Ammu is growing quickly, and like many fast-moving practices, it is seeking the most efficient way to scale up – with the help of FYI.
Founded in 2020 by Chartered Accountant, Simon Murrison and Jane Grant, a Chartered Management Accountant, Ammu is an innovative Scottish practice with big ambitions.
Built on the merger of two innovative, digitally-led practices with complementary skills and shared values, it is on a mission to acquire like-minded firms – including its latest acquisition of MCC Accountants in June 2023 – to spread its highly-valued services to more businesses.
In doing so, Ammu recognised that it needed a document management system that could support its growth and find new ways to automate many of the time-consuming processes that hamper efficiency and cause frustration while remaining easy to onboard new practices and staff as they joined.
Time for change
As you can imagine, in merging multiple firms there were a lot of challenges in getting processes and systems aligned.
Ammu offers many different services from a dedicated management accounts specialism to complex tax advice, which gives the firm a good oversight of its clients’ businesses.
As they offer a very proactive service, with multiple touchpoints with clients throughout the year, they needed a system that could manage documents and automate many of the common processes within a practice, such as chasing clients for information and returns via email.
In January 2022, Lucy Handley was brought into the practice as Accounts and Advisory Manager and set the task of finding systems that complement Ammu’s services and were also scalable for its anticipated growth.
With a background in helping other firms implement cloud accounting solutions, she set out to find the right solution to meet Ammu’s needs.
“When I joined, I started researching all the different systems that we use already because I noticed that there was an issue with the way we work and there was no real oversight,” explained Lucy.
“We didn’t know what people were working on at any moment in time, what stage it was at. It just felt like we were using so many different platforms, for so many different areas.”
Lucy said that a lot of the current workflows involved sending emails back and forth or using Teams to share documents and information. However, this meant that things quickly became disjoined, confusing and frustrating.
“We looked at a couple of different solutions, some were too basic and others just didn’t provide what we needed.
“We then came across FYI during a conversation with Practice Ignition, and they explained how it integrated with Xero Practice Manager (XPM).
“As we use the XPM system for all our billing and invoices due to its feed into Xero, we thought it might be a better approach. We are also a Gold Xero Partner and it’s our preferred software choice so there was a definite collaboration there that we knew we could utilise.”
Lucy said that it made sense to make the move as Ammu didn’t have “to make huge changes to move on to lots of different things we can still keep our base software there with all the jobs that are created”.
Ammu had also previously invested in other document management software, but “It just wasn’t giving us what we needed,” said Lucy.
“So, when we saw FYI, we thought you know what, why don’t we combine it all into one solution.”
With FYI, Ammu can see what’s going on, what jobs are in play, and how near they are to completion.
Lucy said: “We can tailor it to what we want, which was important. So, we can have the automations that we want and define how we want them to run.
“We are constantly changing how we use FYI and making improvements, but equally the platform is constantly being upgraded to offer new, useful features – it is an ever-moving tool in itself as there are more additions coming to it all the time.
“But we also know that we can build on this software the bigger we get. We’ve never stopped improving the way we use FYI and we like that we can handle the innovation ourselves. It doesn’t have to be a software developer in the background that is doing it.”
Ammu like that they can decide how they want FYI to look and function. They have developed many automations that have created the functionality to do lots of powerful and time-saving tasks, like sending out automated emails to clients.
A better way of working, with a single point of truth
When Ammu reviewed their current workflow functionality and researched other platforms, they found that it didn’t suit their needs. However, with the integration of FYI’s new Collaborate feature and its already improved workflow visibility it is delivering improvements to the way that the practice functions.
Again, Ammu liked that everything they need can now be found through one solution, allowing them to shrink their technology ecosystem.
Simon Murrison, a Director and one of the founders of Ammu, said: “previously people were storing things in different areas and perhaps not being consistent with their processes – with FYI we have one unified source of truth.”
He added that the fact that you have the ability to communicate on different documents, without the need to overcrowd your emails with numerous reminders and versions that often end up forgotten, is a win.
Simon and Lucy also explained how the firm had started to remove disjointed and disconnected legacy systems over time, with plans to eliminate more as FYI develops new features.
“It removes a lot of the manual aspects of data entry and we’ve also quickly been able to import all of the client data and files, with very little effort”, added Lucy.
Quick and easy onboarding
Ammu has enjoyed a successful implementation of FYI and has been using it for more than a year now.
“The integrations with other software via the cloud, like XPM for example, means the set up was easy because it just bolted on to what we already had,” explained Simon.
“We were reluctant to step outside of our existing solutions and a lot of the other packages probably meant we would have had to completely start from new.”
Lucy adds: “The team has adapted well and the FYI onboarding team was very good in terms of getting the data where it needed to be. I think it was relatively painless and easy to get used to.”
Lucy and Simon explain that the simplicity of FYI meant it was easy to incorporate new staff and that the systems were transferred over easily to the new practice following their recent acquisition.
“Many people within the team have embraced its capabilities, leading to the streamlining of various tasks. For example, individuals are leveraging FYI to leave comments on different tasks, prompting others to inquire or tagging team members to provide clarity on client requests.”
Visibility and accountability have become ever more important for firms and Simon said that FYI had helped improve both aspects of running the practice.
He said: “We never really knew where anything was at, whereas now you can go, right, okay, why is that? Why are we still at that stage?
“Practice success means being as efficient as we possibly can and ensuring our engagement with clients is maximised, which FYI helps us achieve.”
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