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Paul Miller
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Managing Director

Xero Gold Partner reduces turnaround time by up to 85% with Client Portal

Cornwall based accounting firm streamlines client communication and paper usage with Virtual Cabinet Client Portal.

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  • 85% reduction in turnaround time using Client Portal e-signatures
  • 65% fewer letters being posted due to Client Portal communication

Progressive firm achieving time and cost benefits with Client Portal

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 became the first 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 Document Management and Client Portal.

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

How to eliminate sending documents via insecure email and snail mail

Part of the appeal of Virtual Cabinet, which replaced IRIS Open Docs, is an integrated cloud Client Portal that solves one of the biggest problems facing accountants - establishing a secure method for electronic authorisation of critical documents. A secure, online integrated Client Portal provides a more effective sharing mechanism that eliminates the back-and-forth transmission of client documents via email 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 the Cornish's transformation. The firm was able 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 accounting staff.

“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

Getting advice from a 'paperless practice'

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. Cornish's current system, IRIS Open Docs, was becoming expensive and the firm was finding IRIS increasingly inflexible. Based on the challenges with their existing system, and the positive Virtual Cabinet feedback from Prime Accountants, the decision was made to implement 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.”
- Paul Miller, Managing Director, Cornish Accounting Solutions

Benefits flowing immediately with Virtual Cabinet Client Portal

Within three months of beginning to use Virtual Cabinet, the firm is already starting to see multiple benefits. Staff 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.

“We are seeing up to 85% faster turnaround times and accounts can now 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

In addition, Cornish is achieving major cost savings with the Client Portal by using less postage and printing, envelopes, headed notepaper and general secretarial time on paper handling. 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."
- Paul Miller, Managing Director, Cornish Accounting Solutions

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 Client 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 Client 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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