Vendor Case Studies
About Case Study Solutions:
Our readers have asked for more ‘practical’ solutions to real world problems, and so we are implementing a new series titled “Case Study Solutions using 3rd Party Products”. Insightful Accountant will be working with a variety of 3rd Party Solutions and/or ProAdvisors in documenting true-to-fact cases from their files to find typical examples of issues you might encounter as a ProAdvisor, Accountant, Bookkeeper or Business Consultant. We then look at how that vendor’s product resolved the particular problems, and give you feedback from the actual users regarding the implemented solution. These case studies are not ‘infomercials’, ‘paid advertising’ or ‘endorsements’ of any specific product, rather these articles are intended for educational and information purposes to give you are readers a variety of solutions to situations or client issues you may encounter.
CASE STUDY: Taking the (Note) Books out of Bookkeeping
In 30 years of accounting and bookkeeping, Mark Kilduff a QuickBooks ProAdvisor based in the greater Boston, MA area, has stayed ahead of the competition by keeping up with technology.
When phone pagers came out, Kilduff rewired them to place morning produce orders for his father’s supermarket chain. A few years later, cloud computing allowed Kilduff to build his own business, Remote Quality Bookkeeping (RQB), by eliminating the need to drive from customer to customer.
But there was one accounting task technology could not streamline for the self-described computer nerd: end-of-year reports. That is, until he discovered enterprise content management technology (ECM).
“Laserfiche has opened-up a whole new direction for my business,” Kilduff says of the ECM software system he purchased a year ago. “We use it to automate accounting and bookkeeping tasks we previously spent hours on manually, and we’re constantly discovering new tasks it can do.”
Those discoveries started with the end-of-year reports. While RQB’s cloud computing services eliminated traveling from customer to customer to pick up financial records, staff still spent hours every day printing, sorting, and compiling those records into end-of-year reports. The more clients RQB took on, the more staff were needed to complete those manual tasks. There was no economy of scale to help boost profits and grow the company.
Now, once incoming customer files are sorted into designated electronic files, Laserfiche automatically pulls the appropriate records to build each clients’ end-of-year report. Employees no longer spend time printing or copying these lengthy reports, and the company doesn’t have to spend money on associated paper, ink, or equipment costs.
Moreover, having those records stored in electronic files rather than in manila folders allows for myriad new ways to automate working with them. Having electronic records makes it much easier to assess pending workloads—allowing for much more efficient allocation of staff resources to process them”, Kilduff says. That in turn allows his RQB staff to acquire more specialized skill sets, accelerating processing while improving quality control.
But the real magic is the automated indexing and filing the software makes possible. Working with IP Digital, a full-service Laserfiche integrator, RQB built an innovative electronic records classification system that quickly sorts incoming records into designated folders and subfolders in those end-of-year reports.
“We built a master list of all the documents that we can anticipate coming from all clients, and then assigned from that master list those documents that we expect any one client to see coming in,” says IP Digital President, William Peyton. “It greatly reduces the time needed to on-board new clients as well as the time needed to build end-of-year reports.”
Where this process was once paper-driven, with staff placing each document into color-coded folders within a ring-binder notebook, employees are now able to automatically select designated folders within a client’s electronic “notebook” through the use of drop-down menu options. This automated designation process allows a staffer to sort incoming client records with just a couple of mouse clicks while significantly reducing the chance of misfiling those records in the process.
The software also allows for many other automations of RQB’s business processes. ”For example, if staff need to take further action on filed records—like reconciling income statements—these records can be so designated at the time of filing”, Kilduff says. Other workflows built into the new system send reminders to RQB staff when a customer has not submitted scheduled paperwork, as well as reminders to clients to submit scheduled payroll records.
All the efficiency and automation is making RQB much more competitive in the accounting and bookkeeping industry by cutting hours off the time needed to prepare end-of-year reports. Moreover, those reports will now be shipped on CDs, saving RQB $25-$50 per customer on ring-binder notebooks, along with as-yet uncalculated savings on reduced packing and shipping.
“We were spending $50,000 a year putting the books together and shipping them to customers”, Kilduff says.
Clients appreciate the CDs not just for ease of use and storage but also for ease of access to any record stored on them. Pulling up any one document within those CDs is simply a matter of typing keywords into a file search command, as Laserfiche also allows each of the document images to be instantly retrieved by conducting a search for any word or numerals they contain.
“It’s like having your own private Google for your files”, Kilduff says.
All these benefits have perfectly positioned RQB to rapidly expand, particularly in the franchise market. The electronic indexing system will allow the company to onboard new franchise customers—which often have similar, but never identical bookkeeping needs—at a price that will be hard for others in the industry to match.
Kilduff’s vision is to harness the efficiency Laserfiche provides to take on 60 new franchise customers this year.
Mark Kilduff is a QuickBooks ProAdvisor and President of Remote Quality Bookkeeping in the Greater Boston, MA area, which specializes in real-time on-line bookkeeping and accounting services.
Laserfiche started in 1987 as a custom software solutions business and has since grown into a leading enterprise content management (ECM) software company. Along the way, they have reached 5 million users and developed a fully integrated software suite that helps over 35,000 organizations operate at their full potential. (Linda Ding is a Financial Program Strategist at Laserfiche.)
Founded in 2001, IP Digital began providing technical services related to document management and imaging solutions. Today it is a full service reseller and integrator of Laserfiche.