CAS

Accounting Today - - Technology -

clients is JCCS’S biggest chal­lenge. “Es­pe­cially if clients have been with QBD a long time, QBO looks dif­fer­ent,” Vuke­lich said. “By now we’ve de­vel­oped enough of our train­ing ma­te­ri­als to a point where we feel com­fort­able talk­ing to clients about what’s go­ing to change.”

Firm growth: “The ef­fi­ciency and au­toma­tion is huge,” Vuke­lich said. “We can be touch­ing 10 clients in the time we used to touch five. We’ve seen growth that way. We ser­vice more clients and at a higher value than be­fore, when we were so fo­cused on just get­ting the data in. Now we can re­view data to make sure it’s cor­rect, but we can also an­a­lyze that and give back some rec­om­men­da­tions to the client.”

Vuke­lich went on to add, “The part­ner­ship you cre­ate with your tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tion is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant, whether you’re a sole pro­pri­etor book­keeper or a larger firm. Our con­nec­tion with In­tuit has been a huge game-changer for us as far as mak­ing sure we’re im­ple­ment­ing ev­ery­thing right, and the sup­port they give us.”

Speci­ficity of ser­vice

Firm: Clifton­lar­son­allen LLP Staff: 800 (out­sourc­ing ser­vices depart­ment) Prod­uct: Sage In­tacct On record: Prin­ci­pal Abe Mathew

On CAS: Clifton­lar­son­allen is a Top 100 Firm of ap­prox­i­mately 5,400 pro­fes­sion­als, with an en­tire 1,386-per­son depart­ment re­spon­si­ble for out­sourced ser­vices. Within that um­brella falls out­sourced busi­ness op­er­a­tions ser­vices, or Bi­zops, that pro­vides a range of dif­fer­ent out­sourc­ing ser­vices to clients, broadly in­clud­ing part-time, per­ma­nent re­sources, as well as project and con­sult­ing re­sources. Abe Mathew is a prin­ci­pal with the Sage In­tacct prac­tice of the firm, the soft­ware CLA uses for a large por­tion of its out­sourced ac­count­ing ser­vices. Ac­cord­ing to Mathew, the broad def­i­ni­tion of client ac­count­ing ser­vices has re­mained rel­a­tively con­sis­tent over the years, but re­ally gains speci­ficity de­pend­ing on the type of client the firm is serv­ing.

Se­lec­tion: CLA’S his­tory with Sage In­tacct goes back to Lan­gan As­so­ci­ates PC, a Wash­ing­ton, D.c.-based firm that was ac­quired by Clifton­lar­son­allen in 2006. Lan­gan be­gan us­ing Sage In­tacct in 2001, serv­ing pri­mar­ily non­profit clients; to­day, CLA pro­vides out­sourced ser­vices via Sage In­tacct to a broad range of in­dus­tries, from non­prof­its to tech com­pa­nies.

In­tacct, the pre­de­ces­sor to Sage In­tacct, was founded in 2000, just one year be­fore Lan­gan adopted the soft­ware. The firm sought a cloud-based so­lu­tion that would al­low for bet­ter client col­lab­o­ra­tion at a time when the cloud was rel­a­tively new. “When I joined the broader firm in 2006, CLA em­braced how tech­nol­ogy would have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact in en­hanc­ing client re­la­tion­ships,” Mathew, who joined CLA from Lan­gan, said. “There was ed­u­ca­tion across the firm on us­ing tech­nol­ogy to im­prove our pro­cesses around out­sourced ac­count­ing ser­vices.”

Mathew noted that the firm has looked at dif­fer­ent cloud soft­ware since, but Sage In­tacct “sets a bench­mark in terms of its IT in­fra­struc­ture as a whole.”

Im­ple­men­ta­tion: “When we started with Sage In­tacct in 2001, we gave our­selves a lit­tle time to mi­grate clients,” Mathew said. “The first was a physi­cian’s prac­tice, the brother of one of the firm’s man­ag­ing part­ners. We were re­ally get­ting to know the soft­ware.”

By the time Mathew joined the firm, Lan­gan was deep in the process of mi­grat­ing all out­sourced ac­count­ing clients in D.C. to In­tacct.

“I went through that ini­tial on­board­ing my­self,” he said. “It was a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me be­cause I learned the ins and outs of what makes ac­count­ing sys­tems so great; at the same time, I quickly saw we were bring­ing value to clients that they hadn’t seen be­fore.”

To­day, CLA has a 35-per­son in-house im­ple­men­ta­tion team for Sage In­tacct.

High­lights: Mathew de­scribed Sage In­tacct as a soft­ware ac­coun­tants love, but that is also very ac­ces­si­ble to non-ac­coun­tants.

“I re­ally like how Sage In­tacct has taken the com­plex­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with fi­nan­cial re­port­ing and makes it easy to un­der­stand,” Mathew said. “The soft­ware goes above and be­yond to make re­port­ing sim­ple and easy to un­der­stand. It’s easy to map out trends over time and see what im­pact even non-fi­nan­cial data has on fi­nan­cials over­all. We’re able to en­gage with stake­hold­ers more deeply than just send­ing them core fi­nan­cials.”

Chal­lenges: “In­tacct’s been very so­lu­tion-minded,” Mathew said. “If we come to them with a prob­lem, they def­i­nitely make sure to fig­ure out how we can ad­dress it. For ex­am­ple, if it’s mak­ing on­board­ing clients sim­pler, they say, ‘Can we build these tools to stream­line and bet­ter au­to­mate this for you.’”

Firm growth: “In terms of growth over­all, In­tacct is one of our faster-grow­ing ver­ti­cals as a whole,” Mathew said. “When you com­bine that with the over­all out­sourc­ing prac­tice, it’s re­ally en­abled our staff to dive deeper in their re­la­tion­ships with clients. We are au­tomat­ing more pro­cesses, which en­ables our team to be that more strate­gic ad­vi­sor for our clients.”

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