Client Case Study: Kids Love Nature

Kids Love Nature are an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ early years provider, with 5 children nurseries throughout Dorset and Hampshire. Their approach is in international demand, in urban and natural settings alike as they believe that a connection to nature is a vital missing ingredient in early years education.

The challenge

Kids Love Nature were rapidly growing with new nurseries opening and new potential locations on the horizon locally and internationally.
Business growth was adding pressure to the Finance Department which impacted on the lack of financial reporting and forecasting in a timely manner, this led to decisions being based on bank balances. The Directors needed someone to support them better with strategic planning so improved decisions could be made in order to accomplish their objectives and goals.

The solution

After an initial assessment I undertook the following projects: –

  • Reviewed the current Finance department resources and structure
  • Project managed the recruitment of an additional Accounts Assistant, to undertake the day to day book keeping, to support the Finance Manager
  • Introduced improved and timely monthly financial reporting: -A summary dashboard of how each nursery performs to provide a concise snapshot of the overall company’s performance
  • An analysis on current and past performance, across the nurseries, to identify income and expenditure trends, growth and comparisons across locations
  • Key performance indicators introduced to identify how effective the company is achieving its key business objectives
  • Improved company terms and conditions and documented clear credit control procedures for continuity and consistency across the locations and to improve cash flow
  • Introduced monthly budgets and forecasts for each nursery’s accountability, autonomy to measure their performance to ensure that they meet the expectations of the company’s overall profitability goals
  • Revised current banking facilities to optimise BrightPay (payroll) and SAGE 50 software automation for efficiency, to eliminate duplicate processing and to eliminate potential errors

The outcome

During the first six-month period, the Finance Department was fully resourced with qualified and experienced staff with recruitment agency costs eliminated. Accountabilities and responsibilities were redefined for clarity of roles with a clear reporting structure. Structured Directors monthly finance meetings were introduced with financial management pack provided to review and discuss the company’s performance against budget.

This in turn identified key areas to focus on with agreed action plans to achieve future goals. My services were maintained on a consultancy basis to support the Finance Manager with ongoing staff development, working best practices, motivation and to project manage actions plans and timelines to enhance productivity.

The client’s view

“The advice and support Denise has provided has been invaluable, for the company as a whole, and on an individual level with the directors and members of the finance team. Denise works in a highly professional, diligent manner and has quickly gained the respect of everyone she works with. Her advice has meant we have much more efficient financial procedures and a consistently clear financial picture that enables us to focus on the growth and development of the company. We cannot recommend her services highly enough.”

Ben Walliman, Director, Kids Love Nature