How Silverfin is helping one firm remain productive and operational during lockdown, and be in a position to offer valuable advice to clients when they need it most.
The ability to overcome new challenges
Business continuity is the ability to continue operating despite severe disruption to the normal working environment.
Disruption can take many forms. Key employee or employees leaving. A cyber attack or virus affecting online access to working systems or files. And, of course, a global pandemic that forces cities to lock down, offices to close, and staff to work from home.
Having a plan to deal with the unexpected can be the difference between success and failure; between operating effectively and having to close the doors – with the financial implications that closing down, even temporarily, can bring.
Let’s look at some best-practice advice using a real life case study from Edmund Carr, in practice for almost 70 years, and who had recently made the move to Silverfin. We spoke with two of their partners, Sandra Morrell and Stewart Martin, who shared their experience so far.
Are you in the cloud?
Edmund Carr recently made a decision to move to cloud where their data and software packages are held. As part of this strategy they onboarded Silverfin. As well as giving them greater security and removing the need to maintain and upgrade servers, it also gave them the huge benefit of accessibility.
With all staff working remotely from home, being in the cloud with Silverfin means everyone has access to all the client files and data they need to work as normal. All clients have access to upload documents to allow accountants to do audit work, no matter where they are in the world. For Edmund Carr, it’s business as usual.
Do you have a paperless environment?
As part of the move to Silverfin, Edmund Carr took a holistic view of how they worked. Like many accountants they were using a mix of spreadsheets for working papers; entering the details, printing it off, and saving those papers into physical files.
This no longer made any sense. It was inefficient, manual, time-consuming, and bad for the environment. At the same time clients had moved to online systems as part of Making Tax Digital.
Creating a paperless environment means everything is digital and easily accessible. Accountants don’t need access to a printer, so there are no limitations to how they work. Horror stories of firms couriering boxes of paper files across the country do not apply to Edmund Carr.
Can partners oversee work in progress?
Out of sight can mean out of mind. Not just for remote working either – partners at Edmund Carr were having difficulty tracking the progress of scheduled work with their old system even when everyone was in the office. There was no central overview of job progress, and partners had little visibility of who was doing what at any given time.
By implementing Silverfin partners can now see exactly what percentages of jobs are underway and where every accountant is with each job. No work is missed, and partners get full visibility of current and future jobs in one convenient dashboard.
Does everyone follow a standardised working practice?
Differences in working methods are inefficient and can result in inconsistent client experiences. There’s a large element of risk if accountants within the same firm follow different processes.
By adopting Silverfin, everyone at Edmund Carr now has a standardised way of working. Even though they’re working from home, there has been very little difference to their daily schedule. Processes and methodologies are still the same as they would be in the office.
Is communication easy?
Many organisations find it difficult to keep in touch with colleagues while remote working. But Edmund Carr can use Silverfin to easily communicate with colleagues and clients as needed. Messages are left directly on the client file to give full context.
A solid base for continued growth
For Edmund Carr it’s not just about managing through disruption. It’s about continued, controlled growth. Growth has been 7-8% for the last couple of years, and they would not have been able to cope with that volume of growth without fundamentally changing how they work. With Silverfin’s help they are now more efficient as a firm.
Their accountants have adapted to change very quickly. They’ve worked one way for 20 years but have embraced this new way of working. There has been only positive feedback from staff. And things will only get better as they embrace more Silverfin functionality and migrate all clients onto the platform.
Going forward, moving to advisory will be made much easier, with more in-depth understanding and visibility into each client's finances. Clients no longer value number crunching as much as they once did. They want advisory services. And Covid has sped up that need for advisory. They need advice based on reliable data and insights now more than ever, especially the smaller clients.
For Edmund Carr, potential disruption has been avoided by making the decision to work with Silverfin.
For the firm it’s largely been business as ‘normal’, with a far greater agility to move with the times and support their clients in the best way possible just when they need their accountant the most.
About Edmund Carr
Founded in 1953, Edmund Carr is a well-established firm of Chartered Accountants in the UK offering a comprehensive range of business advice and accountancy services to individuals and businesses throughout the South East and beyond. With over 60 years of experience, there are now more than 50 people working together with the ten partners of Edmund Carr, applying a variety of skills to the financial and taxation affairs of businesses and individuals. Their approach is simple; professional but friendly alongside the personalised client care service provided by each partner.