Creating a single point of truth to achieve awards success

James Scott (Accounting) LLP, a well-established accounting firm with a rich history spanning nearly four decades, has consistently demonstrated its commitment to innovation and excellence.  

The firm has evolved from a traditional accounting practice to a forward-thinking, technology-driven firm in a short span. 

With two partners and a dedicated team of eight experienced experts, James Scott caters to a diverse clientele, from sole traders to companies with turnovers of up to £10 million, providing a full end-to-end service that functions as an outsourced finance department. 

Time for an update 

Despite its success, James Scott faced challenges inherent in keeping pace in the rapidly evolving accounting profession. With this in mind, it began the transition to cloud accounting in 2016 to improve efficiency and enhance its client service.  

While they began this journey, aiming to streamline their operations by integrating various applications to create a cohesive system they have managed to achieve a “single point of truth” with the help of Xero and its close integration with FYI. Their previous setup was heavily reliant on server and desktop-based solutions, which were quickly becoming obsolete.  Moreover, the manual processes employed by the team were cumbersome, hindering the firm’s potential for growth and client satisfaction. 

A new approach

James Scott had already implemented Xero and its practice manager, XPM, but it wasn’t quite streamlined to meet the needs of their services, despite its many great features.  

The turning point came when James Scott discovered FYI at a XeroCon event. Matthew Taylor, a Partner at James Scott, said: “We were first recommended FYI by our close contacts at Valued Accountancy, who said that they had heard good things about the platform and what it could do. 

Matthew said he was intrigued by FYI’s promise to fill the gaps left by other systems, notably XPM. 

Implementation and results 

Under the guidance of Practice Manager, Helen Savage, who joined the firm from an e-commerce/customer service background, James Scott embarked on a mission to automate its processes with FYI. Helen’s fresh perspective and lack of traditional accounting background allowed her to appreciate FYI’s intuitive design and comprehensive features from the start. 

The system’s stability and reliability stood out, with Helen and Matthew, noting significant improvements in their daily operations. Matthew explained that “the system has never let us down. It’s extremely stable.”

”Our firm has been able to utilise data more effectively, streamline communication within the team and our clients, and FYI has enhanced document management through its OneDrive integration,” added Helen.

”We can also quickly add notes from communications during meetings, telephone calls or documents that are easily picked up and shared amongst our team. From my point of view, it has everything we need. The tags and filters are really useful for managing deadlines and each type of work.”

What we love about FYI, and where it helps with systems like XPM, is that everything is in one place, instead of having to swap from one system to another.''

”These automations have saved us considerable time and allowed the team to initiate assessments sooner, reducing manual effort and enabling a more strategic focus on client service.” added Helen.

The introduction of clever and complex automations, including a rich library of existing automation templates, such as tax return information requests, marked a notable advancement in James Scott’s capabilities.  

The onboarding process with FYI was smooth and well supported. Even where we came up against minor obstacles they were quickly resolved.”

Benefits and impact 

The collaboration with FYI has transformed James Scott’s operations, yielding numerous benefits: 

  • Efficiency: Streamlining processes and centralising data in one place have saved time and simplified workflows. 
  • Client Service: Enhanced automation and integration capabilities have improved the customer experience, allowing for a more proactive and personalised service. 
  • Team empowerment: The firm has empowered its staff with tools and resources to work more effectively, fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. 
If you are using XPM then I would say that FYI is essential to get the most out of it. Instead of having data all over the place, you condense it to one single point of truth.''

Recognition and future outlook 

The successful implementation of Xero, and the support provided by FYI’s systems, have had a marked impact on James Scott’s operations leading to the firm being shortlisted for Small Firm of the Year at the 2024 Xero Award – a testament to its innovative approach and commitment to excellence.  

“It was a very proud moment for us all and everyone was buzzing when we got the news from our Xero account manager,” said Matthew. 

“Our shortlist has given us additional confidence in our innovation strategy and reassured us that we are taking the right approach. Xero is central in what we do, and FYI has made the practice side of things far smoother, allowing us to improve our customer experience.”

Final thoughts 

James Scott’s experience with FYI underscores the potential of cloud-based solutions to drastically enhance the operations of accounting practices. 

By embracing technology, James Scott has not only overcome its initial challenges but has set a new standard for modern accounting firms. Their story is a compelling endorsement of FYI’s capabilities and a shining example of how the right tools can pave the way for a brighter, more successful future. 

“People expect a more modern service from their accountants and FYI, with its integrations, helps to deliver this. I would always recommend FYI to other accountancy firms that are focused on innovation,” concluded Matthew.  

Want to see FYI in action? Register for a live platform tour to see how you could be using FYI in your practice.