Founded in 1953, Cutcher & Neale is one of the most established accounting firms in the country with more than 145 staff, including 11 partners. As a thriving practice with teams spanning multiple offices, their digital transformation was carefully planned. Employees were engaged early in the process, and the company established an innovation team to lead the transition to the Cloud. In July 2019 the management team made the decision to make the move, and this is when Cutcher & Neale’s relationship with FYI began.
Сhosen for its open API, their new approach was built around Xero Practice Manager (XPM) as their cloud-based practice management platform. This allowed the firm to connect with different software solutions tailored for each division in their practice, all of which integrate into their practice management solution with no restrictions. Jarrod Bramble, Partner at Cutcher & Neale, talks about the move:
“We believe that if you’re not in the Cloud you’re not a firm of the future, so when we decided to move to the Cloud it was important to have open API so we could connect all our chosen solutions into one network. Our innovation team identified data integrity, a clear development path, process improvements and visible workflows as crucial deliverables from our new cloud-based ecosystem.“
“Naturally, we chose the market leader, Xero Practice Manager. We also required a document management solution to plug into that, and made the decision to move from HowNow to FYI for document management because of FYI’s powerful integration with XPM.
We were an early adopter of FYI and straight from onboarding FYI became an absolutely essential part of our business. The commitment that the FYI team has shown to our success has been fantastic.”
What differentiates FYI from other document management solutions is its ability to automate the capture, creation, filing, and processing of emails, documents and client interactions in a disciplined and searchable platform. It also provides tools for task and job management, workflows, team and client collaboration and process automation, beyond what might be expected of a traditional DM solution.
“There are many attributes of FYI that we absolutely love,” Mr Bramble added. “First and foremost is that its Cloud-based; out of its many functions, probably the task system, workflows and approval processes on documents is what we see huge benefits from.
“The task system is outstanding and has had a profound effect on limiting the number of emails we send as a business. Job sign-off, job start, and job budgets are all now tasked in FYI. We use FYI automations in the background so that as soon as a document is approved, the processes that our admin team are required to follow are now fully automated. As a partner, I also have full visibility of all tasks happening in the business which is a seismic change to how we worked previously.”
Tasks are also used across all divisions for ease of management and internal workflow. Visibility across all divisions means the firm can easily see where everything is up to. In tray filing and the automation of threading for back and forth emails has made it so much easier for the team at Cutcher & Neale stay on top of email management. The integration FYI has with so many of their other software solutions is key for them.
Talking more about the benefits, Mr Bramble said: “I think what was pleasing for us was during the transition period we didn’t see any negative effect on our business whatsoever – no slowing or dipping of margins. As web-based software, the FYI platform is very intuitive, so the team learned how to use it pretty quickly. The staff thoroughly embraced the new environment from day one.
“Also, when COVID hit, firms that had not embraced Cloud solutions like FYI really struggled, or scrambled for digital adoption, whereas we all just logged on from home and continued how we would work in the office. Having ‘work from anywhere’ Cloud infrastructure provides the team with the flexibility of working from home and coming into the office.”
Cutcher and Neale saw huge benefits from embracing FYI as part of its digital transformation, to the point the firm believes it would never go back to its old way of working. Mr Bramble continued: “When considering an ROI it’s almost impossible to put a data point on it, as it’s such a huge move from where the firm was to where we are now, with FYI fully embedded into our organisation. Putting an ROI on a whole new way of working doesn’t do it justice – it’s like a whole new company.
“I work mostly from my client workspace in FYI – it pulls data in from multiple external sources and means I can easily see across the group, as well as access information related to each individual client.
FYI’s integration with XPM is really profound. Not only does it make document management a breeze, but we also use FYI to manage jobs, reporting, tasks and workflow using the solid foundations that XPM provides. “Through FYI’s integration with XPM Jobs, I can view jobs by partner within FYI, and easily see where each job is up to, and add comments to share with my team.”
Advice for others
When asked what advice he would give to other practices, Mr Bramble added: “Picking cloud software that has a clear development path is critical, so you have confidence it will deliver what your practice might need in five to ten years.
“Is the solution constantly improving itself? If you don’t have a clear development path, you will be left behind, and you will have to change again. What continues to impress us the most about FYI is that it’s always improving, it’s with us for the long-haul and always making changes to keep up with new ways of working. You know for sure it’s blazing a trail into the future.”
“We are excited for FYI to keep developing the automations and to continue to work with other software providers to build integrations to make our day to day so much easier.”
The future certainly looks bright for Cutcher & Neale.
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