Who: Wallace Diack Chartered Accountants Limited Head Office: Blenheim, NZ Firm Size: 26 staff FYI Users Since: July, 2022
Marlborough accounting firm toasts to the future thanks to automation
Established in the Marlborough wine region of Blenheim, New Zealand in 1957, Wallace Diack Chartered Accountants Ltd has a reputation as a forward-thinking accounting and business advisory practice.
With 25 staff members, and clients ranging from individuals and SMEs through to large companies, the firm has grown by 80% in recent years to become one of the largest in the region.
Even before working with FYI, Jason Gluer understood the efficiencies of a lean business culture. Formerly CEO of a wine bottling and warehousing business , he negotiated the company’s sale to WineWorks, before buying into an accounting practice with his partner Karen Draper, CA.
Following the transition he was astonished by the work it took to produce a set of accounts.
Says Gluer, “When you’re a non-accountant, you think ‘I put everything in Xero and you guys basically hit print and send it out – when in fact that’s not the case at all. So I was shocked at how much needed to be done.”
Gluer saw an opportunity for increasing efficiency in the practice, He and Karen spent the next 12 months researching software systems before buying into the business.
“We knew there were going to be efficiency gains no matter what we used,” he says, “so it was just about what was going to give us the most.”
The result wasn’t even close. FYI was considerably out in front in every aspect.
FYI’s integration with leading practice management software – including Xero Practice Manager (XPM) – makes it easy for a firm like Wallace Diack to automate repetitive tasks. By saving staff hours on routine work, every second now counts for more.
“As long as all the bits ( clip on features like Fuse Sign) integrate seamlessly,” says Gluer, “that was a key consideration for us. Another was the ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’ theory.” And it has.
Since implementing FYI, Wallace Diack has hired two new staff members who were off and running after just half a day of training. With in-app courses plus live, personalised training sessions, admins can quickly use FYI like a pro. And, customise the set-up to suit their needs.
“Anytime we run automation, we get someone who’s not involved in the project to come and do what it says on the screen and then hit ‘task complete’. If they can’t do it based on the information they’ve been given, then we haven’t made it strong enough and we need to start again.”
Putting a number on ROI
With FYI streamlining the firm’s workflows and boosting efficiency, the numbers speak for themselves. But they’re still counting the benefits.
Says Gluer, “When we started calculating how much we could save – and I don’t think we’re even scratching the surface yet – the numbers were phenomenal. And I don’t know how far it’s going to go because we can custom automate how we want to.”
“It’s up to us – it’s as big as we want to make it.”
The critical function for the practice was the number of manual processes they could remove and automate. It was a figure that surprised the Wallace Diack team.
“When I did the numbers and 4,000 hours dropped out, I thought, ‘No, that can’t be right’. But when we looked at it further, we’re like, ‘No, it is right’. It worked out to be half a day per staff member every week. And when you consider that the billable hours availability goes up significantly, that’s a potential of $400,000. That’s huge for us.”
And just to confirm what he was seeing, Jason says, “I had to get an accountant to check my numbers because I thought ‘I’ve missed a zero here’. But I didn’t – they were the numbers.”
“We’ve had it for six months – that’s crazy numbers.”
And they’re not done making improvements yet.