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Paul Miller
Managing Director

Cornish Accounting Solutions chooses Virtual Cabinet

A progressive firm of Chartered Accountants, a Xero Gold Partner, with a reputation as a technology pioneer looks for a way to electronic authorise critical documents with clients.

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Cornish Accounting Solutions is a progressive firm of Chartered Accountants in Bodmin, Cornwall, which has carved itself a reputation as a technology pioneer. The practice recently became the first and only Xero Gold Partner in Cornwall and actively encourages clients to use innovative technology to help build successful businesses. The cloud is an important part of that strategy to deliver time saving and cost benefits and plays an important role in-house following the recent implementation of Virtual Cabinet, an electronic document management system that incorporates Cloud technology.

“Virtual Cabinet has been an integral part of our transformation.”
- Paul Miller, Managing Director, Cornish Accounting Solutions

Part of the appeal of Virtual Cabinet, which replaced IRIS Open Docs, is an integrated document portal that solves one of the biggest problems facing accountants - the electronic authorisation of critical documents. A secure, online integrated document portal provides a more effective sharing mechanism that eliminates the back-and-forth transmission of client documents and allows them to be published on a client’s personal portal in the Cloud.

On the advice of a business coach from the Growth Accelerator government programme for high growth businesses in the UK, the firm has made it a priority to introduce more stringent internal systems to handle the affairs of its fast growing client base. The implementation of Virtual Cabinet forms a vital part of that strategy and according to Paul Miller, Managing Director, Cornish Accounting Solutions, “Virtual Cabinet has been an integral part of our transformation.”

“We were encouraged to map out the production of a set of accounts from start to finish and found that there were two bottlenecks: communication from clients and
communication from us. If we were missing a bank statement, we would write to the client, which delayed the process and we did not have the systems in place to be able to monitor and chase responses so deadlines could be missed. It was essential to find software that could streamline the process.”
- Paul Miller, Managing Director, Cornish Accounting Solutions

Paul began a review of other accountants’ websites to see if he could find out what other leading practices were using and struck lucky when he came across one that billed itself as a 21st century paperless practice. He contacted Prime Accountants to find out what software they were using and the answer was Virtual Cabinet.

“We all liked Virtual Cabinet as soon as it was demonstrated and felt that it could introduce valuable time and cost savings to the practice and also provide a solution to the security issue surrounding emails. We were already using IRIS Open Docs but it was becoming expensive and we were finding IRIS increasingly inflexible so the decision was made to implement Virtual Cabinet.”
- Paul Miller, Managing Director, Cornish Accounting Solutions

With three months of beginning to use Virtual Cabinet, the firm is already starting to see the benefits. It can now process, store, retrieve, update, authorise, sign- off, audit, duplicate, distribute, confirm, and integrate documents, anywhere anytime – all while meeting compliance and governance regulations.

“In 85-90% of cases, we are starting to see faster turnaround times and accounts can be signed off in a day. We send them to the client in the morning and by the afternoon, we have sign off.”
- Paul Miller, Managing Director, Cornish Accounting Solutions

Savings include postage and printing, envelopes, headed notepaper and secretarial time. Paul continues, “Just 4 – 5 months ago, we would have 30 letters a day in need of being posted and that number has reduced to around 10 a day.”

Other benefits include an empowering of the team. Instead of having to wait for Paul to sign the day’s outgoing post, the creation of standard letters using Virtual Cabinet templates has successfully introduced a standardised approach and client managers are now able to take ownership of their own client portfolio.

“Our business coach believes that it is essential to drive the cost of compliance work down so members of the team can add knowledge, and the savings we are making with Virtual Cabinet are helping us to do just that. The portal allows us to send accounts to clients and save the cost of printing, postage and time. I estimate that the turnaround is reduced by 20% as we can resolve queries much faster.”

The migration to Virtual Cabinet and the conversion of data ‘went like a dream’, Paul adds. “The team was technically competent, approachable and friendly and above all, they knew what we wanted to achieve. They are willing to listen and we feel that there is definite 2-way communication. We get so much more with Virtual Cabinet than with our previous system for less cost.”

So why should a practice consider a secure document portal? Paul says: “In the good old days, you could rely on Royal Mail to deliver post in a timely and safe manner but not anymore. The success of any accountant depends on client communication and what drives our business is relationships. The Virtual Cabinet portal allows us to drive down the cost of liaising with clients.”

To conclude, Paul describes the Virtual Cabinet team, as “big enough to cope but small enough to care.”

Virtual Cabinet is a unique and powerful electronic document management system that utilises the cloud to offer unparalleled efficiency. It is about far more than scanning documents and saving space. The system represents a paradigm shift in the way that a practice manages information and communicates securely with clients. It is the perfect software for accountants such as Cornish Accounting Solutions who are looking to 21st century technology to grow efficiently and profitably.

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