Compass Business Finance: On the Transformation Journey

Compass Business Finance, an independent finance provider specialising in the print, packaging, engineering, construction and professional services sectors, was founded in 2005. Based in Tonbridge, Kent, Compass has a team of 24 employees and is currently recruiting.  

Experiencing strong growth and aiming to double its market presence in the coming years, Compass recognised the need to overhaul its approach to data management and operational efficiency.  In this article, Julie Swanepoel, Head of Finance and Business Support at Compass, and Sarah Lees, Head of Marketing, share insights from their transformation journey so far and how harnessing progressive technology is helping to turn Compass’s vision into reality.

Battling spreadsheet overload 

There was a time, not very long ago, when many of Compass’s critical business operations were managed through spreadsheets. With multiple separate files in use for recording and cross-referencing data, the process was incredibly time-consuming. "Each deal was manually loaded onto multiple spreadsheets, and my colleague then loaded the data onto our accounting system " Julie recalls. These repetitive manual tasks were a far cry from the efficiency Compass aimed for, particularly in view of their ambitious growth plans.

Bringing it all together:  a game-changer in getting things done 

The partnership with Lendscape, part of a wider business transformation initiative, marked a turning point for Compass.  Through integrating Lendscape’s cloud-native, API-first asset finance technology with their CRM and proposal management system, the Compass team established a seamless workflow in which data entered in one system automatically updates across other platforms, eliminating the need for repeated manual entries. The benefits were immediate.  Julie notes, "Previously, I had to enter the same data into a number of different spreadsheets.  Now, I enter data once and there’s no need to hunt for information through multiple spreadsheets – everything is now available to all members of the team in one place, with a clear version history for audit purposes.  It saves so much time.”

The shift to automation and centralised data led to better visibility and reporting. “Lendscape provides so much information, it’s made us view things differently in terms of how we work with data,” says Julie. “For example, when calculating and recording early settlements our Business Support team can access all of the required information at the click of a button.

Furthermore, the introduction of new technology enabled Compass to streamline their compliance efforts.  “Switching from manual reporting to automated reports made it quick and easy for the team to select and view data for any day they want.  Our audit process is now so much simpler, our auditors even commented on how much they appreciate now getting comprehensive information in a single spreadsheet. It’s a significant improvement over the spreadsheets they were accustomed to getting from us.”

Streamlining operations, unlocking growth

Sarah Lees, Head of Marketing at Compass, emphasises the pivotal role of technological transformation in driving the company’s growth.  “Our achievements over the last 3 years, should be viewed in context of our rapid growth during this time, it would have been impossible to continue handling our operations as we had before, given our current size and the pace at which we’re continuing to grow,” Sarah explains.   She further details, “Since January, we’ve seen a 30% increase in the number of deals on our own book compared with same period last year. We’re also brokering in more business, which will further increase the volumes going through our own book and through Lendscape.  So much knowledge was required to run our old system, it would have taken forever to train anyone else to manage things the same way. Our processes are now simpler and more automated, and allowing our growing Business Support Team to be onboarded far faster than they would have been in the past.”

By significantly reducing the time, cost and effort in their operations, the Compass team is now well-positioned to scale their business and help more customers to thrive. “In a recent Sales meeting, we reviewed all the IT changes we’ve implemented, including rolling out Lendscape,” Sarah shares.  “One of the key points that emerged was our ability to now manage smaller deals – ones we would previously have avoided because of the paperwork and administrative costs involved. Our processes are now so streamlined, we’re happy to support customers with these deals because they require minimal administration on our part.”

The next chapter: optimisation and adaptation 

As Compass eyes the future, the benefits of their transformation journey to date are evident - and there’s more to come.  Sarah says, “We plan to roll Lendscape out across the entire team, giving Sales instant access to settlement figures and more, whenever they want.  Also on the cards is the incorporation of a Customer Support module into our CRM system, enabling us to pull information from our CRM and Lendscape into that module to get a unified, account-level view of the customer. That will be transformational.”

Julie reflects on the impact: “Lendscape has been life-changing for us, and it’s also a nice-looking, intuitive system.  Once it’s been rolled out to everyone at Compass, the team will have direct access to so much information instead of having to funnel their data requests through me or one of my colleagues. It will be a game-changer.”

For Compass, the partnership with Lendscape is more than just a technological upgrade; it's a strategic collaboration that supports their growth trajectory and changing needs.  “Working with the Lendscape team has been great,” Julie comments.  “They’re always open-minded and ready to say, “Let’s see how we can make this work – let’s map it out and see how quickly we can get it done.” The communication has been highly effective in both directions.”

Sarah concludes, “For a fast-growing, entrepreneurial company like ours, it’s reassuring to know that Lendscape’s technology provides the flexibility to adapt to our evolving requirements, and to work with a team that shares our forward-thinking ethos.”