Construct Brands Limited Case Study


Andy Smith is the CEO and founder of Construct Brands Limited, manufacturers of the Wolf Energy chocolate bar, a revolutionary new confectionary product that was launched into the New Zealand market in January this year.  Andy talks about his experience working with Giles Ellis and GECA Chartered Accountants.

When it came to choosing an accountant business adviser to help him set up his confectionery business, Andy knew what he wanted.

I had a great idea for a new chocolate bar called Wolf Energy which was unlike anything currently on the market and I needed an adviser to help me with all aspects of setting up a new business from raising capital to on-going support and advice to help the business grow. I saw my relationship with my accountant as a key business partnership and I wanted someone who was not just technically strong but someone with an extensive commercial background who could advise on all aspects of the business, not just the finances.

What did you need help with?

Initially it was capital. New products get a six week ranging window from major stockists to prove demand for their product and to capitalise on this opportunity I needed capital for the initial marketing and promotion of the Wolf Energy bar as well as funding the initial stock shipments.

To do this, Giles and I prepared a Wolf Energy bar business plan with financial projections. Giles then led a successful round of investment from the Icehouse Angels and the NZ Venture Fund which raised more than $450k of capital. To do this, Giles acted as Lead Investor and is a Director of Construct Brands.

What happened after that?

Like any start up, I was working a hundred hours a week and the one thing I knew I had to stay on top of was my tax obligation which is why I went with a GECA Plus One plan.  The great thing about a fixed fee plan that covers all my accounting and tax requirements is knowing it’s all getting done for a low monthly fee. Meanwhile, I can get on with what I do best, selling chocolate bars and let the GECA team take care of the numbers.

What systems are you using?

Our PlusOne fixed fee accounting plan includes a Xero subscription and an initial training session to ensure we were able to reconcile our numbers from day 1. And as it includes phone and email support, anytime we have a query we can quickly get an answer.  And as our stock management requirements become more complex, with GECA’s support, we can expand Xero by adding on an inventory management system like Unleashed. 

How is the business going?

Brilliantly! We’re getting great feedback from customers and we are tracking ahead of budget.  However, rapid growth creates its own issues and even though I formally meet with Giles monthly, I speak to him regularly to bounce ideas off him and talk through any problems.

How did you find out about GECA Chartered Accountants?

I met with several accounting firms but was unable to find anyone who I felt had the commercial experience to help me get the business where it needed to be. A friend recommended Giles from GECA to me and it was clear from our initial meeting that Giles and his team had the services and advice I needed to get the business going.

What would you say about using GECA Chartered Accountants as your business advisers?

It’s been great. Giles and his team have been there from day 1 supporting me. They are able to provide the right resource when it’s needed and nothing has been too hard or too difficult.  Very professional and smart as you would expect being chartered accountants, but they are also very friendly and we enjoy working with them all. We wouldn’t be enjoying the success we are having today if not for Giles and his team at GECA.

What’s next for Construct Brands?

New Zealand was always a test bed for Wolf Energy bar which we see as a product with global appeal and success of the product locally has already invited interest in further investment to fund offshore expansion.  Giles is preparing the business case for the second fundraising which we expect to complete in June this year.  Try yours now!