Lack of access to timely data
O’Brien Group were looking to compare franchisees in their Plumbing and Electrical division. Before Fathom they were only reporting on the P&L data, so had very little insight into the balance sheet and cash flow, without reviewing each one manually. If one company’s data got updated, they would have to recalculate all of their averages again. This was not only inefficient and time-consuming, it also doesn't scale. “As the business grew, our benchmarking data was only able to be updated quarterly, as the process was too time-consuming to prepare. This often meant a lag in getting important data to our franchisees, our management and front line support teams” says Ashley Clemmett is the Network Systems & Support Manager at O’Brien.
More detailed financial analysis
Fathom’s Benchmarking feature pulls together results from each franchisee automatically each month. It allows franchisees to compare locations across any financial ratio or KPI they choose and allows franchisees to view an anonymised data-set to see how they compare against their peers. Fathom also provides a common chart of accounts layout, allowing the franchise to track expense ratios across all locations, giving both franchisor and franchisee the most accurate and relevant comparison of performance. “Using Fathom, we can more easily provide up to date financial analysis and benchmarking, including preparing professionally generated monthly and quarterly reporting straight out of the platform,” says Ashley.
"With a network of 150 franchisees in Australia and 100 franchisees in NZ, we would simply not be able to do the monthly reporting we do now if we were to revert to using spreadsheets."
Going beyond results to planning for the future
The group have been using Fathom since 2012. Each month, detailed PDF reports are generated and shared with each franchisee. But where Fathom excels beyond reporting is in live analysis and strategy. “Franchisees and Area Managers that support them access Fathom live during business planning and strategic planning sessions. Being able to quickly change time periods and having instant visual representations of trends and results has been important to use as part of our business planning processes with our Franchisees” says Ashley.