COVID-19 & Beta Release
To support community businesses during the current public health crisis, we are releasing our new financial health tool - Twine Benchmark - early. We believe that it can help community businesses better understand their finances and adapt their business plans and operating models in light of the present situation.
Twine Benchmark will be available from our website from the 16th April and is completely free to use. Guides on how to use Twine Benchmark are available alongside the tool.
Twine Benchmark will help you:
- Understand your financial position
- Test new business plans and understand their potential impact
- Ask the right questions and get the help you need
What is Twine Benchmark?
Twine Benchmark is a financial dashboard and assessment tool built specifically for community businesses in England. It is powered by financial data about 650+ community businesses, gathered over 5 years, making it a uniquely powerful platform for financial insights into the community business market.
Twine Benchmark is split into two parts.
The first part is a detailed financial dashboard with delivers financial insights based on aggregated data. You can see headline figures arranged into three primary categories – Income, Costs and Assets. You can then drilldown into those figures and get even more detail about the finances of organisations like yours.
What’s more – you can filter the data to be more specific to you and your organisation. You can filter by industry sector and region. This means you can be sure that the information you’re looking at is relevant to you.
The second part is a powerful assessment tool, particularly useful during the current health crisis. By adding a modest amount of information about your organisation (anonymously and securely!), Twine Benchmark will generate a detailed report showing some key insights about your businesses. This includes key statistics such as your Resilience level and Debt to Equity ratio, to help you understand your overall levels of risk and whether you need to start speaking to funders and other bodies about contingency support.
The dashboard will also show how you compare to other community businesses.
The tool highlights where your figures are the same or differ significantly from the businesses you’ve chosen to compare yourself against. For example, if your building costs were especially high for a business of your type, when compared to the rest of the market, or where you are at the top or bottom end of the data range for that category. Areas you might want to investigate further, in case you need to take action.
How can using Twine Benchmark’s assessment tools during the COVID-19 crisis?
- Test multiple business plans quickly and easily, using the Assessment Tool to better understand the possible effects they might have on your business and it’s short, mid and long-term financial health and solvency. How would reduce trade or increase costs effect your Debt-to-Asset ratio and how will that effect your ability to meet your long-term obligations?
- Use the Input Breakdown to better prepare your funding and contingency support applications. Identify the outliers in your financials and ask the right questions of yourself and the organisations that support you. Do you have higher Direct Costs than your peers? Why might that be and how can we and other organisations support you best?
For more detail on using Twine Benchmark to help with your Covid-19 planning, take a look at our “worked examples”.
Why are we releasing a Beta version (and what is a Beta version anyway?)
First things first – what is a Beta version? In short, Beta release or a Beta version is a version of the software that hasn’t finished every step of the testing phase yet – but is working and functional.
It is important that we stress all of the data in this Beta version has been verified and checked. The elements of this Beta test that we are continuing to develop, and test are design and functionality related, but the we are confident you can trust the data and insights drawn from the tool.
So why are we releasing a Beta version of this tool?
Firstly – Beta tests are a great way for you to be able to use the tool and give us feedback so we can improve the tool, smooth some rough edges and deliver and overall better product.
But more importantly in what are very uncertain times for community businesses in England, we believe this tool can be hugely useful for community businesses, who, now more than ever, need to understand a bit more about their organisations financial health, where they might have vulnerabilities and how funders and other organisations can get them the support they need.