In-house or outsourced finance? How Derby Express Couriers got the best of both

15 August 2022

From full pallets to individual packages, Derby Express Couriers has been delivering for businesses for over 30 years. The company has grown into one of the Midlands’ largest transport companies. The family values and bespoke service has been the at the core of its success. For 25 years Derby Express Couriers never considered the option of outsourced accounting services.

Four years ago, owner and director Tom Sharp faced a dilemma when the company’s financial controller announced that she was leaving to pursue new opportunities. The company needed data and advice to help run the company and inform future strategy. Should they simply replace the departing controller with a new employee? Or should they take a different tack by partnering with a service provider?

Costs were certainly a factor. Did Derby Express Couriers want to pay a full-time salary and all the other costs like pension and company car? When talking to businesses, we often find that they have the demand and resources to justify employing a financial controller, or management accountant, for say one or two days a week, but not full-time.

More than just savings

But cost savings weren’t the only consideration. Like many sectors, logistics is evolving fast. This includes the rapid growth in home delivery and tech-enabled ordering and tracking. It’s therefore important to have access to management accountants with a big picture view of the marketplace and who have worked with companies undergoing significant change.

This is also a sector facing big increases in fuel and other costs. It’s useful to have finance people who can not only help you to understand your overheads and manage your cashflows, but also compare performance against peers and wider market benchmarks.

Maple Accountancy outsourced accounting services

Seeking answers whether to go in-house or outsourced accountancy services, Tom approached us here at Maple Accountancy. “From word of mouth in the local market, we knew that Maple was a very reputable accounting provider,” says Tom.

Tom and I held several meetings to find out more about Derby Express Couriers, its financial needs and ambitions for the future. We were then able to put together a tailored ‘accelerator’ solution.

“Maple provided us with management accounts, direct granular reporting and day-to-day support for a price that was cheaper than the £70,000 a year we were paying the financial controller We were also introduced to Jay, our client manager whom is a qualified management accountant, whom is still with us to this day,” says Tom.

Growing together

For us here at Maple, the key to making this kind of relationship work is taking the time to get to know the business and building personal relationships with directors, managers and employees. We’re passionate about the clients we work with and recognise that we both do well when they succeed.

For Tom, this close relationship offers the best of in-house and outsourced partner. “If you’re looking for an accountant that understands your business in the same amount of detail and level of care that you would yourself, Maple would be the company for that. They engage with your business as if it’s an extension of their own. They genuinely care for the outcome of your business, it’s not just numbers to them,” he says.

The closeness of the relationship is reflected in the fact that Tom talks about Jay as one of the team. “Jay holds the principles and foundations that we trade upon very dear to his heart, to the point where we catch up with him 2-3 times a week. In our conversations and in strategic meetings, he refers to us as “we”. It’s not “you”, it’s “we.”. That care, that attention, that core foundational approach, alongside the technical expertise, have allowed us to feel comfortable in the decisions we make, which has then allowed the company to progress and thrive,” he says.

Delivering results

But as important as this emotional connection can be, it’s results that ultimately count. Pretty much any accountant can produce a suite of financial numbers. What we try to do here at Maple is turn this raw data into valuable and actionable insights. “If you want a partner that’s going to present you with the data, frame it and come up with creative solutions that benefit your business and allow you to grow and succeed, Maple are the ones for that,” says Tom.

To hear more from Tom, please see his video here.

If you would like to know more about our Business Growth Accelerator packages and how we could help your business, please feel free to get in touch:

T: 01332 207336

See also:

How to Make Your Finance Department More Efficient (

Maple Accounting Services – Maple Accountants

Working capital – Overview for businesses – Maple Accountants


Maple Accountancy is a firm of expert Business Advisors offering accountancy services, tax and business advice to owner-managed and family-owned businesses.

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