Financial planning at Smarkets

Smarkets replaced a 30-tab Sheets model with Causal, saving 10+ hours per month and turning finance into a strategic partner in the business.

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About Smarkets

Smarkets is a betting exchange that offers a secure and transparent platform for trading on sporting, political and other events. The company was founded in 2008 by a team of finance and software engineering professionals and is backed by a consortium of private investors.

The platform has handled over £15 billion worth of bets since launching in 2010, making Smarkets one of the most profitable companies per employee in Europe. In 2017, Smarkets was ranked in the top five of both the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 and Deloitte Fast 50.


Manually exporting + consolidating actuals from Xero

Smarkets has 5 business entities, each with its own Xero account. This required manually exporting CSVs from Xero into Google Sheets each month, which was time-consuming and error-prone.

Manual forecast-vs-actuals process + no version history

Once actuals were pulled in, calculating the differences between the forecast, the annual budget, and the actuals was manual and time-consuming. There was no way to look back at historical versions after-the-fact.

Difficult for management + investors to ask questions

Sharing the whole spreadsheet file with stakeholders wasn't feasible. But pasting charts and tables into slide decks was static — any questions had to go through the finance team.

Formula errors decreased accuracy and maintainability

Making changes to the Sheets model was time-consuming and error-prone. Formula errors would sometimes be discovered, leading to inaccurate numbers.


Automatically pulling actuals from Xero

Causal connects directly to all 5 of Smarkets' entities in Xero, and pulls new data automatically at the end of each month. Actuals get filled in and rolling forecasts update automatically.

Full version history with automatic forecast-vs-actuals

Causal saves a full history of model versions, and the built-in forecast-vs-actuals functionality lets Smarkets generate custom reports comparing model versions to actuals, in just a few clicks.

Management uses models in real-time to make decisions

Causal's interactive dashboards are used in real-time during meetings to discuss different scenarios and make decisions. External investors engage much more with the Causal model than previous decks.

Easy to spot errors and maintain models over time

Causal's structure and plain English formulas let Zak, Head of Finance, spot calculation mistakes easily. And updating the model's structure is much easier.

Trusted by modern teams
+ 100s more
Zack, Head of Finance

"I’ve moved our entire financial model into Causal. I no longer spend time on manual plumbing, and can focus on playing a strategic role in the company."

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