In this issue. Using cloud collaboration to deliver superior client engagement. Making the tax review process less taxing.

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1 The publication of the AITUK, the association for Accountancy IT Directors February 2016 In this issue Using cloud collaboration to deliver superior client engagement. Making the tax review process less taxing.

2 Welcome Contents The first Technical Meeting of the year, held at our usual British Computer Society venue is due to take place on Thursday 12th May, this will kick off the years main event programme and provide a key opportunity for current and new supplier members to update us on their offerings. Various members and suppliers covering different topics will attend the day, primarily using it for information sharing and networking. Content of the presentations will cover many of the areas that are currently hot topics. Planning for the Annual Conference is well underway; we are very much looking forward to working with all of the confirmed sponsors to ensure it is another varied and informative event. We should all remember that the interaction between the group s members is what makes it such a success. Over the last seven years we have grown from informal gatherings for IT Directors only, to technical meetings open to a cross section of technical and managerial staff. It would be great if we can increase the input from member firms, so if you are able to provide a presentation on a recent project, or help lead a discussion do let us know. With the host venue confirmed as the exclusive 5* Warren Weir conference complex situated in the grounds of Luton Hoo, 2016 is going to be a great conference! Four ways accounting firms can use cloud collaboration to deliver superior client engagement. Accounting powerhouse EisnerAmper implements comparedocs from DocsCorp, making the tax review process less taxing. PortrAIT is published by PSITUK Ltd. You may print or forward PortrAIT to other parties providing it is not changed or amended in any way. All content remains copyright of the publisher and/or authors. No content may be reproduced in any other form without the express permission of the publisher. The views expressed in PortrAIT are not necessarily those of the publishers. The publishers accept no responsibility for the accuracy of the information within this publication, but will endeavour to publish corrections if information is subsequently found to be inaccurate. If you are concerned about the accuracy of an article please contact the publishers (details below). PSUKIT Ltd is registered as a company in England and Wales, registered number Contact for all enquiries: Tel: Virtual Cabinet Turns into a Task Master. #AIT_UK

3 Four ways accounting firms can use cloud collaboration to deliver superior client engagement. Neil Ryland, VP Huddle You re an exceptional accounting firm. You deliver high-quality service, operate efficiently and keep information up-todate and scrupulously accurate. And yet in spite of the immense value you bring to your clients, the increasingly competitive market in which you operate is making it harder than ever to differentiate your services. As a knowledge-based industry, there aren t many metrics that firms can use to set themselves apart. That s why investing in the client experience has become such a key diffentiator for today s accounting firms. A great client experience has measurable value for any business. For example, one 2015 study across professional services organizations found that those that scored highest for client satisfaction saw greater revenue growth and higher billable utilization. But achieving this, and creating more valuable and engaging client relationships, requires that firms become more collaborative, and fundamentally change the working dynamic between internal teams and their clients. In fact, it s a change that s not only being driven by accounting firms, but also by the clients themselves, who are beginning to demand greater transparency into the process. Unfortunately, many of the legacy enterprise tools many businesses rely on are no longer fit for this purpose and present very real barriers to this more collaborative way of working. Processes are riddled with inefficiency, governance is often put at risk and clients become frustrated with delays. A recent Huddle 3 study of accounting professionals found that 55% were limited by their workplace tools when sharing files with their clients, 51% had wasted time working on a document only to discover it had already been superseded by a newer version, and 39% were routinely delayed on a project while waiting for approvals. None of this speaks to the efficient, client-focused approach that s required for success. More and more organisations are discovering the power of cloudcollaboration tools, which allow organisations to share and work on documents in the cloud, outside of the company s firewall, with clients and thirdparty advisors. These tools address these deficiencies and drive greater efficiency and client-focus into their businesses. Here are four ways your firm can benefit.

4 1. Synchronicity and Communication In the increasingly commoditised and competitive accounting industry, superior client relationships are a significant competitive advantage, meaning that clear client communication is an absolute business necessity. Most companies interact with clients exclusively via or through shared extranet spaces that essentially act as file dumping areas; using a dedicated collaboration platform lets you interact with them in real-time, so all parties can edit, discuss and upload work. Client collaboration is also a great way to ensure all parties have the most upto-date and accurate information, which can streamline not just communication, but workflow as well. By creating a shared community space to collaborate with clients in real-time, accountants can cut the amount of hours wasted going back and forth on and accelerate review cycles. More importantly, cloud collaboration platforms provide a single, consistent client interface to minimise the chance of working with bad data and give clients the chance to voice their preferences early in the process. As a result, clients have more say in the process, increasing the chances that they ll approve of the end result and witness the effort that went into developing it. An accountancy firm using a cloud collaboration portal offers a more thorough, well-managed service than its competitors something the client has the instant visibility to appreciate. 2. Transparency Accounting is a service that depends heavily on trust. Clients absolutely must have confidence that their private business information is safe and well-managed. Giving them insight into the process builds confidence in a firm s service that s rare in the rest of the industry, where information is generally kept tightly under-wraps. Clients want to feel involved in their engagements, and have insight into how much time and effort is devoted to their account. By collaborating with clients directly, accountants can build transparency into the interaction and reduce concerns of neglect or mismanagement a trust that ultimately lays the foundation for a longer and more productive relationship. 3. Efficiency Sometimes, the hardest thing about working with a client is simply coordinating the logistics around accessing their information and changing financial needs and realities. A collaborative cloud environment is more convenient for both the accountant and the client because it allows them to make edits and add comments as they become necessary in real-time, reducing the risk of missed or information. This also cuts down on the need for status meetings and conference calls. 4. Security Gone are the days of dealing with the nuisance of firewalls that have traditionally been used to secure vital corporate data. Organisations are finding that it s no longer about keeping data in, it s about sharing it securely. This means letting go of traditional notions of the firewall. Cloud servers today are equipped with exceptionally strong firewall protection and encryption, meaning that any data stored there is completely protected; yet easy to share. Above all else, clients need to know that their data is secure. Having a collaborative portal that absolutely establishes the safety of their data without compromising convenience makes things easier for both you and them and establishes that trust that is so pivotal for successful client relationships. Cloud collaboration technology has opened an opportunity that never existed in accounting before: the opportunity to engage with your clients safely and directly, breaking down the barriers between your two organizations. It creates an entirely new relationship dynamic that allows your firm to highlight its value and give yourself that extra competitive edge. More information: Meeting Dates for 2016 TECHNICAL MEETING Thursday 12th May BCS offices, Southampton Street, London AIT are on LinkedIn ANNUAL CONFERENCE Thursday 22nd Friday 23rd September Luton Hoo Hotel, Bedfordshire Presentation/Sponsorship packs are available for both Technical Meetings and the Annual Conference. Please contact Emma Jones 4 To request a signup invitation please

