I & H Brown: Seeing a buoyant rise after riding out the Covid storm

11.03.24 11:54 PM By Caroline
How I & H Brown looked forward with Forecast 5

Covid was the trigger point that persuaded John Young, Chief Financial Officer of I & H Brown Limited, to buy Forecast 5. The company had to close down all activities on its civil engineering sites across the UK at the start of the pandemic—yet continue to pay all expenses and strive to remain in business.

I & H Brown Limited, the Perth-based civil engineering and construction group, sees renewable energy as the way forward—and owns a windfarm in Northern Ireland as well as having constructed a number of windfarms, substations, and battery storage projects on the mainland. Its latest annual report bears this out, reporting “extremely buoyant” conditions in the renewable energy sector as it posted a rise in profits from £3.5m to £3.62m.

"Covid really knocked us sideways," John said. "Until then we had been forecasting on spreadsheets. The numbers were correct - but their presentation could have been more professional".

I had used Winforecast in the past and was looking for something similar. Forecast 5 fit the bill: it is relatively simple to operate, its output looks good—and it comes at a reasonable cost. 

"I particularly like the One Reporting Touch feature, which allows me to generate a forecast Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow at the single touch of a button

COINS is I & H Brown Limited’s accounting software but its lack of forecasting capability limited its usefulness in devising a plan for the company to survive Covid.  Consequently, we used Forecast 5 to model a range of scenarios that the company might be faced with as a result of Covid restrictions. I found Forecast 5’s Stock feature particularly useful as it allowed us to incorporate our Development Division’s WIP into our forecasting process.”

“Johnny Kipps is always available to help and advise, which makes a big difference when introducing new software. He was a lifesaver a few years ago when we lost an important forecast due to an IT glitch.  A quick phone call was all it took, Johnny’s customer service was excellent and he helped me recover the vital forecast there and then."

I & H Brown is a family owned and run business, now in it's 3rd generation of family members.

The company was started in 1964 by Ian and Hardie Brown who farmed in Fife. Now it is a significant Scottish landowner, owning and managing some 21,500 acres of arable and upland ground. Farmland is balanced with broadleaf forests and a peatland restoration project. Today, the company is operationally diverse, but civil engineering remains at its core.

 “Our civil engineering projects are profitable and progressing satisfactorily” said managing director Scott Brown. Current civil engineering projects include a new timber processing plant for EGGER (UK) Limited in Ayrshire, and a major extension of Scotch whisky giant Chivas Brothers’ bottling plant in Kilmalid, Dumbarton.

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Contact: John Young

Role: Chief Financial Officer 

Date established: 1964

Location: Perth, Scotland

Photo Credit:  I & H Brown