Heelan Associates reduces printing costs by 50% with Client Portal

Hampshire based family accounting firm achieves significant printing and postage cost savings with Virtual Cabinet Client Portal.

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Heelan Associates, Hampshire based family accounting firm - company logo
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“Being able to basically ‘google for a document’ is amazing – efficiency, pure and simple. I love it, and my team love it.”

Dan Heelan
Business Services Manager
Heelan Associates
  • 20% increase in workflow efficiency
  • 50% reduction in printing costs with Client Portal
  • Significant reduction in postage costs using Client Portal e-signatures
  • 1 central source of client information

Growing firm seeks to run a more efficient business

Dan Heelan is the Business Services Manager at Heelan Associates, a Hampshire based accountancy firm which has grown from a 2 person family business to an 14 person firm.

As the firm expanded, it faced several challenges including the increasing costs of office filing space, general printing and postage, growth in digital documentation and wasted staff search time for client documents. Dan knew that implementing a central document storage system was crucial to running a more efficient business.

Wasted office space and clunky filing systems

Like many accounting firms, the transition from paper to digital documentation was causing problems for Heelan. Filing cabinets were taking up valuable office space and even more valuable working hours, with staff time being wasted daily running around searching for the right place to file a document.

"Finding files was by far the biggest time waster – staff had them on desks, piles everywhere. Not to mention we were running out of space in our building, so losing some filing cabinets seemed like a great idea!"

- Dan Heelan, Business Services Manager, Heelan

Heelan also struggled to manage the increasing number of digital files in their system. Documents and emails were being manually stored in named files, but this system was ‘clunky’ to operate and hard to use for locating specific information. The firm also needed periodic, time-consuming manual archiving of documents to stay up to date. Additionally, lack of e-signature support added unnecessary delay to workflows.

Accessible DMS with cloud Client Portal and e-signature support

The growing business needed a more central document storage system to eliminate current manual processes. Dan Heelan started looking for a document management solution with a client portal that could also provide e-signature functionality.

As part of his due diligence, Dan spoke to professional colleagues and visited Accountex to explore what solutions would best fit the firm’s needs. However, the biggest factor in his decision came from one of the firm’s own employees, who recommended Virtual Cabinet as a best of breed Document Management and Client Portal system. After speaking to a member of the Virtual Cabinet team, Dan decided to use Virtual Cabinet just two weeks later.

"In this area I didn't look at anything else due to a glowing first hand recommendation. A colleague on our team had used Virtual Cabinet before at a bigger practice and sang its praises."

- Dan Heelan, Business Services Manager, Heelan

Re-engineering manual tasks with a paperless process

All four of the Heelan’s departments – bookkeeping, accounts, payroll and business services – implemented Virtual Cabinet. Heelan took advantage of all of the support and guidance available from the Virtual Cabinet team during implementation, including training for staff on digital filing procedures to replace paper processes. New workflows were built into Virtual Cabinet to support a ‘filing as job completed’ culture, which resulted in fantastic efficiency savings as the system was rolled out across the business.

Heelan also made use of the secure Virtual Cabinet Client Portal for faster paperwork approval using e-signatures and better client communication.

"It has been a learning process to really drill down to how we use the system best, but the more we tweak it the more we see the benefits."

- Dan Heelan, Business Services Manager, Heelan

Client Portal more than pays for itself with printing and postage down significantly

Heelan were looking for a more efficient system, and in this aspect Virtual Cabinet has been an incredible success. As well as the much lower administrative time burden, overall workflow time has been reduced by around 20%. Documents and client information can be pulled up from any desk with just a simple search.

The transition to mostly digital documents and client communication with the Client Portal resulted in significant cost savings. Client Portal use has reduced printing costs by 50%, with postage costs also down significantly with e-signature usage – more than enough to easily offset the Virtual Cabinet licensing costs.

Heelan clients overwhelmingly loved the ability to upload documents to the portal securely and get instant approval for their tax return. With these changes, Heelan has been able to offer a cheaper service for clients who prefer to operate entirely online.

"Having that single point of all client information right at your desk has been a game changer. Being able to basically ‘google for a document’ is amazing – efficiency, pure and simple. I love it, and my team love it."

- Dan Heelan, Business Services Manager, Heelan