An all-encompassing solution
Matt Ellis, MD and Owner of Luminar, is familiar with challenges. As a leader disrupting the design, labelling and print market, he is familiar with having to overcome obstacles in order to innovate the customer experience. Faster turn-around times, lower order minimums, and unprecedented solutions – all of which position the company as an emerging leader in the print industry.
The company required a solution for two distinct yet related activities that if implemented properly, would free up a significant amount of Mr. Ellis’s time.
First, the ongoing management of their Finance Function, aiming to maintain a flexible lean corporate structure, while delivering all the core and value-add finance components. As a long-running business, Luminar moves through cycles of growth and therefore a flexible solution that can tailor itself on a needs-basis rather than a rigid service model – is paramount as the company enters its next stage of growth.
‘We had the additional challenge of farewelling a long-standing employee and needing to transfer years of information stored in that individual into systems the company could access once they left. We needed help dealing with key-person dependency risk quickly & comprehensively,’ says Mr. Ellis.
Secondly, Luminar needed business advisers to assist with applying for relevant Government Incentives. In order to cut the typical order turnaround time of 3-4 weeks down to an ambitious 10 days, Luminar has made significant investments in technology and research & development. Mr. Ellis and his team spend up to 60-70% of their time focused on innovation & testing, comparing various adhesives and labelling formats through to selection of materials and supply chain management.
With so many moving parts in the organisation, Luminar was seeking a partner to manage the administrative elements of the business.
CharterNet offered a combined service, establishing a team for Luminar that could strategically manage financials month-to-month while also leveraging a technical team to document and manage all the innovation taking place in preparation for the R&D Tax Incentive application.
On the financial side, the team implemented a structured approach and set-up regular meetings to review the financials of the business in order to provide context for Luminar to make better business decisions and maintain a strong cash flow position. CharterNet systemised the company’s accounts using cloud-software Xero and introduced documentation processes that ensured that knowledge lived in the company’s systems in order to mitigate key-person dependency risk moving forward.
‘One of the best things about working with CharterNet was the instant communication. With the speed of decision-making taking place at Luminar, I was impressed that my questions were answered instantly via the messaging channels that I preferred. The result is a team that feels internal – an embedded part of our business with seamless communication combined with genuine care and urgency’ says Mr. Ellis.
Furthermore, CharterNet was in a better position to collate various documentation on the innovation and experimentation taking place at Luminar – typically a costly and time-consuming exercise for any business. Developing appropriate structures of record keeping and experiment logging, the Luminar team have been better able to articulate their resource allocation as part of their R&D Tax Incentive lodgement in order to effectively maximise claim potential.
An unexpected and very pleasant surprise for Luminar was the realisation that much more of their work could be claimed as R&D eligible activities than they had realised.
CharterNet’s Sameer Kassam says ‘it’s very common – a lot of companies don’t know they could be applying for a much larger R&D Tax Incentive rebate once they properly assess the eligibility of their activities’.
‘As a result of working with CharterNet, I’m a lot more financially educated and now better positioned to leverage our various financial statements from the perspective of risk mitigation and opportunity maximisation. Reducing variable expenses and projecting new budgets better aligned to commercial objectives has been a real game-changer’ says Mr. Ellis.
Similarly, beginning their journey in accessing government incentives over the last two years, Luminar have found a broader unexpected benefit in working with an advisory firm. ‘On this side of the service offering they don’t take up too much of my time, yet the value is enormous. It’s the open-ended questions they ask around our innovation process. Good technical questions are invaluable and can help you see the business from a different perspective. A number of good business decisions have been the result of being challenged by the team’ Mr. Ellis continues.
Looking forward, the Luminar team is positioned well to continue disrupting the print industry with an inventive product development process that focuses on continuously optimising the customer experience. In this regard, the team now feels fully empowered to push the boundaries of experimentation while ensuring that all relevant business operations are attributed to R&D activities accordingly.
Increasingly enquiries are being sourced beyond Australia, and Mr. Ellis is staying ahead of the curve through an agile financial structure and business strategy that delivers cost-effective innovation and sustainable managed growth.
CharterNet has been a proud partner in Luminar’s journey, and we look forward to further developments in the relationship as the strategy continues to progress and the growth and innovation continues to materialise.