Australia’s Leading Integrated Accounting and Wealth Services Thrives with FYI

Count is Australia’s leading integrated accounting and wealth services provider and Barry Tang is the Business Manager at Count, North Sydney.

A group of 120+ firms with both accounting and financial planning, Barry describes Count as an integrated one-stop shop for all of a client’s financial needs, whether it is looking back at compliance needs, advisory needs, current needs, or wealth and planning for the future needs.

FYI is now operating in 30 Count firms with a national agreement in place with the network.

Barry says, “I started in a big four as a tax accountant for over 10 years and had already pivoted towards process improvement and strategy before joining Count North Sydney. So the big goal in coming here was to lead the strategic growth and operations. But my desire was to push integrated technology and use the technology to improve processes and people’s experiences.”

Integration was the key.

When describing the current tech stack at the business, Barry says, ‘all the systems individually did their job fine, but no system actually spoke to the others or had any integration at all.

And as we were moving into and out of COVID, with everyone working remotely, the instances of manual error from double entries and miscommunication was increasing. So that sparked the need to reassess what we were doing.’

The journey to evolve and improve Count North Sydney’s online document management system started in early 2022.

After much reflection on their previous systems and desktop research into market products, Barry and his team sat through a bunch of vendor demos and interviews for products before landing on FYI.

Ultimately, FYI was chosen because of the options beyond document management as well as its ability to integrate seamlessly with their other systems like XPM, Cloudoffis, Annature, and NowInfinity.

Says Barry, “FYI was a no-brainer for us. We spoke to enough people within FYI and the Count network to be certain that the product was solid. And it was no more expensive than what we had been using, but with much more functionality and future proofing.”

Over a 12 month process Count changed their full tech stack from email and office suite (G Suite to Microsoft), Practice Management, Document Management, Workpapers, many off which had separate database which needed to be aligned.

Says Barry “If I kind of reflect back on the migration of data, moving data from our old document system, it was a smooth controlled process, but rather technically challenging. Partially because getting documents out from the desktop unintegrated product itself was a challenge. However, we got there… we got there.’”

All aboard!

After all the research, Barry never doubted that FYI was a good system to use, “The real concern was the change management and how people adopted the change. Some staff members had been using the old systems they’ve known for six, seven years. And for better or worse, it becomes muscle memory to use something a certain way. So for us, it was change management; selling the story of why we need to change to demonstrate the value that we were bringing to the people.”

To make onboarding as smooth as possible, FYI onboarding recommends a champion team be appointed. Barry agrees, ‘We had several other people assisting with the process, some of which were administrative staff and some of which were the accounting users of FYI. So we made sure we had somewhat varied voices and opinions as part of the onboarding and training process. And we got good feedback from that process, both for the people trailing it and those helping onboard.”

Count were also guided by FYI, having people do the learn modules before the go live date and live run training sessions.

Says Barry “We’ve found success in the super users just walking around behind people’s backs and saying, “Hey, what are you doing, did you know you can do this?” So there’s nothing more powerful than an advocate for a product and there’s nothing more powerful than sharing a tip or trick that actually improves the process, with efficiencies that people didn’t realise before was already there for them.

After successfully navigating the challenges of change management and onboarding, the tangible benefits of transitioning to FYI began to manifest not just in workflow efficiencies but also in operational dynamics.

Even since we migrated to a fully integrated tech stack, we now have one less full-time admin head count, but still able to deliver the same, if not better quality and more consistent client output

Highly expandable.

Count North Sydney already had ATOMate, but when FYI turned on, the ATO correspondence became 95% automated.

After a fuss-free onboarding process, Count, North Sydney used FYI solely for document management and as a central hub to link to all other branches of apps. But after nine months, they realised their existing XPM workflow functionality was not as sophisticated as they required.

Says Barry, “We always knew FYI was the next step to improving workflow functionality, and with guidance from the FYI team we went about expanding its use. Once we integrated XPM and FYI with its automatic saving and archiving, we noticed massive and immediate efficiency gains. Together, they are the single client source. So with a single client name, you can now find a workpapers, all their permanent documents, and the billing file, rather than 3 separate searches for the same thing.

Says Barry, “We had a very clear audit trail of documents that everyone could find without needing anyone to scan a single piece of paper or even name it correctly.”

Let’s get specific.

Asked to list a few specific advantages of adopting FYI, Barry says, “We now share Excel documents as live documents through FYI links, rather than having static documents people upload for reference. That’s been a huge efficiency gain for our accounting team, while enabling managers and principals to add notes and review points to a live file and keep track of those things.

We also pushed for people to store meeting notes and phone call notes within FYI, because quite often people’s meeting notes are either saved in their brain or as an email to themselves which other team members cannot access. That was a huge win for us as well.”

The reduction of human touch points for handling documents, and thereby reducing the ability and possibility of human error, really from our point of view, has been the greatest achievement.

So what would Barry say to others considering adopting FYI as their cloud bookkeeping software?

100% yes. FYI as a standalone product is incredibly strong. And because it is more cabinet and tag based rather than a nested structure, it becomes a lot easier to find, discover and search for documents. Any early apprehension we had in not having the familiar nested folder structure is alleviated knowing how many more options it gives you.

Barry’s not alone in his enthusiasm for FYI. Each day he sees Count North Sydney FYI super users popping up behind their colleagues asking, “Hey, did you know you can do this with it?” Says Barry, “There’s nothing more powerful than an advocate for a product and there’s nothing more useful than a shared tip or trick that improves the process.”

And the real proof of the pudding for Barry… “If no one’s complaining, everyone must be happy!”

Invite your team to a live platform tour and see why firms like Count North Sydney are counting on FYI.