Melbourne accountants > Gain Line Analytics

How a Melbourne business is revolutionising pro sports, with a little help from their tax accountant

Gain Line Analytics has a killer algorithm that will shake up sports and business. See how their accountant is helping them power through growing pains, and take on the world.

TV presenter at desk, interviewing Ben Darwin of Gain Line Analytics via satellite feed. It took years of R&D to prove the concept. A Melbourne tax accountant helped them get the research rebates to stay afloat.

Ben Darwin (centre) explains the teamwork index on national TV show, SportsNight.

Who are Gain Line Analytics?

You’ve heard the saying “a champion team will beat a team of champions.” To many of us, it’s just a saying. But a lot of old sports pros believe it, and now science is proving them right.

“We’ve found a way to objectively measure teamwork in professional sports and we’re finding just how important it is,” says Simon Strachan, a co-founder at Melbourne consulting company Gain Line Analytics.

“We audit teams to give them a teamwork index score (TWI) and we’ve found that sides with a higher TWI, or better teamwork, consistently beat sides with a lower TWI.”

The pattern is so powerful that once Gain Line Analytics has worked out a team’s TWI, they can tell the coaches and managers roughly how many wins and losses to expect for the season. TWI, it seems, is just as important as talent. That would be hard to believe if it weren't data driven. But Gain Line Analytics has been studying this relationship since 2013, when it was founded by former Australian rugby international player, Ben Darwin. The pattern between TWI and success keeps showing up.

The entire sports world is paying attention to their remarkable science. They have clients in the English Premiership, the AFL, the NRL, Super Rugby and European Rugby. They’re also in talks with teams from the NBA and NFL.

“We advise professional clubs how to keep their TWI going up and, more importantly, how to swap players in and out without destroying their TWI,” Simon explains.

“Teamwork is critical in elite sports, where the individual players are often as good as each other. How players work together can make the difference. Can they anticipate what their teammate is about to do? Will they get themselves in the right position to build on it?”

Gain Line Analytics is now bringing their team science to business. Simon recognises that business teams are different in many ways, but he says teamwork is equally important. The Gain Line Analytics corporate client base is already expanding rapidly.

“You need to understand each other to work well together. Many companies struggle as they expand because they find the cohesion that used to happen so naturally in their startup phase begins to break down.”

“Our old advisor just did what we asked. That’s ok, except we didn’t know what we were doing. Find an accountant that asks you questions.”

– Simon Strachan, GAIN LINE Analytics

Why Gain Line Analytics needed a tax accountant

It’s not easy bringing radical ideas into the world. Gain Line Analytics intellectual property is literally game-changing, but it took years to develop the science – gathering data, testing theories, refining techniques. They’ve been spending money all that time, not making it. R&D rebates have been crucial to their survival, but they’re not easy to get.

“There have been some dodgy R&D claims in Australia so the ATO keeps a really close watch on applications. Everything has to be done by the book. We needed accountants who could take away our fear of getting something wrong.”

“We also needed to fix our corporate structure because Gain Line Analytics had grown out of another business and it was a bit of a mess. We wanted to find a form that allowed us to grow, while protecting all our knowledge and ideas.”

Gain Line Analytics asked friends and business associates for recommendations. Melbourne accountants, the Bourke Group came up, mostly because they could get the compliance right. But Simon rated them for more than that.

“We’re growth focused. We wanted accountants who could set us up for a big future. But we also needed help with the basics in the short-term – things like streamlining our invoicing and bookkeeping systems.”

How small business accountants have helped

Bourke Group were able to help Gain Line Analytics through all of their startup teething problems. They:

  • got R&D rebates sorted
    All the paperwork is taken care of, and Gain Line Analytics is getting the tax breaks they’re entitled to.

  • fixed up the business structure
    The intellectual property is now held securely in one company. There are provisions to set up trading companies to provide client services.

  • gave them a better grasp of finances
    Simon can check the state of accounts online at any time, which makes it far easier to stay on top of invoicing, credit control, and cash flow.

  • geared them up for growth
    Gain Line is working with their accountants to explore new revenue streams.
Simon Strachan stands in front of a crowd, with a slide projects on the wall behind him. The text on the slide reads: For every one-million pounds spent over the average = 0.35 competition points per season.

Simon Strachan at the Sports Analytics Innovation Summit in Melbourne.

What the future holds

“There’s more than one way to make money from this science,” Simon enthuses. “We’ve started working with corporate clients now. And because the TWI is so good at predicting success and failure, other opportunities may arise. Our accountants are helping set us up for numerous possibilities.”

In fact, their accountants have become so trusted that Gain Line Analytics plans to use them as a virtual chief financial officer (CFO). Under that arrangement, the Bourke Group will be consulted on all big financial or business decisions. It’s a way for Gain Line Analytics to bring CFO-level smarts to their decision making, without having to hire their own.

The accounting relationship will become even more important as the company starts raising capital for their next phase.

“We want to do more data and product development,” Simon notes. “The expertise and trust we get through Bourke Group will be a critical part of that.”

Advice for finding a great accounting firm in Melbourne

Gain Line Analytics understands teamwork better than any other business in the world. Not surprisingly, they think relationships are a key factor when choosing an accountant:

  1. Make sure you’re comfortable asking them questions
    “If you can’t understand what’s going on in a given situation, it’s hard to make the best of it.”

  2. Find advisors who will challenge you
    “Our old advisor just did what we asked. That’s ok, except we didn’t know what we were doing. Find an accountant that asks you questions.”

  3. Find someone who loves your business
    “Bourke Group get our business. They relate to it and they’re excited by it. That level of engagement is important. We can trust their advice.”

Find an outstanding Melbourne accountant

Bourke Group is based in Melbourne’s Docklands district. Like a lot of the best Melbourne accountants, they can be found on Xero’s advisor directory, which allows you to search by location and industry. Check it out.

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