“Tas spent a lot of time really getting up to speed with our business. It’s a really nice relationship, where we feel like we’re getting good value.”
Kerry McClelland, chief financial officer
Fiit is one of those business ideas that seems to make perfect sense as you soon as you hear about it: an app that offers access to a huge range of workout and other fitness classes, led by expert instructors. You can train wherever you like using your phone, or at home on your TV via a Sky Q box, Amazon Fire, or Samsung 2018–2021 smart TV. The app is also compatible with more than 25 fitness devices including Fitbit, MyZone and both Samsung and Apple watches.
Subscription options are easy to understand and very economical in comparison with gym membership fees. Fiit users – there are already thousands and their numbers grow by the day – absolutely love it. Since early 2020 the company has been drawing on support and expertise supplied by Barnes & Scott, to help Fiit negotiate the next phase of its growth and development.
Founded in 2017 by three entrepreneurs who say they wanted to make the world’s best fitness classes accessible to everyone, Fiit attracted substantial seed investment early on and grew at a healthy rate during its first two years. It was then well placed to attract new subscribers during the Coronavirus lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, growing by a staggering 800% in 18 months, while also opening up its services to users in countries all over the world. Today it has active subscribers in more than 100 countries.
Until early 2020 Fiit relied on a large cloud-based service provider to meet its accountancy requirements. But by that stage, chief financial officer Kerry McClelland and her colleagues had decided that the previous provider was not offering the range of services and depth of support Fiit needed as the business began to scale.
"The risk when you are working with a big service provider, particularly when you are a start-up, is that they have a lot of clients, and you find that the junior members of their team are working on your account,” Kerry explains. “That sort of service is OK for churning out the basic elements of accountancy, but as you grow you really need to be able to spend some time with your accountancy provider to talk through the business. Barnes & Scott was recommended to me, by someone who’s not in our industry, but who had had a very good experience working with them.”
Barnes & Scott started working with Fiit, providing accounts, bookkeeping, payroll and management reporting services, plus advisory services, in April 2020. Over the course of the next year the team advised Kerry and her colleagues on issues including EIS, R&D tax credits; and the management of an EMI share option scheme.
“Tas spent a lot of time really getting up to speed with our business,” says Kerry. “I always feel like he is really close to it. It’s really good having that senior person working on your account.”
Her colleague, Fiit finance manager Laurence Hodgkins, explains how the relationship between the two companies has evolved. “It’s probably more of an advisory role now, rather than working on the day-to-day manual processes, because we now do more of that in-house,” he says.
Even so, at the time of writing, Barnes & Scott is still delivering Fiit’s payroll and some bookkeeping services, while assisting with month end processing, management reporting, VAT returns and year end accounts.
“The great thing is that I can pick up the phone almost any time and have a chat with Tas,” says Laurence. “We bounce ideas off each other, I keep him aware of any changes in the business; and he does a detailed review of our numbers once a month.”
Laurence is also keen to highlight the contributions made by other Barnes & Scott personnel, particularly Smita Thuposy, Selina Barker and Jason Clough. “They deserve a shout-out, because the team is the engine behind it all,” he says.
Kerry agrees. “It’s a really nice relationship, where we feel like we’re getting good value,” she says. “When you work with bigger firms you might be worried to pick up the phone, because you might get a complicated explanation of something that might actually be quite simple – and then you get a £100 invoice for it two weeks later. Tas is always happy to pick up the phone and you know he’s not charging you by the minute: he’s focused on the value of the relationship.”