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Gardners Accountants

Gardners is a leading practice of chartered accountants based in Holywell in North Wales.

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Invu has teamed up with IRIS, the UK’s leading provider of software to the accounting profession. Invu Document Management is enhanced with close integration with IRIS Practice Management as IRIS OpenDocs (powered by Invu).


The Challenge

Director Melanie Langton-Davies explains why electronic document management became an increasingly attractive alternative to using paper based process, “As in any practice, storing and managing paper-based files had begun to create significant problems. We archived older documents off-site in a remote location and retrieving a file could mean a delay of up to 24 hours. At the same time, storing current correspondence and documents in the office was consuming more and more space.” 

“We’re long-time users of IRIS software and attend the annual IRIS World event to see what’s new to further increase our efficiency. A demonstration of IRIS OpenDocs (powered by Invu) confirmed that the time was right to take a closer look at what it could do for our practice.”


”Im so glad we decided to choose IRIS OpenDocs as ther is a full integration with the IRIS Accountancy Suite.”


The Approach

Once the decision was made to install a Document Management solution, a steering group of five representatives from across the practice was formed to oversee the implementation and share tips on using the new software. Practice Administrator Alison Hughes was pleased with the smooth implementation of IRIS OpenDocs, “It all went very well and did not interfere with our day-to-day work.” Two days of training helped Gardners to make an effective start and then Alison co-ordinated any subsequent questions from users: “There are bound to be queries once you start using new software and the IRIS support desk team were very helpful.” 

Melanie notes, “The benefit of full integration with our IRIS software was immediately apparent: 50% of the documents to be stored on IRIS OpenDocs were already captured by our IRIS software.”


Unobstructive, automatic email management

Since the implementation, Melanie has found IRIS OpenDocs invaluable in ensuring good practice around email retention. If an email address is already in the IRIS database, any emails are filed away against the client account. Melanie appreciates the consistency this brings: “Email management happens automatically behind the scenes, so staff are carefully filing emails without even realising it! This also gives us a full email audit trail, should there be any queries.”

Highlighting the advantages of using IRIS OpenDocs, rather than an alternative solution, Melanie says, “We’d been considering electronic document management for some time before seeing IRIS OpenDocs and had been looking at another solution. I’m so glad we decided to choose IRIS OpenDocs as there is full integration with the IRIS Accountancy Suite we use every day. If we’d chosen the alternative provider, we would have needed a separate program to manage email.”


”Filing-cabinets now occupy less space. After all, why save a paper copy of a letter when it’s all there on Open-Docs?”


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A rounded view of the client’s business

With IRIS OpenDocs, Gardners staff now have easy access to information, whenever and wherever they meet with a client. Melanie comments, “We’ve eliminated the issue of finding that a file required for a meeting with the client, for example, is currently being used by another colleague. Furthermore, long wait times for files to be retrieved from our off-site storage are a thing of the past. All the details are at our fingertips.”

The 19-strong Gardners team takes pride in supporting clients every step of the way and here again IRIS OpenDocs contributes. Melanie points out, “As a practice, we want to understand the client’s business, and for this we need all the background, including emails. Having emails stored correctly through IRIS OpenDocs helps us to gain full visibility, so that nothing is missed. It will all be there in the email history, whichever member of staff communicated with the client about a particular issue.”

Melanie emphasises, “No one person can do everything. There has to be delegation within a practice and IRIS OpenDocs gives us all shared, secure access to information in one central location.”


Saving space

While some practices choose to phase over to IRIS OpenDocs, Gardners decided that paper filing would cease from day one of using the new solution, which was the start of the new financial year.

Alison says, “Any new documents and letters coming into the office are now scanned and distributed, and the original is stored in a box – not the client file. This is purely for our peace of mind and so far we’ve had no need to retrieve any of the paperwork as the system is working perfectly.”

There’s been a visible impact on the practice, with a constant drive to consolidate and prune the remaining paper files. Melanie says,“Filing-cabinets now occupy less space. After all, why save a paper copy of a letter when it’s all there on OpenDocs?”


”As a practice, we want to understand the client’s business, and for this we need all the background, including emails. Having emails stored correctly through IRIS OpenDocs (powered by Invu) helps us gain full visibility, so that nothing is missed.”



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