Enkel does the bookkeeping so Arbutus Medical can focus on safe surgery for all

Arbutus Medical has a vision: safe surgery for all, in a world where every patient has access to the care they need. 

The company was founded in 2014 through a collaboration between a group of biomedical engineers from the University of British Columbia’s Engineers in Scrubs program, and surgeons from the Uganda Sustainable Trauma Orthopaedic Program (Vancouver, Canada) and the Mulago National Referral Hospital (Kampala, Uganda). The team’s goal was to develop a radically affordable surgical drill that would ensure that orthopaedic surgeons at Mulago always have access to safe power tools. 

Leveraging the concept of frugal innovation – creating good-quality solutions that deliver the greatest value at the lowest cost – Arbutus Medical was able to develop a cover for a hardware drill that turns it into a sterile surgical tool at a 30x lower cost. Five years later, their suite of tools has delivered on the needs of surgeons by providing them with safe, reliable, high quality and now affordable surgical tools. 

Today, the folks at Arbutus Medical are passionate about democratizing safe surgery and making it accessible for all, by providing radically affordable tools. Through expert medical engineering and creative innovation, they have designed and commercialized a portfolio of medical devices that can improve care for millions of patients worldwide. To date, Arbutus Medical has shipped products capable of safely treating over 53,000 human patients and 38,000 animal patients across 36+ countries.

The Challenge

From 2014 to 2018, Arbutus Medical utilized the bookkeeping services of a family friend, who developed basic processes that got the job done in the early days of operation. Over time though, it became clear that the business needed more scalable accounting systems that could handle the growing team and increase in transactions. CEO Lawrence Buchan also needed better data to make more informed business decisions. Scalable, technology-enabled systems were a priority.

Lawrence Buchan, Co-founder and CEO, Arbutus Medical Photo
Time is our most valuable resource. We are trying to build something big and meaningful, which means everything we do has to scale. Having Enkel handle our bookkeeping, payroll and accounts payable lets our team stay focused on delivering radically affordable surgical tools around the world.”
-   Lawrence Buchan, Co-founder and CEO, Arbutus Medical
AM - Solution

The Solution

Arbutus Medical considered hiring in-house resources as well as outsourcing to companies specializing in “accounting as a service.” Following a broad Vancouver-based search, they were introduced to Enkel Backoffice Solutions. 

Not only did Enkel have a clear and proven approach to managing accounting processes that met all of their requirements, but they had subject-matter experts in each of the accounting functions. Enkel was hired to manage bookkeeping, payroll and accounts payable for Arbutus Medical. 

“Outsourcing our accounting requirements allowed our team to concentrate on growing the business, and not worry about back office people and processes,” said Buchan. “In the end, we spend less, and focus more on our core purpose.”

The Results

“Today, stuff gets done when it’s supposed to, and we have confidence in the data we get back from the Enkel team,” commented Buchan. “We never have to worry about our bookkeeping and accounting. Enkel has built-in checks and balances that make everything run smoothly.”

Since starting to work with Enkel in 2018, the Arbutus Medical team has grown by 75% and has shipped products to more than 36 countries around the world. “With Enkel, we’re saving time, money, and are able to stay focused on our core purpose,” said Buchan. 

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