Chris’s expertise is in creative business management and planning systems, and he works hard to ensure his clients get better use of and value from the systems they have, and when the limits of these are reached, clear guidance on what alternative systems are best fit for their respective next stages of growth and aspiration.
He will then deliver the vendor promise through experienced implementation, development and support.
Areas of expertise
|Financial planning:||Systems & accounting • Financial management & budgeting|
|Business processes:||Business strategy & planning • Business diagnostics • Process management|
Experience in the design industry
Design industry experience: 20+ years
Since founding Agency DNA in 2008 Chris has been wholly dedicated to the aim of raising the standard of business management and planning systems within the creative sector.
As an ex-agency CFO with +20 years sector experience and a current unmatched concentration of systems knowledge and practical expertise, Chris and his team are helping clients from small to global independents, and some network agencies, achieve significant improvement in financial visibility and data efficiency by introducing better systems and processes, and reducing the reliance on spreadsheets (and other manually prepared reports) which shackle their ability to distribute commercial information in the timeframe and format needed to serve its most valuable purposes – to alert and inform.
- CPA Australia
Some comment we hear often at the start of an engagement might sound familiar:
“We’ve plenty of information – it’s just not in one place.”
CFO, Global Design Agency
“We paid our support fees for years but the moment we need help, we’re told our version is no longer supported.”
FD, London Creative Agency
“Our data isn’t integrated.”
Owner, London Marcoms
“Our last upgrade had a significant cost overrun.”
COO, UK plc
“We find Excel meets all our needs!”
Group FD, UK plc
“We’ve lived with compromise for long enough.”
CFO, UK Agency
There are many good reasons why businesses quite rightly are wary of change – but a poor choice of systems compounded by bad implementations have done much to scare many businesses into holding onto compromised setups for far too long. It’s an industry blight I’m determined to overcome.
A common misconception is one system should do and fit all, and businesses should take big steps up the vendor matrix as growth demands. However there is no single panacea. The introduction of new and agile cloud systems with connectivity to other platforms, now allows business now to mix, match, and importantly change according to their need without the significant pain and cost associated with older server-based technologies. An under-appreciated by-product is the automatic upgrades you typically get with cloud systems.
From better visibility leading to greater control and accountability on a day to day basis, I’ve also long argued the intangible value in having integrated and accessible data. At the point of wanting to de-risk or “cash in some chips”, there is no greater confidence booster to a prospective buyer than having historic and timely updated forecast information readily available. Indeed, the budgeting and forecast planning systems my team and I built have now realised in excess of £200M of successful deal value.
NB: The most recent was the business planning system we built for The Mill – just sold to Technicolor for $200M. A complex model with P&L, balance sheet, cashflow and covenant tests, it allowed The Mill to run multiple scenarios with full integrity, and was a key tool in the overall sale process.
“Chris Lever at Agency DNA was excellent, he has a great understanding of the industry, he really helped us. He has fantastic enthusiasm…..”
Alexandra Frew, FD, Tangent Snowball
“To this day and after 30 years’ experience, I’ve never known an ERP implementation to go so smoothly.”
Steve Grout, CEO, Tangent Snowball
“We’ve just had our best month ever”
Pippa Strong, Global Financial Controller, We Are Social (March 2016)