There is more to providing an all-round accountancy service than just preparing end-of-year accounts, as the directors of Anything Stone have discovered by working with the team here at Optimum Professional Services.
Anything Stone, based in Swindon, specialises in the import of natural stone, which it fabricates and installs as surfaces for commercial and domestic customers. Its exquisite stone surfaces adorn bars, hotels, receptions and kitchens across the UK.
Set up in 2004 by co-directors Nick Oldland and Nick Hockin, the business employs 30 people at its Cheney Manor headquarters, where there is also a showroom.
The Anything Stone founders have been working with us for more than five years, and regard our specialist accountancy team as an intrinsic part of their business operation.
They have monthly meetings with our Accounts Director Michael Blaken and Accounts Senior Tracey Alexander. As Nick Oldland says, it is all about understanding the numbers in real time, and making any necessary changes immediately.
“We’ve been with Optimum since they started. We find Michael great because of his relaxed approach, straightforward way of telling us how it is, and that’s what we like. The last thing we want in an accountant is for them to nod and agree with you. We want someone to challenge us, give us some insight and actual advice, highlighting things we should be concentrating on.”
We produce a monthly suite of reports for Anything Stone, which are discussed at the meetings.
“Every month we sit and review the previous month’s numbers, as well as compare them to year-on-year changes,” Nick said. “We analyse them, and why they might have changed. This has significantly improved the way we look at stock, how we move stock, our balance sheet and our P&L.”
Against the backdrop of a volatile economy, impacted by Brexit, Covid and rising interest rates, the support has been invaluable.
Nick said: “It’s very easy when you run a business to be in it and doing it, but not taking a step back to review what’s happening. By meeting monthly just for an hour, at Optimum’s offices where there are no distractions, we can take an objective view and really drill down into what the numbers are telling us. They also hold us accountable for the actions we plan to take. We can make informed business decisions far more responsively than if we were just looking at our end-of-year accounts.”
We also handle Anything Stone’s bookkeeping and payroll, and Nick has taken advantage of our combined accountancy and law service, having used our legal team to help with house conveyancing.
Michael Blaken said he was delighted that the regular meetings were adding value. “Our monthly meetings are good to bring together their strategy and question them on their thought process to ensure that all aspects of their strategy have been considered. It has been great to play a part in their continued success. As with any strategic meeting, being held accountable holds the biggest value to ensure in a busy business, you continue to work on growing and developing the business and not get stuck in the day to day.”