David James & Huw Williams
Developing their business into an Auditel Practice
Cardiff-based pair David James & Huw Williams decided to join the Auditel Business Community (ABC) business in Summer 2020 after their respective business activities had been impacted by Covid-19. Despite the challenges of starting a new business during lockdown, within just two years they have already grown their business to the point of developing an ‘Auditel Practice’.
Many existing ‘Member Firms’ or ‘Partners’ (Auditel Franchise Partners) of the ABC are single-person businesses, who seek the benefits of flexibility and control that is afforded by a low-overhead, high-profit, home-office setup. Presently however, many others joining Auditel aspire instead to develop a business that can be developed into a conventional consultancy practice, with a team of staff, where the business ‘works for you’. Such Practice-based Auditel businesses also would have a conventional exit route with potential for multiple-EBITDA sale values. Auditel can support both objectives of course, as well as those who seek to build an Auditel business as part of a portfolio career too.
Looking at the pathway that David and Huw are following, in building the Full Partner Business into a Practice, they discuss their progress within their Auditel business, and how they’ve come to be in the position they are now a couple of years later.
David explains “When we joined we intended to be focussed around procurement as was the traditional Auditel business model but quite quickly we got introduced to the Auditel carbon strategy group. We felt we would like to get involved as while it was a group of ten very knowledgeable and technical people it was slightly lacking a commercial proposition. We started looking into it more and it led us to PAS 2060 and British Standards Institute (BSI) and we ended up working with them and helping to re-launch their PAS 2060 framework.”
Huw adds “We set up as a partnership as we felt we had different skillsets that complimented each other. Dave tends to focus on the business development and I do more of the analysis and project management. Now that we have moved into Carbon, Dave is doing more in project management, and I am focussing on carbon footprints and carbon reduction plans.”
He continues “We are both BSI Associate Consultants and NQA Associate Partners and deliver carbon footprint reporting using PAS 2060 and ISO 14064 and greenhouse gas protocol accounting and reporting standards.”
David outlines how their busines expansion has differed from their initial plans “Our intention when joining Auditel was to be home-based and to ‘joint venture’ (the process where Auditel Business Partners work together and share fees accordingly) with other Auditel colleagues for procurement and cost management work but the carbon side has meant that we can develop project specialists ‘in-house’ to manage carbon project work in the future.”
“We already are managing fifteen clients paying monthly retainer fees, but as the client base grows so will our staff base. So, we need more people and with the culture we want for our business we have just set up our office in Cardiff and have appointed our first two staff members, and we intend to develop this further to a team of perhaps eight people as the business grows” he adds.
Huw covers more about how they plan to develop their team “Our first team member will be trained and supported around doing carbon work, and the second will be delivering admin, marketing and social media work, as carbon is really well suited to social media engagement. I see our carbon focussed employee being developed to become a BSI Associate Consultant too, and then they will start to manage future employees in our business round carbon project work.
By developing our carbon resource team, we will also be able to support project work around carbon for other Auditel Business Partners, as the volume of carbon clients being secured presently across Auditel, will lead to the challenge of having enough analysts and project specialists to deliver all the work.”
David identifies another big benefit of Auditel’s synergy with procurement and carbon “We recognise the Auditel full scope procurement model encompasses over 100 different cost category areas and the beauty of the carbon offering is that one of the first things we look at when undertaking a carbon footprint project is the purchase ledger. This then gives us access to all the supplier information and immediately there will be tell-tale signs of where we can reduce carbon, and reduce cost at the same time.
He adds “For example, one client’s electricity bill was far too much but they had some extra land beside their building and so we were able to install solar panel system which gives them a great return on investment, saves them a lot of money directly and reduces their carbon remissions too. Carbon and Procurement go hand in hand together.”
Huw helps explain further how carbon and procurement overlap and how they benefit from the Auditel Partner network for delivering in such a doverse range of cost area projects for their clients “When it comes to the procurement projects that develop as we work with clients where carbon has been the door-opener, we look to joint venture the project work with other specialists within Auditel. We have a big logistics project at the moment where the client has a £1m spend and we have identified a £178,000 saving! We’ve got lots of other projects on the go with a variety of different Auditel Business Partners including areas like vehicle leasing and energy. We do carbon projects directly but ‘JV’ out everything else.”
“The power of the network of what it is about at the end of the day. You’re not an individual business in Auditel, you’re part of a group of like-minded people with a wealth of knowledge across a huge number of different areas and so it’s important to make the most of that.” He concludes.
Nick Tubb, Head of Partner Recruitment for Auditel, adds “I’m really excited to see the progress that Huw and David are making. They are great guys and have really engaged with all aspects of the Auditel business and network. To be taking on their first two staff members after just two years especially given the challenges caused by Covid-19 restrictions is great testament to their drive and enthusiasm. Given the levels they are reaching already, I’m looking forward to seeing where they and their Auditel Practice business has got to within anther two years!”
He adds “When you consider that neither Huw nor David had any direct experience relating to carbon before they joined Auditel, recognising their fantastic knowledge and awareness today which continues to grow day by day, should also be a good sign for people who are interested in building a carbon solutions consulting business of their own by becoming part of the Auditel Business Community. With the training, resources and network available that they too can learn, develop and, in time, become an expert in this exciting and vast new sector too.”
To find out more about how you can develop a ‘Consultancy Practice’ with Auditel, or more broadly to explore becoming part of the Auditel Business Community, contact Nick Tubb today.