This post is by Giles Ellis, an experienced business coach and Director at GECA Chartered Accountants.
Involved, impartial, invaluable – why having an expert voice at the table has made a difference at HTS Group
With four equal partners and a complex, customer-focused business, transport electronics supplier HTS Group needs an outsider to help them set objectives and stay on track. For the last five years, GECA’s Giles Ellis has been that person, helping the HTS team set goals, establish governance practices, and stay focused on their objectives.
HTS supply and manage traffic signals, traffic gates, electronic bus signs and bus tracking. The company was formed in 2000 after a management buyout of Harding Electronic Systems Ltd. As a result of the buyout, HTS Group is run by four directors with equal shares and equal standing.
Giles works with the team as a business mentor and strategist, acting as an impartial voice at the boardroom table, and helping the team stay focused on growing their business.
Strong relationships and solid strategies
Unlike bigger accounting and business advisory firms, GECA is all about building relationships and staying with a business for the long term. For HTS Group, that makes all the difference.
HTS Group’s Technical Director Murray Scarrow explains: “[Giles] gives us personal service; we’ve built a relationship with him. He’s able to relate to all four of us. That’s something you don’t get from a big company. He’s involved with our strategy planning, he has background about us and knows where we’re headed.”
Giles has been working on HTS Group’s strategy for almost five years now, which gives him invaluable insight into how the company works. That insight means he can offer personalised service and tailored advice.
“He’s an independent, but he’s at the table listening. He’s able to diplomatically comment when we need it – ‘Is that part of the strategy, is that the objective?’”
Planning for success
As a business advisor, Giles has helped HTS Group transform the structure of their business and establish good governance practices. Like any business that has been around for almost two decades, HTS Group had some structures and processes that had been in place for a long time, but needed to change.
Giles works with the Directors to set growth objectives and long-term strategies. He attends board meetings regularly, and helps keep the meetings focused on goals and governance, rather than day-to-day business issues.
“Giles has helped us with business planning, to try and get us more structured and focused on the right things. With four directors we’re all wearing a number of hats at the same time, so sometimes we need to be steered back to focus on governance.”
Expert advice on hand
With around 30 staff in New Zealand and five in Australia, HTS Group are a medium-sized business. Their size means they can’t necessarily justify having in-house specialists, but they do need expert help fairly often.
That’s where the GECA accounting team comes in. Although HTS has an accountant on staff, they occasionally need higher-level help. When the staff accountant has a question, Giles is at the other end of the phone.
Murray says: “It’s very useful to have him as a resource to give our accountant oversight and keep him accountable.”
Focused on the future
HTS Group is always looking for growth opportunities. They’ve established a solid business strategy, and they’re staying focused on the future of the business.
Giles’ expert advice and impartial view has been a big part of that change.
Murray Scarrow puts it like this:
“He’s made a big difference to us. You need to be growing, you need to be moving forward, you need to be improving, and it’s important to have someone like Giles to keep us on track.”
Looking for an expert to inform your business strategy? Get in touch with GECA now.