By Simon Woodhead
We’ve just filed 2022’s accounts for Simwood Group plc and I wanted to discuss them here in the interests of transparency and clarity.
Firstly, while we’re a 27 year old company, Simwood Group plc was only formed in 2015 and rolled up various subsidiaries, including acquisitions. If you’re looking at individual companies for historic reasons you’ll get a very misleading picture given how cash and supplies move through the group. This is especially true this year with transactions which will benefit one company to the detriment of another that is exactly equal; the group consolidated accounts show the full picture. Our Companies House record is here.
As you will know, I stepped back from the helm at the end of 2021, our best year ever. I left the business in very experienced hands hoping and expecting it to be taken to the next level and that unfortunately didn’t happen. I stepped back in 11 months later, very grateful for the partial respite but with a full to-do list. These accounts for the 2022 year almost perfectly capture that period and represent the first interruption to our growth ever. The fundamental transition decisions were mine, I own them, and this isn’t a case of passing the buck at all. Rather, as there are those who’d otherwise seek to pull the negatives out, I want to ensure all customers at least have the full picture, from the horse’s mouth as it were.
So, on the face of it revenue of £11m and a loss of £0.9m paints one picture, but not the right one and I’ve tried to pull that out in the ‘Strategic Report’. The core business stalled, undeniably – revenue was down and costs were up, a dangerous combination, which all but wiped out profitability perfectly, but didn’t cause a loss. In fact, if you add back exceptional costs and internal write-offs I made on my return and the core business made £0.6m. That’s substantially down from £1.8m in 2021, but not as bad as the headline suggests.
We’re a private company with management owning the majority, so the primary audience for this post is our customers. It strikes me that our customers primarily want to know the ship is stable and want to see us investing in the platform which, ultimately, underpins your future. The ship is stable, and while our treasury suffered, any remedial action was entirely self-funded. CAPEX continued too, as always, with substantial continued investment in the platform throughout 2022.
Moving into 2023, following other remedial changes internally – such as addressing bad hires and bad new business, making awesome hires and signing awesome new business – we’re firing on all cylinders. As mentioned previously, we’re winning substantial new business with a 100% win rate against BT so far, our Senior Management Team is bolstered by deserved internal promotion, and costs are down. Despite all that, the R&D and CAPEX continues apace. The whole Simwood team have enjoyed pay awards well above CPI, we’ve joined the Living Wage Foundation to ensure that nobody gets left behind, and made our annual discretionary bonus quarterly and algorithmic according to performance. Oh, and those who want it are now being paid partly in crypto where they choose and we’re putting more of the company equity in the team’s hands! Simon 2.0 is very different too and, in short, while 2022 was an expensive exercise, I’ve recognised the value of leadership and the Simwood culture is back stronger than ever. 2023 is going to be a heck of a year, with a new record for revenue looking likely, and a return to trend in other respects. We’re energised and kicking arse!
If you’ve read this far, thank you. Mostly though, thank you for your ongoing support and interest, we really appreciate it. Personally, my reasons for stepping away haven’t diminished, but the longevity and success of Simwood is critical to my family’s long-term future. This means continuing to build the platform to support your business, fighting injustice in the market-place, and ultimately ensuring we delight you.