The business

One of the leading social agencies in the UK, Populate formulates and executes effective digital advertising strategies for some of the UK’s most well known brands. A relatively young start-up experiencing fast growth in the sector, and achieving exceptional results for their clients, Populate are on a very exciting journey. 


The brief

Populate were looking for a dynamic and innovative partner to support them with all the statutory requirements of a start-up. With no in-house capacity and very little experience in back-office systems, payroll, bookkeeping or HR in the early days, they needed a variety of services from a single provider that not only had the ability to add value and expertise at each milestone, but knowledge share and encourage best practice as the team grew.


Our Approach

Having been on many client journeys, we know the importance of establishing a good working relationship from the outset. Launching any business is an exciting time, but it can also be daunting and difficult if you don’t know who to turn to for support. Accountancy and HR are both crucial areas in most companies, yet they often operate in silos. We have worked with Populate to advise and develop the team as it’s grown in size and in-house capacity over the last five years. Practical services provided over have included bookkeeping, payroll, and auto-enrolment alongside their retained accountancy package. Our use of the latest digital technology means that our clients have full transparency of their financial situation at all times, and work with user-friendly software from the outset which can often speed up in-house processes.


Commercial finance can seem an attractive approach for a start-up, but for Populate it was a case of providing strategic financial advice to ensure that the application was made at the right time. Our interim FD services supported this, and raising finance has allowed the business to open new doors. 


Ad-hoc HR services have allowed Populate to make informed decisions when it comes to the management of the team, and more recently relating to the Job Retention Scheme. Our honest and accessible approach has meant that we have been on hand to offer timely advice to Populate by telephone and email, during a uncertain and worrying time.


EST provides everything right on time, every time. They have been with us from day one, and from an advisory perspective, have always been there to determine the best course of action.