"With Silverfin we've seen an immediate time saving and therefore cost saving, which in the current climate is invaluable," says Henry Micks, Accounting Team Manager at Accountant Online."
Accountant Online is Ireland's first and largest online accountancy practice, serving some 2,000 clients in Ireland, the UK and further afield. Clients use cloud technology to access Accountant Online's services simply and securely. So when the practice decided to upgrade the software used to produce financial statements, it made perfect sense to look for a cloud-based platform.
"We were using a number of different software tools to produce financial statements, but inputting data manually from one system to another meant a lot of our time wasn't well spent," says Henry. "That's what drove us in the direction of an all-inclusive cloud platform for working papers and financial statements that links to our client software. We figured we could save hours per client."
Making life easier
The practice chose Silverfin from a shortlist of four. "None of the other solutions gave us everything we wanted," says Henry. "Only Silverfin plugs straight into Xero (used by around 95% of our clients) for our working papers and financial statement production. In addition, the other solutions lacked usability, or their working papers weren't as polished or technically proficient as Silverfin's."
Accountant Online and Silverfin worked side by side on the rollout. A senior member of each accounting team was involved in the process to help accelerate adoption and prepare them to train their own teams.
"The training went very well — people could see straight away how good the Silverfin platform was and how much easier it would make their lives, helping them to be more efficient and productive," says Henry. "Today, no-one's asking questions and no-one has any complaints. It's brilliant."
Reliable financial statements
In the past, the practice's accounting teams used to retrieve client data from Xero, by downloading it into spreadsheets — a time-consuming process that could be prone to human error. Now, Silverfin's integration with Xero means that data is updated live, which does away with a manual task and reduces the risk of mistakes creeping in.
Recalling the previous process for preparing financial statements, Henry describes multiple rounds of reviews and amendments — not just to confirm calculation accuracy, but also to check the data had been entered correctly in the first place. "We knew that having everything flow in from the working papers was going to save us an incredible amount of time," he says. "Provided our inputs are correct, Silverfin produces a reliable set of financial statements every time."
While saving time is a benefit across the board, it's especially valuable for Accountant Online's work with smaller clients: historically, it's been more challenging to ensure their profitability compared with larger clients.
"To save three or four hours on a client file that should only take eight hours is a massive saving that increases the probability of the job being profitable," says Henry.
Enhanced quality assurance
Among the other Silverfin features, he rates the communication tool highly. As well as keeping all communications within the platform, it helps to ensure that all tasks in a client file are dealt with, so that every file is complete at year end. "The file won't go to 100% complete until the person assigned to a review note or to-do has finished it, which is great from a quality perspective," says Henry.
He also appreciates the convenience of the automated daily email from the Silverfin platform, which summarises all the clients and files he's working on, along with all the communications received.
"Our staff have become so comfortable with Silverfin that we have the assurance that every set of accounts is being produced with a high level of quality," says Henry.
"All the reasons we identified prior to signing with Silverfin have borne fruit and come true."