SRLV is a medium sized, independent firm of Chartered Accountants and business advisors based in the heart of London’s West End. It is a leading specialist firm for the music and entertainment industry and clients include singers, songwriters, rock bands, classical performers, dancers, record companies, music publishers, production companies, agents, actors, film stars and TV personalities.
The firm needed to find a replacement for its legacy document management system that was no longer going to be supported. Following an extensive search, the decision was taken to stay with the same software company and deploy its newly launched system. SRLV assumed that it would be reasonably straightforward to import the 1 million existing files across to the new system but following three abortive attempts; there were still 1800 files that could not be brought across. The software company could not give a reason for the problem.
We got to the stage when we decided we were tired of it. It had become a real problem and we didn’t want to deal with it anymore.
- Sara Bremner, PA to Marc Voulters and Richard Gilbert, SRLV
Having wasted months on a project that had not achieved what it set out to, the firm decided to look for another document management system that could be deployed quickly and seamlessly.
SRLV’s IT manager suggested Virtual Cabinet as he had dealt with them before and a preliminary meeting was organised to discuss the Virtual Cabinet document management solution. Sara says that she was immediately impressed with how knowledgeable the team were. “They knew the pitfalls and could answer all our questions – they were fantastic from day one.”
SRLV’s needs were simple and straightforward. They needed a document management system that was ‘as easy to use as possible, that would be flexible and allow them to keep the same structures. It would need to integrate with their Practice Management program and allow the firm to communicate securely with clients through an integrated Document Portal. Virtual Cabinet ticked all the boxes.
Virtual Cabinet is simple and effective and it meets the needs of our business.
- Sara Bremner, PA to Marc Voulters and Richard Gilbert, SRLV
The speed of the deployment was one of the biggest challenges facing Virtual Cabinet. To ensure the client met their tight deadline, Virtual Cabinet allocated extensive resources to each core element of the project. From start to finish, the project took just six weeks to deploy.
The approach adopted by Virtual Cabinet was one that has been developed over thousands of installations and ensures that the customer never feels they are alone with the responsibility for making decisions that could have an unknown impact. The benefits of each decision are clearly outlined with the sole objective of arriving at the most effective solution for the customer.
“The Virtual Cabinet team were in contact constantly throughout those six weeks,” comments Sara. “They met with all the Heads of Department and walked them through how things would change and as a result, the implementation was painless. We closed down the legacy system following 2 days of training and Virtual Cabinet went live immediately. It felt like heaven after 9 months of pulling our hair out.”
An initial assessment was made of the documents to import so that a clear and concise report could be given to the client outlining the current state of the data. Rather than just passing a report over, the Virtual Cabinet team met with the client and walked them through exactly what the report contained and guided them on what manipulation was required to ensure the data was in a condition where it could easily be imported into Virtual Cabinet. The key was to ensure the data was in a condition where once imported, it was simple and more efficient to recover than previously.
Virtual Cabinet is always moulded around a firm’s existing processes to ensure Fee Earners can adapt quickly. In the consultative stage, this involved mapping out the firm’s procedures for dealing with incoming mail, outgoing approvals for anything carrying opinion, accounts production and usage of the portal for accounts and Tax returns.
Key departmental heads were invited to discuss their specific requirements for structure and as a result, the Virtual Cabinet team designed a bespoke filing entity. This is seen as a critical stage as it is vital to ensure buy in both from the business and users. Experience shows that failure to do this leads to a poor system that is inefficient and not used correctly.
It was important to ensure training was delivered at the correct level for each group of users and appropriate training was designed for each audience. As the integrated Document Portal was to be an integral part of the system, users were shown how to create the Tax Return Pack and how to publish its documents to the client so that they can be signed digitally.
“The portal is fantastic and provides real benefits for clients” Sara says that the “feedback has been extremely positive and the team has readily embraced Virtual Cabinet.” The firm cites huge advantages from the implementation of the Portal and says that this is the real differentiator enabling SRLV to be seen as pioneers in technology.
We can now get a 30 page document out to a client very quickly with a brief outline of how to digitally sign it. We emphasise to clients that anything that goes through the portal is encrypted and extremely secure. This is hugely important when dealing with the affairs of our clients.
- Sara Bremner, PA to Marc Voulters and Richard Gilbert , SRLV
The team reports that searching for documents is simpler with Virtual Cabinet document management software and one of the features Sara finds particularly helpful is the ‘ability to produce electronic headed paper.’ “There is no need for anymore cutting and pasting,” she says.
In retrospect, Sara admits that the previous document management system was not keeping up with the business. “We needed to change so that we could have the ability to send documents electronically and securely to our clients. We take our clients’ confidentiality very seriously and systems like Dropbox are just not secure enough.”