5 Can IT Improve Efficiency? In a recent survey of Accountancy practices we found: 31% 36% 36% of those working within the Accountancy sector face high software and hardware costs, which would be reduced if they were to look to a Cloud Computing solution. SECURE NETWORK CLOUD COMPUTING A key requirement for 31% of respondents was fast internet connectivity - something a high-bandwidth, Smart Business Internet can provide % A total of 40% of respondents to our survey stated that they would be interested in implementing Cloud Computing, whilst 28% were keen to introduce a Big Data solution in to their practice. 37% feel that their Infrastructure and Network is unable to keep up with the requirements for growth. 37% Find out more about how Exponential-e can help your Accountancy practice increase fee earner efficiency: *source: Google Survey

6 Accounting powerhouse EisnerAmper implements comparedocs from DocsCorp, making the tax review process less taxing Deploying comparedocs has enabled EisnerAmper to automate the process of comparing tax returns to show changes the tool requires minimal training so users can benefit from it immediately. DocsCorp, a global leader in integrated document workflow solutions and technologies, announced today that EisnerAmper LLP has successfully implemented its comparedocs software to compare tax return PDF documents more efficiently. Headquartered in New York City, EisnerAmper is a premier global full-service accounting, tax and advisory firm. Using comparedocs, EisnerAmper accounting professionals can quickly compare tax returns to see where changes occur between versions of K-1s rather than checking manually. DocsCorp developers customized comparedocs for EisnerAmper to ensure integration with the firm s accounting software programs. They also fine-tuned comparedocs to dramatically reduce false positives generated whenever a font did not match up properly between documents. Now, comparedocs shows only real differences between documents, largely eliminating useless clutter caused by false positives. comparedocs is versatile and can be used to compare Word, Excel, PDF, and image-based documents. User-friendly, the tool requires minimal training so users can benefit from it immediately. Stephen Pena, Manager of Tax Processing and Technology at EisnerAmper, commented: Using comparedocs has helped our workflow and we are very happy with the outcome. Developers at DocsCorp have been incredibly helpful, delivering a solution in a timely manner. We are expanding use of the software incrementally, and ideally all users firmwide will eventually have comparedocs. DocsCorp President and Co-founder Dean Sappey said, We are very pleased that EisnerAmper is using comparedocs with great results. Our technical and development teams will continue to support their needs as they roll out the software to the entire firm. 6 About DocsCorp DocsCorp provides document professionals who use enterprise content management systems with integrated, easy-to-use software and services that extend document processing, review, manipulation and publishing workflows inside and outside their environment to drive business efficiency and to increase the value of their existing technology investment. DocsCorp operates in all countries around the world with customers located throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia/Pacific. The company s U.S. headquarters is in Portland, Oregon. More than 3,500 organizations rely on DocsCorp software every day. More information: Kim Dunn

7 Virtual Cabinet Turns into a Task Master Lindenhouse Software, developers of the market leading document management system, Virtual Cabinet, has introduced workflow capability and inbuilt reporting in a new module known as Processes & Tasks that will make prioritising easier than ever before. It improves three key areas of document management providing: Processes & Tasks delivers a breakthrough in workflow automation that powers the steps in a business process, says Mark Woolley, Director, Lindenhouse Software. Professional firms looking to address inefficiencies can now streamline all their business processes by empowering teams to work from a list of well-defined, grouped and logically ordered tasks. Greater control of documents and their authorisation path Improved efficiency with each member being presented with a group of logically ordered tasks About Virtual Cabinet Virtual Cabinet ( is the preferred document management & cloud portal solution of professional firms of all sizes including 30 of the top 100 UK accountancy practices. It combines industry strength document management with secure client communication and the electronic signoff of documents through an integrated portal. This represents a major step forward in the professional markets the company serves. Heightened visibility see instantly outstanding work, who is doing it and what state it is Processes & Tasks is an important differentiator as it allows professional firms to tightly control a document s life cycle routing it to the appropriate members of the team for authorisation. It provides a convenient platform on which to build and manage business processes and delivers a framework that results in improved consistency and quality and ultimately, better control. More information: Supply goods or services to professional services firms? The AIT provides a variety of opportunities for suppliers of IT related goods and services to reach the large accounting firms. To find out how the AIT can work with you please contact #AIT_UK 7

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