An innovative, multi-service accounting firm unpacks the array of benefits FYI offers – from easy on-boarding and platform integration, to the ever-expanding suite of services that provide simplicity, value and peace of mind.
Everything’s at the fingertips for this dynamic firm
Keen to increase efficiencies across the entire business – from following up new leads to checking-in on existing clients – Melbourne-based firm, MKS Group followed up on a recommendation from a fellow accountant, to explore the potential of FYI to become the key to trusted, cost-effective, user-friendly document management.
Established by Mark Said in 2016, and built on a career spanning 30 years or so, MKS is a young, energetic and future-focused firm with a commitment to making life easier for its broad base of clients.
A keen follower of new technology and platforms that enhance business administration and bolster compliance, Mark was introduced to FYI as a possible replacement for the file management platform that he’d used at his previous firm, but felt he was starting to outgrow.
“In 2016, we just used what we already knew. It was easier to pick up the old system, install it and keep going,” he said.
But as the firm grew, and technologies and capabilities advanced, Mark quickly realised that the old system just wasn’t keeping up – with his firm, or with the expectations of his clients.
“We’re early adopters in everything that we do. So, cloud technology, offshoring, and new possibilities are all of interest to us. We want to make sure that we get the best efficiencies that money can buy – because that doesn’t just help us… it helps our clients get better results and quicker results.”
Expanding in step with the firm
Inspired by a fellow accountant, Mark took a look at FYI.
“At lunch one day, my mate kept telling me, ‘You’ve got to go FYI. You’ve got to do it.’”, reflected Mark. “I did a little bit of investigating and discovered that it can do what our current system did, and although the old system did it well, it didn’t go that extra step.”
In FYI, Mark saw the bigger picture and that he’d probably outgrown the old system. FYI had a lot more functionality and room for his firm to expand… and a lot more automation.
So, in 2022, Mark and his firm took the plunge, and have become avid champions of the capabilities and potential within the system.
Smooth integration into a best-of-breed app stack
Like any accounting firm, the MKS team work with a variety of digital platforms and tech to create an array of documents, send them out for signing, track their progress, file them, protect them, and regularly retrieve them. From follow-up emails to clients through to reports, statements, financials, and returns to ATO and ASIC, MKS Group uses Practice Protect, BGL, Fuse and The Gap, and other well-known accounting software.
It was vital then, that any new document management platform could not only work seamlessly with all this third-party technology, but could be easily and smoothly integrated into the firm’s existing IT and administration.
That’s where FYI’s onboarding system proved invaluable.
Jumping on board with ease
“That whole onboarding process flowed and the story was true,” said Mark, adding that the entire process was easy to follow – even for someone who is not familiar with such systems.
To create the most streamlined process, Mark and his team identified the elements of the platform that they’d each need to know about, before approaching the task of learning the system.
“The onboarding started, and we all had homework to do, with different things to get familiar with. From there, the process was straightforward and logical: ‘You do this by this date, and then we can guarantee you that. You do this by that date, we’ll guarantee you that.’ Before you know it, we had a fully functioning system, and the change-over went really, really, really well.”
The set-up process can be guided by FYI’s dedicated onboarding specialists and the easy to follow learning modules, or be fully self-directed, based on the user’s confidence and previous experience in similar platforms.
Mark admitted that his son found the process even easier – sitting in the boardroom one afternoon, cruising through the learning modules, before remarking, ‘Yeah, yeah, this is fine.’
“At the end of the day, if you know what the system does, it’s easy to follow,” said Mark noting the important factor that ‘Learn’ (FYI’s training suite) easily caters for the beginner – especially new staff who might know nothing about document management.
“I think Learn could teach them everything they need to know, just by following the modules.”
Why databases are better than folder structures
The ability to adapt FYI’s capabilities to suit the particular needs of each firm is among its greatest strengths, and this is not lost on Mark and his team.
“Know what you want it to do, and how you want it to work, and then just make that happen.”
Mark shared that in the past the firm might have put everything to do with super into one folder called ‘Superannuation’, when it’s actually just an aspect of accounting or tax. With FYI, they’re now able to keep anything super-related filed under tax or accounting, but tagged as ‘superannuation’. “It’s working a lot better,” he said. “I can go into a client file, and look for any document I want to do with super, and there it is.”
Keeping on top of his tasks
A key component of FYI’s efficiency is its ability to help accountants keep abreast of tasks and timeframes.
In the past, Mark would find that it was easy to miss new lead opportunities or chances to check in on clients in a meaningful way. Now however, thanks to FYI, prompts can be set on jobs and deadlines.
“In the past, there was no trigger for me to say, ‘There’s a task for you to do. You need to go in there and deal with this’,” said Mark. “Now, I get a notification through FYI, and I can then easily go back and I scroll through to make sure I’ve covered everything off – and I do look at them regularly now.”
Productivity meets peace of mind.
Increasing efficiency and allowing people to focus on what they’ve been engaged to do are goals for all accounting firms, but in the past, there have often been hurdles to achieving these in tandem. With FYI on board however, the MKS Group have seen huge leaps forward in both, and enjoy the peace of mind knowing that every document is where it should be, and can be accessed in the blink of an eye.
“Filing a document and being able to just drag it and drop it, and then file it and store it away, knowing it’s there… well, I can’t put a dollar value on that. But I do know, if something is quicker for me to do, I guarantee you it’s twice as quick for everybody else.”
An important aspect of FYI is its time-saving ability to automate filing and cataloguing, with Mark appreciating the fact that he no longer needs select files, think about where they need to go, and ensure they’re located correctly. With FYI in place, the client name is picked up via a single system, and the document is filed, labelled and stored in the appropriate area.
MKS looks to the future with FYI
Responsive, proactive and receptive to the needs of the accounting industry, FYI is constantly developing and trialling new capabilities for the platform so that it’s always one step ahead. One important component already available is the collaboration tool, and while Mark is yet to use it, he is excited about its prospects for greater engagement with clients and his team.
“The collaboration tool, where we can each go in and make edits on a document is excellent. I’ve got some PowerPoint drafts, which I’ve prepared for our marketing person. I’ll just put them into a folder, file it, add some comments, tell them what I want, next thing I know, it’ll be back to me and it’s done, and we’re all looking at the same document.”
“I’m also keen to use the collaboration capabilities on a particular project that we’re doing for a conference with one of our clients, so that we’re all accessing the one source of information.”
Online access capabilities for clients is another area Mark has identified as being a game-changer in his service delivery.
“If a client says, ‘Can you send me my financials?’ I can take them to the website, and they can log in with their username and password and access whichever documents I’ve shared with them.”
The bottom line
“For us, FYI is humming. We’ve invested in all the features that we need, we’re using them, and they’re working for us… which means we’re getting a good return on our investment.”
And if anyone asks Mark about changing over to FYI, his reply is direct. “Hell yeah. Do it. Absolutely”