Bates Weston has around 1,400 clients and generates an average of 20,000 documents each month across all departments.
Bates Weston is one of Derby’s leading firms of business advisors and chartered accountants. The firm provides services to a wide range of clients from corporate groups and owner managed businesses, to charities and the education sector as well as private individuals, regardless of the size of their business or personal wealth. Services span all aspects of business including accountancy and audit services, tax planning, corporate finance, insolvency and corporate recovery services amongst others.
Key to the success of the practice’s evolution is the creation and branding of a highly professional and efficient business. In 2007, Bates Weston decided its existing investment in digital information recording and storage would not support the business’ vision and opted to implement Invu Document Management.
As Marc Pegg, IT Manager at Bates Weston, explains, “Although information was being stored digitally, the system and processes were inadequate. Files were created digitally but then printed off because the firm had no confidence in the digital solution. There was a huge duplication of effort.”
“With the full audit trail delivered by Invu, Bates Weston has the reassurance that any legal demands for information can be met simply and rapidly.”
Bates Weston has around 1,400 clients and generates an average of 20,000 documents each month across all departments – a mix of accounts, schedules, tax computations and business advice corrsepondance. With its continued reliance upon paper records, the practice estimates around 10% of its 7,000 sq ft office was dedicated to document storage – as well as an entire loft space. As a result, “Information was difficult to find and the process was both time consuming and inefficient,” Marc confirms “It was clear that Bates Weston required a central policy to hold all information in one place so it could not be lost and would be extremely easy to find.”
In 2007, the practice began to build a business case for a document management solution and plan a filing structure that reflected the specific needs of the accountancy business. He confirms, “One of the key aspects of a successful document management implementation is excellent planning. The fact that Bates Weston has had to make no changes to the core filing structure since the implementation is testament to the work of all parties involved.”
“Information is on screen in seconds, which means we can answer any client questions immediately.”
Invu is now used on a daily basis by the firm’s ten partners and 65 staff across all departments. One of the key benefits is the speed with which client queries can now be answered. “Information is on screen in seconds,” Marc says, “which means we can answer any client questions immediately.”
With Invu in place, the practice has also improved its disaster recovery and business resilience. As Marc says, “Paper based records are at huge risk from flood, fire and other damage. With digital records, Bates Weston is now confident in the safety of these critical information resources.”
In addition, whilst regulatory compliance was not a key driver for the original project, the practice is more confident than ever in its ability to provide end-to-end document history.
Bates Weston has attained a clear ROI. In the year prior to implementing Invu, the practice spent £45,000 on stationery and printing costs alone. By the end of 2010, the print and stationery bill had been reduced by around £17,000 per year.
The practice estimates it has cut its printed output by over 600,000 pages per year. In addition, Bates Weston has freed up significant additional office space; in the meantime the practice is no longer wasting hours looking for files or getting copies of files. In fact, two people previously dedicated to transferring information around the building have been redeployed.
Critically, rapid access to information has formed an important step in enabling the firm to realise its vision and make the transition from accountant to trusted business adviser. “The accountancy business is no longer about the cheapest way of creating a set of accounts; it is about value added services, such as creating monthly management accounts and helping clients analyse those accounts. Invu provides the central spine of information that is enabling Bates Weston to deliver these services to clients.”
“The ability to meet client information needs in real time is excellent. Everyone at Bates Weston is now confident that we have all of the information we need at any time – there is no concern that a key document has been lost, or a printed copy forgotten. This transforms the client relationship.”
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