A consultancy day could be a game-changer for your practice
Professional Services Manager Carole Brennan explains how business and software consultancy will help you to get the best possible return on your software investment for years to come.
Change is (always) in the air
Often, it is only after the project goes live, as you start using the different products within the CCH Central suite on a daily basis, that you begin to truly understand the power and potential of the software and start visualising what else it could do for your practice. It’s good to talk your plans through with someone who has seen it all before: a Professional Services Consultant.
Even long-standing users need to review their usage of the software regularly. As time passes, staff turnover means you can’t assume that all employees have a good working knowledge of the software. Adding a new software product from the suite could radically affect how information is collected, stored and shared. Government initiatives, such as last year’s Making Tax Digital for VAT, can also force a reassessment of your processes.
Are your business and software still closely aligned? Organisational change such as an acquisition, setting up a remote office or establishing a new team may trigger a change in your workflow.
These are just some of the scenarios that prompt many firms to book a visit from a member of the Professional Services team.
A holistic view of your practice
A one-to-one session with a consultant focuses entirely on your practice. We look at how you operate today, what drives your policies and procedures, and how to get where you want to be tomorrow.
We may be helping a small team get to grips with the impact of implementing CCH Accounts Production or supporting a practice-wide group on maximising the capabilities of CCH Document Management or CCH Practice Management.
Along the way, we translate the benefits of our systems and process flows, so that users understand the ‘why’ (the underlying logic) as well as the practical ‘how to’. Whatever the software product, however your practice is set up, the consultant will help you to save time, and therefore money, by doing things the right way. It can be a game-changer for your practice.
A world of experience
Our team of consultants has notched up 200 years of collective experience. As well as being experts in the CCH suite, many have also worked in roles such as practice IT manager or practice manager.
They see first-hand how accountancy firms across the region operate; they observe how the world of accountancy is changing. A great deal of sharing of knowledge and best practice goes on within the team and with our customers. We constantly open our customers’ eyes to greater efficiencies and time savings.
Training to get you up to speed and keep you there
Another golden tip is to make use of the on-site training that focuses on taking what the consultancy session uncovered and translating it into action. This tailored training is meaningful as it uses your live data, rather than relying on imaginary scenarios. I call it ‘data not vapour’.
We see great variations in learning culture as we go from firm to firm. Some senior leaders encourage all their staff to keep their software knowledge up to date. In other firms, software intelligence, including knowledge of new releases, is the preserve of one or two individuals. The wider practice team is oblivious to how our software has evolved and the exciting new functionality now available to make their lives easier.
Firms may set out with the best of intentions, but staff trained at the go-live eventually move on, taking their knowledge of the software with them. Meanwhile, new starters may not understand everything the system offers; picking up tips from colleagues is not always the best way to learn, as knowledge becomes distorted along the way.
Hearing it from the consultant ensures everyone who touches your software is using it in a consistently correct way, minimising risk and increasingly efficiency. For the price of a consultant to come on-site for a day, you’re gaining a year’s worth of knowledge.
What our customers say
Edwards Chartered Accountants has used software from Wolters Kluwer since the early years of this century:
“We don’t hesitate to book a consultancy day for any major innovations or upgrades. These days have always proved very useful in showing us the tips, tricks and shortcuts that will save even more of our valuable time.”
Another long-time user, Intellect Business Services, is similarly committed to maximising software investment and books regular training days:
“The initial knowledge you start off with when the software is installed becomes lost in the mists of time, and we don’t want to be using a Rolls-Royce like a Mini! Our training consultant is always very patient in answering our questions, helping us to use the software to its full potential to further improve our efficiency.”
For J L Winder & Co, the true value of consultancy is in bringing a fresh, knowledgeable eye to the business:
“Our Wolters Kluwer consultants grasped how we’re trying to bring about cultural change to empower our team to take ownership of recording their time and producing client correspondence. Only after a thorough exploration of our goals and current processes did we start to delve down into how the software could help us achieve this.”