Gateshead frim Cintra's raising its iQ level with jobs

A Gateshead firm that supplies payroll services and HR software plans to grow his workforce by up to 15% as demand soars for a new product that developers spent seven years perfecting

Carsten Staehr, chief executive of Cintra HR & Payroll Services

A Gateshead firm that supplies payroll services and HR software plans to grow his workforce by up to 15% as demand soars for a new product that developers spent seven years perfecting.

Established in 1981, Cintra HR & Payroll Services has around 700 clients, each with anything from a dozen to 10,000 employees.

Latest figures show the company reported a 16% increase in sales, to £2.9m for the year ended May 2013, up from £2.5m for the previous 12-month period and the 12th year running it has recorded double digit growth, and profits topped £500,000 – a lift of 10% on the year before.

The rise in revenues and profits follows the long-awaited launch of the company’s new solution – Cintra iQ – which combines its separate HR and payroll software systems into one product.

The software solution, which was seven years in development, covers everything from an employee’s recruitment to retirement and everything in between, and allows clients to sort other forms, such as booking annual leave and organising appraisals, through a web-based portal.

Demand for the product was so high that chief executive Carsten Staehr took the unusual step of stopping the sale of its products for six months from April 2012, to ensure existing customers would still get the service levels they expect.

The sales increase has allowed the company, which employs 65 staff, to take on eight new recruits, and Staehr intends to take on more now they are selling again.

For the coming financial year, Staehr predicts a further rise of at least 10%, with conservative estimates sitting at around £3.2m, a top forecast of £3.3m, and profits estimated at between £600 and 700k.

Staehr expressed his pride at the firm’s continuing growth and said the workforce will expand further soon.

He said: “Cintra iQ is a new product, so we are taking on new people and I expect to take on five to 10 more over the next 12 months.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time trying to define how we want the future of Cintra to look and we think it will double in size within three to four years.

“Last year, we had to stop selling. It’s an unusual thing to do but we didn’t want to let our customers down.

“When you take people on, it takes time in this business – about five to six months – before they are fully on-board.”

Staehr said 80% of customers sign up with Cintra following recommendations from other firms.

“The customers are getting bigger and bigger now too.

“We used to have clients with 150 employees, yet now they have five or 6,000, or even 10,000 employees,” he said.

“But it’s not all about big businesses. We have the lower end as well, clients with smaller numbers of employees like Baltic, Noda Taxis, and we can deliver payroll service in 28 countries.

“We do well because we are always growing and we don’t lose customers. We did during the recession, but they are coming back now.

“It’s also a nice business to be in because, through the monthly fees we get steady revenues which makes it easier to plan for the future, and people who work here also know it’s a stable place to work.

“It has been extremely busy, but we are rather confident about the future.”

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