeeper they were also limited in their knowledge of the business model.


These weaknesses meant that the Finance Manager, who could have been a great asset to the business, was instead bogged down in the minutiae of unpicking bookkeeping errors and managing external suppliers.





The solution


A significant source of friction in Hometouch's set up was communication between the Finance Manager and the two third parties.  We concluded that by centralising the service we could both increase efficiency and reduce costs.


We introduced one of our Senior Finance Business Partners, Louanne, to take over as the primary point of contact for the finance function.  She was backed up by Harun, an experienced accountant in our Finance Operations team.



The advantages


This solution had several advantages.  Firstly by consolidating the roles of the Finance Manager, bookkeeper and accounting firm into one we eliminated the cross team communication that had caused friction in the previous set up.


By working in the Hometouch office our team was able to fully get under the skin of the business, supporting each branch of the business as required.  We used this knowledge to set up bespoke processes that matched the operations and accelerated the monthly reporting cycles.


Additionally we were able to add a layer of strategic ‘Finance Director’ level advice which was missing from the original function.  This was made possible by saving time on routine processes, redesigning the reporting process to collect relevant data and leveraging Iona’s experience.


Finally, by only billing Hometouch for the precise amount of time that we needed, we were able to make all of the above improvements whilst also delivering a cost saving.






The solution now


We’ve been supporting Jamie and Hometouch for the last nine months. Together we’ve revolutionised the reporting process, produced a new cashflow model and processed research and development tax credit claims.


The Quantico model makes a lot of sense. I wish I'd found it sooner.