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Case Study

Arbutus Medical Inc.

Quick Hits


Financial management support to secure funding in upcoming investment rounds.


Goals achieved. With the assistance of a new fractional Director of Finance and Bookkeeper, Arbutus Medical successfully developed comprehensive financial statements, a robust financial model and a financial strategy that enabled them to secure $2.26M in joint funding, along with several medical grants, IRAP funding and SR&ED support. Additionally, they achieved 5X growth in revenue following the launch of a new add-on product that was made possible by new funding. 

Tandem Team:

Zahra Baghdadi, Director of Finance

Colin Flemming, Bookkeeper

Previous: Teresa Pang, Dir. of Finance

Tandem Services:

Bookkeeping, AP, Payroll, Monthly Close, Tax Compliance, Cash Flow Data Analysis, Cash Flow Forecasting, Grant Management (incl. SR&ED), Financial Modelling, Strategic Growth Support, Reporting, Forecasting, Due Diligence, Capital Raising, Investor Relations


In 2023, Arbutus Medical reached a milestone of 100,000 surgeries enabled worldwide. (Read more about their work in trauma center emergency rooms around the world, including Madagascar, Malawi, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda and more, on their blog.)

“Tandem’s network is a great resource for growing businesses. Tandem has offered us access to a diverse pool of fractional talent and a values-aligned partner in the social impact and startup community.

Tandem’s consultants have become an integral part of our leadership team, enabling us to make efficient decisions and drive our business forward. Their guidance and support have played a significant role in our growth over the past two and a half years, helping us achieve 5X revenue growth and about $5M in capital raised.

As a happy client of Tandem, we can’t recommend them enough to other businesses in need of financial consulting services. Thank you, Tandem!”

Lawrence Buchan, CEO

Arbutus Medical, Inc.

About the Company

With a team of 15, Arbutus Medical is a Vancouver-based medical equipment company that specializes in producing and distributing innovative, highly affordable surgical orthopedic power tools and procedure kits. Their purpose is to “streamline surgery for the good of patient care”, and they have significant commercial traction both in the US and in countries with limited resources and a shortage of affordable medical care.

The team’s first innovation, initially developed at the University of British Columbia with funding from Grand Challenges Canada, was a method for creating a sterile enclosure around a nonsterile power drill (the kind you can buy at any hardware store) for safe use in surgery. The technology cuts the need for medical teams to sterilize a drill between surgeries, providing a significant cost advantage compared to conventional sterilizable drills and drastically reducing infections and patient suffering.


Why We Love Them

They took a very real problem faced all over the world (the costly and time-consuming process of sterilizing orthopaedic drills for emergency surgery) and developed a scalable solution that is affordable, fast and accessible. 

Scope of Work

Seeking to better understand his company’s books for critical decision making, Arbutus Medical CEO Lawrence Buchan came to Tandem to bring on a fractional CFO to take his team to the next level. Most immediately, he needed support in financial forecasting and modelling, cash-flow, reporting and raising capital to launch a new add-on product the following year.


The Outcomes / Outcomes

In March 2021, we matched Arbutus Medical with Teresa Pang, an experienced COO and CFO who had left her corporate job the year before to pursue fractional work with more purpose-driven companies. She was able to jump into the work with Arbutus Medical as part of their leadership team, joining weekly meetings, providing quick turnaround on monthly financial statements, overseeing board and management reports, and managing SR&ED and other grants. She also supported the implementation of a new inventory management system. In short, Teresa provided Lawrence with the support he needed so he could focus on fundraising and business development. 

With their financial documents updated and in place, the team successfully closed their Seed round, raising $5M. After the round closed, Teresa Pang moved on to a full-time role elsewhere, which gave Tandem the opportunity to find another great fit to carry on the next chapter of our work with Arbutus Medical. This second phase would involve supporting other key financial objectives including budgeting, creating a financial roadmap, and building out their governance plan. 

That is where Zahra Bagdadi stepped in, an experienced CFO and Strategic Advisor who could help the team build out a comprehensive strategy to meet their goals for future growth. 

Bumps in the Road

Through her work, Zahra sought to improve the company’s monthly close process, and consulted Lawrence and Tandem on closing this gap in the bookkeeping. Without set processes for documentation or clear timelines in place, it was challenging to ensure everything was completed and submitted efficiently. We soon matched the team with Colin Flemming, a bookkeeper with years of experience in the medical field. Once Colin built out those processes, the monthly close began to flow smoothly. 


What We Learned

Effective Financial Support Drives Growth

Having the right finance and accounting talent in place and working collaboratively is integral to achieving business goals, especially when a company is seeking to secure investment and drive revenue growth.
Strong Relationships Enable Adaptability and Continuity

Trust, transparency and regular communication between our teams enabled us to be proactive in managing team transitions – ensuring that the work continued seamlessly and that the new skill set and approach of a new team mate could be leveraged toward the company’s strategic goals.
Good Processes Improve Operational Efficiency

Finding efficiencies via set processes and clear timelines, we were able to optimize the monthly close process and improve operational efficiency.

What’s Next

Arbutus is expanding its portfolio of products to continue streamlining surgery for the good of patient care; the company aims to enable 5 million surgeries by 2030.