Singapore based Sentient Health had developed a unique software solution to the problems faced by hospitals in monitoring their stock of consumable medical supplies.
The business challenge
The Company entered the UK in 2009 with two objectives; in the short term, grow market share by accessing the UK healthcare sector and in the medium term, prepare the business for a sale and for the shareholders to exit.
Sentient Health was a new business in the UK with aggressive targets and the economy in 2009 was turbulent. Co-founder and director, Joel Haspel (pictured), was tasked with heading up the UK operation and whilst he was confident he could meet the challenges ahead, he needed advice and support from an experienced advisor to enable him to do so.
F&L incorporated the UK Company and set to work, initially advising on HR matters for the business. It was identified in the early discussions that in order to achieve their objectives for the UK presence, Sentient Health would need to transfer certain key members of staff to the UK. F&L Legal implemented an immigration strategy that satisfied the Company’s immediate requirements but also allowed a degree of flexibility for the business in future relocations. We advised the directors on UK employment law and also helped to prepare the necessary documentation (e.g. UK compliant offer letters, employment contracts and a staff handbook) for the first employees.
Co-Founder & Director, Joel Haspel
With directors and staff travelling all over the world for the Company, robust and reliable travel and medical insurances were necessary, as well as Employer Liability Insurance. The Company needed advice on the expectations of potential hires in the UK and looked to the F&L Employee Benefits & Financial Services team to identify an appropriate benefits package to enable recruitment and retention of the best in their field. We researched the market, made relevant recommendations to the Company and then administered the plans.
Some of Sentient Health’s globally mobile employees had complex multi-jurisdictional tax affairs, which required input from our expatriate tax experts. Our global payroll team drew upon the work performed in these other departments to deal with the necessary payroll registrations and ensure that the monthly payroll deductions for the UK workforce were accurate.
Whilst all of the above was taking place, our Financial Outsourcing department liaised with the accounting function in Singapore to ensure the processes and systems in the UK, in relation to monthly management reporting, complimented the existing global accounting function.
F&L assumed control of the day-to-day data entry on the purchase ledger and managed the UK bank account as well as monitoring and paying approved staff expense claims. All of this core bookkeeping work fed into the Company’s VAT filings and by the time the first quarterly return was ready for filing with HM Revenue & Customs, Sentient Health was already starting to make progress in achieving its objectives. With F&L relieving the operational stresses and day-to-day compliance concerns, the business was able to hit the ground running and focus on entering the healthcare sector supply chain.
With due regard to any future sale, we advised on an appropriate transfer pricing methodology that protected the shareholders’ value and ensured that future growth in value accrued in the right group entity. We advised on arms’ length arrangements and assisted in the preparation of the supporting documentation and agreements. As part of the regular compliance cycle, annual accounts were prepared and audited and the corporation tax returns submitted.
After a highly successful entry in the UK market, it was announced in October 2011 that Sentient Health was to be acquired by a market-leading asset tracking business. This was a result of countless hours of hard work from Joel Haspel, supported by his UK workforce, and represented the realisation of the principal goal when setting up in the UK 2 years earlier.
Leaning on F&L’s experience in global expansion and relying on us for a wide range of financial, legal and operational advisory and support services allowed Sentient Health to establish itself in the UK, achieve above target growth, identify a suitable buyer and complete on a sale of the business, all during an incredibly challenging time for the world economy.
We are delighted that Mr Haspel and the other founders achieved their aims for Sentient Health and we are proud of our role in making that possible.