15 Jun, 2021
In this customer catch up we hear how the team at Garbutt + Elliott are rolling out Fathom to their clients, showing the value it can bring, and even giving them direct access to Fathom’s insights so they can explore their data in their own time.
Tell us about your roles at G&E?
I'm Jackie Senior, director of the IntelliG+Ence department looking at the real-time accounting side of things.
I’m Aaron Sutton, I primarily look after the real-time solutions side, which is converting clients to the cloud, optimising their cloud offering, and managing software that we use internally.
And I’m James Fry, also a director of the IntelliG+Ence team, focussing primarily on the real-time insights and management accounts.
How were you offering advisory services before Fathom?
Jackie: So historically, we used an Excel product we devised in-house to create some simple graphical analysis that we could send out with our year end accounts. Then we changed our accounts production software, so we couldn't use it anymore. We were looking for a solution like Fathom’s visuals as it brings a lot to the conversation.
How are you making Fathom part of your service?
James: We've just started on that journey, we plan to roll out Fathom to every client and have different offerings. We'd build from something simple that includes a traditional P&L and balance sheet on a cash basis, and then add to that with accruals-based management accounts, adding visuals and KPIs, through to forecasting.
So rather than hitting them with everything from day one, we’re taking them on a journey and partnering with them. There’s an educational element where we can start to say this is what's going on in your business & why it's important.
Is that the best approach?
James: Very much so from my experience, it's not just that we might overwhelm them with information, it's also potentially overwhelming with the fee. Also, there's still a little bit of manual intervention and client education so that their data quality is better which then helps us to deliver more meaningful information.
However, one of the beauties of using technology like Fathom is showing people what's wrong and explaining why it's wrong. There is a great value attached to that, but there's a bit of fear in having that conversation too. So the education journey is to teach the value. That way, the value is appreciated by the client, and the fear is reduced. Then you can build up to these bigger services in stages rather than offering everything on day one.
What’s your roadmap for this?
James: Our roadmap for this year is basically to launch the MI piece. We’ve been doing digital using Xero for a while at G+E, but over the last two years, we've developed the process more for us to lead and take charge of the conversation, and have been working to get processing systems right and better quality data from the clients so we could launch more products. We didn't want to throw too much information at people when it's open to scrutiny. I think that's the inherent accountants in us. We like things to be right.
Talk to us about some of the KPIs clients want to track in Fathom
Jackie: It's been very much led by the client since we've explained that this was an option.
Aaron: A client I spoke to recently was very interested in tracking non-financial KPIs in Fathom. He has several types of products in various sizes and wanted to track the number of each type that he sold to get more insight on their revenue list to how they're performing. Jackie’s right, it’s client-led, for some, their eyes light up when they see the phrase non-financial KPIs. They know exactly what they want. When you get that blank look, you know that you've got to spend a bit more time explaining what they are and how they can be used.
Jackie: It's highly dependent on the sophistication of the client.
Are you presenting the PDF report or workshopping with clients on the fly?
James: We've got an internal training challenge in building confidence within the staff to be able to deliver analysis live and work with data on the fly. The traditional way is to produce a set of figures and provide some commentary and hand that over, rather than work on live data. That's one of our challenges, so as well as taking clients on this journey, we’re also taking the team along as well. In fact, we need staff to be a step ahead of the client in the journey.
And are you giving clients access to Fathom?
Aaron: Yes, we're giving clients training and then access to Fathom so they can manage some things they need themselves. And when we do this, the biggest thing we show them is the Analysis Dashboards, because the uniqueness of Fathom is not just the reporting side, it's the Analysis Dashboard. We spend considerable time on that, showing them that they can just jump in and run the KPI Explorer or the Trends or the Growth Analysis on the fly, allowing them to have the insights in real-time.
Start your journey with Fathom today
Our thanks to Jackie, Aaron and James for their time. We’ll be sure to check in on their progress later in the year. If you’d like to explore ways in which we can help your team with training, and giving clients limited access to Fathom and its resources, get in touch with our support team today, we’d be happy to help.
Written by Andrew Webb
Andrew is Fathom’s Content Strategist based in the UK. He has a background in journalism and has worked for companies like the BBC and HuffPost, as well as start ups in education and technology. Andrew has also published 5 food books and makes a great pie.