Case Study

Exient is an independent developer and publisher of high-quality interactive games, with studios in both the UK and Malta. They are well known for their titles “Dancing with the Stars” and “Lemmings”, which reach millions of players worldwide.

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Where it started

Founded nearly 25 years ago, Exient initially had its own internal finance function and outsourced various elements of compliance. In July 2022, Exient's CFO discovered SAS online during the search for new accountants and began by assisting Exient and some of its subsidiary companies with ad-hoc project work. In addition to this, SAS assisted with the annual filing of financial statements and corporation tax returns for one of the companies within the group, after which the relationship continued to grow with other Company Secretarial services being provided to Exient.

Why they chose SAS

After internal staff changes, Exient embarked on a search for new accountants as they were seeking a revamped finance function that could start promptly to realign their operations. Given the successful handling of previous ad-hoc tasks by SAS, Exient were confident that SAS could effectively manage the transition.

The challenge

Exient had always had an in-house finance team, so working with a Virtual Finance Team was a new experience. The management team realised that their current processes were no longer serving their purpose and that they required greater financial visibility.  They were also seeking a finance team that could identify areas for improvement and offer new solutions. From the outset, they felt that SAS were addressing their business requirements and a robust relationship was already forming with the SAS team, with Meha and Ellie expertly providing guidance in the key areas.

The SAS approach

SAS were able to step in at short notice and engaged with Exient to provide a full outsourced finance function, as part of our Virtual Finance Team service. SAS effortlessly integrates with clients on a variety of platforms, incorporating the widely embraced Slack messaging app. This integration creates an easily accessible and relaxed environment tailored to meet the unique preferences of each client. Exient dedicated time to collaborate with SAS, delving into their current financial processes and expressing their expectations from the finance team to deliver a personalised service. SAS introduced innovative ideas and new tools, including Pleo and Approval Max, and streamlined their processes to enhance transparency in the company's financial statements. The provision of weekly cash flow forecasts and monthly management accounts gave the Exient management team the confidence to plan for the future and make the critical business decisions required to grow the company even further. Providing services to both UK and Maltese entities held significant importance for Exient. While the Maltese entities had enlisted third-party service providers for Payroll and Audit functions, SAS played a crucial role in seamlessly integrating these services, ensuring a swift and efficient process.

The results

At first, SAS needed to act quickly to ensure that they could pick up the financial reins without disruption to the Exient business. Once this was in order, SAS used its expertise to revamp some of Exient’s internal systems, by introducing a number of apps to innovate and streamline some existing processes. This was done by listening to the client’s needs and building a personalised finance function around such requirements. Part of our ongoing services include:
  1.  Comprehensive weekly cash flow forecasting to facilitate financial visibility.
  2.  Quarterly group management accounts with regular meetings to provide real-time information, facilitating  better-informed decision-making.
  3.  Full finance function, including liaising with suppliers, raising invoices, purchase orders, and supplier payment.
  4.  Preparation and submission of a multi-year Video Games Tax Relief claim leading to a significant cash  repayment into the business.
SAS have played a crucial role in transforming our financial operations at Exient. Transitioning from an in-house finance team to a Virtual Finance Team presented challenges, but with SAS, we found expert guidance at every step. They quickly identified areas for improvement, providing the financial visibility we needed to grow the business with confidence.

At short notice, SAS integrated with our systems and staff, offering a fully outsourced finance function for our UK and Malta operations. Collaborating closely with us, they introduced weekly cash flow forecasts that proved invaluable, empowering our management team to make critical decisions confidently.

SAS's personalised approach, dedication, and innovative solutions have exceeded our expectations, contributing to the positive progress of Exient and allowing us to focus on what we do best: making great games. We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from Meha and Ellie and we would not hesitate to recommend SAS to others.

– Julian Jones
CEO of Exient
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