HowNow: A “No-Brainer”
Last week, two of our Client Care team chatted with Cameron Mason of The Insight Company, based in Maroochydore, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Cameron’s enthusiasm for our HowNow Document & Email Management Software and HowNow Workpapers sent the meeting into overtime – here’s what he had to say.
Efficiency has been the number one improvement for The Insight Company, after they became customers of Business Fitness in 2010. “We achieved levels of efficiency through HowNow that have produced 15% more turnover with 20% less staff,” Cameron notes. This meant that the firm was saving well over $1,000 per week in wages, something which makes “$700 a month for HowNow not an issue,” according to Cameron. That $700 alone would ordinarily be wasted in chasing accounts, finalizing jobs and distributing reports to clients.
Since implementing HowNow in their firm, their write-offs have reduced from over 15% to less than 2%; they’ve saved hours on job set-up and processing, and their expensive review time has dropped from a typical 45 minutes to between 10 and 15 minutes. Does 45 minutes sound like a lot? That’s the time it took them to review a senior accountant’s work. It was previously 90 minutes for juniors. Now they’re down to 25 minutes. In fact, it’s now cheaper for both Cameron and another reviewer to review jobs jointly, than it used to be for just one of them. The key to their success? Business Fitness’ comprehensive and standardised HowNow Workpapers, which the firm has been using since 2010.
Not only have the workpapers been a key efficiency driver in time savings, they’ve saved the firm considerable money and allowed them to change workplace dynamics by increasing the number of junior accountants they employ. Employees at Insight, no matter how senior, have been trained to understand that a job is not finished until all items are included in workpapers (such as source documents and links). This too brings significant review time benefits – and, as Cameron pointed out, with all documents being scanned and included in the workpapers, there is no longer a need to carry client files. Accountants and reviewers can work from anywhere!
Having achieved a significant reduction in inefficiencies and wasted time within the firm, the future is looking bright for The Insight Company. With a full office and 18 months left on the lease, upsizing is not an option for Cameron right now. Instead of gaining more staff, his mission is to further increase efficiency and productivity in his existing staff. The next step? A client portal.
The end-of-job routine is a notoriously drawn-out process in the accounting industry. With client portals, such as that offered by HowNow, increasing in popularity, Cameron’s aim is to develop routines that drastically reduce job sign-off times. Instant downloads of up-to-date documents accessible by both client and accountant is the next step in getting back that time neither of us has enough of.
Despite the pressure from competitors and “industry experts”, The Insight Company has no intention of incorporating outsourcing into their business model. Their efficiency levels are already so high that employing local talent is not negatively impacting on the firm.
One thing any business can learn from reading about Cameron’s firm is that constant internal measuring, analysis and review is the key to ongoing growth. To know whether your firm is really benefitting from new software, procedures or any kind of product, frequent assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of your staff’s work is crucial.
Encouraging feedback and suggestions from your clients is another vital element to improvement. Insight recently asked their clients about the type of information they’d like to receive in newsletters from the firm. Intrigued? Here’s what they said:
– Tax updates – but not too ‘taxy’! Brief, practical information only – too much detail on compliance and rulings made was unappealing for most readers;
– General business development and marketing ideas (even from seemingly unrelated businesses – anything can spark inspiration!);
– Business interest topics; and
– What other businesses are doing.
As loyal clients of almost 4 years, Insight complimented Business Fitness on being particularly pain free and friendly to deal with. The benefits that the HowNow software and HowNow Workpapers have delivered to Insight could not be more obvious, and Cameron is quick to recommend the products. “HowNow was a no-brainer,” Cameron smiles. “It pays for itself in no time.”