TBI’s complex business model required expertise and diligence
Nicola and John — like most small-business owners — knew that organized, accurate, up-to-date accounting could make a business. And the lack of the same can quickly break a business.
Sadly though, they didn’t have the time or the expertise to administer their own books or prepare their own taxes.
“We really wanted to get better help with bookkeeping, taxes, payroll, the whole shebang,” Nicola recalled.
“But there was this added element where if we wanted to hire, or really do anything at all, we were hampered by the fact that we really didn't know how to do all the accounting for it.”
The duo knew that many business owners in this position were winging it, moving forward, and hoping for the best. Often, though, the results were disastrous. They wanted to avoid those common, costly, and even tragic mistakes.
“We were very concerned about going fast and loose, and potentially running into trouble,” Nicola said. “So, we began looking for the right accounting team to help.”
Factors complicating their books
The industry was — and still is growing. A survey conducted by Statista found that
30% of companies plan to increase their use of executive search firm services in the next year.
Source: Statista “Predicted change in demand in the next five years for executive search services worldwide in 2019, by service”
But the nature of the business was also complex. Many executive search firms work tirelessly at a steady pace, but their income reflects a massive influx followed by months of goose eggs. So Thomas Brooke International’s revenue was dependable but wildly irregular.
To further complicate matters, Nicola and John had made a major capital investment, which entangled personal finances with business accounting. They wondered who could help them sort out their true tax obligations while ensuring they didn’t overpay.
Leadership needed insights to execute an ambitious staffing strategy
Nicola knew the industry was ripe with opportunity. She also knew that her company was uniquely positioned and able to capitalize on what other firms saw as their top challenge of finding and connecting people with ultra-niche skills.
To operate, though, the business owners had only two choices: move forward blindly, making unsubstantiated decisions; or simply stand still.
Staffing was a particular problem. Hire? Don’t? Engage contractors? Bring W-2 employees on? Both? Thomas Brooke International’s leaders couldn’t intelligently decide without financial insights. The project-based irregular cadence of retained search made for tricky reporting.
Totals always looked skewed. In other words, the couple was trapped in a cycle of uncertainty and immobility.
The accountants they hired weren’t up to the job, either
In their first 20 years in operation, Nicola estimated they’d gone through five or six accountants who promised regular reporting, smart tax strategies, and proactive service but delivered subpar results.
“Basically, they just didn't seem to grasp what we needed,” she said. “They didn't understand our business, and they didn't really care to learn, to understand the unique business that we're in.”
These accountants made more mistakes, which cost precious time and valuable capital (resources that were already tight).
The conundrum isn’t uncommon. In fact,
30% of business owners believe they overpay in taxes.
For Thomas Brooke International, this trend was all too real. Overpaying in taxes year after year drained their hope for a solution.
John and Nicola needed an accountant who would listen and learn instead of applying the “same old” thinking of widget-based business models to Thomas Brooke International’s unique business.
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