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An illustration from AccountingWEB's editorial report | Chasing continuous improvement | AccountingWEB

Chasing continuous improvement


When looking to maximise efficiency and uncover new opportunities to turbocharge his firm, Gary Deans of Box Accounts found that reviewing his processes and strategies was the perfect place to start.

27th Nov 2023
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For many firms, even small tweaks to their processes can pay dividends. Whether it’s investing in tech or revamping your customer experience, opportunities abound for the growth-minded accountant.

“Growth is of course important to us and we’re always looking to improve,” said Gary Deans, director of Box Accounts, a small, family-run firm. “I work with my wife and my son has recently come on board as a trainee accountant, so I want to grow the business in order to support my family.”

This growth mindset has led to exciting improvements across Box Accounts in recent years, with the firm looking forward to a lucrative future. However, Deans will be the first to admit that achieving this has taken time, with the firm always reviewing its processes and strategies to iron out inefficiencies. 

A human-first firm

An area that Box Accounts is particularly proud of is maintaining a top-quality client experience.

Not looking to compete with the more resource-heavy businesses, Deans’ firm has instead focused on innovating the personal rather than “treating clients as a number”.

“Since Covid, clients are again wanting to see their accountants face to face,” Deans said, adding that he ensures he visits every client personally, no matter where they’re based.

This personal touch has created excellent opportunities to more intimately gauge client experience, and allowed Box Accounts to iron out issues. “We always keep in touch and try to better ascertain our clients’ needs through feedback,” Deans said. 

Tech as an aid not a replacement

While the Box Accounts team innovates via its focus on the human aspect of accounting, Deans and the team are still open to improving processes through technology.

“We use a lot of Xero’s accounting tools, as well as Dext and Ignition, which both the team and our clients have found user friendly. They’ve also saved us so much time on the compliance side of things, meaning we can give even more time to our clients to help invest in their future plans.

“I trained up in the 80s, and remember having to work with bags of receipts, so things have definitely come along since then! It would be foolish not to use tech as a tool to boost efficiency,” said Deans.

The creation of a digital office is something that has given Deans the freedom, as well as cost savings, to offer even better services.

“I can work from anywhere now,” Deans said, noting that meeting up with clients has become easier than before. “I was working out of an office that was costing me £12,000 a year. Now I have a digital office, I’m freed up to give more time to my clients.”

Continuous development

Tech tools have also been extremely helpful in training, with Deans priding himself on his firm’s commitment to continuous development and education. “Xero has helped loads with training, especially when it comes to developing my son’s skills and learning development.”

Looking forward, the future looks bright for Box Accounts, with Deans looking to continue its winning streak. “In the past few years, our business has grown by 40%, so we want to keep that going by continuing to innovate,” Deans said.

“But it all comes back to our clients – if our processes are efficient then it helps them. And that’s what we enjoy with our clients: actually making sure that their processes are as efficient as ours.”

This article is an extract from our new editorial special report: “The practice innovation handbook”. Download it now to access expert advice and real-life examples to help you identify areas for improvement in your firm and make changes that will drive innovation and boost efficiency.

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