Tax & Accounting Blog

More Get Up and Go

Accounting Firms, Business Strategy & Development September 15, 2016

When you set ambitious growth targets, having the right arsenal of tools can help you hit them. That has certainly proved to be the case for SS&C Solutions, Inc., which has four office locations in Kansas.

In 2015, the firm decided to migrate from FileCabinet CS to GoFileRoom and FirmFlow. The practice did its homework first, and saw that the tools were a good fit.

“We reviewed FirmFlow and, quite frankly, fell in love and moved forward,” says Brian Lang, CPA, CVA, CEPA, the firm’s chief technology officer. “We got the ball rolling for the transition over the summer and went live with the product October 1, which gave us time to get acclimated before busy season hit.

As it turns out, though, fall 2015 was a pretty busy season for the firm anyway. As part of the practice’s growth objective, SS&C Solutions acquired two firms and merged them into its existing operations. According to Lang, FirmFlow helped the practice make the most of those mergers, which increased the firm’s revenues by 37% year over year as of April.

“I believe FirmFlow helped us manage those mergers and acquire additional business,” he says. “It helped us manage that process more effectively, because we were able to spend less time chasing status and moving paper, and more time in other areas to improve turnaround in client deliverables.”

Thanks to the mergers, the firm nearly doubled the number of income tax returns it prepared—productivity that was facilitated by GoFileRoom and FirmFlow. Lang says GoFileRoom and FirmFlow are better suited to the complexities that come with a larger firm like SS&C Solutions.

Although the firm has been paperless for a number of years, it was still using paper files to track projects, something that is no longer necessary with GoFileRoom and FirmFlow.

Lang cites a number of ways GoFileRoom and FirmFlow have helped improve operations. From a management standpoint, the firm is able to see where projects are in real time: how many returns are in process, what stages they’re in and how long they’ve been there.

“That lets us identify where we have bottlenecks,” he says. “We can reach out in real time to get that thing moving.”

Real-time communication, combined with greater ease of information-sharing in a fully paperless process, helps reduce the physical barriers to accounting work, Lang says. “It allows us to employ individuals in areas where they are available instead of where we have the work,” he explains.

Customer service has also improved, because the firm can provide information through client portals in real time. Plus, these faster, more efficient processes mean benefits for the staff, too.

“People can work remotely more efficiently than ever,” Lang says. “That’s allowed a better work-life balance for the staff— me included.”