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How MATAX Accountants Use Scenario Planning To Help Their Clients Find Hope

There are some calls you are never prepared for. This was the case one afternoon when MATAX Founding Partner, Dawn Hatch, received a call to let her know one of her clients had sadly and unexpectedly passed away.

The client had been Dawn’s main contact at the company and he was the business owner – the one she strategised with, the one who garnered all of the sales, and the one who made all of the decisions for the company. Upon hanging up the call, the reality of the situation became apparent. Dawn would have to provide timely and accurate information to his widow, his employees, the CPA, the Estate Executor and investors on the status and viability of the company. She had to understand how long the company could last with the cash it had.

The company was a successful media installation business which specialised in large scale audio and video presentation suites and generally took in large project revenues. However, there was also a large degree of current and non-current debt. To top it all off, there was no succession plan in place. This meant that, as an LLC, all debts would fall within the family estate if the business were to fold. The stakes were high.

The client’s widow was thrust into the role of CEO and Executor and needed the right information to make the best decisions possible. Step in: Dawn and Float.

Finding the best way forward

When faced with the task of building a model of what currently existed, as well as a roadmap that laid out several paths that could be taken and/or would need to be taken, Dawn knew Float was the tool to use. Float presented the scenarios in a format that would be easily understood by all, and easily maintained as new information came to light.

“I needed a simple to understand dashboard for the widow to view and track the status of the company,” said Dawn, “to see the reality and future possibilities.”

“Just when we needed it, Float unveiled scenarios and in a matter of minutes, we were able to construct several versions of how to best operate the business and meet its needs amid a variety of possible circumstances.”

Working together, Dawn built out several different scenarios for the newly-appointed CEO to consider, including:

  • Keeping the company active throughout the completion of projects that were in progress, inclusive of long-term debt paydown
  • Extending the company through scheduled projects
  • Timing of funding for additional new projects through debt paydown, allowing the new CEO to retain a profit

Then, just as a plan was beginning to take shape, Covid-19 happened. This disrupted everything and halted all travel and installations, effectively bringing the company to a standstill.

But Dawn kept a cool head and returned to Float’s scenario planning tool. With the information in front of her, she advised the CEO to keep staff on payroll, and to stick to bare minimum operations until travel restrictions were lifted and paused projects could resume.

“Float enables us to focus on choices, solutions and strategy rather than on data compilation.”

Building out all of these different scenarios took just a couple of hours, yet they were invaluable to the new CEO.

As well as the sense of control the scenario planning process brought, these scenarios demonstrated that the company offered excellent value to possible investors or future owners. With this demonstrable readiness and flexibility, the company piqued the interest of several sources who were interested in buying.

Essentially, what Dawn did was to buy her client some time. Time to decide how to move forward with – or without – the business her partner had spent so many years building up. As a grieving widow with two young children to take care of, the new CEO told Dawn “I’ve had hope because of your support and expertise”.

Using dynamic, reactive and proactive forecasting

The two-time Xero Gold Partner of the Year, MATAX, has a clear goal at the heart of their business – to give entrepreneurs their time back. Dawn and the other accountants at MATAX do all they can to save their clients valuable time and money by using the latest technology and cloud solutions to solve accounting, planning and operational needs.

“Cash flow management that is dynamic, reactive and proactive is vital for businesses now and long after the pandemic is over.”

MATAX uses Float internally for a number of tasks, such as budget planning and even training staff on the importance of cash flow monitoring and planning.

“The Float dashboard is now the first thing I look at each morning to monitor the activity and to triage the clients that are using this tool,” said Dawn. “It is so valuable that I refer to its centralized wealth of information internally as reasoning to put more clients on the platform.”

MATAX cleverly used Float’s scenario planning tool to anticipate which of their clients would be most impacted by the pandemic (and to what extent), so they could proactively offer services to help support them. Many of MATAX’s clients were offered Float as a no-cost add-in to support them through a rocky period. For Dawn it was a no-brainer – the goodwill and valuable information their clients would glean from Float was well worth the cost of the subscription. For MATAX it reduced the risk of losing those clients and facing the prospect of trying to acquire new clients during an economic downturn.

“Float does the work for us, then we review and look like heroes to the client,” said Dawn. And who wouldn’t want to look like a hero in their clients’ eyes? Especially in times like these.

If you would like to find out about how to offer Float to your clients, visit our Partners page.

Louise Bayley-Boyd

Content Manager and digital enthusiast, fuelled by coffee and horror films.