At Gradient, we talk about collaboration and not working in silos a lot, and we definitely practice what we preach!

In this blog, we wanted to discuss how our founding director, technical team and application consultants have come together to create something that we think is amazing…


Never the twain will meet, right?

There are probably lots of jokes told about how tech consultants are completely different animals to application consultants and, how they cannot always get on, that they speak a different language. We’re sure you’ve heard them all! But that couldn’t be further from the truth for us.

All jokes aside, if we look at our Technical Manager, Mark, he has a finance background! So, of course, he shapes how our tech team works. Our application consultants, if not all of our team, have varied backgrounds too. This comes into its own when we’re looking at creating a new product for our SyteLine clients. But more on that later.


What do you want?

Our technical team always finds that without a clear and fully formed specification, it is likely to be more difficult to create a report or modification that you want. Sometimes, that extra level of detail can feel hard to achieve, primarily as it is seen as an extra cost to development.

We always recommend that our functional consultants spend time with our clients to determine their needs. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, they can get a full overview of the client’s business and will understand what functionality is available already. Oftentimes, people think that they need a mod when actually they just need to be creative with how they use the standard product. Whilst getting the application consultants involved sounds like an extra step, it actually saves a lot of time in the development phase of any modifications.

Our new add-in was no exception. So, the first step for us was clearly defining what we needed this app to be.


Enter the cashflow Add-In

If you’re anyone who has used SyteLine for a while, you’ll know that there is limited functionality when it comes to accurately predicting cashflow in your business. Yes, you can run the Cash Impact Report, but for a business that is looking at being mindful of their cash, this doesn’t always tick all the required boxes. The CIR gives you a position based on what is happening now – not what could happen in the future. And the future, for many manufacturing businesses, is something that can feel anything but certain. If we just look at the fluctuating energy prices, being able to predict your cashflow can feel like a never-ending task.

For most people, cashflow prediction will come in the form of complex spreadsheets with several versions of the truth. Just this fact alone can lead to uncertainty and confusion. That’s before we get into the amount of time it takes actually to generate a forecast for the next six months, for example.

We decided that this was a gap in the market that we wanted to fill, but that required some team collaboration.


How did we do it?

Sorry, we’re not about to share all our secrets, but it did involve a lot of teamwork. Something of this scale and complexity would never be a solo effort, so over to Steff to explain how this all came together…

“I’ve worked with SyteLine for a long time, implementing a large number of projects. What is apparent to many is that whilst it is brilliant at costing, the back office finance functionality isn’t as good.

I had been thinking about developing an add-in that could fill the gaps for a long time. But the big blocker to that had always been having a technical team that could develop this idea into something real. We now have that!

The first step was for me to create a specification explaining all that was needed. This included all the usual things like inputs and outputs but also covered some specific details, like how we could look at realised and unrealised transactions within the system.

After all the specification details were finished, I created a test script and started thinking about some key marketing messages. Once this was done, it was handed over to Paul to develop, with support from Ana, to ensure that this would work in a real finance environment.

There were some things that didn’t quite go to plan! But the benefit of having such a strong team is that we could look at these together and, in all cases, explore the various suggestions of what alternatives we could use to give the results we wanted. We ended up with a product that I am incredibly proud of.

When we got to the testing, Ana was the one for the job. She had to make sure that we had the correct test data to cover all scenarios. She also demoed this to our team so that all of them understood the product and what we were trying to achieve.

The Cashflow Add-In is unique to us, and I truly believe that we were best placed to create this. We have a team with exceptional skills, which makes our team much more than the sum of its parts. Without them, this idea wouldn’t have got off the ground in the way that it has!”


The Cashflow Add-In is something that all UK SyteLine businesses could use. We will, of course, be talking about the details more in the future; however, we know that right now, given the current economic climate, understanding your cash position is key.

So if you are interested in what the Add-In could do for you, then please get in touch. We’d be happy to give you a demo so you can see just how good it is too!