Case study | Tourism : Wildwire

Wildwire lays claim to the world’s highest waterfall cable climb. With raving fans across the globe, the Wanaka business proved it was onto something special. The owners were ready to grow Wildwire further, but they were stuck on one question: Could they afford to grow?

Wildwire owners Mark and Laurel Morrison had money in the bank and a sense that the business was going well, but their true financial position was unclear. Did they have the right pricing, cost structure and cash flow to grow the business? Smart folks that they are, the Morrisons asked for help.

We are so stoked to have found Balanced. They took the time to listen to us, answer the questions we were asking about our business and make our finances work for us. Before, we were basically trying to gauge our performance based on our bank balance, but with bookings coming in for up to six months in advance, it was almost impossible to understand our current position. After overhauling how we treat each transaction we are now able to understand how we are performing at any point in time and forecast this into the future. This knowledge has given us the ability to confidently make decisions and know how they will play out instead of guessing.

Laurel Morrison,

Owner,
Wildwire

To answer the Morrisons’ growth questions, we began by sitting down with a pot of tea and asking a tonne of questions: How do you operate? How is income earned and paid? What are your cost drivers? How are you tracking revenue? Then we made sense of their many systems and adjusted their tracking to allow for the accounting complexities inherent in the tourism game.

These changes gave Wildwire a clear view of business performance to date. With revenue and costs now sitting in the right buckets and performance data and budget to hand, the complete financial picture was clear – Wildwire was in a strong position and their investment plans got the green light.

Since this initial project, our partnership with Wildwire has grown. We now act as a commercial sounding-board for Mark and Laurel. We build forecasts to track business performance, identify opportunities and risks, and proactively look for ways to improve. We also take care of their year-end accounts and provide bookkeeping support.

We provide the following services to Wildwire:

Commercial Strategy

Budgeting

Tax Compliance

Systems Enhancements

Pricing & Margin Strategy

Forecasting

Cashflow Management

Profitability Analysis

Monthly Reporting

Cost Management

To find out more about our services and how we can support
your business, see our services page or contact us.

The full story...

When we first dove into Wildwire’s financials, it was clear that their accounting system set up was inhibiting a clear view of their profitability. The complexities of the tourism game’s seasonal nature mean that prepayments are often collected well in advance, making for a less-than-straight-forward accounting solve. It was impossible to get an accurate picture of how they were faring financially.

Our aim at Balanced is always to make the complex simple, so we revised their system to only recognised revenue once a climb had taken place. We ensured costs were accounted for in the same way. These changes ensured Wildwire had a clear view of business performance to date.

We were then able to accurately review year-on-year performance, analyse results and build a forward-looking budget. With revenue and costs now sitting in the right buckets and performance data and budget to hand, the complete financial picture was clear.

These days we continue to work with Wildwire, building forecasts to track business performance, identifying opportunities and risks, and proactively looking for ways to improve. We meet quarterly to discuss the results, look at the budget and explain what it all means and where to go from here. We also take care of their year-end accounts and provide bookkeeping support.

“For Balanced, it’s all about engagement. We care more about our client’s businesses because we know more of the details. We’re not just focused on the black and white of revenue and expenses – we ask more questions, understand more, and treat our clients’ businesses akin to our own. The more insights we gather, the better guidance we provide, which naturally produces better outcomes for our client partners.