Small firm, big results
Robert St. Pierre, firm owner and longtime Thomson Reuters subscriber, was apprehensive about making the switch to Checkpoint Engage integrated with AdvanceFlow. However, within a year, his perspective had completely changed.
Robert St. Pierre CPA PC offers audit, accounting and tax preparation services to individuals and small business owners. With a cloud-based audit solution, St. Pierre’s practice easily extends well beyond the borders of Stilwell, Oklahoma, population 4,000. When St. Pierre was informed Engagement CS would no longer be supported, he began looking for an alternative solution. His interim choice was a disappointment but having made the change to the cloud audit suite of Checkpoint Engage integrated with AdvanceFlow, he now says he could not be happier. St. Pierre and his staff found multiple “shortcuts” to improve efficiency.
“Keeping in mind we were already pretty efficient with SMART and Engagement CS, I would say we have gained 15-20% more efficiency,” notes St. Pierre. “While the efficiency is nice, the improved workflow has made the software worth every penny. Preparers who do not use a paperless system already could easily see an 50-60% increase in efficiency after the first year.”
The seamless integration saves numerous hours and has prevented several mistakes. The user interface follows a convenient, natural workflow and has eliminated the need for version control.
“The ability to link the workpapers to the audit programs is great and putting comments in the audit programs and being able to review them the next year is extremely helpful,” says St. Pierre. He emphasizes the efficiency of rolling the engagement forward, noting, “the workpaper links carry forward as well. If you use the placeholder and link to the audit program all there is left to do is sign off, no linking, no comments unless there are changes. I also like the ability to modify Checkpoint Engage from within AdvanceFlow, rather than having to go and re-import all your documents. It’s a great feature.”
St. Pierre also found the overall management of engagements, using templates and account groupings, has improved substantially.
The cloud aspect of the software is also an immeasurable improvement for the firm. Their previous locally installed document management system caused many issues and lost valuable time.
“In the past while working in the field, we would have to make backups of each company we were auditing and install on a laptop. Then, we’d set up a network at the client’s, connecting all the computers to a server,” notes St. Pierre. “We are CPA’s, not IT. Using the cloud is so amazing. Show up at a client’s office, connect to WiFi, and start working. This might be my favorite part of the software- it’s amazing.”
“I absolutely recommend AdvanceFlow/Checkpoint Engage to all my fellow CPA’s that perform attest engagements. Usually the learning curve and price scares off the smaller firms, however I tell them they could do twice as much work if they would take the time to learn the software.”
“AdvanceFlow with Checkpoint Engage is the best software I have used in my firm over the last 25 years,” adds St. Pierre. “If Thomson Reuters ever discontinues it, I am retiring.”