Some chapters of a business’ existence are simply make or break, and Fred Chak, founding partner of Block Wearables Ltd, could see he was in such a position when he first talked to KPMG’s Small Business Accounting (SBA) team.
His attention had been squarely focused on working with their supporters and producing the product. But when it came to accounting, they needed some help. This case study explains how KPMG worked with Block Wearables to make its financial management as durable as its products.
About the Business
Born and bred in London, England, Block Wearables is the company responsible for taking BLOCKS – the world’s first modular smartwatch – to market. Since November 2013, the company’s product design experts have been developing BLOCKS to become an open platform. This means that any manufacturer or developer can create a module or ‘block’ – ranging from a battery to a sensor or display unit – to complement the existing BLOCKS smartwatch or to replace or update a particular component.
As Fred explains: “People can choose blocks and create their own unique smartwatch to fit exactly what they need. They can then upgrade their blocks over time and can keep up with the latest technology without the need to replace their whole smartwatch.”
Within 15 months of starting the company, things were getting very exciting at Block Wearables. The business had been contacted by hundreds of publications, TV and radio shows including TechCrunch, Wired, Forbes , BBC and more. The resulting publicity had attracted over 4,000 crowdfunding backers who together pledged more than $1,450,000 against an initial target of $250,000.
“We realised we needed a lot of help” admits Fred. “Then, during an event for start-ups [in early 2015], we met one of the KPMG team, who explained their SBA service. KPMG is one of the most famous accounting firms. And because they understand start-up companies like ours, we decided to go to them.”
The Transition to KPMG
Being a small business that chooses to work with a top four accounting firm doesn’t mean you’ll experience any less quality a service than larger companies. As Fred is quick to point out: “KPMG provided personal help; they made it easy for us… [They’re] responsive; always catering to our needs.”
Part of that personalised service was Fred’s introduction to his dedicated accountant at KPMG who cleared the majority of Block Wearables’ financial paperwork and had started developing accounting processes for the future. Instrumental to the rapid transformation was ReceiptBank, which enables Block Wearables to upload all of its invoices and receipts into the cloud-based accounting platform, Xero, within a matter of minutes– regardless of whether they come on paper, over email, as a PDF, or an MS Word document.
Thanks to KPMG’s SBA service, Block Wearables now has:
- A foundation for the future: With its banking situation reconciled and its transactions mostly up-to-date, Block Wearables has left the paper mountain behind in favour of real-time, ongoing, cloud-based accounting. As a result, the company is now able to receive management accounts for the first time.
- Time to focus on core business: As Fred puts it: “We now have more time to do the things that we like in the business, instead of taking care of the accounts. It is exactly what we need and we’re really happy [about it].”
“We look forward to continue working with KPMG for a long time to come,” he says.
Block Wearables has an exciting journey ahead of it. Fred and his team can focus more completely on where their passion lies – using their open platform to develop a vast array of interchangeable hardware and software modules for BLOCKS, rather than getting distracted by financial administration.
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