LEES Accountants Case Study

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LEES Accountants

LEES Chartered Certified Accountants, based in Norwich, is a major independent partnership of accountants servicing the East of England through teams of experienced and qualified accountants and tax specialists.

Lees Accountants

Established in 1947, the firm has developed a reputation for professionalism with an individual touch and is acknowledged as a truly dynamic and progressive practice. 

LEES client base includes a healthy mix of large manufacturing and service companies, professional partnerships and owner managed businesses. These range from newer technology, professional services, arts and media clients to established and traditional business sectors including farming, retail, tourism, food, manufacturing and construction.

 

The Challenge

For many years LEES Accountants advertised itself as a modern vibrant practice with a youthful outlook. However, in one aspect of the business this was not the case: LEES struggled with the volume of paper records. Paper documentation was stored in a warehouse on the outskirts of Norwich at a cost of £20,000 per year. Document retrieval was slow and occasionally documents were misfiled or lost. Being unable to provide documents to order adversely impacted LEES quality of client service.

 

“Invu and IRIS is not just about saving time (although it does save an immense amount of time) – its more a question of retrieval and organisation.”

 

The Approach

Iain Clayton, Director had been looking at document management for some time. He explained, “Behind the scenes we were still struggling with the lack of document management systems. A paperless office was something that we really wanted. We needed to retrieve key information faster to enable us to make informed decisions faster and claw back some of the wasted chargeable time.” LEES purchased 30 licences of Invu Document Management with the added benefit of dedicated integration with IRIS Practice Management. Iain continued, “We had about a day and a half of training and people just wanted to get their hands on it. The training whetted the appetite and it really was a very swift implementation.”

 

Key benefit areas

Business Expenditure Reduced

Previously, LEES Accountants stored all files in a warehouse on the outskirts of Norwich at a cost of £20,000 a year. Iain explained “That warehouse is now sub-let and is giving us an income of about £10,000 a year. On that issue alone you could justify introducing the software.” All documents are now scanned directly into Invu using a multifunction device and then shredded. LEES Accountants also decided to scan all back copies. Staff have all the information they need directly at their fingertips for rapid and flexible retrieval. LEES has also seen costs diminish with the reduction of printing and photocopying documents.

 

Increased Chargeable Time

Lees Accountants2

All staff have direct and immediate access to its files. Consequently administration time has decreased and chargeable time has risen. Iain clarified the change. “Many times in the past we have gone to a filing cabinet to pick out a file only to realise one of our colleagues had already taken it out. Then you didn’t know which colleague had it! Now it doesn’t matter – everybody has access to everything all the time allowing them to work faster and increase the amount of chargeable time.”

 

“We had about a day and a half of training and people just wanted to get their hands on it. The training whetted the appetite and it really was a very swift implementation.”

 

Enhanced Quality of Service

LEES Accountants was keen to choose the dedicated integration with IRIS Practice Management. Iain explained their requirement “It really does integrate well with the other software. I was very keen to make sure that happened. We had IRIS, Microsoft Office and other products.” He continued, “Until Invu and IRIS formed this partnership we didn’t have the back end setup to support our external image. But certainly that’s not the case now. We are able to work from anywhere – we have the digital capacity to take a laptop anywhere in the world and access all of the files we need whenever we need to and it really has opened the doors for us. This was impossible without a document management system that could back it up.”

 

Future steps

Invu has dramatically improved the business processes of LEES Accountants. LEES is now one of the most up to date practices in the UK, now known as paperless. The practice has peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that documents are stored securely and won’t be lost or misfiled. Documents are shared between fee-earners in a controlled fashion, keeping tabs on processes and deadlines and there are minimal delays. Invu’s infallible audit trail ensures controlled processing. This makes LEES Accountants more effective and means that the practice is in good shape in the event that the Practice Assurance Inspector calls. Iain continued, “If I was to say anything to other accountants I would say if you are a competitor of ours don’t bother getting it. If you’re not a competitor then I would wholeheartedly recommend it.”

 

“Many times in the past we have gone to a filing cabinet to pick out a file only to realise one of our colleagues had already taken it out. Then you didn’t know which colleague had it! Now it doesn’t matter – everybody has access to everything all the time allowing them to work faster and increase the amount of chargeable time.”

 

 

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